Thomas Jefferson Rusk
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Thomas Jefferson Rusk (December 5, 1803July 29, 1857) was an early political and military leader of the Republic of Texas, serving as its first Secretary of War as well as a general at the Battle of San Jacinto. He was later a US politician and served as a Senator from Texas from 1846 until his suicide. He served as the President pro tempore of the United States Senate in 1857.
== Early life ==
Rusk was born in Pendleton, South Carolina, to John Rusk, a stonemason, and Mary Sterritt Rusk. After being admitted to the bar in 1825, Rusk began his law practice in Clarkesville, Georgia. In 1827, he married Mary F. (Polly) Cleveland, the daughter of general John Cleveland. Rusk became a business partner of his father-in-law after the marriage. He lived in the gold region of Georgia and made sizable mining investments. In 1834, however, the managers of the company in which he had invested embezzled all the funds and fled to Mexican Texas. Rusk pursued them to Nacogdoches, but never recovered the money.
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