Old Three Hundred
The "Old Three Hundred" were 297 grantees who purchased 307 parcels of land from Stephen Fuller Austin in Mexican Texas. Each grantee was a family, or in some cases a partnership of unmarried men. By 1825 the colony they established had a population of 1,790, including 443 slaves.
The colony encompassed an area that ran from the Gulf of Mexico on the south, to near present-day Jones Creek in Brazoria County, Brenham in Washington County, Navasota in Grimes County, and La Grange in Fayette County. It was the first authorized colony of Anglo-American settlers and African-American slaves in Mexico.
Moses Austin, an empresario, was authorized by Joaquín de Arredondo of Spain to create a colony of Americans in Texas as a bulwark against the native Comanche people. Before this plan could be implemented Moses Austin died in Missouri and Spain lost control of Mexico, both in 1821.: 17–18
Stephen Austin agreed to implement his father's plan, and at the end of 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.
Stephen Austin returned to Louisiana to recruit settlers. He offered land at 12 cents per acre, only 10% of what comparable acreage sold for in the United States. The Settlers had to follow only four regulations. They had to be Catholic, they had to be of good moral character, they had to improve the land, and they had to cultivate the land within two years or it would be forfeited. 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.
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. There, he discovered that the Mexican government was dedicated to equal rights for all races and opposed to slavery. Stephen Austin considered legal slavery critical to the success of his colony, so he spent a year in Mexico City lobbying against anti-slavery legislation. In 1823 he reached a compromise with the Iturbide government that would allow slavery in Texas with restrictions.: 20–23
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 to 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.
Between 1823 and 1825, Austin granted 297 titles under this contract. Each head of household received a minimum of 177 acres or 4,428 acres 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.
The settlers who received their titles under Stephen's first contract, known today as the Old Three Hundred, 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.
Austin wrote the colony's legal code, laying out slavery laws in detail. Any slave who left a plantation without permission was to be tied up and whipped. There were considerable fines for helping or harboring a runaway slave.: 23–24
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, Austin chose people who belonged to a higher economic scale than most immigrants, and all brought some property 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".
One-quarter of the families brought enslaved African-American people with them. One of the colonists, Jared Groce, had 90 slaves. According to historian Christopher Long, the Old Three Hundred "constituted the heart of the burgeoning slave empire in antebellum Texas."
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. They were:
|Head of household||Born||Died||Family as of March 1826||Notes||Refs|
|Elijah Allcorn||1771||1844||Wife, five children and two servants.|||
|Martin Allen||1780||1837||Wife, nine children|||
|Abraham Alley||1803||1862||Wife, five children||Brother of John, Rawson, Thomas and William Alley|||
|John C. Alley||1822||Brother of Abraham, Thomas, Rawson and William Alley.|||
|Rawson Alley||1793||1833||Single||Brother of Abraham, John, Thomas and William Alley|||
|Thomas Alley||1826||Single||Brother of Abraham, John, Rawson and William Alley|||
|William Alley||1800||August 15, 1869||Single||Brother of Abraham, John, Rawson and Thomas Alley|||
|Charles Alsbury||Single||Brother of Harvey and Horace Alsbury. Died about 1828.|||
|Harvey Alsbury||Wife||Brother of Charles and Horace Alsbury|||
|Horace Alsbury||1805||June 1847||Single; later married Juana Navarro|||
|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.|||
|Simeon Asa Anderson||Wife, three children, one slave|||
|John Andrews||February 1838||Wife, two children, one servant|||
|William Andrews||1840||Wife, five children, two slaves||Daughter married Randal Jones in 1824.|||
