Visit San Augustine

History and Preservation

City of San Augustine

In 1832 a mass meeting settlers from the Ayish Bayou District decided that “a permanent place of holding court and for trade and commerce was necessary.” They selected the site of the old mission which belonged at the time to Thomas S. McFarland.

McFarland was appointed by the committee to survey and lay out the town of San Augustine. The name of the town was derived from the Presidio de San Agustin de Ahumada, named in honor of the viceroy of Texas, Agustín Ahumada y Villalón, Marqués de las Amarillas.

The town of San Augustine was laid off on the eastern bank of the Ayish Bayou and on either side of the San Antonio road (El Camino Real). It contained 48 blocks, divided into 356 lots with two lots reserved in the center for a public square. It was the first town on the old San Antonio Road after crossing the Sabine.

Since most of the anglo settlers came overland, they entered Texas near San Augustine, making it the eastern gateway to the great Southwest. With the population increasing rapidly, it early became progressive, and one of the most important towns in the Republic of Texas.

San Augustine was home to two governors: J. Pinckney Henderson, the first governor of Texas, and O. M. Roberts, who served as governor form January 21, 1879, until January 16, 1883.

K. L. Anderson, who served as the last Vice-President of the Republic of Texas, practiced law in San Augustine where he also served as Collector of Customs. Anderson was also Speaker of the House of Representatives prior to his election as Vice-President.

John A. Greer, who had previously served as speaker of the House of Representatives, was elected Lt. Governor of Texas in 1845 and served until 1853. He died on July 4, 1855, and was buried at his home nine miles northwest of town. His remains were moved to the State Cemetery in 1929. Ben Ramsey was elected Lt. Governor of Texas in 1950, and later served seventeen years in the Railroad commission.

San Augustine has had three men serve as foreign ambassadors: J. Pinckney Henderson served as Texas minister to England and France in 1837, and Memucan Hunt represented the Republic as minister at Washington prior to annexation. Edward A. Clark served as U.S. Ambassador to Australia from 1965 to 1967.

Franklin B. Sexton, whose home here still stands, represented Texas in the Congress of the Confederate States of America; and S. W. Blount whose home here has been restored, served as fiscal agent for the Confederate States of America. Stephen W. Blount, who was one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, is buried here in the City Cemetery.

San Augustine, the Cradle of Texas, was known early as an education center and the birthplace of Protestant religion in Texas. It was the home of three universities, including the first to open its doors in Texas – San Augustine University, chartered in 1837.

Ezekiel Cullen, whose home serves as headquarters for the annual Tour of Homes, was known as the Father of Education in Texas. While serving in the House of Representatives of the third congress of Texas (Republic), he was responsible for the laws enacting public education in this great state.

Gen. Thomas J. Rusk, who maintained a law office in San Augustine, was guest speaker when the Methodists laid their cornerstone on January 17, 1838. It was the first cornerstone laid for a Protestant church west of the Sabine.

The footprints in the sands of time are truly deep in San Augustine. We welcome you to share our past, enjoy the present, and invite you to join us in looking forward to the future.