Triumph and Tragedy: Presidents of the Republic of Texas

Introduction Growing Up Gone to Texas Path to Power Mister President Later Years

Burnet Timeline

1832 - Anahuac Disturbances

1833 - Santa Anna becomes president of Mexico

1833 - Represents Liberty at the convention at San Felipe. Drafts the plea to make Texas a Mexican state and argues against the slave trade.

1834 - Named to head Brazos District Court

October 2, 1835 - Battle of Gonzales, first battle of the Texas Revolution

November 3, 1835 - Consultation meets to discuss autonomous rule for Texas; proposes interim Texas government

March 2, 1836 - Texas Declaration of Independence

March 6, 1836 - Fall of the Alamo

March 10, 1836 - Comes to the Convention seeking clemency for a legal client facing the death penalty

March 13, 1836 - Sam Houston abandons Gonzales, begins retreat eastward. Runaway Scrape begins.

March 16, 1836 - Convention elects Burnet first president of the Republic of Texas

David G. Burnet

A Piece of the Action

Burnet may not have been any more successful as a businessman in Texas than he was in Ohio, but his gift of gab and interest in politics impressed his new neighbors. In 1833, he represented the Liberty area at the convention in San Felipe, where the colonists pleaded with the Mexican government for better representation. In 1834 he was named to head the Brazos District Court. He would be known the rest of his life as "Judge Burnet."

Burnet opposed what he considered "war fever" in the cause of Texas independence. As a result, his more radical neighbors did not elect him to the Consultation of 1835 or the Convention of 1836, which were formed to take Texas out of the Mexican union. Undeterred and wanting to be part of the action, he showed up at Washington-on-the-Brazos anyway.

For once in his life, David G. Burnet was in the right place at the right time. The Convention was looking for a president of their new republic and had decided not to elect one of their own members. The articulate and strong-minded Burnet politicked quickly enough to win the post by a mere seven votes.

"No More Than Tom, Dick, or Harry" >>

William Bryan on the "twin sisters," 1836

The people of Cincinnati, Ohio, Burnet's old home town, raised the money to buy two cannons for Texas. William Bryan, an agent for the Republic of Texas in New Orleans, took possession of the "Twin Sisters" on the day Burnet was elected president. The cannons became famous at San Jacinto.


Page last modified: March 11, 2015