Edward Burleson
Fourth Vice President of the Republic

Edward Burleson was known as the man who “had killed more Indians and Mexicans than any other Texan”, when he ran against Anson Jones for the Presidency of the Republic of Texas in 1844.

Born in 1793 in Buncombe County, North Carolina, Burleson moved with his family to Alabama, where he married Sarah Owen of Madison County in 1813. Burleson gained a reputation as a military leader at an early age, first in command of a company of militia in Howard County, Missouri, and then as colonel of a frontier regiment in Hardeman County, Tennessee.

Burleson came to Texas in 1830 and settled on land in present Bastrop County on the Colorado River, as a part of Stephen F. Austin’s second colony. When the Texas revolution broke out, Burleson was made second in command to Stephen Austin. He was in command of the forces that participated in the taking of San Antonio in the fall of 1835, and later commanded the first regiment of volunteers at the Battle of San Jacinto. He was with that small band at Gonzales that raised the “Come and Take It” cannon flag and, on October 2, 1835, he saw Eli Mitchell fire the first cannon shot of the Texas Revolution. In November 1835, as the Texas Army besieged the Mexican force at Bexar, Colonel Burleson’s popularity with the men got him elected to succeed Austin as Commander. At the Battle of San Jacinto, Burleson commanded the First Regiment of Texas Volunteers. As a brigadier general in 1839, he led his regiment in the Cherokee War and, during the Mexican War, he served under Governor J. Pinckney Henderson.

After Texas won independence, Burleson was appointed Brigadier General in charge of the limited forces of the Republic of Texas. He was very active from 1838 through 1841 in the challenging task of protecting the frontier from Mexican and Indian depredations.

After serving in the Congress of the Republic, in the fall of 1841 he was elected Vice-President of the Republic of Texas, however, he returned to the field in 1842 to repel the Mexican invasions under Rafael Vasquez and Adrian Woll. During the Mexican-American war, Burleson enlisted as a private soldier and fought at Monterrey. In 1844 he ran against Anson Jones for the Presidency. A supporter of Mirabeau Lamar’s Policy of extermination of the Indian, Burleson was defeated largely through the efforts of that old adopted Cherokee, Sam Houston.

After annexation, Burleson remained active in politics and was elected to the Texas Senate, where he served as President Pro Tempore until his death in December 1851. A member of McFarland Lodge No. 3 at San Augustine, he was buried with Masonic honors at the State Cemetery by Austin Lodge No. 12.

* Portions From The Texas Mason
By Pete Normand, PM
Texas Lodge of Research

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* The Texas Masons
The Fraternity of Ancient Free & Accepted Masons in the History of Texas
by Pete Normand, © 1986
Book may be ordered from
Brazos Valley Masonic Library and Museum Assn.
P.O. Box 1300
College Station, TX 77841
Price: $10.00 Postpaid