Edward Burleson was born in Buncombe County, North Carolina in 1798. His parents were Capt. James B. and Jo Elizabeth (Shipman) Burleson. Burleson was a fire brand by heritage. An earlier relative, also named Edward Burleson, was the first recorded Burleson in the Americas and in 1685 was called on the carpet for "being a disturber & molester of the peace at a town meeting." In 1754 ancestors Jonathan & John Burleson caused a riot when they refused to assist a Constable. After being born in North Carolina Edward Burleson moved to Missouri and was indicted for "inciting a riot" in 1822. In 1828 and 1829 Edward, his brother Joseph and their father, James Burleson were again defendants in Tennessee for causing a riot. Shortly afterwards on May 1830 Edward and his family moved to Texas in the Bastrop area.
Because Burleson had military experience in the Missouri militia he was elected general of the volunteer Texian army at the Siege of Bexar in December 1835. When Sam Houston was made General of the Texian Army in March 1836 Burleson was officially elected Colonel of the first infantry regiment. Although he was a thorn in the side of General Houston, he put his temper to good use in overrunning the Mexican breastworks and forced the Mexican Army into a disorganized, panic retreat at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. Texas won the battle and her independence from Mexico on that day.
After San Jacinto Burleson continued in various military leadership roles. He was elected to the House of Representatives and then to the Senate and became Vice President of the Republic in 1841. He served in the Mexican War and was again reelected to the Senate. He died in Austin in 1851 and was the first person to be buried in the State Cemetery. Burleson County is named in his honor.
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