The Descendants of Austin's Old 300

Three people standing behind granite bench engraved with "Austin's Old 300"

By Bethanie DePalermo, San Felipe de Austin Staff

A striking pink granite bench with the simple inscription, “Austin’s Old 300,” sits under an oak tree at San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site. The bench itself provokes questions from visitors and creates an interpretive opportunity for staff and volunteers. Guests are surprised and intrigued to learn that descendants from Austin’s original settlers are organized and active in a genealogical organization called “The Descendants of Austin’s Old 300."

The title Old 300 refers to the settlers who received land grants as part of Stephen F. Austin’s first colonial contract in Mexican Texas. These families had come from the Trans-Appalachian South and were virtually all of British ancestry, many of whom already had substantial means before their arrival. The actual number of grantees, excluding Austin’s personal grant, totaled 297, but the Old 300 name has stuck nonetheless.

Descendants stand in front of SFA monumentIn 1828, Stephen F. Austin created an administrative record of these early land grants. This handwritten book is called the Registro, and a digital copy of it is kept at San Felipe de Austin (the original is held in the collection of the Texas General Land Office in Austin). After noticing the benches, many guests inquire about the Old 300 and want to know more about where these families settled.

The Registro is an excellent resource that shows visitors the administrative copies of these early grants. The gift shop at San Felipe de Austin also carries the current collection of biographical sketches of many of the Old 300 settlers. This volume includes modern county maps to help visitors visualize and understand where these grants were located.

Descendants gather for a meeting on the lawn

The Descendants of Austin's Old 300 held its first meeting on June 27, 1987 at the Stephen F. Austin State Park in San Felipe, underneath the oak tree where the bench now sits. Their main objective was, and still is, to inspire current and succeeding generations to preserve memories of the spirit, courage, and character of the men and women who came to Texas as part of Stephen F. Austin's first colony. This is the reason the organization has donated the benches at San Felipe de Austin and at Freedom Park in West Columbia.

Fred Strauss, the current president, along with Tommy Shelton, current second vice president, searched and located benches made of similar granite as the Marble Falls pink granite statue of Stephen F. Austin. The organization, with members in 26 states, supports the activities and interests of San Felipe de Austin because this is where their ancestors received land grants from Stephen F. Austin beginning in 1824. Members are excited to see recent improvements and anxious to help share this compelling story of Texas history with generations to come.

San Felipe de Austin is located in south-central Texas, approximately 50 miles west of Houston. The site is part of the Texas Independence Trail Region.

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Comments

I am searching for the history relating to the Mary Horn Survey which was granted by Stephen S. Austin. I am searching for her descendants, and family history.

Sorry for the delayed response, Anne. We had a temporary problem with blog comment notifications and missed this. San Felipe de Austin Site Manager Bryan McCauley suggested you get in touch with him at 979.885.2181 or Bryan.McAuley@thc.texas.gov. Thanks!

every 4th of july at Rockport City Park
we have the Barber-Isaacks Reunion deceants of Elisha

My family member was Samuel Isaacks. Elijah and Elisha were his sons or nephews. I'm not at my desk to look them up.
My mother's grandmother was Zettie Isaacks who was grand or great granddaughter of Samuel.

Thanks for your inquiry about the Old 300. This group, comprised of descendants of Austin’s first settlers in Mexican Texas, is indeed very active. The Old 300 hosts two reunions each year. The next (mini-reunion) will be in La Grange on Saturday, October 26. For more information about the Old 300, its membership, and its gatherings, visit their website at www.sfaold300.org.

W A McClain along with James McNair was granted land as one of the Austin Old 300
any one know more about him ( believe he came from TN and had a son, John Morgan McClain. birth death marriage ???

It is wonderful to have a descendant connection to one of Stephen F. Austin’s colonists. As you know, there is very little information available about some of the earliest settlers that came to Mexican Texas. The Texas General Land Office holds the original land titles for these colonists, and our site staff at San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site can help you with contact information for other agencies or organizations and can offer some research suggestions. You can contact them directly at 979.885.2181.

I have located the original LAN records for the person I am researching, Joseph San Pierre (sometimes spelled Sampier) but it is Spanish. I read somewhere that these had been translated but I don't know how or where to find the translations. Any suggestions?

Is anyone out there related to John Kelly? He married Sarah Fisher, I believe. They had at least seven children. One of their daughters married, Margaretta, married Daniel Shipman. Hopefully, this is correct!

Hello, cousin,
I am Ron Sutton, son of Leslie Andrew Sutton, son of Ludie Katherine Morris, daughter of Sarah Elmira Kelly, daughter of John "Jack" Kelly, son of James Kelly, son of John Kelly (original 300).

Ron,my grand mother was the sister to Lucie,I have a picture of them together.

I am a descendant of John Kelly. He had a son, James Kelly (1805-1846) married to Elmira Stevens. James was born before John married Sarah Fisher, and I have unknown mother for him and a sister, Marguretta. I do have another 5 children belonging to John and Sarah. James had a son, William Kelly (1837-1913) married to Mary Ann McCarty. They had a daughter, Hetty Susan Kelly (1868-1911) married first to James Robert Kell then James Newton Foust. Hetty and James Foust had a daughter, Jimmie Dale (1898-1967) who married Augusta Claude Spradley. They had a son, Nathan Weldon Spradley (1916-2005) who married Mary Josephine Boswell. They had me, Linda Kay Spradley Hawthorne Barnard. Hopefully somebody out there matches the info I have.

Elmira Stevens is my husband's 4th great grandmother through her second marriage to James Jones. I have been trying to find info on her parents- would you know anything?

Her grand daughter was my great grandmother Sarah Elmira Kelly (married Morris) she was known to us as Big Mama.

Hi Linda,

I'm also a descendant of John Kelly through Hetty Susan's younger brother, David Reece Kelly. He was my great-grandfather. He married Mary Elizabeth Young and they had a son, Virgel Isaac. Virgel married Nina Kathleen Crum and they had a son, John David who married Leora Alice Hartman. I am David and Lee's oldest child. I have very similar information as yours, except I didn't know that James and Margaretta had a different mother than their siblings. You can reach me at texirish5@aol.com. I'm still finding pieces of the family genealogical puzzle.

John Kelly,that married Sarah Elmira Stevens was my 3rd.great grandfather.His family ended up in Coryell co.Texas

While it is wonderful to have a family connection to some of Texas' earliest settlers, the lack of detailed information on so many of these pioneers can be frustrating. Our San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site frequently receives visits and inquiries of staff from people whose ancestors were among the Old 300 or later Stephen F. Austin contract settlers. Site staff regularly interact with the Texas General Land Office and other groups that have information about this era and these settlers. You might contact the site at 979.885.2181 (Tuesdays–Sundays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.) for more assistance.

My sister has two foster children who are descendants of Sylvanus Castleman. Brooke Washington is 16 and Riley Washington is 17. There father is Kevin Washington son of Travis Washington and Wanda Nell Bailey ( living her name is Wanda Meeh lives in Texas 806-400-2981. She is the daughter of Hallie Marie Wooley Bailey she was the daughter of William Elijah Wooley and Dollie Harris and Dollie Harris is the daughter of Doc Harris and Matilda Chesney. Matilda Chesney is the daughter of Elizabeth Castleman who is the daughter of Sylvanus Castleman. The children live in Rock Island, Le Flore County, Oklahoma. Brooke wants to become a Doctor.

My dad's grandmother, Sophronia Castleman Jones, was the granddaughter of Sylvanus and Sophronia Castleman.
I live in Wimberley, Texas. I have traced my ancestry quite a bit, have a cousin who has "warehouses" ha! full of research. Danny

My husband is also a 5th great grandchild of Sylvanus Castleman through his daughter Lavinia.

Tobin, id be interested in connecting and learning what info you have, I'm also a descendant of James Hope, Thomas Gay and chriesman

Hi I am a 4th grade student at Madison,Monroe school 16 in Elizabeth nj, i was born in Vineland NJ but moved up here in the summer before i started 1st grade. Yes i am country girl as well... i am doing a report on the beautiful state of Texas but i just cant seem to find where your descendants come from if you can figure out email me at babygigi2005.gmail.com

My dad always said that his family came to Texas with Austins first group. Unfortunately the court house records burned in Limestone. I am trying to track back from Katherine Clark. Does anyone have a suggestion of how to get beyond the burned records?

I am a direct descendent of one of the Missouri Alley's who were part of the Old 300. I would like more info regarding the application process. How do I go about getting a word version of the application?

Melanie Alley

Do you have any info on Harmon Hensley? I can see where he married there during that time but do not see his name on the list I have found.

I am a descendant of Harmon Hensley. Info that I have show that he lived and may have been born in Sumner Co. Tenn in 1730.
I do know positively that was living there in the late 1700's as there is a court record there and this is where he apparently was married to Becky Meekly. Also that he was involved when they divided Sumner co. Due to its being too large for government.
I am interested in finding where he is buried if possible.
Ironically, my family lived in Sumner Co. tenn for about 12 years, but I didn't know till later we may have walked the same ground!zreac

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