Moses Estey

Moses Estey (1656 – 1714) was not a direct ancestor, only a cousin  His Revolutionary pension and famous sons and daughters-in-law are too verbose to put on his grandfather’s page, but are interesting stories.  How did his son-in-law go from a Presbyterian Sunday School teacher from Newark to the first President of Texas?

Moses Estey was born  7 Jan 1752 in Enfield, Hartford, CT; His parents were Moses Estey and Eunice Pengilly (Penguille), His grandparents were Isaac ESTEY and  Abigail KIMBALL . He married first married Elizabeth Fearcio .  After Elizabeth died, he married in 1784 to Anne Kirkpatrick Moses and Anne had seven children born between 1783 and 1801.

Elizabeth Fearcio was born in 1760 Elizabeth died in 1783 of consumption.

Anne Kirkpatrick was born 10 Mar 1764 in  Somerset, New Jersey.  Her parents were David M. Kirkpatrick (1724 – 1814) and Mary McEowen (1728 – 1795) Her brother Andrew Andrew Kirkpatrick (wiki) (1756–1831) was Chief Justice of New Jersey from 1804 to 1825.  Anne died 11 Nov 1809 in Morristown, Morris, New Jersey.

Children of Moses and Anne:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Judge David Kirkpatrick Este 21 Oct 1785 Morristown, Middlesex, New Jersey Lucy Ann Harrison
30 Sep 1819
Louise Miller
1 Apr 1875 Cincinnati, Ohio
2. Elizabeth Estey 8 Jul 1787, Morristown, Somerset, NJ William Nottingham
2 Oct 1808 Morristown, NJ
3. Charles Estey 12 May 1789, Morristown, Somerset, NJ. Mary Johnson 25 Jan 1817
4. William John Estey 9 Jul 1791, Morristown, Somerset, NJ Philadelphia, PA
5. Sarah Ann Estey 30 Apr 1793 Morristown, NJ Lewis Mills
11 Dec 1817 Morristown
13 Jun 1842 Morristown, Middlesex, New Jersey
6. Hannah Este 17 Feb 1800  Morristown, Morris, New Jersey David G. Burnet (wiki), 30 Oct 1857 in Galveston, Galveston, Texas
7. Alfred Augustus Estey 10 Aug 1802 Cincinnati, Ohio Mary Sears
10 Nov 1825 Rome, Oneida, NY
Sarah M. Kelley
1843 Rome, NY
21 May 1899 in Constantia, Oswego, New York
8. Mary Este 1801 in Morristown, Morris, New Jersey Josephs C Clopper Oct 1882

In about 1756, Moses moved with his parents from Enfield, CT to Bucks County, Pennsylvania. About five or six years later, the family moved to Readington township, Hunterdon, New Jersey. Moses received an apprenticeship in Philadelphia and returned to Readington where he lived when the war broke out.

Moses Estey Portrait

Moses Estey Portrait

In 1774, Moses Estey was elected lieutenant of militia in Capt. Joseph Hawkinson’s company. The officers were confirmed by the Committee of Safety rather than Continental or Provincial authorities.  Soon after the outbreak of war, Capt. Hawkinson resigned and Moses was elected Captain, but whether in 1775 or 1776, Moses could not remember in his 1832 pension application.  His commissions were destroyed when his house burned down 19 Jan 1786 along with all his papers.

Many Committees of Safety were established throughout Colonial America at the start of theAmerican Revolution. These committees in part grew out of the less formal Sons of Liberty groups, which started to appear in the 1760’s as means to discuss and spread awareness of the concerns of the time, and often consisted of every male adult in the community. The local militias were usually under the control of the committees, which in turn sent representatives to county- and colony-level assemblies to represent their local interests.    Committees of Safety formed in 1774 to keep watch on the distrusted royal government. By 1775 they had become the operating government of all the colonies, as the royal officials were expelled.

He and his company were called for a month’s of duty during warm weather in 1776 and assigned to Elizabethtown in Col. (probably Major at the time)  Oliver Spencer’s house under Col. John  Taylor 4th Hunterdon Militia. and General William Winds. to perform guard duty upon the lines and at the several points of landing and to protect the inhabitants from invasion of the enemy who at that time was in control of New York and Staten Island and make frequent incursions along the Jersey shore.  At the end of the month his company was released and returned home.

