Old Three Hundred

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The Old Three Hundred were the 297 grantees, made up of families and some partnerships of unmarried men, who purchased 307 parcels of land from Stephen Fuller Austin and established a colony that encompassed an area that ran from the Gulf of Mexico to near present day Brenham in Washington County, Texas, Navasota in Grimes County, and La Grange in Fayette County. Moses Austin was the original empresario of the Old Three Hundred and was succeeded by his son, Stephen F. Austin, after his untimely death.[1]


Stephen Austin agreed to implement his father's plan, and in the summer of 1821 he and a small group of settlers crossed into Texas. Before he arrived in San Antonio to meet with the governor, they learned that Mexico had earned its independence from Spain, making Texas a Mexican province rather than a Spanish province. Governor Martinez assured him, however, that the new Mexican government would honor the colonization contract.[2]

Stephen returned to Louisiana to recruit settlers. He offered land at 12.5 cents per acre, only 10% of what comparable acreage sold for in the United States. Settlers would pay no customs duties for seven years and would not be subject to taxation for ten years. In return, they would be expected to become Mexican citizens.[3]

In March 1822, Austin learned that the new Mexican government had not ratified his father's land grant with Spain. He was forced to travel to Mexico City, 1,200 miles (1,931 km) away, to get permission for his colony.[4]

The 1823 Imperial Colonization Law of Mexico allowed an empresario to receive a land grant within the Mexican province of Texas. The empresario and a commissioner appointed by the governor would be authorized the distribute land to settlers and issue them titles in the name of the Mexican government. Only one contract was ultimately approved under this legislation, the first contract granted to Stephen F. Austin.[5]


Between 1824 and 1828, Austin granted 297 titles under this contract. Each head of household received a minimum of 177 acres[6] or 4,428 acres[7] depending on whether they intended to farm or raise livestock. The grant could be increased for large families or those wishing to establish a new industry, but the lands would be forfeited if they were not cultivated within two years.[5]

The settlers who received their titles under Stephen's first contract were known as the Old Three Hundred, and they made up the first organized, approved influx of Anglo-American immigrants to Texas. The new titles were located in an area where no Spanish or Mexican settlements had existed, covering the land between the Brazos River and the Colorado River from the Gulf Coast to the San Antonio Road.[8] The capital of this new colony was San Felipe de Austin, now the town of San Felipe in Austin County.


When Austin began advertising his colony, he received a great deal of interest. He was able to be selective in his choice of colonists, which enabled his colony to be different from most others of the time. Austin chose settlers based on whether he believed they would be appropriately industrious. Overall, they belonged to a higher economic scale than most immigrants, and all brought some property with them. One-quarter of the families brought slaves with them. All but four of the men could read and write. This relatively high level of literacy had a great impact on the future of the colony. According to historian William C. Davis, because they were literate, the colonists "absorbed and spread the knowledge and news always essential to uniting people to a common purpose".[9]

Despite a provision in Mexican law requiring immigrants to be Catholic, most of Austin's settlers were Protestant. Many chafed at being ruled by Catholics. Most held strong feelings about property ownership and their personal liberty, though not that of their slaves.


Lester G. Bugbee in his article The Old Three Hundred published in the October 1897 issue of The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, identifies the head of each family who purchased land in Austin's colony.[10] They were:

Head of household Born Died Family as of March 1826 Notes
Elijah Allcorn 1769 1844 Wife, five children and two servants. [11]
Martin Allen 1780 1837 Wife, nine children [12]
Abraham Alley 1803 1862 Wife, five children Brother of John, Rawson, Thomas and William Alley [13]
John C. Alley 1822 Brother of Abraham, Thomas, Rawson and William Alley. [14]
Rawson Alley 1793 1833 Single Brother of Abraham, John, Thomas and William Alley [15]
Thomas Alley 1826 Single Brother of Abraham, John, Rawson and William Alley [16]
William Alley 1800 August 15, 1869 Single Brother of Abraham, John, Rawson and Thomas Alley [17]
Charles Alsbury Single Brother of Harvey and Horace Alsbury. Died about 1828. [18]
Harvey Alsbury Wife Brother of Charles and Horace Alsbury [19]
Horace Alsbury 1805 June 1847 Single; later married Juana Navarro Brother of Charles and Harvey Alsbury. Member of the Coahuila y Tejas legislature in 1835. Left the Alamo Mission as a courier during the Siege of the Alamo in February 1836. Fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. [20]
Thomas Alsbury 1773 Wife and two daughters Father of Charles, Harvey and Horace Alsbury. Wife Leah Catlett Alsbury. Daughters Leah Ann and Marion B. Served in the War of 1812. Died August 1826. [21]
Simeon Asa Anderson Wife, three children, one slave [22]
John Andrews February 1838 Wife, two children, one servant [23]
William Andrews 1840 Wife, five children, two slaves Daughter married Randal Jones in 1824. [24]
Samuel Angier August 26, 1792 In 1829, married fellow colonist Pamelia Pickett [25]
James E.B. Austin October 3, 1803 August 14, 1829 Helped put down the Fredonian Rebellion. Brother of Stephen F. Austin. [26]
John Austin March 17, 1801 August 11, 1833 Member of the Long Expedition in 1819. Served as alcalde of Brazoria in 1832, and was a delegate to the Convention of 1832. Participated in 1832 Anahuac Disturbances, led Texian forces at the Battle of Velasco, and signed the Turtle Bayou Resolutions. [27]
Stephen F. Austin November 3, 1793 December 27, 1836 Brother of James Austin. Convinced Mexico to reinstate the Spanish policy of land grants for empresarios, and organized the first colony in Texas. President of the Convention of 1832 and delegate to the Convention of 1833. In 1835, served as the first general of the Texian Army. In November 1835, became Texas commissioner to the United States. Defeated in election for first president of the Republic of Texas, and instead served as the first secretary of state. [28]
James B. Baily November 13,1797 September 30,1835 5 wives and 18 kids
Daniel E. Balis
William Baratt
Thomas Barnet
Thomas Hudson Barron[29] 1796 1874 2 wives 22 children Served as Capt of Texas Rangers, in 1837 Barron's company of rangers established Fort Fisher at Waco Village on the Brazos, at a site within the city limits of present Waco. The reconstructed post is now the site of the headquarters of Company F of the Texas Rangers and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.. In 1851, Barron, as clerk, opened the first district court of McLennan County, with Judge Robert E. B. Baylor presiding. In 1857 or 1858 Barron opened a steam mill on Barron's Branch in Waco, using the bolting system to grind wheat and corn. Machinery for carding wool and cotton was added in 1860. Throughout much of the 1860s Barron served as tax assessor-collector of McLennan County. A street, an elementary school, a creek, and Barron Springs in Waco were named for him. Barron and his first wife had twelve children, and he and his second wife had ten children. Three of his sons served in the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Mills M. Battle
James Beard
Benjamin Beason 1837
Charles Belknap
Josiah H. Bell
Thomas B. Bell Wife Prudencio, three children Donated the land on which Bellville was founded in 1846
M. Berry
Isaac Best
Jacob Betts
Francis Biggam
William Bloodgood
Thomas Boatwright
Thomas Borden
Caleb R. Bostwick
John T. Bowman
Edward R. Bradley
John Bradley
Thomas Bradley
Charles Breen
Patrick Brias
William B. Bridges 1795 April 4, 1853
David Bright
Enoch Brinson
Bluford Brooks
Robert Brotherington
George Brown
John Brown
William S. Brown
Aylett C. Buckner
Pumphrey Brunet
Jesse Burnam 1792 1883
Micajah Byrd
Morris A. Callihan
Alexander Calvit
David Carpenter
William C. Carson
Samuel Carter
Jesse H. Cartwright
Thomas Cartwright
Sylvenus Castleman
Samuel Chance
Horatio Chriesman
John C. Clark
Antony R. Clarke
Merit M. Coats
John P. Coles
James Cook
John Cooke
William Cooper
John Crier
John Crownover
James Cummings
John Cummings
Rebecca Cummins
William Cummings
James (Jack) Cummins
James Curtis, Sr.
James Curtis, Jr.
Hinton Curtis
Samuel Davidson
Thomas Davis
D. Deckrow
Charles Demos
Peter Demos
William B. Dewees Sep. 8th, 1799 Apr. 14th, 1878 William Bluford DeWees, pioneer settler and public official, was born in Virginia on September 8, 1799. He first visited Texas on a keelboat excursion up the Red River in 1819. In late 1821 he accompanied a group of four families from Arkansas to the Austin colony; the party arrived on the lower Brazos River on January 1, 1822. On August 3, 1824, DeWees and his partner, James Cook, who constituted one of the Austin colony's Old Three Hundred households, received title to a league of land on the Colorado River in the southern part of what is now Colorado County, about ten miles below Columbus. DeWees then obtained title to a second half league on the west bank of the river at the site of the Columbus township, on April 28, 1831. As property owner, developer, and early settler of the site he became known as a founder of Columbus. The census of 1825 listed him as a gunsmith, and he appears as a blacksmith in the census of 1826. In 1840 he held title to 1,207 acres, claimed another 887 acres under survey, and possessed a personal estate that included eleven slaves, thirty cattle, nine horses, and a carriage.

