Search billions of records on

Family of
William Edward Austin

William Edward Austin

William Edward Austin was a retired attorney at Bay City. He lived in Southern Texas practically all of his life and had a varied experience as a merchant, public official and professional man.

He was born February 11, 1855. His father, William Austin, was born at Catskill, New York, and was an early settler on the Gulf Coast of Texas and for several years before the Civil War carried mail between Matagorda and Indianola. When the war came on he joined the Confederate army and was in service until captured and three months later was exchanged and rejoined his command. After the war he resumed his work as a mail carrier. William Austin married Elizabeth Ives, a native of Virginia. They had four children: William Edward; George, born in 1857, Jeannette Elizabeth born in 1859, and Charles, born in 1861. The son George, who died in 1920, spent the last twenty years of his life as county clerk of Matagorda County, and by his marriage to Annie M. Serrill had four children, Jeanette Elizabeth Highley, Alma S. Doubeck, Zalie S. Schiel and Julia H. Posey. Jeanette Elizabeth married first Charles Hatch and her second marriage was with Ben Lindner. One child was born to the first marriage, Charles Hatch, of Big Springs, Texas. Charles Austin was a merchant in San Antonio, postmaster at Beaumont for several years, also in the insurance business and died in 1922. He married Annie Sargent, and they had two children, Mary E. Holiday and Stephen F. Austin.

William Edward Austin was reared in Matagorda County and entered public schools during his boyhood. His first business training was clerking in a drug store, but he left this job because among other duties he was called upon to bottle castor oil. For several years he was employed in the county clerk's office, and while there made use of his opportunities to study law and in 1877 was admitted to the bar at Matagorda. Shortly afterward he was elected county clerk, and served in that office ten years, until failing health caused him to retire. He spent some time recuperating at San Antonio and after his health was restored became associated with his uncle, Galen Hodge, in the mercantile business in Bay City. After another period of activity for ten years he was again compelled to retire on account of his health and subsequently he resumed his practice as a lawyer in Bay City and was a member of the firm Linn & Austin until he retired in 1919. He also served one term in the Thirtieth Legislature. Judge Austin made a success of his work whether as a lawyer or business man.

He married Mrs. Sophie (Presig) McCamly, widow of Dr. W. L. McCamly, and who was born in Switzerland. Judge Austin had no children of his own but had [two foster children, Annie McCamly and William L. "Bo" McCamly] and three foster [grand]children, whose names were Anthony Rugeley McCamly, Willie Austin McCamly, Annie Dell McCamly. Willie became the wife of Earl E. Cortes, a hardware merchant, and they had a daughter, Jan Elizabeth, born in 1927. Annie Dell married Thomas Wheatly and William Anthony married Joreene Iba Nola Hagler. [NOTE: The preceding paragraph was changed from the original because Sophie's grandchildren were listed as children.]

Judge Austin was a Democrat in politics, a member of the Episcopal Church and was a charter and life member of Lodge No. 81, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Judge Austin always took an active interest in the Democratic party and served as a delegate to state conventions a number of times. He also took an active part in the business activities and welfare of Bay City and Matagorda County. Among the first modern buildings erected in Bay City was the Austin and Austin Building, built in 1906, which was counted among his real estate holdings.

Texas Under Many Flags, Clarence W. Wharton, American Historical Society, 1930

Matagorda County Genealogical Society Publication, Oak Leaves, Vol 8 #3, May 1989


Copyright 2007 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Apr. 11, 2007
Apr. 11, 2007