There were regular calls for service from the Colonel of the Regiment and General of the Brigade

He served on tours of duty, guarding prisoners and stores. He was at the battle of Monmouth where he received a gunshot wound in his left thigh.   He was involved in several skirmishes.   In 1832 he was placed on the pension roll for service of captain, New Jersey line and drew an annual pension of $180.

In 1779 or 1780 he moved to Morris County, New Jersey, and lived a year or two at Black River, later Chester and then moved to Morristown.

He was collector of internal revenue for the New Jersey district during President Washington’s administration.

Captain Moses Estey built the Moses Estey house in Speedwell, News Jersey, after a fire had destroyed his earlier house on the same site in January, 1786. Estey, a chairmaker by trade, had at one time a chair factory in the back of his residence.

Moses Estey Pension

Moses Estey Pension

Moses Estey Pension 2

Moses Estey Pension 3
Moses Estey Pension 4
Moses Estey Pension 5
Moses Estey Pension 6
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Moses Estey Pension 12
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Moses Estey Pension 14

Este, Moses, Capt NJ Militia; wounded at Monmouth, 28 June 1778

Moses Estey House

Moses Estey House at original location Water and Spring Streets

The Estey House is two-and-a-half stories high over a basement and has a spacious entrance hall flanked by two rooms on each side. The second floor has a similar plan. All eight rooms have fireplaces and the house has two chimneys on both sides. Each pair of chimneys has been brought together in the attic to appear as a single chimney above the roof. Double recessed arches on opposite sides of the cellar support the massive stonework for the fireplaces. The stairway in the front hall is obviously of a later date than 1786 and was probably built as an auxiliary to the original box stair still remaining.

Capt Moses Estey House – American Historical Buildings Survey

Although the Estey House has undergone some renovations over the years, its structural integrity remains intact. Visitors to Historic Speedwell admire its elegance and the classical harmony of its lines.

Moses Estey House  Morristown, New Jersey

Moses Estey House Morristown, New Jersey

The Moses Estey House was removed from its location on the corner of Spring and Water Streets  in Morristown when it faced demolition by an urban renewal project. Three late 18th- and early 19th-century Morristown houses threatened with demolition were moved to Speedwell – the Gabriel Ford CottageMoses Estey House and L’Hommedieu-Gwinnup House. The Speedwell Village made the same agreement with H.U.D. as made for the L’Hommedieu-Gwinnup House. Since then, the roof has been repaired and the chimneys capped. Awaiting restoration.


Two of the daughters, Hannah and Sarah, married well-known men. Hannah married  who became the first president of the Republic of Texas, and Sarah married Lewis Mills, a prominent Morristown citizen. During the 1830s, Sarah and Lewis owned the family home in Morristown. One son, David Kirkpatrick Estey, became a judge of the Supreme Court of Ohio and lived in Cincinnati. He married a daughter of President William Henry Harrison.

It was stated the Moses wrote his name Estey, but his children all wrote their name Este.

1. Judge David Kirkpatrick Este

David’s first wife Lucy Ann Harrison was born in 5 Sep 1800 in Richmond, Richmond, Virginia.  Her parents were President William Henry Harrison (1773 – 1841) and Anna Tuthill Symmes (1775 – 1864).  Lucy died 7 Apr 1826 in Cincinnati, Ohio. David and Lucy had two children: Lucy Ann Harrison Este  (1822 – 1868) and William Henry Harrison Este (1824 – 1830).

William Henry Harrison in 1841;  This is an early (circa 1850) photographic copy of an 1841 daguerreotype.  Harrison was the first President to have his picture taken while in office

William Henry Harrison Daguerreotype. Harrison was the first President to have his picture taken while in office

In 1795 Harrison met Anna Symmes, of North Bend, Ohio. She was the daughter of Judge John Cleves Symmes, a prominent figure in the state, and former representative to the Congress of the Confederation.When Harrison asked the judge for permission to marry Anna, he was refused. Harrison waited until Symmes left on business, then he and Anna eloped and married on Nov 25, 1795.  Afterward, concerned about Harrison’s ability to provide for Anna, Symmes sold the young couple 160 acres of land in North Bend.