DeWees traveled in Mexico in 1826 and 1827, then took up residence in San Antonio, where he lived for almost two years before returning to his home on the Colorado. Beginning in 1837 he held a series of public offices in Colorado County, including justice of the peace, associate land commissioner, and associate justice of the county court. In 1865 he was again elected justice of the peace for Precinct 1 of Colorado County. Later that year he was appointed to a term as county treasurer by provisional governor A. J. Hamilton. But DeWees's political career and reputation were ruined in 1866 when he was charged by his successor with misappropriating $1,200 in county funds and was successfully sued for that amount in district court. His appeal of the decision was denied in 1870.

DeWees married a daughter of Austin colonist Benjamin Beeson, probably named Lydia, in 1823 and eventually became the father of two children. His wife apparently died before 1850, and DeWees probably married a German immigrant named Angelica. In the early 1850s he covertly collaborated with writer Emmaretta Cara Kimball Crawford in producing a journal of his pioneering experiences that purported to be a compilation of his letters to a Kentucky resident named Cara Cardelle; this volume of dictated reminiscences, actually written by Emmaretta Kimball, was published in 1852 under the title Letters from an Early Settler of Texas to a Friend. DeWees died in Colorado County on April 14, 1878.[30]

John Dickinson
Nicholas Dillard
Thomas M. Duke
George Duty
Joseph Duty March 6, 1801 (Gallatin, TN) September 11, 1855 (Webberville, TX)
Clement C. Dyer
Thomas Earle
G.E. Edwards
John Elam
Robert Elder
Charles Falenash
David Fenton
John F. Fields
James Fisher
David Fitzgerald
Isaiah Flanakin
Elisha Flowers
Isaac Foster
John Foster 1837 2 sons [31]
Randolph Foster
James Frazier
Charles Fulshear
Charles Garret
Samuel Gates
William Gates
Freeman George 1780 1834 Wife, 8 sons Freeman George received 1 sitios land between San Bernard and Bay Prairie (Matagorda County) and 1 labor of land located Brazos East side opposite San Felipe (Waller County). According to The Hand Book of Texas, he was given a league and a labor of land (see above) which is known as Matagorda and Waller counties on July 7, 1824. Also one of the original patentees in the vicinity of Old Ocean, Texas, in southwestern Brazoria Co. [32]
Preston Gilbert
Sarah Gilbert
Daniel Gilleland
Chester S. Gorbet
Michael Gouldrich
Thomas Gray
Jared E. Groce 1782 1839
Robert Guthrie
John Haddan
Samuel C. Hady
George B. Hall
John W. Hall
W. J. Hall
David Hamilton
Abner Harris
David Harris
John R. Harris
William Harris
William J. Harris
George Harrison
William Harvey
Thomas S. Haynes
James Hensley
Alexander Hodge
Francis Holland
William Holland
Kinchen Holliman
James Hope
C.S. Hudson
George Huff
John Huff
Isaac Hughes
Eli Hunter
Johnson Hunter
John Iiams [sic]
Ira Ingram
Seth Ingram
John Irons
Samuel Isaacks
Alexander Jackson
Humphrey Jackson
Isaac Jackson
Thomas Jamison
Henry W. Johnson
Henry Jones
James W. Jones
Oliver Jones
R. Jones
Imla Keep
John C. Keller
John Kelly
Samuel Kennedy
Alfred Kennon
James Kerr
Peter Kerr
William Kerr
William Kincheloe
William Kingston
James Knight
Abner Kuykendall
Brazilla Kuykendall
Joseph Kuykendall
Robert Kuykendall
Hosea H. League
Joel Leakey
Benjamin Linsey
John Little
William Little
Jane H. Long
James Lynch
Nathanael Lynch
John McCroskey
Arthur McCormick
David McCormick
John McCormick
Thomas McCoy
Aechilles McFarlan
John McFarlan
