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LOT 1287
Historic Documented Silver Gripped Cane Inscribed as Presented to James Burnside by Hero of the Texas Revolution and First President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston - History, tradition, and folklore run deep in Texas, with few figures standing out more prominently that Sam Houston. Born in Virginia in 1793, Houston’s early life before becoming a Texan would have been enough to write novels about. He traveled with his family to Tennessee where he lived with the Cherokee for three years and was eventually elected as one of the state’s representatives to congress, and then in 1827 was elected governor of the state, before resigning in 1829 and moving to Arkansas Territory. He first settled in Texas in 1832, and three years late after the Battle of Gonzalez, the opening shots of the Texas Revolution, Houston helped organized a provisional government and was elected the top ranking official in the newly formed Texan army. He led
the greatly outnumbered Texan army masterfully, withdrawing deeper into friendly territory
for days, realizing that by mid-March 1836, his army of 1,400 men was the last hope for Texas independence. By the end of March there were growing concerns among his men that Houston refused to fight and many deserted, concerns that carried all the way up to the interim president of the Republic of Texas, David Burnet, who said, “The enemy are laughing you to scorn. You
must fight them. You must retreat no further. The country expects you to fight. The salvation of the country depends on your doing so.” By 20 April, Sam Houston’s Texan army of around 800
men fit for duty was camped 500 yards across a plain from General Santa Anna’s fortified camp
of Mexican forces, which numbered around 1,500, along Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River. The following day the Texan forces launched a surprise attack on the Mexican camp, thoroughly routing them, and capturing Santa Anna himself the following day. The Battle of San Jacinto became the decisive battle which launched Texas independence. Following the battle, thousands of Americans flocked to the Texan cause, and due to internal strife, the vast remainder of the Mexican army returned to Mexico. Sam Houston’s legacy already cemented, he went on to be elected the first president of the Republic of Texas (as well as the third), and would later be elected one of the first two senators to represent the state when it joined the United States, as well as seventh governor of Texas, serving up until the start of the Civil War. The engraved silver grip on this cane is inscribed on top “Presented to,/Jas Burnside/Pittsburg,/an honest man/from/Sam Houston/Texas/his friend”. While the exact identity of James Burnside could not be confirmed, among the extensive included documentation is a patent for “First Class Headrights” issued to James Burnside by the district court in Bowie County, Texas on 4 October 1844 for one-third league of land, or about 1,500 acres. These first class headrights were issued to single men who arrived to settle Texas prior to the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on 2 March 1836, or alternatively, who arrived in Texas after 2 March 1836 and before 1 August 1836 and who received an honorable discharge from service. These rights also included the heirs of those killed in action during the fight for Texas independence. While not confirmed by available muster rolls which are far from complete, it is likely that Burnside was in some way involved in the fight for Texas independence and the formation of the Republic of Texas, thus meeting and befriending the legendary Sam Houston. It should be noted that, the inscribed line, “an honest man”, must have carried great importance to Houston, as it is the final line of the inscription on his tomb located
in Huntsville, Texas. The grip shows floral motifs besides the inscription and is fitted to a “thorned” wood shaft that has a later fitted rubber tip fitted at the bottom.
CONDITION: Very good, the silver grip showing an attractively aged patina with clear inscription and engraving and some scattered minor dents and dings. The wood is fine with some mild crazing and flaking of the finish and the later-added rubber tip. A truly incredible piece of Texas history, presented by one of its founding fathers himself, the legendary Sam Houston.
Estimate: 30,000 - 50,000

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