|Samuel Angier||August 26, 1792||In 1829, married fellow colonist Pamelia Pickett|||
|James E.B. Austin||October 3, 1803||August 14, 1829||Helped put down the Fredonian Rebellion. Brother of Stephen F. Austin.|||
|John Austin||March 17, 1801||August 11, 1833|||
|Stephen F. Austin||November 3, 1793||December 27, 1836|||
|James B. Baily||November 13, 1797||September 30, 1835||5 wives and 18 children|
|Daniel E. Balis|
|Thomas Hudson Barron||1796||1874||2 wives 22 children|
|Mills M. Battle|
|Benjamin Beason||1786||1837||wife Elizabeth "Betsy" & children Lydia, Collins, Nepsey, Abel, Edward (Leander), Benjamin; one hired hand, seven servants; horses, mules, cattle, and farming utensils||In 1822, Beason (originally Beeson) began operating a ferry across the Colorado River. Beason also established a gristmill, gin, and a sawmill; his wife operated a boarding house. The settlement became known as Beason's Ferry or Beason's Crossing, later the site of the Texas Army camp under General Sam Houston. Following the Battle of the Alamo, Santa Anna's army headed for San Jacinto, and Sam Houston ordered that Beason's Crossing be burned during the Runaway Scrape. Beason's Crossing was officially renamed Columbus after the population returned In 1837. See Columbus, Texas.|
|Josiah H. Bell||August 22, 1791|
|Thomas B. Bell||Wife Prudencio, three children||Donated the land on which Bellville was founded in 1846|
|Isaac Best||1774||1837||Wife Mary Margaret (Wilkins), and some of their nine children.||After spending his early years in Pennsylvania and Kentucky, Best and his wife left Garrard County, Kentucky, and moved to Montgomery County in southern Missouri in 1808. There he built a mill and an outpost known as Best's Fort, which served as a refuge from Indian attacks during the War of 1812. The family and several slaves moved to Texas in 1824. On August 19 of that year, Best received title to a sitio ["site", in Spanish] east of the Brazos River in what is now Waller County. He increased his landholdings and built a home near the site of present Pattison. The 1826 census described Best as a farmer and stock raiser between forty and fifty years of age. His household consisted of his wife, three sons, two daughters, and four slaves. Best may have lived at San Felipe in 1833, when William B. Travis issued a subpoena for him as a witness in a case against Isaac Clower. Best died near Pattison in 1837. On August 29, 1974, the Texas Historical Commission dedicated a marker to him on Farm Road 1458 1½ miles west of Pattison."|
|Caleb R. Bostwick|
|John T. Bowman|
|Edward R. Bradley|
|William B. Bridges||1795||April 4, 1853|
|William S. Brown|
|Aylett C. Buckner|
|Morris A. Callihan|
|William C. Carson|
|Jesse H. Cartwright|
|John C. Clark|
|Antony R. Clarke|
|Merit M. Coats|
|John P. Coles|
|James Russell Cook||1812||1843||Single|
|Robert Cooper||5 children|
|John Crownover||1 son||Married to Elizabeth Chesney, son John Chesney Crownover born 1799 in Pennsylvania|
|James (Jack) Cummins||c. 1773||1849|
|James Curtis, Sr.|
|James Curtis, Jr.|
|William B. Dewees||Sep. 8th, 1799||Apr. 14th, 1878|
|Thomas Marshall Duke||1785||24 May 1867||Married 3 times. 3rd wife, Jane Mason Wilkins McCormick Duke. 6 children; Mary Francis, Charlotte Jane, Thomoas Marshall, Jr., John Marshall, Stephen Austin, Alice Imogin||Died, Hynes Bay, Refugio County, Texas during the yellow fever epidemic of 1867-Certified by Witnesses: Wm. Andrews, G. Seelingson, F. Hunt. Source: Daily Ranchero, September 1, 1867.|
|Joseph Duty||March 6, 1801 (Gallatin, TN)||September 11, 1855 (Webberville, TX)|
|Clement C. Dyer|
|David Fitzgerald||1832||Widowed with one son and daughter.||The plot of land now sits in modern Fort Bend County. Fitzgerald died in 1832 and willed the land to his daughter Sarah. She would later sell the entire property to Johnathan Dawson Waters.|
|John Foster||1837||2 sons|||
|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 Handbook of Texas Online, 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.|||
|Chester S. Gorbet|
|Jared E. Groce||1782||1836||90 slaves|||
|Samuel C. Hady|
|George B. Hall|
|John W. Hall|
|W. J. Hall|
|John Richardson Harris|
|William J. Harris|
|Thomas S. Haynes|
|Alexander Hodge||1757||1836||Historical marker erected at Hodge's Bend Cemetery in Fort Bend County (1975), where Alexander Hodge's grave is located.|
