Austin, Moses, 1761–1821, American pioneer, b. Durham, Conn. After developing lead mines in SW Virginia, he went to inspect (1796–97) prospects in Missouri, then Spanish territory. In 1798 he founded Potosi, Mo. and became a miner and trader there. Hard times caused him to go to Texas in 1820 and get the Spanish governor's permission to settle 300 families in Texas. The grant was confirmed in 1821, but Moses Austin died without realizing his settlement plans. His son, Stephen F. Austin, took up the plans.