Together they had 10 children. Nine lived into adulthood and one died in infancy. Anna was frequently in poor health during the marriage, primarily due to her many pregnancies.  Nevertheless, she outlived William by 23 years, dying at age 88 on February 25, 1864.

Harrison is also believed to have had six children with one of his female slaves, Dilsia. When he ran for president he did not want “bastard slave children” around, so he gave four of his children to his brother, who sold them to a Georgia planter. Through this family line, Harrison is the great-grandfather of famous black civil rights activist Walter Francis White. White was the president of the NAACP from 1931–1955.

David’s second wife Louise Miller was born 15 Oct 1803 in Louisiana. Her parents were Judge William Miller (1762 – 1845) and Ursula Meullion (1781 – 1840). Ursula’s father Ennemond Meuillion, was a French aristocrat who fled before the Revolution, coming to Louisiana “about 1770, soon after Spain took over the government of that vast territory.”

The Meuillions settled on the Red River near present-day Alexandria. The area, called El Rapido by the Spanish and Rapides by the French, was named for the nearby limestone rapids. A Spanish fort, the Post of El Rapido, fronted the river. Meuillion built a home nearby, cleared trees for a plantation, and prospered growing cotton.When war broke out between Spain and Great Britain in 1779, Meuillion signed on as a sublieutenant in the service of Spanish general Bernardo de Galvez, who aided the American cause. After the war Meuillion continued to grow cotton and doctor the community while serving under the Spaniards as commandant of Fort Rapides. He died in his plantation home in 1820 at eighty-three.

Ursula Meuillion, the second child of Ennemond Meuillion and Jeannette Poiret  was born in 1784.   Her granddaughter, Alice Pike Barney wrote more than a century later, “was exquisitely petite, delicate, and adorable. She refused to learn English, which meant that all those about her were forced to learn French.”A favorite family legend told of the time that Ursula received a message from her husband: “Lafayette vient! Préparez inunediatement!” Having no idea who Lafayette was but nonetheless terrified at the thought of his arrival, she urged the household into panic mode. Everyone scurried about, burying the silver, hiding the horses in the bayou, sending the chickens cackling. When everything was locked up, Ursula, the children, and the rest of the household fled deep into the woods. By the time her husband rode home with his illustrious guest, General Lafayette — American Revolutionary hero and friend of George Washington — they found not the hospitable welcome they expected, but a deserted house.

Ursula Meullion married William Miller, one of the early settlers of Rapides, who afterwards became the first territorial judge of the parish. He came here as a partner of Alexander Fulton (Wiki), who founded Alexandria which he named for himself. Judge Miller and his wife had thirteen children.

Judge William Miller, represented France at New Orleans when the Louisiana Territory was transferred from Spain to France and later served as agent of the United States when the Territory was fnially incorporated into the nation.

Judge William Miller (1762 - 1845)

Judge William Miller (1762 – 1845)

His grandson William Miller Este wrote a book in 1892: “Honest” Judge William Miller, Commissioner and Agent, on the Part of the Republics of France and of the United States, to Receive Possession of the Post and Depending Territory of Rapides, Louisiana, in 1804, Commissioned a Judge Under the New Régime

David and Louise had five children: Ursula C. Este (1830 – 1916), Major William Miller Este (1831 – 1900), Louisa Este (1834 – 1915), George W. Este (1836 – 1836) and David K. Este (1837 – 1886). Louisa died 23 Jan 1907 – Baltimore, Maryland.

David Este graduated at Princeton in 1803, and studied law under difficulties, owing to partial loss of eyesight. He removed to Ohio in 1809, settled in Cincinnati in 1814, and became prominent in his profession. He was associated with Henry Clay as counsel for the Bank of the United States for the Northwest Territory, and his practice extended to the U. S. Supreme Court. In 1834 he was elected president judge of the ninth judicial circuit of Ohio, and in 1838 judge of the superior court of Cincinnati. On the expiration of his term in 1847 he retired to private life. Judge Este was an advocate of much force and skill, and a man of great research. In his long life he was singularly above reproach.