|Johnson Calhoun Hunter||May 22, 1787||May 29, 1855||Wife: Mary Martha Harbert; Children as of March 1826: Robert Hancock Hunter, John Calhoun Hunter, Harriet Harbert Hunter, Thomas Jefferson Hunter, Thaddeus Warsaw Hunter, Messina Hunter, Martha Hunter||Education: Dr. Johnson Hunter, earned a Medical Diploma around 1805. Dr. Johnson & Martha raised 10 children, four girls and six boys. He received a title to a sitio (roughly 4600 acres where La Porte and Morgan's Point, TX are now located) of land from the Mexican government in 1824. In 1826, he sold Hunter's Point (peninsula between Galveston & San Jacinto Bays, now known as Morgans Point and La Porte and relocated to Fort Bend County, where he built a home that served as a Richmond area landmark for fifty years, currently Pecan Grove. In 1855, a five-acre tract of land was donated by Dr. Johnson Hunter on the R.H. Hunter survey and was called the Frost Institute. The institute was organized by Dr. Johnson Hunters' son-in-law. Frost Institute was located approximately six miles north of Richmond. Dr. Hunter was buried in the family cemetery, known as the Brick Church Graveyard.|
|John Iiams [sic]||This may be John Williams.|
|John Irons||1786||1842||Wife Polly(Baker) Irons and son Elisha B. Irons born in 1826||Settled outside Monaville, Tx near Irons Creek.|
|Henry W. Johnson|
|James W. Jones|
|John C. Keller|
|Abner Kuykendall||1777||1834||Brother of Robert and Joseph, father of Barzillia. Commanded the militia of Austin's colony, murdered by Joseph Clayton.|
|Barzillai Kuykendall||Son of Abner Kuykendall|
|Hosea H. League|
|Jane H. Wilkinson Long||1798||1880||Mother of Texas|
|Lydia Amanda Smalley|
|Thomas F. McKinney||1801||1873||Father of the Texas Navy|
|George W. McNeel|
|John G. McNeel|
|Pleasant D. McNeel|
|David H. Milburn|
|Samuel R. Miller|
|James D. Millican|
|Joseph Mims||1844||Wife Sarah, two sons, one daughter, and four slaves|
|John L. Monks|
|John H. Moore||Aug. 13, 1800||Dec. 02, 1880||Single||Indian fighter, builder of Moore's Fort, and leader at the Battle of Gonzales. Married Eliza Cummins, daughter of Jack Cummins listed above.|
|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|
|George S. Pentecost|
|William A. Pettus|
|James A.E. Phelps|
|Joseph H. Polley|
|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 He disowned his only son Trammell J Pryor.|||
|Thomas J. Rabb|
|Frederic H. Rankin|
|Elijah Roark||1782||1829||Son: Leo Andrew Elijah Roark and Wife: Cynthia Elijah Fisher|
|Andrew Roberts||1844||Wife Sally, four daughters, and one son|
|Noel F. Roberts||C. 1786||C. 1843||Harriet Pryor|
|William Roberts||1813||Jul 1849||Elizabeth Pryor|
|Andrew Robinson Sr.||1852||Wife Nancy and two children||First settler|
|Joseph San Pierre|
|William Selkirk||1792||1830||2 children||Helped found Matagorda and served as militia captain.|
|Owen Shannon||1762||1839||Margaret & children||Margaret Montgomery/family Montgomery County named after/ Ran Montgomery County Trading Post|
|Daniel Shipman||NC 20 Feb 1801||Goliad County Texas 4 Mar 1881||Son of Moses Shipman|
|Moses Shipman||1774 NC||1 Jan 1838 Ft. Bend, TX||Mary Robinson, ten children||Father of Daniel Shipman|
|George Washington Singleton||Related to Charla Kaye Moore Sisk||https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsi29|
|Philip Singleton||Daughter Mary King married John D. Taylor November 19, 1838|
|Gabriel S. Snider|
|Albert L. Sojourner|
|Owen H. Stout|
|Elemelech Swearingen||1805||1887||Last family of the Old 300; replaced a family who withdrew their application.|
|John D. Taylor||Married Mary King Singleton, daughter of Philip Singleton, November 19, 1838; they had two children Jeanette Susan 1841–1915 and Isabell 1842–1925|
|Thomas J. Tone|
|James F. Tong||1783||298||Elizabeth Thompson , 1 Child- Harriet E. Tong (1817–1884)||Father- William H. Tong (1756–1848) Revolutionary Way Minuteman in Maryland, fought at Bradywine and Germantown with George Washington. William Tong, 2 wives and 26 children|
|Elizabeth Piemmons Tumlinson||1778||1829||Wife of John Jackson Tumlinson whom was killed by Waco Indians while crossing the Guadalupe river|
|Francis F. Wells|
|Walter C. White|
|Elias R. Wightman||1792||1841||Married Mary Sherwood Wightman in 1828||Helped found Matagorda and surveyed Austin's colony.|
