Thomas Rusk


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RUSK, THOMAS JEFFERSON, legislator; born in Camden, S. C., Aug. 8, 1802; removed to Texas in 1835, in pursuit of business partners who had embezzled money from him. He did not recover his money, but he did decide to stay in Texas. After hearing Texans complain about the despotism of the Mexican government, Rusk became involved in the Texas independence movement.

He organized a volunteer force for the Texas Army, and was one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence. The interim Texas government appointed Rusk to be Secretary of War.

When Rusk learned of the massacre at the Battle of the Alamo, he quickly helped relocate the government to Harrisburg.

Thomas Rusk

Thomas Rusk

After the subsequent massacre at Goliad, Rusk was sent to assist Sam Houston in the War effort. Rusk participated in the Battle of San Jacinto, which was a victory for the Texas Army, with the Capture of Mexican President Santa Anna.

Rusk then served as Commander-in-Chief of the Army or the Republic of Texas.

Rusk strongly supported the annexation of Texas by the United States. He was president of the Convention of 1845 which accepted the annexation terms.

After annexation Thomas Rusk and Sam Houston were elected to serve as the first senators of the State of Texas. Rusk supported President James K. Polk on the necessity of the Mexican War and the acquisition of California.

As an early proponent of a transcontinental railroad through Texas, Rusk made speeches in the Senate and throughout Texas in support of a southern route and toured Texas in 1853 to investigate a possible route. The Gadsden Treaty received his support since it provided an easier railroad route to the Pacific.

Rusk was a a popular figure in his party and was encouraged to become a presidential candidate in 1856. President James Buchanan offered him the position of postmaster general in 1857. In 1856 his wife succumbed to tuberculosis.  Depressed over the Loss of his wife and his own illnesses, Rusk committed suicide on July 29, 1857.




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