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Thomas Jefferson Rusk is considered to be one of the fathers of Texas. He was born in South Carolina on December 5, 1803 to Irish immigrant John Rusk and his wife Mary Sterritt Rusk, and was one of seven children. He had a modest upbringing as his father was a stone mason. The family lived on the estate of John C. Calhoun who was his mentor. Rusk studied the law and was admitted to the South Carolina bar.