Group plants tree to honor Stephen F. Austin


Fourth graders at Madisonville Intermediate School joined members of Daughters of the Republic of Texas and community residents to honor Stephen F. Austin’s birthday on Thursday and dedicate a historic marker at a live oak tree.

The students, who are studying Texas history, heard from their elders about Stephen F. Austin, who brought the first 300 American families to settle the Texas territory.

The late Billy Price of Houston purchased the property where Austin died. His wife Janie Parker Price spoke at Thursday’s ceremony and noted how Billy approached the Texas A&M Forest Service in 1996 about growing seedlings from three majestic live oak trees on the property near the site of Austin’s death.

“The purpose of this project was to distribute the trees across Texas to be planted in all 254 counties at county courthouses, historic sites important to Texas and schools,” Price said.

The first tree in Texas was planted at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

“The dream of Billy was realized when many organizations including the [Forest Service], the Sons and Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the Daughters of the American Revolution and many others completed the mission for each county in Texas to have a tree,” Price said. “It is the effort of groups like your Madison County Historical Commission that keep our history alive and preserve our heritage. Billy would be very proud of this marker at his beloved Stephen F. Austin tree.”