In the 1850 census, David was a Legal Professor living in New Haven, Connecticut with Louisa,

2. Elizabeth Estey

Elizabeth’s husband William Nottingham was born in Philadelphia

In the 1840 census, an Elizabeth Nottingham was the head of a large household in Trenton, NJ that included “eight white persons and two colored persons”

3. Charles Estey

Charles’ wife Mary Johnson was born about 1788

In the War of 1812, Charles was a surgeon at the fall of Detroit.

5. Sarah Ann Estey

Sarah’s husband Lewis Mills was born 19 Jan 1788 in Morristown, Morris, NJ.  His parents were Edward Mills (1749 – 1827) and Phebe Byram (1758 – 1795).  He first married  19 Jan 1809 in Morristown, Morris Co., New Jersey to Mary Armstrong Pierson (b. ~1784 – d. 22 Feb 1816  Morristown)  Lewis died 5 Mar 1869.

Sarah and Lewis had eight children born in Morristown between 1819 and 1836.

Lewis was a successful merchant.

6. Hannah Estey

Hannah’s husband David Gouverneur Burnet wiki   was born 14 Apr 1788 in Newark, New Jersey. His parents were Dr. William Burnet (wiki)  (1730 – 1791) and his second wife, Gertrude Gouverneur Rutgers, widow of Anthony Rutgers (a brother of  Henry Rutgers who founded Rutgers University) . His father had served in the Continental Congress and as Surgeon General. Both of his parents died when Burnet was a child and his was raised by his older half brothers.   His brother Isaac (wiki)  served as the first mayor of Cincinnati.   His half brother  Jacob (wiki)  was  lawyer, ardent federalist, and later a Whig who nominated his friend, William Henry Harrison, for president, served as a member of the territorial council of Ohio, state legislator, Supreme Court judge, and United States senator, and was honored for intellectual achievements including a history of the territory of Ohio, , while Ichabod and William, Jr. followed their father as doctors.   David died 5 Dec 1870 in Galveston, Texas.

David G Burnet

David G Burnet

David was an early politician within the Republic of Texas, serving as the first (interim)   President of Texas (1836) and again in 1841,  second Vice President of the Republic of Texas (1839–41), and Secretary of State (1846) for the new state of Texas after it was annexed to the United States.   The first Reconstruction state legislature appointed him to the U.S. Senate, but he was unable to take his seat due to the Ironclad oath

He wrote proudly in 1859 that he had never been a Democrat and deplored the course of the “ignorant popular Sovereignty.” His attitude and politics did not make him popular in Texas, and his entire life was a string of disappointments.  Nevertheless, he was the first President of Texas.

“David G. Burnet united the perferfidium ingenium of the Scotch character with the unbending sternness of principle of an old covenanter.  Old John Knox would have hugged such a character with grim delight.  It does not detract from the virtures of this gentleman that he neither possessed eminent administrative capacity, nor in a high degree that knowledge of human nature and tact in managing men which inferior men often acquire; nor that political wisdom and statesmanship accorded to but few”–Ashbel Smith in Reminiscences of the Republic, 1876.

In 1830 Burnet established his saw mill on 17 acres  of land along the San Jacinto River, in an area  known as Burnet’s Bay, 10 miles east of Houston in Baytown, TX.  (Oakland on Burnet Bay is a majestic and monumental estate home built in the likeness of the 1830’s antebellum plantation mansions of the Gulf Coast area.    The home was built to commemorate the home site of the first Ad Interim President of the Republic of Texas, David G. Burnet. President Burnet and his family lived at “Oakland” in the era of the Battle of San Jacinto and the early Republic of Texas years.

Burnet County Texas

Burnet County Texas

Burnet County was named in his honor when it was formed in 1852, as was the county seat.  The name of the county is pronounced with the emphasis  on the first syllable, just as its namesake David Burnet.

Burnet’s Early Life

In 1805, Burnet became a clerk for a New York counting house, Robinson and Hartshorne. When the firm suffered financial difficulty, Burnet gave his entire personal inheritance, $1,200, to try to save the company. The firm went bankrupt, and Burnet lost all of the money.

