Maria Austin to Stephen F. Austin, 08-25-1821

Summary: Account of Moses Austin's death. Conditions in Missouri.

Herculaneum August the 25 [1821]

This days mail brought my dear sons wellcome letters of the 13 and 14 of July which afforded me much real sattisfaction. I had received one from you dated the 7 ult but as you had not heard of your dear Fathers death I posponed answering it till I heard from you again, yes my dear Stephen this unexpected stroak of divine providence must have afflicted your affectionate heart most sensibly, even at this time, when more than two months has passed away in sadness and sorrow, I can hardly realize the reality of the melancholy event, to have him taken from us at a time when his prospects appeared so flattering and his expectations of future happyness and prosperity raised to the highest pitch, oh what a lesson for those he has left behind to strugel a few years longer in this vail of tears, my dear Stephen wishes to know the particulars of his Fathers death I wrote you soon after it took place and sent the letter [by Mr] Bruffy to Orleines, what he did with the letter I have not learnt but least theay never reatch you, I will again give you a short detail your dear parent was in very bad health when he returned in march and was but a shadow of his former self but such was his anxiety to arrange all his business in this quarter, I could not prevail on him to attend to his health and taike those medicines necessary to restore it as soon as he was able to ride he went to St Louis, where he was detained six weeks setling with the directors of the bank this might have been don in one, had theay been disposed to do him Justice, at length one generous and disinterested man, even a lawyer, steped forward and vollanteered his services to your persecuted Father, he said the sale of the lead mine estate was an Illegal one, that he would undertake to recover it and not receive one dollar till he had gained it he stated this to the board of directors which brought them to a compromise and your Father after the greatest perplexity and delay, at length obtained a full receipt from the Directors, exonerating you and J. B [James Bryan] and bringing the bank 5000 dollars in his debt he returned home, spent and exhausted with fatigue but would take no rest, started in fore days for Potosi to mack a finish of business their, I felt greatly allarmed and did all I could to prevail on him to take advice and postpone his Journey a few days, you know his determined and perservering disposi[t]ion, he had fixed the 25 of May for leaving this country and he had not a moment to loose, he laid sick at Dr Mc Grady several days, then finished his business and started to Bellview, laid two days very ill at Mr Buggies, but persisted going on the third day to Sqr. Stepn and finally on the seventh day after he left the mines arrived at Hazel run so ill he had to be helped of the hors this was the 2 of June, he appeared very unwilling even then to give up and the next day Commenced setling his accounts with J B and thought he would be able to ride to this place in two days, all this time the disease was gaining fast on his sistom, the day I expected him home, an express was sent for me I [took] out Dr Benhiser [Bernhisel] with me he is from Philadpa and came highly recommended He said his disordor was a violent Inflamation of the lungs, he bleed and blistered—staid a day and night and pronounced him out of danger, I watched by him day and night gave him his medicine every hour and for two days we all thought him on the mend—my sister and a young man who was to go with him had set up Thursday night his fever was higher on that night than it had been at fore in the morning I discovered the St Antony fire was all over his face and he had great difficulty in breathing we sent instantly for Dr B and I asked him if he did not wish Mc Grady sent for, after a considerable exertion to speak, he drew me down to him and told me it was two late, that he was going—that he shold not live 24 hours, tell dear Stephen that it is his dieing fathers last request to prosecute the enterprise he had Commenced, that he had set his heart two much on it but for some wise purpose, god had prevented his travelling the rode he had planed out, he had opened and prepared the way for you and your brothers and that he felt a conviction you would be successful and independant in a few years, he begged me not to greive that he was going to make a happy exchange and that I should soon follow him, he said he had done all he could for his family, he saw his errows when it was two late, it had ever been the first wish of his heart to see his family happy and Independant, he had lost them a fortune and fully expected he would be permitted to mack another for them the all wise god had in his infinite wisdom thought proper to call him from the scean of action and he submitted to his will— he con- tinued in his senses and though his sufferings was greater then I ever saw any human being he never murmured or complained, but left this troublesome world with an assurance of never ending felicity in the kingdom of heaven where he should sooner or later meet his dear famaly to part no more, I can say no more at present if you receive my other letters together with this hasty communication it will satisfy my dr son that his father died like a man and Christian, I have remained in this place three weeks longer that I intended, in the hope of seeing dear Brown I sent on 30 dollars to bare his Expenses—and wrote to Mr. Walker to send on his account by B and he should be paid as soon as money could be raised, I expect him daly and shall attend to your wishes in regard to his studying the Spanish my page is nearly full and I wish to say something to you of J B. I fear my dear Stephen something has been represented in a rong light to you, I never knew what the difficulty was between you till about six weeks ago he was here on business and took your first letter out of the office and feeling anxious to know if you had heard of his fathers death and whether you intended [to] go on to St Antone, he opened the letter, when he gave it to me at Hazel run he appeared hurt and agitated in his feelings when I read your letter it explained the caus, he has wrote several times and I trust when you meet everything will be explained and you will find J B is not the man his Enimys paint him to be and that he is still worthy of your confidence and friendship to me he is an affectionate kind son and tender husband and father, he is greatly embarast and the times is so hard he can sell nothing for money, you may be assured your Brother would not have been this long in Ky if he could have raised the money by selling flower or whisky at half price no money in the state, the Missouri bank has failed and the notes dont pass The Edwardsville [bank] has stopped pament and there is nothing talked of but failures and hard times, sickness also prevails everywhere, I have wrote you this long but very incorrect scrawl while sitting up with the sick— I was invited to spend a few days with Mrs. W. Bates he and the two children are ill with the fever and a niece of Mr B Anne Nash are very ill indeed E B hous is like a hospital in short every family in town has the fever more or less, if B[rown] does not come next week I shall return to hazel run where theay enjoy perfect health if not happyness, farewell my dearest son, may guardien angels watch and protect you by day and by night and hasten the period that will restore you to the anxious arms of your affectionate mother

Maria Austin

twelve oclock at night

[Addressed:] Mr Stephen F. Austin to the care of Doct J Sibley Nachitoches Mail.