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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.
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As early as the 1880s, supporters were wanting to place a memorial to those Texans who were killed in the Battle of San Jacinto. On August 10, 1881, about forty-five years after the historic battle, the New Orleans Times-Picayune carried a story stating that such a monument had been completed by Messrs. A. Allen and Co. The monument was complete except for the proposed engraving to be placed on it. It was described as a plain square spire made of blue American marble, fifteen and a half feet high and was to be set on a two foot foundation, making the whole structure just under eighteen feet tall.
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Benjamin McCulloch was one of twelve children. He was born November 11, 1811 in Rutherford County, Tennessee to Alexander and Frances Fisher Lenoir McCulloch. His father was a graduate of Yale College and served in the United States Army in Indian campaigns and also the War of 1812. The family migrated west from the eastern coastal states. Ben is thought to have first pursued some other businesses and moved around a lot until he came to Texas in 1835 with another brother and Davy Crockett, a neighbor, in Tennessee. Ben planned to meet up with Crockett and then head from Nacogdoches to San Antonio but was held up as he recuperated from a case of the measles, not arriving in San Antonio until after the Battle of the Alamo. He joined Sam Houston and the Texas Army in time for the Runaway Scrape, Houston’s retreat from Santa Anna.
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Juan Nepomucema Seguin was born in Spanish San Antonio on October 27, 1808 to Juan José Erasmo and María Josefa Becerra Seguin. Erasmo was descended from one of sixteen families who came to the San Antonio area from the Canary Islands in the early 1700s. The Seguin cattle ranch covered portions of three current Texas counties: Bexar, Guadalupe and Wilson. Erasmo served as postmaster of San Antonio from 1807 to 1835, mayor (alcalde) of San Antonio from 1820-1821 and quartermaster of Presidio de San Antonio de Béxar from 1825 to 1835. Erasmo was acquainted with Moses Austin who was succeeded by his son, Stephen F. Austin. Along with Don Martin de Veramendi, Erasmo assisted them in obtaining their Austin Colony grant.
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Santa Anna (Antonio López de Santa Anna) was born in Vera Cruz in 1794 and began serving in the Army in Spanish Mexico when he was a teenager. He was said to have first fought in support for the Spanish against Mexican independence before joining the movement in 1821 in support of an independent Mexico. He continued to be near the forefront of leadership in the young country of Mexico and helped defeat the Spanish effort to reclaim Mexico in the late 1820s. Santa Anna was himself elected President in 1833. The previous two decades had seen chaotic changes in the country of Mexico with the form of government varying from a constitutional republic to a centralist form with Santa Anna at the head, supported by the military. The country was vast with the Central American part being largely populated and the North American portion being sparsely populated by Native American tribes and an increasing number of American settlers. Under Santa Anna, its policy changed from encouraging settlements to being more restrictive toward them.
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