Thomas F. McKenney
Hugh McKinsey
A.W. McClain
James McNair
Daniel McNeel
George W. McNeel
John McNeel
John G. McNeel
Pleasant D. McNeel
Sterling McNeel
Elizabeth McNutt
William McWilliams
Shubael Marsh
Wily Martin 1776 1842
William Mathis
David H. Milburn
Samuel Miller
Samuel R. Miller
Simon Miller
James D. Millican
Robert Millican
William Millican
Joseph Minus
Asa Mitchell
John L. Monks
John Henry Moore (Texas)
Luke Moore
Moses Morrison
William Morton
David Mouser
James Nelson
Joseph Newman c. 1787 1831 Wife Rachel Rabb, 10 children Brother in-law to John Rabb and Thomas J. Rabb, he ranched and farmed a sitio near Bonus.
Charles Isaac Nidever
M.B. Nuckols
James Orrick
Nathan Osborn
William Parks
Joshua Parker
William Parker
Isaac Pennington
George S. Pentecost
Freeman Pettus
William A. Pettus
John Petty
J.C. Peyton
James A.E. Phelps
I.B. Phillips
Zeno Philips[33]
Pamelia Picket
Joseph H. Polley
Peter Powell
William Prater
Pleasant Pruitt
William Pryor c. 1775 1833 Wife Betsy Trammell, 6 children His death was recorded as 9 Sept 1833 in the diary of William B. Travis. Pryor's will states he was from Botetourt_County,_Virginia. [34]
Andrew Rabb
John Rabb
Thomas J. Rabb
William Rabb
William Raleigh
L. Ramey
David Randon
John Randon
Frederic H. Rankin
Amos Rawls
Benjamin Rawls
Daniel Rawls
Stephen Richardson
Elijah Roark
Earle Robbins
William Robbins
Andrew Roberts
Noel F. Roberts C. 1820 C. 1825 Married Harriet Pryor daughter of William Pryor.
William Roberts aft. 1856 Married Elizabeth Pryor daughter of William Pryor.
Edward Robertson
A. Robinson
George Robinson
James Ross
June Salmeron
Joseph San Pierre
Robert Scobey
Marvin Scheick
James Scott
William Scott
William Selkirk
Owen Shannon 1762 1839 Margaret & children One of the oldest of the Old 300, was born in Georgia, and only fourteen years old when he served in the American Revolution. Owen and his wife Margaret Montgomery raised four daughters and two sons, all of whom made their way to Austin's Colony by way of Ayish Bayou between 1821 and 1824. Daughter Nancy married Charles Garrett, and they settled in Brazoria County. (Reference "Old 300 Gone to Texas" by Paul N. Spellman)
David Shelby
Daniel Shipman NC 20 Feb 1801 Goliad County Texas 4 Mar 1881 Participated in the Disturbance at Anahuac June, 1832 and the Storming and Capture of Bexar, December 5 to 10, 1835 Daniel Shipman arrived in Texas March 19, 1822. Daniel and his friend Charles Isaac Nidever rode south to explore the Brazos River region; they reached the home of Martin Varner in Independence on April 8. After reporting to his father, Shipman joined Stephen F. Austin's colony in the fall of 1823. They received a labor of land at the juncture of the Brazos River and Mill Creek in May or June of 1824. Young Shipman served for a time on a surveying crew under William Selkirk before returning to his father's farm to raise a crop. He fought the Karankawa Indians during the summer of 1825 under Capt. Amos Rawls and later under Capt. Horatio Chriesman, but then quarreled with Austin over a quarter league that he had been promised. He visited the colony of Martín De León, where he intended to acquire a full league. Although he became friendly with De León and his family, Shipman was dissatisfied with the land and the colonists and so returned to the Brazos. In partnership with Nidever, he received a one-league headright now in Brazoria County on May 21, 1827. Shipman married Margaretta Kelly on September 23, 1828, and subsequently settled on Oyster Creek in Fort Bend County.

