From the Annals of the Frontier – In 1786, David Crockett was born in Tennessee. Crockett was an authentic frontiersman and hunter as a young man. When he embarked on a political career, his legend grew. Crockett was reputed to be uncomfortable with his portrayal in the popular media of the time and took exception to the unauthorized biography Sketches and Eccentricities of Colonel David Crockett of West Tennessee. But his popular persona helped him gain election to the Tennessee state house. From there his political career moved to Washington where served three terms as a U.S. congressman from eastern Tennessee. He was arguably among the two or three most famous Congressmen in U.S. history (Henry Clay and Sonny Bono might even agree). His stance against Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act likely caused him to lose his congressional seat and set him in motion towards Texas. In 1835, Crockett set out for Texas with 30 Tennesseans. Along the way he was greeted by enthusiastic crowds. Crockett still had political ambitions and likely viewed himself as a potential president of an independent Texas. Based on his previous experience, he was probably not interested in serious military activity in support of the Texas revolution and not interested in becoming a dead military hero. The circumstances of his death at the Alamo have been hotly debated. Credible accounts establish that he was among a handful of survivors who were executed after the fighting ceased. That in no way detracts from the heroism of this true American icon.
From the Annals of Diplomacy – In 1837, U.S. President Andrew Jackson appointed Alcée La Branche as the American chargé d’affaires to the Republic of Texas. The act officially recognized Texas as an independent republic. La Branche was born on his father’s plantation on the Mississippi River near New Orleans in 1806. The family, earlier named Zweig (the German equivalent of French branche) had emigrated from Bamberg, Bavaria to Louisiana in 1721. Alcée attended the University of Sorreze in France. and after returning home he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1831 and was elected as speaker of the House in 1833.
Texas received him enthusiastically viewing him as friend of annexation. La Branche, however, was loyal to his country and aggressively defended the United States claim to disputed territory in Red River County (now Bowie, Red River, Franklin, Titus, Morris, and Cass counties). The two countries signed the Convention of Limits, which recognized Texas claims to the contested county and the Sabine River as the eastern boundary of Texas. La Branche also sought to reduce tensions concerning cross-border raids in pursuit of Native Americans. He believed that the majority of Indian attacks were caused by Texans’ trespassing and surveying Indian lands.
La Branche Street in Houston is named in his honor.
From the Annals of the Revolution – In 1836, David Crockett arrived in Texas. At the time, he was one of the most famous men in America. In 1834, the newly formed Whig Party had seriously considered Rep. Crockett of Tennessee for its presidential candidate. Crockett was a folk hero based on his backwoods origins, but he was also a reasonable shrewd politician who played up his popular image in winning a seat in Congress representing west Tennessee. He had pushed for land reform that would have benefitted his landless Tennessee constituents and refused to kowtow to Pres. Andrew Jackson. He strongly opposed the president’s Indian Removal Bill. But after suffering a last electoral defeat, he apparently realized that he could not compete with the powerful Jackson. When he lost his congressional seat in 1835 he was at a low point. Heavily in debt and estranged from his wife, he embarked on the trip to Texas undoubtedly hoping to revive his sagging political fortunes. He was well received in Texas and likely would have been a political force in the Republic had he survived the Revolution. “I told the people of my District, that, if they saw fit to re-elect me, I would serve them as faithfully as I had done,but, if not, they might to go to hell, and I would go to Texas.”