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.
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.
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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.
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.