The Austin family of Sequatchie Valley began in England where the parents of Jonathan Austin, born in Virginia, were raised. Jonathan Austin's father served with General George Washington in the Revolutionary War and had at least one son, Elijah F. Austin. Elijah was born in Powell Valley in the part that is now in Claibourne County, Tennessee in 1818. He moved to Sequatchie Valley sometime between 1840 and 1850.
Elijah F. Austin was married to Phoebe Minton and they had nine children: Rebecca, born 1841 married Henry Cagle; Joseph B. born in 1843 became a farmer living in the upper part of Sequatchie County; Thomas J. born 1849 (August 4) married Sarah Hale; James H. born 1854; John B. born 1856; Joel B. born 1858 and John L. born 1862 died at age 29.
Thomas J. Austin was reared on the home farm and received his education in the school of the neighborhood and early in life became familiar with all the duties which fall to the lot of one in farming. He married on July 22, 1869 Sarah Hale, who was born near Pikeville on October 17, 1849, the daughter of the Reverend James Hale.
Much of the original lands of the Austin family still remain in the family on the border between Bledsoe and Sequatchie Counties.