Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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RUSK, Thomas Jefferson, senator, born in Camdem, South Carolina, 8 August, 1802; died in Nacogdoehes, Texas, 29 July, 1856. He received an academic education, practised law with success in Georgia, and in the early part of 1835 removed to Texas. He then identified himself with the history of that republic, was a member of the convention that declared its independence in March, 1836, was its first secretary of war, participated in the battle of San Jacinto, and became commander of the army after Gem Samuel Houston was wounded, continuing to hold that office till the organization of the constitutional government in October, 1836. He was again chosen secretary of war, but resigned after a few months' service, subsequently commanded several expeditions against the Indians, and was a member of the legislature. He was a justice of the supreme court in 1838-'42, president of the convention that consummated the annexation of Texas to the United States in 1845, and upon its admission to the Union was chosen United States senator as a Democrat, serving in 1846-'56. He had been re-elected to a third term, but in a fit of insanity, caused by domestic misfortune, he committed suicide. During his senatorial service he was chairman of the committee on the post-office, and was interested to a large extent in the overland mail and the wagon-road to the Pacific.
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