James Pinckney Henderson, first governor of the Lone Star State and third U.S. Senator, passed away in the prime of life on June 4, 1858.
The North Carolina native took a leave of absence shortly after being sworn in as the new state’s chief executive in order to lead Texas troops in the war with Mexico. He refused to seek reelection and stepped down after a single term. After Thomas Rusk committed suicide in the summer of 1857, the legislature picked Henderson to fill the empty seat in the U.S. Senate, but he served only seven months before dying of natural causes at the age of 50.
After getting the Lone Star Republic’s Supreme Court up and going, Thomas Rusk resigned as Chief Justice on June 1, 1840.
Since March 1836, he had: 1) chaired the committee to revise the constitution at the independence convention; 2) served as secretary of war in the interim government; 3) fought at the Battle of San Jacinto; 4) commander-in-chief of the Republic Army from May until October 1836; 5) briefly secretary of war in President Houston’s first cabinet; 6) elected Supreme Court Chief Justice by the legislature in December 1838; 7) president of the annexation convention in 1845 and 8) elected one of Texas’ first two U.S. Senators in February 1846.