Thomas Jefferson Rusk
By P.A. Geddie
Born December 5, 1803, Thomas Jefferson Rusk became a leader in the formation of the state of Texas. Statues and dedications for him stand proudly around Nacogdoches. He was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, Secretary of War for the Republic of Texas, Brigadier General of the Army and hero at San Jacinto, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the republic of Texas, United States Senator, a soldier, a jurist, and a statesman.
One of the plaques states, “Bold, intrepid and daring in battle, he was yet more honored for wise forbearance, sound judgment, and fine character. He helped form Texas and set an example for men and women to follow — then, now and in the future. He gave of himself.”
Sadly, ill and grief-stricken after losing his wife, he was just 54 years old when he killed himself in July 1857. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Nacogdoches.