In our American studies class at Suffield Academy, we are studying the slavery and freedom in Suffield during 1774. I will study the Austin family, which was one of the founding families, and their effect on the town of Suffield in the year of 1774. I want to find out what they did for an occupation, what relationship they have with Steven F. Austin who the city of Austin, Texas (which I am from) is named after, and I would like to know how many slaves they had and what they did. From my initial research I have found that they have lived in Suffield for multiple generations and haven’t showed any signs of moving down to Texas. This currently makes me unsure about if they had anything to do with the founding of the city of Austin or not. The family seems to have started with Anthony Austin. Captain Anthony Austin moved to Suffield when he was just two years of age with his parents Richard and Elizabeth Austin. Anthony Austin was among the first grantees and proprietors in Suffield. There were only one hundred amongst the first who were the first to start to settle in Suffield. Seth Austin was the son of Thomas Austin who was the grandson of Captain Anthony Austin. He was a Tavern keeper during the Revolutionary War time and was taxed in 1778 on two “first rate” houses, which I deduce one was his own house and the other was his tavern. I found this information on a website called Strong Family Genealogy, this source seems very reliable because it references specific documents that actually exist and says where to find them. He owned 5 slaves which seems like a high number compared to everyone else in the town of Suffield.
In the Kent Library in Suffield it is said have a photocopy of his taxes from 1778. The tavern was taken down in 1899. I think it would help to go see the photocopy and see what he had to taxes for and see how many things he owned, which his slaves would have had to operate. To further my research, I want to look into the tavern that the Austin’s owned and I want to learn more about Captain Austin. Just like the house that the class found in the woods last year there may be some remains of his house of his somewhere in Suffield, which would be really great to find.
Information about the life of Nathaniel Austin
Suffield’s own information on the Austin Family through the generations
The genealogy of the Austin Family in Suffield