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James Butler Bonham was a close friend of William Travis and both were natives of the Saluda, S.C., area. When Travis went to the Texas territory and became commander of troops at the Alamo, he had Bonham as his second in command. When trouble began brewing in Texas, Travis had written Bonham and urged him to come.
At the time, Bonham was a resident of Pendleton and had his law office in town. He went, post haste.

Thomas Jefferson Rusk was a native of Pendleton; his father had been the builder of the Old Stone Church in 1797. Rusk became a lawyer and, with John C. Calhoun and others, invested in gold mines in Dahlonega, Ga. Trusting his two managers, he visited the mines one day and discovered they had skipped town with the gold. Rusk took after them, finally finding them in Texas , where they had gambled all the money away. By this time, Rusk was almost penniless himself, and he stayed there where he later became a friend of Sam Houston. He assisted Houston throughout the campaigns with the Mexicans and became one of two Pendleton natives who became a signer of the declaration of independence for the Republic of Texas.

A wealthy Charlestonian came to Pendleton in 1800, liked the area, and stayed here, buying up land everywhere he could while also becoming a major farmer and cattleman. His son, born in Pendleton, did not want to be a farmer or cattleman, so he went to Yale and obtained a law degree. Coming back to Pendleton, he did not like the politics of the time so he struck out for Texas. He settled in San Antonio, where his son became the first white child born there. He set up his law practice while getting into politics, and as was the custom in those days, people would pay him with produce and sometimes a cow or a calf. Still not wanting to be a cattleman, he let the animals roam unbranded. People who saw an unbranded cow knew whose it was, saying "that is a Maverick cow", meaning Samuel Augustus Maverick of Pendleton, S.C.
Not only did the name "maverick" wind up in the dictionary, but his signature was one on the Republic's declaration of independence.

James Hamilton of Pendleton was a governor of South Carolina. When his term ended, he left for Texas and became the first ambassador to Europe for the new republic.

Barnard Bee moved his family to Pendleton from Goose Creek near Charleston. While the family remained, Bee was always running off to the new Texas republic to assist the new government every way he could--sometimes to the distress of those in the government. He did become the first Secretary of War and later Secretary of the Treasury, and also held other offices in the early days. A son, Hamilton P. Bee, had gone to Texas with him on one trip, stayed, and became involved in the early legislature, and became a brigadier general during the Civil War, limiting his services to western campaigns.

John C. Calhoun lived at Fort Hill, now the center of the Clemson University campus, but in his day the mailing address was Pendleton, as it was on the outskirts of the town. He was Secretary of War when the United States went to war with Mexico, and he was vice president of the United States when he helped annex the Republic of Texas into the Union.

There are counties in Texas named for Bee, Calhoun, Hamilton, Maverick and Rusk, and there is an Anderson County named by people who moved from Anderson County, S.C., of which Pendleton is a part.

And how about the Texas county of Stonewall? How does it figure into the Pendleton connection? Barnard Bee had another son, Barnard Elliott Bee, who went to West Point from Pendleton and distinguished himself in the U.S. Army, resigning when the Civil War began. He became a brigadier general in the Confederate Army and at the first battle of Manassas in an attempt to rally the troops he saw Thomas Jonathan Jackson on horseback in the distance. Bee yelled out "There stands Jackson like a stone wall! Rally around the Virginians!". Bee was mortally wounded moments later, but the name Stonewall is still with us.

Hurley E. Badders
Former Executive Director
Pendleton District Commission
Pendleton, SC
Copyright©2000 Hurley Badders. All Rights Reserved.
Credit is appreciated if used.

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