David fought with Francisco de Miranda (1754 - 1816) Nicknamed El Precursor  (de Bolivar) y El Primer Venezolano Universal

David fought with Francisco de Miranda (1754 – 1816) Nicknamed El Precursor (de Bolivar) y El Primer Venezolano Universal

Burnet volunteered to serve the unsuccessful revolt led by Francisco de Miranda for the independence of Venezuela from Spain. Wikipedia says he fought in Chile in 1806 and in Venezuela in 1808 and after Miranda broke with Simon Bolivar, Burnet returned to the United States.  I don’t see evidence Miranda fought in Chile.  Also Miranda returned to Venezuela from England in 1810 and was  not betrayed by Bolivar until 1812.  Other sources say Burnet returned to the US in 1806.

Miranda envisioned an independent empire consisting of all the territories that had been under Spanish and Portuguese rule, stretching from the Mississippi River to Cape Horn. This empire was to be under the leadership of a hereditary emperor called the “Inca”, in honor of the great Inca Empire, and would have a bicameral legislature. He conceived the name Colombia for this empire, after the explorer Christopher Columbus.

With informal British help, Miranda led an attempted invasion of the Captaincy General of Venezuela in 1806. At the time Britain was at war with Spain, an ally of Napoleon. In November 1805 Miranda travelled to New York, where he rekindled his acquaintance with Colonel William S. Smith, who introduced him to merchant Samuel G. Ogden (who would later be tried, but acquitted, for helping organize Miranda’s expedition). Miranda then went to Washington for private meetings with President Thomas Jefferson and his Secretary of State James Madison, who met with Miranda but did not involve themselves or their nation in his plans, which would have been a violation of the Proclamation of Neutrality of 1793. Miranda privately began organizing a filibustering expedition to liberate Venezuela.   Miranda hired a ship from Ogden, which he rebaptized the Leander in honor of his oldest son.

On Jan 1, 1806 Burnet received a commission as Second Lieutenant of infantry from    Gen. Francisco de Mirando.  The sons of many noted families of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, including a grandson of President John Adams, were in the expedition. The invading squadron entered the Gulf of Venezuela, accompanied by the British frigate Buchante, whose launch boat was commanded by Lt. Burnet, under whose orders the first gun was fired in behalf of South American liberty. This was in an attack on the fort protecting  Santa Ana de Coro on that gulf. The assailants carried the fort, its occupants retiring to the interior. At Porto Caballo, a number of the invaders were captured ten of whom were slaughtered, some condemned to the mines, and others died. The death of Pitt, Premier of England and patron of Mirando, caused an abandonment of the enterprise and the return of the survivors to New York. In 1808 Mirando renewed the contest and secured a position on the coast. Burnet hastened to him, but he was persuaded by the patriot chief to return home.

In Jacmel, Haiti, Miranda acquired two other ships, the Bee and the Bacchus, and their crews. It is here in Jacmel on March 12, when Miranda made, and raised on the Leander, the first Venezuelan flag, which he had personally designed.  Miranda’s flag is also the inspiration for the flags of Colombia and Ecuador.  Miranda stated that the colors were based on a theory of primary colors given to him by the German writer and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Miranda described a late-night conversation he had with Goethe at a party in Weimar during the winter of 1785. Fascinated with Miranda’s account of his exploits in the United States Revolutionary War and his travels throughout the Americas and Europe, Goethe told him that, “Your destiny is to create in your land a place where primary colors are not distorted.”

First he explained to me the way the iris transforms light into the three primary colors […] then he proved to me why yellow is the most warm, noble and closest to [white] light; why blue is that mix of excitement and serenity, a distance that evokes shadows; and why red is the exaltation of yellow and blue, the synthesis, the vanishing of light into shadow.

It is not that the world is made of yellows, blues and reds; it is that in this manner, as if in an infinite combination of these three colors, we human beings see it. […] A country [Goethe concluded] starts out from a name and a flag, and it then becomes them, just as a man fulfills his destiny.

