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Notes for Stephen Austin:
The following notes are from letters written by Ralph Hausrath to my sister Dawn Marie Austin. He was Stephen's nephew. 

     Stephen Austin, the third child of Abram and Margaret, was a big, handsome man of commanding presence and widely respected for his boating skills as well as his ability as a builder of houses. The Brooklyn Eagle once a well-known newspaper of Long Island, called his rescue of the crew of the steamer Roda in February of 1908 "The most heroic rescue this year on the coast." For some years he was the skipper, or "Keeper" of the Jones Beach Life Saving Station Crew. In addition he was a boat builder, Bayman, sometimes a house builder, and had once run a restaurant in partnership with his brother Edward. A popular man in the community and a good story teller, he was also no stranger to adversity.
     He had married before he was 20 to a girl known as Sarah and son had two sons, Ira Austin and Walter Austin. Ira was born in 1879 and Walter in 1881. Stephen had joined the Life Saving Service around this time and so was home infrequently. The marriage did not last and the couple were soon divorced. Sarah was a Chichester. I believe she moved to Brooklyn. Years later, after Stephen's death in 1935, she brought a court action to try and break his will, but was not successful.
     Stephen next married another Sarah. She was Sarah Turner of Farmingdale, sister to brother Ed's wife, Ann. Stephen and Sarah Turner Austin had one daughter, Ethel Mae Austin, born September 20, 1896. At this time Stephen had a fine house on Baylawn Avenue, Copiague where the family lived. Again, he was away at his post on the beach much of the time. One day in October 1903 Sarah Ann Turner Austin took her own life by drinking poison. Ethel Mae, (my, Ralph Hausrath, mother), watched as her mother drank down a bottle of liquid, w2alked to the back door and flung the bottle out into the yard, and then collapsed. The six-year-old child then ran down on the docks to find her Uncle Ed who was working on a boat nearby. It was after this tragedy that Aunt Libby, (Elizabeth), took over the upbringing of my mother at the "old homestead".
     Around the time of his wife's death, alcohol became a major problem for Stephen. Whether it had been an incipient problem before, or whether heavier drinking was a result of his other problems, I, (Ralph Hausrath), never knew. But in any case, it became a major factor in this life for the next 10 or 12 years. He sold the Baylawn Avenue house and dissipated much of the proceeds of the sale in a week-long orgy of drinking. Though he managed to continue as the head of the Jones Beach Life Saving Station and, in fact, won considerable acclaim for his work at the Roda wreck in 1908. there was little let up in the heavy drinking while off duty.
     Somewhere in these years he married again---to Emma, the German girl that his sister, Elizabeth, had hired to help care for his crippled mother. At one stage, he insisted on buying a piano for my mother who was then being raised at the "old homestead" and having her take lessons to learn to play it. Then he began to show up late at night and far from sober and insisting that Ethel play the piano for him. The resulting scenes upset his crippled mother and Elizabeth.
As my mother grew older, she was sometimes dispatched to see that he got home safley to the cottage on the Baylawn side of the creek where he then lived with Emma. Once, in crossing the creek in his boat, he upset the skiff pitching himself and his daughter, Ethel, into the creek on a chilly night. Both survived but the family's patience with his behavior began to run thin for a time. Eventually,he left his job in the service----sometime before World War I and without a pension. He ahd finally been called on the carpet for his drinking.
     He next renounced drink, then turned to boat building and commercial fishing, regained respectability, and began, in a small way, to build and market houses in the area. He was fairly successful in these enterprises. However, all his problems were not over. Life with Emma was often stormy though they did remain together until his death in 1935. On occasion, when he had made money on the sale of a house, she would insist that he deposit half the profit immediate into her individual bank account. Once she left him alone for a lengthy period of time while she took a steamer back to Germany to visit her old home. Following her return, he built a new house on Baylawn Avenue, they rented the cottage and moved into the new house and lived there until his death. Emma and Stephen had one child, but it was stillborn.
      "Captain Steve" also had to cope with untimely deaths of his sons within a short space of time. Walter, who had married and lived in Freeport, dropped dead one day on the village dock when he was but 45. He ahd been a vigorous man who had ser Ed in the Life Saving crews and had spent much of his life on the water. His death was a great shock. Two years later, son Ira, who lived on Schmeelk Place, Copiague, caught pneumonia and died. Ira wa but 50 when he died. 
Many a time when I was a small child living with my parents in our Copiague house on Austin Place, I'd look out the window at night and see a lantern light moving through the swamp maples and wild cherry trees that grew along the creek bank some hundred yards or so to the west of the house. It was a sign that "Captain Steve" and Emma were coming to visit us. They had crossed the creek by boat, tied up to a tree on our side, and were walking up the winding path through the woods. 
     Once in the house, he'd remove his coat and hat, perhaps take off his rubber boots, which he usually wore if it was wet or had been snowing, find a comfortable chair, and light up his pipe. I'd climb up on his lap and the story telling would soon begin.
     He'd talk of the Roda, the Seth Low, the Bodo, and innumerable other shipwrecks that he'd been at or known about. He'd tell of fishing adventures on the bay while eeling, or oystering, or blue fishing. He'd describe a schooner he'd once owned, or describe how the bay men used to cut and store bay ice to be used in packing summer catches. And he'd tell of surf boats that started out on rescues only to be hurled back on the beach by big "combers" whose crests broke with such force that the boats went completely out of control of the trained rowers that manned them.
     Soon Convinced that a Bayman's life was the life for me, (Ralph Hausrath), I begged to go with him on his eeling expeditions during the summer months. For eight successive years, he took me. Usually it was a three-day jaunt at a time aboard his 24-foot whaleboat which had a large hold forward for the eelpots and other gear and a comfortable cabin aft which housed the motor and our living space.
     We ahd many adventures including one storm with winds of up to hurricane force. Once a fire flared up in the cabin because of the kerosene stove, but he soon put it out after heaving the blazing stove overboard. We chased a real six-foot shark with spears, jacked at night with the eel skiffs we towed behind and son on. "Uncle Ed", my grandfather's brother, often accompanied us in his own boat. On one trip my grandfather found 18 cases of good whiskey on the bay bottom. It had apparently been lost by a rum-runner being chased by the Coast Guard. However, I did not share in this find, which was later sold for $900 because I had broken my wrist and was not allowed to go that time.
     In 1935 when I, (Ralph Hausrath), was 17 he died. His will left most of his property to my mother. I got the boats and much of his gear. I later sold many of those items and used the proceeds to pay for my first year of college at Washington and Lee University. 

