Established after independence in 1836, Austin County is named for Stephen F. Austin. San Felipe was the Anglo-American seat of government and where Stephen F. Austin brought the first 300 families to colonize Texas under a contract with the Mexican government. Known as the “Cradle of Texas Liberty,” the townsite was the social, economic, and political center and capital of the American colonies in Texas prior to independence in 1836. Conventions held here in 1832 and 1833 led to the Texas Declaration of Independence. The state's first Anglo newspaper, The Texas Gazette,was founded here in 1829, and the state's postal system and Texas Rangers also trace their origins to San Felipe. Following the fall of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, and the subsequent evacuation of settlers in advance of the Mexican army, known as the “Runaway Scrape,” San Felipe was burned by the Texans. The shifting of capitals following independence, along with limited transportation to the town, led to a decline in population. Nothing of the original town remains.
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