The yellow band stands for the wealth of the land, the red for courage, and the blue for the independence from Spain, or more succinctly: “golden” America separated from bloody Spain by the deep blue sea.

Flag_of_Venezuela.svgDuring the first half of the 19th century, seven stars were added to the flag to represent the seven signatories to the Venezuelan declaration of independence, being the provinces of CaracasCumanáBarcelonaBarinasMargaritaMérida, and Trujillo.  After the Guayana campaign, Simón Bolívar added an eighth star in representation of the newly freed province, but the eighth star was not officially added until 2006.

On April 28 the small fleet was overtaken by Spanish war ships off the coast of Venezuela. Only the Leander escaped. Sixty men were captured and put on trial, and ten were sentenced to death. The Leander and the expeditionary force regrouped on the British islands of Barbados and Trinidad. The expedition landed at La Vela de Coro on August 3, captured the fort and raised the flag for the first time on Venezuelan soil. Before dawn the next morning the expeditionaries occupied Coro, but found no support from the city residents. Rather than risk a defeat, the small royal force in the city fell back from the city escorting refugees and to await reinforcements. Realizing that he could not hold the city for long, Miranda ordered his force to set sail again on August 13, and he spent the next year in the British Caribbean waiting for reinforcements that never came. On his return to Britain, he was met with better support for his plans from the British government. In 1808 a large military force to attack Venezuela was assembled and placed under the command of Arthur Wellesley, but Napoleon’s invasion of Spain suddenly transformed Spain into an ally of Britain, and the force instead went there to fight in the Peninsular War.

On his return Burnet moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and lived with his two older brothers, Jacob, who later became a U.S. Senator, and Isaac, who later served as mayor of Cincinnati .

In 1817, Burnet moved to Natchitoches, Louisiana and set up a mercantile business and for the next two years traded with the Comanches near the headwaters of the Brazos with John Cotton.  After several months he developed a bloody cough. A doctor diagnosed him with tuberculosis and suggested he move to Texas, then a part of Mexico to recuperate in the dry air.  Later that year, Burnet traveled alone into Texas. A Comanche tribe came to his aid when he fell off of his horse by the Colorado River, and he lived with them for two years until he made a full recovery. Near the end of the year, he met Ben Milam, who had come to the village to trade with the tribe.  [Burnet’s two years with the Comanches may be legendary]

Colorado River Texas

Colorado River Texas

His cough improved, Burnet returned to Cincinnati and studied law.  On leaving them Burnet gave the Indians all his effects in exchange for a number of Mexican women and children held captives by them, all of whom he safely returned to their people, refusing all offers of compensation.

For the seven succeeding years, in Texas, Louisiana and Ohio, he devoted his time to the study and practice of law.  In Cincinnati, Burnet wrote a series of articles for the Literary Gazette detailing his time spent with the Indians.  Burnet practiced law for several years, but returned to Texas after hearing of Stephen F. Austin’s successful colony for Anglos. Burnet settled in San Felipe, the headquarters of Austin’s colony, in 1826. For the next 18 months he provided law advice to the 200 settlers in the town and organized the first Presbyterian Sunday School in Texas. A deeply religious man, Burnet neither drank nor swore and always carried a Bible in his pocket.

Texas Empresario

After a failed venture with Milam, the Western Colonization and Mining Company, in 1827 Burnet traveled with Lorenzo de Zavala and Joseph Vehlein to the Coahuila y Tejas state capitol, Saltillo. The men applied for grants as empresarios under the General Colonization Law of 1824 which he received on December 22 . The grant authorized him to settle 300 families north of the Old Spanish Road and around Nacogdoches, part of the area recently replevined from Haden Edwards, within six years. He was to receive 23,000 acres from the state of Coahuila and Texas for every 100 families settled  The area had already been settled by the Cherokee.  Under the terms of his grant, a married settler could purchase a league of land (4,428 acres) for $200.