The following notes are from research done by Diana and Dawn Austin: 

     Stephen Austin, (Captain Steve), was born March 1860 and died in 1935. His obituary was in the New York Times, January 12, 1935. It states that he was retired Coast Guardsman. It said he died at age 75, and was in government service since he was about 25 years old. He was keeper of the Jones Beach Station for 13 years. The obituary also states that he was the son of Abraham and Margaret Brush Austin. His widow was Mrs. Emma Austin and he had a daugter, Mrs. Allan Hausrath, two brothers and a sister survived him.
     In the 1860 Federal Census Stephen is listed as the son of Abraham and Margaret Austin. He is living in the household with his parents and siblings. He is less than a year old. His father is a fisherman. They are living in Huntington Twn., Suffolk County, New York.
In the 1870 Federal Census Stephen is listed as 10 years old and living with his parents. Stephen is in school. His father Abraham is a house carpenter. Whitman Brush is living with them and is a paper carrier.The family lives in Huntington Town, Suffolk Co., New York.
In the 1880 Federal Census Stephen is listed as Head of Household, 20 years old, wife Sarah, 19 years old, and son Ira 1 year old. His occupation was a laborer.
In the 1900 Stephen is listed as head of household, wife Sarah, but this is another Sarah, (Sarah Ann Turner). Stephen and his first wife Sarah, (Chichester), divorced in 1886. (New York Times article December 19, 1935-Woman 75 Fights Divorce of 1886), Stephen and Sarah Ann had a daughter Ethel Mae, listed in their household as being 3 years old. Ira and his wife Lucinda live with them, as does Ira's brother Walter. Stephen's occupation is the United States Life Saving Service. They live in Babylon Twn., Suffok County, New York. Sarah Ann Turner drank poison in abt. 1906 and killed herself. 
     In the 1910 Census we find Stephen Austin and wife Emma. Stephen is now a fisherman, on the Great South Bay. They are living in Babylon Town, Suffolk County, New York. No one else is listed in his household.
     Stephen and Emma are listed on the 1920 Federal Census living in the same area. Stephen is now a house carpenter. His brothers, Charles, Edward, and Melvin, along with his sister Elizabeth, known as Libby, are his neighbors. 
In the 1930 Federal Census. He is still listed as living in BabylonTwn., Suffolk Co., New York. Stephen is listed as head of household, with his wife Emma. His occupation is carpenter. They live on Merrick Road in Copiague. 
     We also found an article in the Amityville Record, 2002, about Shipwrecks off Amityville's Shores. One of the Wrecks was the Roda, February 13, 1908. It was a 350' Steamer out of Huelva, Spain. The Roda carried a cargo of copper ore. The weather was bad and the Roda became stranded between the beach and the inner sand bar. It states how Captain Stephen Austin was the Keeper of the Jones Beach Station. The wreck was within Captain Steve's jurisdiction and he and his crew of Surfmen took on the rescue. . Captain Beaven of the Steamer Roda, wrote a letter of thanks to the rescue crew which is on file with the official reports at the National Archives. 
     Another record with the archives involving Captain Steve was the wreck of the Louis V. Place, February 07, 1895.
     Their are also articles in the Long Isalnd Forum Magazine. In particular there is one in the February 1978 issue, written by Ralph Hausrath, about the Wreck of the Louis V. Place. It also shows a picture of Captain Steve. Under the picture it says: Captain Stephen Austin Keeper of the Jones Beach Station circa 1900-1910.

