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 Thomas Jefferson Rusk

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Thomas Jefferson Rusk

  • Birth 5 Dec 1803 Pendleton, Anderson County, South Carolina, USA
  • Death 29 Jul 1857 Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County, Texas, USA
  • Burial Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County, Texas, USA
  • Memorial ID 6258942

US Senator. Rusk practiced law in Georgia, and invested heavily in gold mining operations in the mountains of the northern part of the state. In 1834, the managers of a company in which he had invested embezzled a large sum of money and fled to Mexican Texas. Rusk pursued them to Nacogdoches, but never recovered the money. He decided to stay in Texas and became a citizen of Mexico in 1835. He became involved in the movement for Texan independence and raised and organized troops to accomplish that goal. As a delegate from Nacogdoches to the Convention of 1836, he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and chaired a committee to revise the Constitution for the Republic of Texas. The ad interim government named him as Secretary of War of the Republic and he became commander-in-chief of the forces of the Republic from May to October of 1836. After Texas gained its independence, President Sam Houston appointed Rusk to be Secretary of War. He held the position for only a few weeks and resigned to take care of pressing domestic matters. In December of 1938, the Texas Congress elected Rusk to be Chief Justice of the Republic's Supreme Court - a position that he retained until 1840. In the early 1840s, he supported the growing movement for annexation to the United States and was President of the Convention of 1845, which accepted annexation terms. The first state legislature appointed him to the United States Senate and he served from 1846 until 1857. He supported President Polk on the necessity of the Mexican War and the acquisition of California. He was an early advocate of a southern transcontinental railroad through Texas and supported the Gadsden Purchase to accomplish that end. President James Buchanan offered him the position of U.S. Postmaster General in 1857, but Rusk turned it down. During the special session of March 1857, the Senate elected him president pro tempore. When he returned home to Nacogdoches, despondent over the death of his wife and himself suffering from cancer, he committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on July 29, 1857.

Bio by: Thomas Fisher


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: MB
  • Added: 14 Mar 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6258942
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Jefferson Rusk (5 Dec 1803–29 Jul 1857), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6258942, citing Oak Grove Cemetery, Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .