Empresario Stephen F. Austin urged Mexico to improve foreign trade by establishing ports in the Galveston area as early as 1825. Historical references suggest Austinia was settled in the 1830s as part of Austin's foreign trade efforts in this area. The original site of Austinia was located on coastal property owned by Austin one mile north of this site. After Austin's death in 1836 his sister, Emily Austin Bryan Perry, became sole proprietor of the village of Austinia.
In 1837 George L. Hammeken and partners petitioned the Republic of Texas for a charter to construct a railroad from Austinia, where the main office was to be located, southwest to Bolivar on the Brazos. The railroad was part of a venture connecting Galveston with the mainland to tap the trade of the fertile Brazos River valley. In 1839 emily Perry sold Austinia to her son, William J. Bryan, and his partner, George Hammeken. Later that year Emily's husband, James F. Perry, became treasurer of Hammeken's corporation.
James Perry's plans to build 40 or 50 houses and other public buildings in Austinia were never realized as Hammeken later chose an alternate route for the proposed railroad.