Simple Twists of Fate

Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2016 09:37 am
If you have any odd facts of history worthy of passing along, here is a good spot to place some. I came across this story today, one that could lead to endless speculation about Abe Lincoln's career and the Texas revolt against Mexico.

Traces of Texas
A feature on Facebook

The Arcane Texas Fact of the Day is one of the coolest things ever posted on this page:
In 1810, Stephen F. Austin was a student at Transylvania College in Lexington, Kentucky. His best friend was a young man named Robert Todd. Stephen had a budding romance with a young lady named Eliza Parker but, alas, fate intervened when Stephen's father's lead mining business went sour in Missouri and his father, unable to afford tuition, called Stephen home. Before leaving, Stephen asked Robert Todd to keep an eye on Eliza, fully intending to come back to school and resume his romance with her when things got a little better, financially speaking, for his father. 'Twas not to be.
Robert Todd ended up "stealing" Eliza for himself and marrying her in 1812. They had a daughter, Mary, who was born in 1818 and ended up marrying Abraham Lincoln in 1842. Many historians consider Mary as one of the driving forces in Abe's political career, particularly at the beginning. So I always wonder how history would have been changed had Moses' lead mining business in Missouri not gone south. Stephen would no doubt have stayed in Lexington, finished his degree, and become the lawyer he wanted to be. He might have married Eliza himself and there would have been no Mary Todd to marry Abraham Lincoln. There might have been a Mary Austin but things would have been entirely different. And, of course, Stephen himself would most likely never have been driven to move to Texas because his life in Lexington, or wherever, would have been settled. And since it was Austin who provided the impetus that got the whole Texas experiment going, there would have been no Battle at the Alamo, no San Jacinto ... nothing.
The upshot is that Mary Todd Lincoln's mother was, at one time, Stephen F. Austin's sweetheart. And it's fun to ponder what might have happened had the bottom not fallen out of the lead mining business in 1809-1810.
As I often say, history combs the thinnest of hairs. I'm not sure what I mean by that, but it sounds deep.
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Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2016 09:53 am
Ed thanks. This sort of thing casts doubt on the determinist
Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2016 09:57 am
There is lots of speculation in that story, but that makes it fun.
cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2016 08:17 pm
Also, Austin was named after him. I was curious, because our son works at the University of Texas in Austin.
Stephen F. Austin
"In 1839, the site was officially chosen as the republic's new capital (the republic's seventh and final location) and was incorporated under the name Waterloo. Shortly thereafter, the name was changed to Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas" and the republic's first secretary of state."
Who is Austin, Texas named after? - Quora
Reply Sun 6 Nov, 2016 08:26 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Thanks, CI.
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