Person Information

Biography

John Mather Austin (1805-1880) was born in Redfield, New York. He traced his lineage from Richard Mather, who was the grandfather of Cotton Mather. He married Sarah Ann Somerdyke in 1828 and they had twelve children. He was a minister of the Universalist Society of Auburn from 1844 to 1851, and from 1851 to 1861 he was editor of the Christian Ambassador, a newspaper of the New York State Convention of Universalists. Austin was a close friend of Secretary of State William Henry Seward. In 1846 and into 1847 Austin was the only local clergyman to offer public support to William Henry Seward—later Governor, Senator, and Secretary of State—during the highly volatile but ultimately successful Freeman Trial. Through his influence, President Lincoln offered Austin consulships to the West Indies and the Prince Edward Islands. He refused both of them due to his reluctance to abandon his religious work. However, Austin did accept Lincoln's commission of Paymaster in the Union Army, which carried a rank of Major, and he held this post until he was decommissioned in 1866. Austin labored against the death penalty and war; and for abolitionism, women's rights, prison reform, and the Underground Railroad. He wrote several books, of which his Golden Steps to Respectability, Usefulness and Happiness (1859) is the most well known. He died at his home in Auburn, New York.

 Children:
  Henry Clement Austin (1831 - 1869)*
  Clement LeFevre Austin (1834 - 1856)*
  Sarah Frances Austin Underwood (1837 - 1918)*
  Mary Bennett Austin (1839 - 1877)*
  William Mather Austin (1842 - 1889)*
  Lydia Anna Austin (1842 - 1859)*
  Clara B. Austin Ashby (1845 - 1924)*
  Alathea Austin (1847 - 1847)*
  Ella May Austin Reigle (1850 - 1926)*

Letter References

Citations

Biography and Citation Information:
Biography: 
John Mather Austin (1805-1880) was born in Redfield, New York. He traced his lineage from Richard Mather, who was the grandfather of Cotton Mather. He married Sarah Ann Somerdyke in 1828 and they had twelve children. He was a minister of the Universalist Society of Auburn from 1844 to 1851, and from 1851 to 1861 he was editor of the Christian Ambassador, a newspaper of the New York State Convention of Universalists. Austin was a close friend of Secretary of State William Henry Seward. In 1846 and into 1847 Austin was the only local clergyman to offer public support to William Henry Seward—later Governor, Senator, and Secretary of State—during the highly volatile but ultimately successful Freeman Trial. Through his influence, President Lincoln offered Austin consulships to the West Indies and the Prince Edward Islands. He refused both of them due to his reluctance to abandon his religious work. However, Austin did accept Lincoln's commission of Paymaster in the Union Army, which carried a rank of Major, and he held this post until he was decommissioned in 1866. Austin labored against the death penalty and war; and for abolitionism, women's rights, prison reform, and the Underground Railroad. He wrote several books, of which his Golden Steps to Respectability, Usefulness and Happiness (1859) is the most well known. He died at his home in Auburn, New York. Children: Henry Clement Austin (1831 - 1869)* Clement LeFevre Austin (1834 - 1856)* Sarah Frances Austin Underwood (1837 - 1918)* Mary Bennett Austin (1839 - 1877)* William Mather Austin (1842 - 1889)* Lydia Anna Austin (1842 - 1859)* Clara B. Austin Ashby (1845 - 1924)* Alathea Austin (1847 - 1847)* Ella May Austin Reigle (1850 - 1926)*
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