“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Potosi in Washington County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Durham Hall - 1798

"The Cradle of Texas"

Durham Hall_1798 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Thomas Smith, August 28, 2022
1. Durham Hall_1798 Marker
The silent stones of the front foundation wall are all that remain of Durham Hall, a magnificent frontier mansion built here by Moses Austin in 1798-1789.

Named for Durham, Connecticut, where Austin was born in 1761, the home was the political, social and economic center of Austin's American colony and of much of early Missouri, as well as the "Cradle of Texas.

In 1797 Austin received a Spanish Land Grant here, adjoining the earlier Fresh mining camp of Mine Au Becton, founded in 1763. Austin and his family — his wife Maria Brown Austin and their children — Sorphes F. Austin (Born 1793) and Emily Margaret (1795) — moved into Durham Hall in J. 1799. A third child, James Elijah Brown Austin, was born here in 1803.

Durham Hall and the first Washington County Courthouse (1814) were designed by Austin in Greek Revival style, dating from Austin's associations with Thomas Jefferson in the first Virginia Capitol. Both were the first of their an architectural style in middle America.

From here Austin developed mining and smelting of lead into Missouri's first major industry. From the lawn of this home,
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on May 12, 1802. Austin repulsed an attack by a band of Osage Indians. From here, in 1813, Austin gave the land to establish the town of Potosi as the county seat for the new County of Washington And from here, in 1818, historian Henry Rowe Schoolcraft began a famous exploration tour to the Southwest.

Here at Durham Hall, Emily Austin was married to James Bryan in 1813. Their first child, Stephen Austin Bryan, was born here in 1814. In 1816, Moses Austin moved northward to Herculaneum, which he founded, and expanded his financial interest in St. Louis Durham Hall was left in the care of Stephen F. Austin, who spent 1816-17 alone here while representing Washington County in the Territorial Legislature of Missouri

Here, as early as 1813, Moser Austin had dreamed of expansion to the Southwest. In 1820 Austin lost Durham Hall and his other properties in financial reverses. Seeking to regain his fortune, he traveled to San Antonio, where, in 1821, he received the first American grant for a colony in Texas.

Upon Moses Austin's untimely death, on June 10, 1821, the Texas venture was willed to his son Stephen F Austin who became The Father of Texas.

In 1831, the last of the Austin family left Potosi Emily Austin her second husband James F. Perry, and their family moved to the Peach Point Plantation in Texas after first reburying the bodies
Durham Hall_1798 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Thomas Smith, August 28, 2022
2. Durham Hall_1798 Marker
of their parents, Moses and Maria Austin, in the Potosi City Cemetery.

Durban Hall burned in 1871, in a fire which destroyed much of downtown Potosi.
Erected 1986 by Mine-Au-Breton Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureNative AmericansSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1798.
Location. 37° 56.164′ N, 90° 47.28′ W. Marker is in Potosi, Missouri, in Washington County. Marker is on South Missouri Street just south of West High Street (State Route 8), on the right when traveling south. The marker stands behind Reed's Relics. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 108 W High St, Potosi MO 63664, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Red Bridge (a few steps from this marker); Potosi (a few steps from this marker); Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); In Memory of These Revolutionary Soldiers (within shouting distance of this marker); Bellevue Collegiate Institute (approx. 11 miles away); Heritage of Caledonia Missouri (approx. 11 miles away); Petroglyphs (approx. 11.4 miles away); Rock Carvings (approx. 11.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Potosi.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 10, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 8, 2022, by Thomas Smith of Waterloo, Ill. This page has been viewed 162 times since then and 99 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 8, 2022, by Thomas Smith of Waterloo, Ill. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 29, 2023