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Rusk, Thomas J. (Thomas Jefferson), 1803-1857



Born on December 5, 1803, in South Carolina, Thomas Jefferson Rusk was trained as a lawyer and practiced in Georgia before losing a considerable fortune in a speculative mining venture. In hopes of tracking down the men who swindled him, Rusk followed them to Texas. Despite failing to recover his money, he decided to stay in Texas and settle in David Burnet's colony. He became increasingly involved in the movement to resist Mexican rule and thus joined the efforts in Gonzalez and San Antonio de Bexar.

Rusk relinquished his army post prior to the siege of the Alamo and became a key player in both the Texas Declaration of Independence and the revised Texas Constitution. The interim government chose Rusk as the new Secretary of War in 1836, and he fought with Sam Houston to defeat Santa Anna's Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Subsequently he commanded Texas forces as Santa Anna's men were pushed back across the Rio Grande. In the late 1830s Rusk commanded the Texas militia as it fought to suppress the tribes of the Cherokee, Kickapoo, and Caddo, including the climactic Battle of Neches when most of the Texas Cherokees were pushed into Oklahoma

Returning to law, Rusk was elected Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court in 1838 and subsequently he headed the bar of the Republic of Texas and formed a renowned law firm with partner J. Pinckney Henderson.

A strong proponent of Texas annexation by the United States, Rusk served as President of the Convention of 1845. He was reunited with his old revolutionary cohort Sam Houston when the two men were elected to serve as the first U.S. Senators from the new state of Texas in 1846. His senate career included support of the Mexican War, Texas' territorial rights, new services and rates for the U.S. Postal Service, and efforts to extend a transcontinental rail line through Texas. In 1856 Rusk lost his beloved wife Mary and began to suffer from a tumor; he committed suicide on July 29, 1857.

Found in 25 Collections and/or Records:

Sam Houston papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00005

Papers document the life of Sam Houston, including military service, as congressman from and governor of Tennessee, as commander-in-chief of the army in the Texas Revolution, as president of the Republic of Texas, as United States senator from and governor of the state of Texas. Many important state and national figures, especially Andrew Jackson, are represented, as well as personal friends and family members.

Dates: 1814 - 1957; undated

Thomas Byers Huling papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01462

Thomas Byers Huling (1804-1865), landowner, postmaster, politician, congressman, judge, and speculator, came to Texas in 1834 and acquired a land grant on the Angelina River in what was to become Jasper County. His papers primarily concern his political and commercial activities in Texas from 1826 until 1901.

Dates: 1826; 1831 - 1881; 1901

Robert Anderson Irion papers

Identifier: camh-arc-004502

The Robert Anderson Irion Papers, 1836-1841, 1857, include letters concerning the career of Robert Anderson Irion.

Dates: 1836 - 1841; 1857

Steward Alexander Miller papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01812

Papers of Steward Alexander Miller, relating to his life in Texas.

Dates: 1843 - 1873; 1926 - 1966

Joseph I. Morgan letter

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.02967

The Joseph I. Morgan Letter, 1836, concerns Morgan’s experiences as a soldier in the Texas Revolution.

Dates: 1836

Nacogdoches, Texas, Committee of Vigilance and Safety records

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01816

The Nacogdoches, Texas, Committee of Vigilance and Safety was established in 1835 as a means to organize and collect arms and provisions to be used in the Texas Revolution. Transcripts of original letters, reports, resolutions, accounts, bills, and receipts, in one volume, comprise the records.

Dates: 1835 - 1837

Henry Walton Raglin papers

Identifier: camh-arc-004896

The Henry Walton Raglin papers are comprised of correspondence, diaries, legal documents, and other items relating to the Texas Revolution of 1836, Texas General Land Office, the "Mississippi Settlement" in Grimes County, Texas, and the Texas Blind Asylum.

Dates: 1836 - 1884

Henry Raguet family papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00017

Business and personal papers of Henry Raguet (1796-1877), his family and associates, located in Nacogdoches, Texas, from 1833 to 1873.

Dates: 1786 - 1935

Lawrence Sullivan Ross letters

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.01439

The Lawrence Sullivan Ross Letters, 1846-1894, document Ross’ career as a soldier, governor, and university president.

Dates: 1846 - 1894

Thomas Jefferson Rusk papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00363

Papers document the life of Thomas Jefferson Rusk as a participant in the Texas Revolution, Chief Justice of the first Texas Supreme Court, major general in army campaigns against the Native Americans, president of the Convention of 1845, and one of Texas' first two U.S. Senators.

Dates: 1824 - 1859

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