Station Jones Beach, NY
Station #86 

Location: "On east end of Jones Beach, 6 3/8 miles west of Fire Island Light." 
Date of Conveyence 
Station Built: 1871 
Fate: Decommissioned in 1949? Station Short Beach was rebuilt and renamed as Station Jones Beach in 1990. It is located at West End Boat Basin, Jones Beach State Park in Freeport, New York. 


Station Jones Beach was established in 1871. In late 1877 a hurricane knocked the station off its foundation and nearly swept it into the sea. The 1878 Annual Report described the event: 
"soon after the opening of the active season, the station at Jonesí Beach, and its occupants, barely escaped destruction. As soon as the storm began 
its havoc the keeper perceived the danger and immediately took the only course possible. He hurriedly removed the boats and apparatus to a place of 
safety, and with an old sail and his oars, having built a hut in a neighboring beach hill, by burrowing under its lee, he abandoned the house and quartered his crew in the improvised station. The house was soon after torn from its foundation and tumbled into the surf. With great exertion the keeper and crew succeeded in anchoring it with a line taken through the upper windows and thus prevented its being carried away altogether. The storm having abated, the many tons of sand which had been driven into the house were shoveled out and the building was, as soon as possible, re-established upon a new site. In doing this, great care was taken to render the underpinning strong and secure. The erection of the station and necessary repairs had just been completed, and the building re-occupied by the crew, when another and more violent tempest and surf came on. The property had not all been returned into the house, and so suddenly did thesea gather proportions, that the crew, who were at dinner, had barely time to save such of the equipment as were there, and abandon the station, before it was lifted bodily from its foundation and borne half a mile away. The foundation itself, which consisted of heavy cedar posts, eight feet in length, braced and bolted together in the most thorough manner, and buried in the ground, was wrenched up and landed by the sea at least a mile distant from its placed, and singularly enough to almost the very spot which was afterwards found, in view of the changed outline of the coast, to be themost desirable site for the relocation of the station." 

In 1882, the station was referred to as "Jonesí Beach, east end," which was also one of its earliest names. By 1925, the position was described as "on Jones Beach, two miles west from east end." The station was extensively repaired and improved in 1888. In 1931, it was proposed to move and rebuild  this station. The station was badly damaged in the hurricane which swept the Atlantic coast in September of 1938. 

Station Short Beach was rebuilt and renamed as Station Jones Beach in 1990. It is located at West End Boat Basin, Jones Beach State Park in Freeport, New York.

The first known keeper was Augustus C. Wicks, appointed at the age of 37 on December 9, 1872; he had experience as a wrecker and fisherman. Early 
keepers included George S. Weyant (appointed from acting status January 15, 1916 until his reassignment to the Eatons Neck station November 2, 1922), Joseph E. Jacobs (reassigned from Tiana station May 1, 1924 until his reassignment to Bellport station May 28, 1925) and James S. Baker (reassigned from Bellport station May 27, 1925, he returned to Bellport April 11, 1926). Then two chief petty officers were assigned: E. R. Burch (1928) and G. G. Goddard (1930). In 1931, the position of keeper or officer in charge was vacant and remained so until Chief Petty Officer C. 0. Gray was assigned in 1934. Then Chief Warrant Officer H. R. Daniels, newly commissioned, was assigned December 2, 1935 and remained until June 8, 1937 when he was reassignedto the Bellport station. After that, the position remained vacant even though the station remained on the active list through World War II and disappeared from the listing of stations in April 1949. 


Augustus C. Wicks: appointed December 9, 1872 
Stephen Austin: served as keeper circa 1900 - 1913. 
George S. Weyant: appointed from acting status January 15, 1916 until his reassignment to the Eatons Neck station November 2, 1922. 
Joseph E. Jacobs: reassigned from Tiana station May 1, 1924 until his reassignment to Bellport station May 28, 1925. 
James S. Baker: reassigned from Bellport station May 27, 1925, he returned to Bellport April 11, 1926. 
E. R. Burch: assigned in 1928. 
G. G. Goddard: assigned in 1930. 
1931-1934: OIC position was vacant. 
Chief Petty Officer C. O. Gray: assigned in 1934. 
Chief Warrant Officer H. R. Daniels: December 2, 1935 and remained until June 8, 1937. 

More About Stephen Austin:
Burial: Unknown, Amityville Cemetery, Amityville, Suffolk Co., LI, Ny.
Census 1: 1900, Babylon, Suffolk Co., LI, New York.
Census 2: 1860, Huntington Twn., Suffolk Co., New York.
Census 3: 1870, Huntington Twn., Suffolk Co., New York.
Census 4: 1880, Babylon, Suffolk Co., LI, New York.
Census 5: 1910, Babylon, Suffolk Co., LI, New York.
Census 6: 1920, Babylon, Suffolk Co., LI, New York.
Census 7: 1930, Copiague, Babylon Twn., Suffolk Co., LI, New York.
Military service 1: United States Life Saving Service.
Military service 2: Bet. 1900 - 1913, United States Life Saving Service Records Stationed at Jones Beach.
Occupation: House Carpenter, Fisherman, United States Life Saving Service.