Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar was the second president of the Republic of Texas. He was born in Georgia in 1798 to John Samuel III and Rebecca Lamar. One of the youngest of eight children, Lamar was self educated, having been accepted to Princeton University, though he declined.
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Before the Texas Revolution, the official religion of the area was Roman Catholicism according to Spanish law. Landowners were required to espouse the Roman Catholic faith and many did so in order to obtain title to their land. However Protestant families moved to the area prior to and following the Texas Revolution. R. E. B. Baylor, a Baptist, came to Texas in late 1839. By then, there were already a number of Baptist families in Texas. After a couple of failed efforts, the Baptist Union Association was formed in the fall of 1840 and included churches from La Grange, Travis and Independence. Baylor was a circuit judge and was an ordained minister. By about 1845, there were hundreds of fellow Baptists in the area. Among other things, the Association had been concerned about education and formed an Education Society of which R. E. B. Baylor was selected to be President.
(Image credit: http://www.tamu.edu)
As we approach the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto, we consider Moses Austin Bryan. He was an eyewitness to some of the key events in Texas history. Born in Herculaneum, Missouri, he came to Texas with his parents in 1831. He had first worked for his uncle Stephen Fuller Austin in a store in Austin’s Colony before enlisting in the Texas Army. After enlistment, he served as a secretary to Stephen F. Austin, was a witness to the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence, fought in the Battle of San Jacinto, interviewed Santa Anna after his capture at San Jacinto (Bryan was the closest Spanish speaking Texas soldier to Sam Houston), served as secretary to the Texas Legation to the United States in 1839, participated in the Somervell Expedition in 1842 and served as a Confederate officer in the Civil War.
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.
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.