|George I. 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|
|Zadock Woods aka Zaduck||1773||1842||Wife Minerva Cottle Woods||Served in the battle of Gonzales, the battle of Concepción, the Grass Fight and the Runaway Scrape. Colonist of Texas, Zadock Woods was one of the "Old Three Hundred" who established a colony area with land purchased from Stephen F. Austin. A veteran of the War of 1812, he served in the battle of Gonzales, the battle of Concepción, the Grass Fight and the Runaway Scrape. His homestead was a fortified inn, known as Fort Woods, built to provide protection from Indian attacks on the colonists. He was the oldest man killed in the "Dawson expedition" September 1842.|||
- Long, Christopher. "Old Three Hundred". Handbook of Texas. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
- Burrough, Bryan; Tomlinson, Chris; Stanford, Jason (2021). Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth. New York: Penguin Press. ISBN 9781984880093.
- Edmondson (2000), p. 60.
- Edmondson (2000), p. 61.
- Edmondson (2000), p. 63.
- Greaser (1999), p. xviii.
- Cantrell (2000), p. 419.
- Hatch (1999), p. 136.
- Greaser (1999), p. ix.
- Davis (2006), p. 60.
- Bugbee, Lester G. (October 1897). "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony". Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association. 1 (2): 108–117. JSTOR 30242636.
- "Allcorn, Elijah", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "Allen, Martin", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "Alley, Abraham", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "Alley, John C.", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "Alley, Rawson", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "Alley, Thomas V.", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "Alley, William A.", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "Alsbury, Charles Grundison", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "Alsbury, James Harvey", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "Alsbury, Horace Arlington", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "Alsbury, Thomas", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "Anderson, Simeon Asa", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
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- "Andrews, William", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "Angier, Samuel Tubbs", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
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- "TSHA | Barron, Thomas Hudson". www.tshaonline.org.
- "Ancestry® | Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records". ancestry.com. Retrieved 2016-04-17.
- "TSHA | Fitzgerald, David". www.tshaonline.org.
- "TSHA | Waters, Jonathan Dawson". www.tshaonline.org.
- "TSHA | Foster, John". www.tshaonline.org.
- "Fulshear, Churchill", Handbook of Texas, Texas State Historical Association
- "GEORGE, FREEMAN," Handbook of Texas Online , accessed June 07, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
- "Fort Bend County Texas - A Pictorial History" by Sharon Wallingford, p. 47
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- "PHILIPS, ZENO," Handbook of Texas Online (https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fph05), accessed October 02, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
- "PRYOR, WILLIAM," Handbook of Texas Online , accessed January 8, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
- Title: Zadock and Minerva Cottle Woods, American pioneers Author: Paul N Spellman Publisher: Austin, Texas 1988 OCLC Number: 36308761
- Paul N. Spellman, "WOODS, ZADOCK," Handbook of Texas Online , accessed June 16, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
- Original papers Regarding Zadock Woodsand His Sons: Norman Woods; Henry Gonzalvo Woods; Montraville Woods; Leander Woods compiled by Robert Forsyth Little, IV and Marianne Elizabeth Hall Little OCLC Number: 310362910 in Historical Manuscript collection, University of Texas at Austin Library.
- Texas Haunted Forts Author: Elaine Coleman Republic of Texas Press 2001 ISBN 978-1-55622-841-4
- Memorial Stone erected by the State of Texas 1936 at the site of Woods Fort
- 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
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