James E. B. Austin to Stephen F. Austin, 07-18-1824

Summary: Death of their mother and James Bryan. Plan to move sister and family to Texas.

(No. 2.)

Hazel Run July 18th 1824.

Dear Brother

I wrote you some time last week, from Hereulanium,—by the way of Natchos, but lest that letter should miscarry,— I write again, — I arrived at Herculaneum on the 15th of June,— I also stated to you, that I was compelled to go by the way of Orleans, and it proved a fortunate circumstance I did,—as the rains have fallen in such torrents, that It would have been almost impossible for me to have got here,— I found all our friends well, that is all that are left— I wrote you from Natchitoches informing you of the death of Mother,— I found Emily well She has born her afflictions with much fortitude and has supported herself and family (by her own exertions much better than could be expected considering the destitultle situation, in which she was left— The affairs of Brother James is placed in such a Situation that It will be impossible for me to do any thing with them, without detaining longer in Missouri than I would be willing—therefore I think the wisest plan I can pursue, is to leave the damd country as soon as possible—with Emily and her family—and leave the rest for you to finish should you ever visit Mo— there are a number of acts and notes to be collected in this neighborhood but the estate has never been administered upon therefore the collection of them can not be forced, untill that takes place— As to the Little Rock property, when I was in St Louis Wm C Carr informed me that no difficulty aught to originate respecting it—and If Ashley wished to do what was just no difficulty could arrise—unless H. E. [Henry Elliott's] estate should prove insolvent and his Creditors force the Sale of that property—in that case he deemed it advisable for Emily to file a Bill in chancery against H. E. heirs.

I have written to Ashley on the Subject and inclose your letter— I have also directed him to forward every thing left at the Little Rock to the mouth of White River— I also wrote to Cunningham to do the same which I think they will comply with, as Ashley in a letter to Emily observed that the things were there subject to your Order— A Scott came up in the same Boat with me from the mouth of White River also Mrs S. and two of his children he fought and killed Judge Seldon in a duel, a few days previous to my arrival, at the mouth of White R. the cause of the dispute was owing to some assertions Seldon made respecting him— Saml Perry is at present absent to Philidelphia but is Expected back in a short time I understand he is very much dissatisfied at the present State of things at the Mines, and I think your letter will have considerable effectPrice continues to persecute him and has lately made some publications with an intention to injure him— It is generally congectured something Serious will take place when he returns from the Eastward— Nothing appears to excite so much interest throughout the country, at present as the approaching election— Ashley and Bates are candidates for Govr and Wm C. Carr, Nathl Cook and Evans are candidate for Lt Govr— these elections will be warmly contested. Genl Rector has been removed from office, by the influence of David Barton—this caused much excitement in St Louis and no doubt "Bloody doings" will take place on "Bloody Island" in a short time—his successor is by the name of McKea formerly attached to the corps of Engineer's.—a man of handsome tallents—

Emily and myself will visit the mines next week when I shall see all your old acquaintances James Bruffe[y] may be prevailed on to move to the Province of Texas

I have not heard one word from Varner. I have therefore concluded not to delay any longer. I shall be at Natchitoches by the 20th of Oct or 1 of November certainly, unless you make some other arrangement— I would advise you to send out 2 waggons and some spare horses— I shall take on the family of Negroes at all hazerds it consists of Sarah and four children— A Mr. Carpenter who has been living here for some time, and who Married Polly Barfield, that formerly lived with Mrs. H Austin she has been living with Emily for some time past— Mr. C. is a very good man understands surveying and also is well acquainted with the Missipa and will be of much Service to me on my journey,— Emily will want some one to accompany her and Mrs. C. has lived with her so long that had rather she should accompany her—they will be of no expence to me on the journey— I have promised him for his assistance to convey him from Natichitoches. I shall buy a good Dearbourn Waggan in St. Louis covered over with oil cloth to keep out the rain—and I think one that will answer for 1. or two horses preferable as there will be too much of a load for 1. horse—a light one that would answer for 1. horse and put a tongue to it for two horses on the journey is the kind I will get— I have nothing more to say—times are extremely dull—the Mississippi has been higher up here by 3 feet than last year,—the crops are all distroyed and provisions are to be very high and scarce—in fact I hardly know what a great many will do—I would not positively exchange the Brazos for all the land I have seen between here and there— I informed you of the death of Aunt Austin She died shortly after the death of Mother— She has left a large and helpless Family of Children God only knows what is to become of them. Wm will go on with me—

Give my respect [to] all my friends in that quarter particly to John— I should like to have him meet me in Natchitoches or if you make other arrangements at Orleans—I saw a Genm in St Louis who saw his Father and family a few weeks since they were all well— Emily sends her love—

Jas B Austin

Horace lives in St. Louis poor man he has wasted to a mere skeliton and I expect is in his grave before this, an express came down for Mary Honey the day after I left St Louis.—the Austins will become extint in this country in a few years—

[In Margins:] I could say much more but I will wait untill I come from the Mines I am almost sure that Jas Bruffe[y] will move, he is much dissatisfied at the mines, he and Price are also at Swords points, I shall do my utmost to prevail on him to move

[Addressed:] Col. Stepehn F. Austin. Politacal Chief of Austins Colony, in the Province of Texas. Via Natchitoches