DescriptionMoses Austin Court Document Signed. 7.75" x 12.5", St. Genevieve, Missouri, June 22, 1813, reading in part, "Know all Men by these present that we Moses Austin and Elias Bates are held and formerly bound to H. Dodge Sheriff of the District of St. Genevieve in the kind sum of Twelve hundred Dollars lawful money of the United States to be paid to the said Dodge or his successor. . . . The condition of the above obligation is such that a capias ad respondendum has Issued from the Office of the Clerk. . . . if the said Austin should be cast in the said suit he will pay the cost and condemnation money or surrender his body in execution for the same or that the said Elias Bates his bail will do it for him as witness our hands and seals this day and date as above written." (A writ of capias ad respondendum commands the sheriff or other proper public servant to deliver the defendant, often under arrest, to answer the plaintiff.) Docketed on the reverse. This document, on toned laid paper, has smoothed folds. The signatures of Austin and Bates are clear and bold.
In 1796, Moses Austin (1761-1821), the father of Stephen F. Austin, settled in Missouri, then part of Upper Spanish Louisiana. He mined lead in southeastern Missouri, shipping it from the Mississippi River port town of Ste. Genevieve, where this writ was served. Austin's lead business venture was not successful, and he ran into trouble in 1812 for not paying his debts. His solution was to travel to Texas in 1820 in search of other opportunities. After receiving a grant to bring 300 colonists to Texas, he returned to Missouri to make preparations for his new Texas colony. Just two months after arriving back in Missouri, however, he died, but not before requesting his son Stephen to carry out his plan to begin a colony in Texas.
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