He served in Capt. Francis W. Johnson's company in the Anahuac Disturbances of 1832 and in Capt. John Byrd's company at the siege of Bexar. He was with Lt. Thomas H. Borden, the company's temporary commander, at the storming of the city in December 1835, and was at the side of his friend Benjamin R. Milam when he was shot. On August 2, 1836, Shipman and his father enlisted in Byrd's four-month volunteers; Shipman served until the company was disbanded on January 18, 1837. In February 1838 Shipman received half a league and a labor in Harris County as a head of household and an army veteran. By 1840 he owned 2,214 acres of land in Bexar County, an equal amount in Brazoria County, and 288 acres in Harris County. On February 24, 1844, he was elected justice of the peace of Fort Bend County. In 1867 he was a resident of Washington County. After the death of his first wife, Shipman married Eliza Hancock. In 1879 he published Frontier Life: 58 Years in Texas. The book is largely derived from the work of Dudley G. Wooten and other writers, but its early chapters are Shipman's own richly detailed and colorful memoirs. Shipman died near Goliad on March 4, 1881, at the home of his son Daniel Shipman. He and his second wife are buried in the State Cemetery in Austin on Republic Hill, Section 1 (C1) Row S Number 4. His younger brother John was killed on the Mier expedition. Daniel Shipman's third wife, Martha J. Haley, is buried in the Brenham Masonic Cemetery in Brenham, Washington County, Texas. According to court documents and census records, Daniel Shipman spent the last years of his life with Daniel and Eliza's son Edward M. Shipman. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daniel Shipman, Frontier Life: 58 Years in Texas (1879). Andrew Jackson Sowell, History of Fort Bend County (Houston: Coyle, 1904; rpt, Richmond, Texas: Fort Bend County Historical Museum, 1974) Certified as original titled land owner in Texas with 4,716 total acres.

