In 1841, Republic of Texas President Mirabeau B. Lamar had a vision to expand the borders of the young republic further west, perhaps as far as California. Lamar had won the 1838 presidential election, following Sam Houston, the previous elected president. Lamar was in various ways the ideological opposite of Houston. He became the second of four elected presidents in the short life of the Republic and served from 12/10/1838 to 12/3/1841. At the time, the Texas economy was suffering and Lamar acted on the supposition that he had authority to pursue trade that was currently operating along the Santa Fe Trail.
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Under the rule of Spain and later Mexico, there were a number of empressario grants made, including Austin’s Colony, Dewitt’s, DeLeon’s, Edwards’ and McMullen and McGloin. These grants were primarily located in the southern portion of the area, inland from the gulf coast. A similar empressario system was enacted by the Republic of Texas to encourage settlement in the northern part of the Republic. One of these grants was to W. S. Peters and his associates and was signed by President Mirabeau B. Lamar in 1841.
Collin McKinney was a early settler in North Texas. He was born in 1766 in New Jersey to a Scottish couple, Daniel and Mercy McKinney, making him 10 years old at the height of the American Revolution. Near the end of the war, the family first moved to Virginia and then again on to Kentucky around 1780.
Burleson County is located in East Central Texas and its county seat is Caldwell. The county is named for General Edward Murray Burleson, who served as Colonel of the First Regiment of Volunteers at the Battle of San Jacinto. He was born in North Carolina on December 15, 1798 and was still a relatively young man when his father James B. Burleson brought him on to act as Secretary as his father fought in the Creek War under Andrew Jackson. They both were descended from Ed Burleson’s grandfather Aaron Burleson, who had fought as a Minuteman in the American Revolution. The family first moved to Virginia, and Ed was elected Lieutenant and later Colonel of the militia. They later relocated to Tennessee where he served as Colonel of the militia from 1823 to 1830 in Hardeman County, Tennessee.
José Antonio Navarro was the son of Angel Navarro of Corsica, the Mediterranean island south of Spain, and Josefa Maria Ruiz y Peña. He was born in 1795 in San Antonio de Béxar. He, like many other Tejano residents of the area, opposed the rule of Santa Anna. He married Margarita de la Garza in 1825 and together they would have seven children.
Henry Wax Karnes was a soldier in the Texas Revolution and later was a Texas Ranger. He was born in Tennessee in 1812 and grew up in Arkansas. He first came to Texas on a visit in 1828 and later returned for good in 1835 when he enlisted in the army under Captain John York. One of the first battles he is known to have participated in was the Battle of Concepción (on the grounds of Mission Concepción) and later in the Siege of Bexar. He was also associated with Erastus “Deaf” Smith and is thought to be the first to deliver the news to Sam Houston of the fall of the Alamo mission to Santa Anna.
Irion County is situated west of San Angelo (Tom Green County) in West Texas. Its county seat is Mertzon. It is sparsely populated but the origin of its name extends back to the early days of the Republic of Texas. It was founded in 1889 and was named for Robert Anderson Irion, a medical doctor. Dr. Irion was a friend and personal physician of Sam Houston.