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Priscilla Myers Benham

AUSTINIA, TEXAS. Austinia was a settlement on the shores of Moses Lake, on the west bank of Galveston Bay in Galveston County. The exact date of its establishment is unknown. The Congress of the Republic of Texas, in the first Texas railroad charter, chartered the Brazos and Galveston Railroad Company on May 24, 1838, to make turnpikes, crossings, and a railroad from Austinia on Galveston Bay to Bolivar on the Brazos River. The site was located on Dollar Point in the Stephen F. Austin league, now within the bounds of Texas City. Austinia was to be the headquarters for the company. After Austin's death in 1836 his sister, Emily Austin Perry, became sole owner of the Dollar Point league and platted the townsite. She deeded to her son, William J. Bryan, and George L. Hammeken part of the townsite to aid in financing the construction of the railroad. James F. Perry and Hammeken were commissioned to sell subscriptions to the 1,500 Austinia shares. On February 1, 1839, Bryan and Hammeken bought the rest of Austinia and the Dollar Point peninsula. The board of directors elected Hammeken president and Perry treasurer.

Although the location appeared excellent for both a town and a railroad, little improvement occurred. Changes in the route and charter caused the company to direct its efforts to building a canal instead. The developers abandoned Austinia, and the railroad was never built. Part of the property remained in the hands of the family. Guy M. Bryan, a nephew of Stephen F. Austin, developed there the 1,200-acre Bay Lake Ranch, where he lived from 1865 to 1871. His heirs sold the property to fig growers in the 1920s.


Galveston Daily News, February 24, 1980. Andrew Forest Muir, "Railroad Enterprise in Texas, 1836–1841," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 47 (April 1944).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Priscilla Myers Benham, "AUSTINIA, TX," accessed May 28, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hva33.

Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Modified on October 23, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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