Thomas J. Rusk Collection, 1826-1978 | East Texas Research Center

By Linda Nicklas

Collection Overview

Title: Thomas J. Rusk Collection, 1826-1978Add to your cart.

ID: A/136

Extent: 0.5 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection was formed by gathering items from a variety of sources. The family Bible of Thomas J. Rusk, gift of a descendant, and a letter written by him to his brother, David, were transferred to us by the Stone Fort Museum. The letter was written during the same time period, that of Rusk's service as a U. S. Senator in Washington, as letters in the Department in the Thomas J. Rusk Letters collection. The "Heritage" columns by Lucille Fain which appeared in the Daily Sentinel during late 1975 and early 1976, were inspired by and based on Rusk's letters in the Department and in other repositories.

Collection Historical Note

Thomas Jefferson Rusk was born on December 5, 1803 in Pendleton District, South Carolina to John and Mary (Sterritt) Rusk. He was influenced by John C. Calhoun to study law and practiced in Georgia, where he met and married Mary F. Cleveland in 1827. In Georgia, he made some unwise investments and lost some money. Those responsible headed west to Texas and T. J. Rusk followed them, eventually settling in Nacogdoches, Texas, without recovering his investment.

He met Sam Houston and other leaders who opposed the Mexican government, and in the fall of 1835 he organized a company of volunteers at Nacogdoches and joined the Texas troops near San Antonio. From that time on, we devoted himself wholly to the achievement of Texas independence. He was a colonel in the Siege at San Antonio, and a member of the convention which declared the independence of the republic.

He was appointed Secretary of war, but resigned after a few weeks. He was elected to the Second Congress of the Republic, serving from September 25, 1837 to May 24, 1838. He was elected chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court on December 12, 1838 and served until June 20, 1840. He commanded Texas troops in expelling the Cherokee Indians from Texas.

In January, 1843, Rusk was elected major general of the militia and returned to law practice with James Pickney Henderson when his term of office was finished.

In February, 1846, Rusk and Sam Houston were elected to the United States Senate, where he served until his death on July 29, 1857. He died by a self-inflicted gun wound at his home in Nacogdoches. He never fully recovered from the death of his beloved wife, Mary. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Field notes of survey for Thomas J. Rusk in Nacogdoches County, 1835Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Letter from Thomas J. Rusk to his brother, David, Washington, March 25, 1848Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Inquest of Thomas J. Rusk. (original and photocopy), 1857Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Inventory of land belonging to the estate of TJR, 1857Add to your cart.
Folder 5: News article on TJR, Banner of Light, February 13, 1858Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Address on the life of TJR, Proceedings, Texas Bar Association, 1925Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Biography from Daily Sentinel, December 8, 1928Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Invitation to program honoring TJR at Washington-on-the Brazos, March 2, 1940Add to your cart.
Folder 9: "Heritage" Columns from the Daily Sentinel, on the life of TJR. (28 items), 1975-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Rusk family genealogy chart by Carolyn Ericson, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Eulogy of the life and character of the Hon. Thomas J. Rusk, Late U.S. Senator from Texas. Delivered in the Hall of the House of Representatives of the State of Texas, November 7, 1857Add to your cart.
Item 1: Family Bible of Thomas J. RuskAdd to your cart.


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