Moses Shipman
Bartlet Sims
G.W. Singleton
Phillip Singleton
Christian Smith
Cornelius Smith
John Smith
William Smeathers 1767 1837
Gabriel S. Snider
Albert L. Sojourner
Nancy Spencer
Adam Stafford
William Stafford
Thomas Stevens
Owne H. Stout
John Strange
Walter Sutherland
David Tally
John I. Taylor
George Teel
Ezekiel Thomas
Jacob Thomas
Jesse Thompson
Thomas J. Tone
James F. Tong
Samuel Toy
John Trobough
Elizabeth Tumlinson
James Tumlinson
Isaac Vandorn
Martin Varner
Allen Vince
Richard Vince
Robert Vince
William Vince
James Walker
Thomas Walker
Caleb Wallice
Francis F. Wells
Amy White
Joseph White
Reuben White
Walter C. White
William White
Boland Whitesides
Henry Whitesides
James Whitesides
William Whitesides
Nathaniel Whiting
William Whitlock
Elias D. Wightman
Jane Wilkins
George I. Williams
Henry Williams
John Williams
John R. Williams Built "The Old Place" along Clear Creek, which eventually became the oldest remaining structure in Harris County, Texas. It is now part of Houston's Sam Houston Park
Robert H. Williams
Samuel M. Williams
Solomon Williams
Thomas Williams
Zadock Woods aka Zaduck 1773 1842 Served in the battle of Gonzales, the battle of Concepción, the Grass Fight and the Runaway Scrape. In the Mexican invasions of 1842 Woods and his sons fought with Mathew Caldwell's troops against General Adrián Woll, where he was killed during the Dawson Massacre. [35]


  1. ^ Christopher Long, "OLD THREE HUNDRED," Handbook of Texas Online [1], accessed March 27, 2012.
  2. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 60.
  3. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 61.
  4. ^ Edmondson (2000), p. 63.
  5. ^ a b Greaser (1999), p. xviii.
  6. ^ Cantrell (2000), p. 419.
  7. ^ Hatch (1999), p. 136.
  8. ^ Greaser (1999), p. ix.
  9. ^ Davis (2006), p. 60.
  10. ^ Bugbee, Lester G..org/publicatshq/online/v001/n2/article_7.html THE OLD THREE HUNDRED. A LIST OF SETTLERS IN AUSTIN'S FIRST COLONY ], Volume 001, Number 2, Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online, Page 108–117. Accessed 2008-04-14.
  11. ^ "Allcorn, Elijah", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  12. ^ "Allen, Martin", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  13. ^ "Alley, Abraham", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  14. ^ "Alley, John C.", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  15. ^ "Alley, Rawson", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  16. ^ "Alley, Thomas V.", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  17. ^ "Alley, William A.", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  18. ^ "Alsbury, Charles Grundison", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  19. ^ "Alsbury, James Harvey", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  20. ^ "Alsbury, Horace Arlington", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  21. ^ "Alsbury, Thomas", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  22. ^ "Anderson, Simeon Asa", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  23. ^ "Andrews, John", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  24. ^ "Andrews, William", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  25. ^ "Angier, Samuel Tubbs", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  26. ^ "Austin, James Elijah Brown", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  27. ^ "Austin, John", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  28. ^ "Austin, Stephen Fuller", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association 
  29. ^ https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbatq
  30. ^ Charles Christopher Jackson, "DEWEES, WILLIAM BLUFORD," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fde54), accessed October 22, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  31. ^ http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffo19
  32. ^ "GEORGE, FREEMAN," Handbook of Texas Online [2], accessed June 07, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  33. ^ "PHILIPS, ZENO," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fph05), accessed October 02, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  34. ^ "PRYOR, WILLIAM," Handbook of Texas Online [3], accessed January 8, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  35. ^ Paul N. Spellman, "WOODS, ZADOCK," Handbook of Texas Online [4], accessed June 16, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
  • Cantrell, Gregg (2001), Stephen F. Austin, empresario of Texas, New Haven: Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-09093-2 
  • Davis, William C. (2006), Lone Star Rising, College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, ISBN 978-1-58544-532-5  originally published 2004 by New York: Free Press
  • Edmondson, J.R. (2000), The Alamo Story-From History to Current Conflicts, Plano, TX: Republic of Texas Press, ISBN 1-55622-678-0 
  • Greaser, Galen (1999), "Foreword", Austin's Old Three Hundred: The First Anglo Colony in Texas, Austin, TX: Eakin Press, ISBN 1-57168-291-0 
  • Hatch, Thom (1999), Encyclopedia of the Alamo and the Texas revolution, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, ISBN 978-0-7864-0593-0 

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