Both men were duelists who shot their opponents.
No American had more to do with the acquisition of Florida than Andrew Jackson. On March 10, 1821, President Monroe named Jackson “Commissioner of the United States with full power and authority to take possession of and to occupy the territories ceded by Spain…” On the same day, he was also appointed...
No American had more to do with the acquisition of Florida than Andrew Jackson. On March 10, 1821, President Monroe named Jackson “Commissioner of the United States with full power and authority to take possession of and to occupy the territories ceded by Spain…” On the same day, he was also appointed by Monroe to act as Governor and was holding that post when the ceremonies of transfer from Spain to the United States took place on July 17, 1821 in Pensacola. Three months later Jackson left Florida (never to return), and Monroe appointed William DuVal to succeed him. DuVal proved to be a good choice and he was reappointed by Presidents Adams and Jackson in the years to come.
The Pope family of Kentucky were strong and early supporters of Andrew Jackson, and a tradition of the Popes claims that at a caucus held in Alexander Pope’s law office, Andrew Jackson was first brought forward as a candidate for the Presidency in 1824. When Jackson visited Louisville he was delightfully entertained by the Pope families. Worden Pope was of this family and was county clerk of Bullitt County. His wife was Elizabeth Thruston, daughter of Col. John Thruston.
Elizabeth’s brother was young Algernon S. Thruston, who was himself highly thought of in Tennessee. One man who admired him was George Childress, a brother-in-law of future President James K. Polk, who was himself a protege of Jackson. When Thruston and a friend, James Drake, sought to test their fortunes in Florida, they were able to seek Jackson’s assistance and get it. Jackson was at that time between his unsuccessful presidential run in 1824 and his election as President in 1828, and was at home in Tennessee.
Autograph Letter Signed, the Hermitage, March 15, 1826, to Algernon S. Thurston and James Drake, sending letters of introduction [not present] to be forwarded to Jackson’s Florida friends in hopes of securing place and position for them in Pensacola, then the state capital. One of the references he doubtless provided was to Governor DuVal.
“Having received a letter from our political friend Mr. Worden Pope, advising me of your resolution to go to seat in Florida, and there pursue the practice of law for a livlihood, with a request that I should enclose for you at Pensacola some letters to my friends in Florida, with great pleasure I comly with this request. Well aware that your proper course in life will realize the best wishes of your friends, I enclose you a few letters to such of my friends who, I am sure, will take great pleasure in serving you. May they be as serviceable to you as I wish them. Accept my best wishes for your prosperity…” Conserved and reinforced. Silked.
Four months later Thruston, then 25 years old, took over as publisher of the Florida Intelligencer, one of the state’s first newspapers. Thereafter he practiced law. He became noted in Florida for another reason as well, fighting one of the first duels in the state. When Thruston arrived in Florida, he fell in love with Governor DuVal’s beautiful daughter Elizabeth. But so, however, did one William McRea. The two men proceeded to fight a duel over their conflicting claims on affection, one of the first duels in Florida. Thurston shot McRea but he survived. It seems that neither man had consulted first with the young woman, who, it turned out, hadn’t the slightest interest in either. Taking part in this duel might have hurt his career with some men, but it may actually have helped him with his patron, Andrew Jackson, another noted duelist. When Jackson became President in 1829, he appointed Thruston Collector of Customs in Key West.
By the mid-1830’s, Childress was involved in the struggle for Texas independence. He recommended Thruston to Stephen Austin as a man of quality and Austin brought him to Texas to serve on his staff. Thruston arrived in Houston in September 1837, and soon began practicing law with Henry W. Fontaine and became involved in local politics. Thruston served as commissary general for the Republic of Texas in 1837 and as quartermaster general in 1838. Sam Houston nominated him for attorney general on November 13, 1838.
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