Texas Almanac, 1952-1953 Page: 46
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David G. Burnet had been named Provi-
sional President of the Republic, which was
set up at Washington-on-the-Brazos in March.,
1836. Fleeing before the advancing army of
Santa Anna, civil headquarters were removed
to Harrisburg, then to Galveston and later to
Velasco and finally to Columbia. The chief
issue of Burnet's administration after the
Battle of San Jacinto, was the Treaty of
Velasco and disposition of General Santa
Anna. Many Texans wished to turn him over
to the army for court-martial and possible
execution. The army itself was cause for con-
cern by civil authorities. Refusing to accept
the cabinet's appointment of Mirabeau B.
Lamar as Major General it chose Gen. Felix
Houston by election. The army had grown
to about 2,500 because of rapid accumulation
of volunteers following the Battle of San
Jacinto. It governed itself in unruly fashion
for several months but civil authorities, fear-
ing invasion from Mexico. were afraid to do
anything to bring about a decline in its
Houston Becomes President-Death of Austin
a The first national election, in September,
1836, resulted in the overwhelming victory of
General Houston over Henry Smith and Ste-
phen F. Austin. The first Congress of the
Republic met at Columbia in October, 1836,
and the first popularly elected administration
of the new Republic was inaugurated. At this
first election the Constitution, which had
been adopted by the convention of 1836, was
ratified by the people. Austin was named
Secretary of State by Houston, but the man
who had come to be known as the Father of
Texas was in failing health, and died Dec
27, 1836, a short time after assuming duties
The young Republic was rich in one thing,
land, and the effort of Houston and his suc-
cessors were directed toward the utilization
of this resource in such a way that it would
yield sufficient revenue to relieve the govern-
ment of its pressing financial burdens. The
General Land Office was established in 1837
to handle the land problems, which included
surveying the vast domain, distributing land
bounties that had been pr6mised those who
had taken part in the Revolution, and the
formulation of policies of colonization and set-
tlement under the laws of the Congress of the
Republic. One of the lasting results of efforts
to induce rapid settlement was the "Home-
stead Law" of the first Congress, which
provided that a homestead could not be taken
for debt other than debt contracted in pay-
ment for the homestead. The homestead law
has been handed down through changing gov-
ernments and exists today in the Constitution
and statutes of the state.
Widespread frauds developed in Texas and
the United States in connection with the
practice of issuing land scrip. Much forged
paper was found in circulation by the newly
established Land Office.
Colonization Under the Republic
The new government attempted to continue
the empresario system of encouraging coloni-
zation and a number of large grants were
made during the first Houston and later ad-
ministrations. Henry Castro brought 600 Alsa-
tian families to a grant west of San Antonio.
Castroville, which he founded, with its quaint
architecture remains one of the outstanding
landmarks of Texas today. Another impor-
tant colonization venture was that of W. S.
Peters for the settlement of families in the
vicinity around present Dallas.
Another enterprise was that of Fisher and
Miller, in the Colorado and Llano Valleys.
It was for this grant that the caravan of
Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels was headed
when it decided to stop at the great springs
at present New Braunfels. It was during the
last days of the Republic and early statehood
that most of the German settlements were
made in South Central Texas.
As the result of the policies of the Repub-
lic, immigration from the United States in-
creased and the population of 35,000 to 50,000
in 1836 increased to 125,000 or 150,000 by the
time of annexation in 1845.
The second national election, Sept. 3. 1838.
resulted in the election of Mirabeau B. Lamar
who had served as Vice-President under
Houston. The administration of Lamar was
distinguished for two policies-his interest
in education and his belief in an aggressive
military policy against Indians and Mexico.
In the matter of public education, Lamar
played an important and constructive role in
early Texas history. Largely because of his
influence Congress passed an act In 1839 pro-
viding three leagues of land for each county's
school fund in addition to a grant of fifty
leagues for two universities for the Republic.
Subsequently, an additional league for each
county's school fund was granted. While this
action did not materialize in any early bene-
fit, because of the cheapness of land, it did
set a precedent and paved the way for later
educational policies. Lamar's phrase, con
tained in his first message to Congress in
1838, "the cultivated mind is the guardian
genius of democracy," has become the slogan
of Texas advocates of public education. Lamar
has come to be known as the Father of Edu-
cation in Texas.
Lamar supported the Texas Navy in its
harassment of the Mexican coast and its
alliance with rebels in Yucatan. In 1841 he
set about the establishment of jurisdiction
over New Mexico by sending out an expedi-
tion under Gen. Hugh McLeod. The results
of the Santa Fe Expedition were disastrous,
the expedition- encountering many difficulties
on the way to New Mexico only to be cap-
tured after it arrived at its objective. The
survivors of the expedition were marched to
Mexico City for trial, and eventually were
released only through friendly intervention
on the part of the United States. The prin-
cipal result of the expedition was the arous-
ing of antagonism in Mexico City. Another
unfortunate venture of President Lamar was
his attack on the Cherokee Indians. His ac-
tion resulted in the Cherokee War and the
killing of Chief Bowles, one of the regretta-
ble chapters of Texas history.
Cherokees in East Texas
At the beginning of this article is a brief
account of the aborigine Indians of Texas,
and also mention of the tribes that migrated
from the east across the border of Texas
before the advance of white man's civiliza-
tion from the Atlantic seaboard.
First among the immigrant tribes probably
were the Cherokees, a tribe of far greater
intelligence than the average North American
Indian. Just when they entered Texas from
Arkansas and Northern Louisiana, where they
had been thrust from their homes east of the
Mississippi, is questionable, but it is a matter
of record that their Chief Fields was in
Mexico City in 1822, endeavoring to obtain
title to the lands on which his people had
settled in East Texas.
The Cherokees were given certain squat-
ters' rights by the Spanish authorities finally,
but they wisely continued to seek a written
treaty. With the revolt of the Texans against
Mexican authority, the Cherokees arrived at
an agreement with a committee representing
the temporary Texas government and having
Sam Houston as one of its members. By this
agreement the Cherokees were to receive the
land lying "north of the San Antonio Road
and the Neches, and west of the Angelina
and Sabine Rivers." This was late in 1835.
After Texas had established its independence
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Texas Almanac, 1952-1953, book, 1951; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117137/m1/48/: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.