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Edward Thomas Branch (1811-1861)

Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the Republic of Texas, 1838-1840

Little is known about the early years of Edward Thomas Branch. Born in Richmond, Virginia, on December 6, 1811, he lived for a time in Jackson, Mississippi, before arriving in Texas in 1835. His arrival in Texas was marked by drama: apparently, he had been hijacked and robbed at sea en route from Mississippi to Cuba, and was put ashore at Anahuac, at the mouth of the Trinity River. He settled in nearby Liberty, where he taught school from 1835-1836.

Branch served in the Texas Revolution, fought in the Battle of San Jacinto, and rose to the rank of first lieutenant. He was elected to represent Liberty County in the First and Second Congresses of the Republic of Texas (1836-1838), where he chaired the Ways and Means Committee. In 1838 Branch married, and the couple had five children.

Branch was appointed judge of the Fifth Judicial District in a joint session of the legislature in 1838, which automatically made him an associate justice of the supreme court. The court did not convene until January 1840, and he left office in August of that year, before the end of his term.

In 1843 Branch became postmaster of Liberty. Following statehood, he was elected to the House of Representatives of the First Legislature. He also ran a law practice in Liberty and was a slaveholder who owned a plantation of more than 3,000 acres. Edward Branch died on September 24, 1861, and was buried in his family cemetery in Liberty.

Sources

Duncan, Patricia L, Branch, Edward Thomas, Handbook of Texas Online (last updated June 6, 2001).
http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/BB/fbr21.html

Ericson, Joe E. Judges of the Republic of Texas (1836-1846) 53 (Dallas, Texas: Taylor Publishing Co., 1980).

Extended bibliography

Dixon, Samuel Houston and Louis Wiltz Kemp. Heroes of San Jacinto 366 (Houston, Texas: The Anson Jones Press, 1932).

Ericson, Joe E. Judges of the Republic of Texas (1836-1846) 53 (Dallas, Texas: Taylor Publishing Co., 1980).

Kemp, Louis W., Veterans Biographies: San Jacinto Biographies: Edward Thomas Branch, Herzstein Library at the San Jacinto Museum of History.

Additional information available in Southwestern Historical Quarterly as follow:
Volume 20, page 317
Volume 60, page 17

Additional information available in Texas Bar Journal as follow:
Volume 14, page 201

Muster Roll Books. Archives Division, Texas State Library (Austin, Texas).