Primera Republica Federal 1825

Primera Republica Federal 1825

Burnet spent 1827 in Texas and then returned to Ohio to recruit settlers, but was unable to entice the required number of families. In Oct 1830 , he and refugee Lorenzo de Zavala sold the rights to their colonization contracts   to a group of northeastern investors, the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company  for $12,000 and certificates for four leagues of land from the new company.  Burnet remained in the United States for several years, and on Dec 8, 1830 married Hannah Estey of Morristown, New Jersey. At the time of their wedding he was 43 and she was 30 years old.

Unfortunately, he was not allowed to locate on his four leagues because of the Law of April 6, 1830  designed to stop the flood of immigration from the United States to Texas. He used the money to buy a fifteen-horsepower steam sawmill and move his bride to Texas.

Eager to return to Texas, Burnet and his new wife chartered the the seventy-ton schooner Call and sailed from New York on Mar 4, 1831, bringing with  them the steam engine to operate a saw mill. A storm grounded the ship along Bolivar Point, and, to lighten the load, they were forced to discard all of Hannah’s furniture and her hope chest. The steam engine was the only piece of cargo that was able to be saved.  They arrived in Galveston Bay on April 4.

Burnet bought seventeen acres on the San Jacinto River, from Nathaniel Lynch for the mill and an additional 279 acres east of Lynch facing what came to be known as Burnet’s Bay.  There he built a simple four-room home called Oakland. Between 1831 and 1835

Under Mexican law, Burnet was entitled to an extra land grant because his saw mill provided a needed public service. At that time, however, the law also required settlers to convert to  Catholicism to receive the extra land grant. The devout Burnet refused, angering the Mexican authorities to the point that they cancelled his grant for operating the saw mill.   Burnet petition  for eleven leagues of land because of the mill was denied.  The mill  lost money, for want of people to buy lumber, and he sold it in June 1835 to Dr. Branch T. Archer at a large loss.

The issue of slavery became a source of contention between the Anglo-American  settlers and Spanish governors.  The 1783 census for all of Texas listed a total of 36 slaves. There was intermarriage among blacks, Indians and Europeans. In 1792 there were 34 blacks and 414 mulattos in Spanish Texas, some of whom were free men and women. This was 15 percent of the total 2,992 people living in Spanish Texas

When the United States purchased Louisiana in 1803, Spain declared that any slave who crossed the Sabine River into Texas would be automatically freed. For a time, many slaves ran away to Texas. Free blacks also emigrated to Texas. Most escaped slaves joined friendly American Indian tribes, but others settled in the East Texas forests

In 1821 at the conclusion of the Mexican War of Independence, Texas was included in the new nation  That year, the American Stephen F. Austin was granted permission to bring Anglo settlers into Texas.  Most of the settlers Austin recruited came from the southern slave-owning portions of the United States.  Under Austin’s development scheme, each settler was allowed to purchase an additional 50 acres  of land for each slave he brought to the territory.  At the same time, however, Mexico offered full citizenship to free blacks, including land ownership and other privileges. The province continued to attract free blacks and escaped slaves from the southern United States. Favorable conditions for free blacks continued into the 1830s.

In 1823, Mexico forbade the sale or purchase of slaves, and required that the children of slaves be freed when they reached age fourteen  By 1825, however, a census of Austin’s Colony showed 1,347 Anglo-Americans and 443 people of African descent, including a small number of free Negroes  In 1827, the legislature of Coahuila y Tejas outlawed the introduction of additional slaves and granted freedom at birth to all children born to a slave.

In 1829 Mexico abolished slavery, but it granted an exception until 1830 to Texas. That year Mexico made the importation of slaves illegal.   Anglo-American immigration to the province slowed at this point, with settlers angry about the changing rules. To circumvent the law, numerous Anglo-American colonists converted their slaves to indentured servants, but with life terms. Others simply called their slaves indentured servants without legally changing their status.  Slaveholders trying to enter Mexico would force their slaves to sign contracts claiming that the slaves owed money and would work to pay the debt. The low wages the slave would receive made repayment impossible, and the debt would be inherited, even though no slave would receive wages until age eighteen.  In 1832 the state passed legislation prohibiting worker contracts from lasting more than ten years.

Burnet was chosen as a delegate representing the Liberty neighborhood  to the Convention of 1833 in San Feliple.  He was elected the chairman of a committee which created a petition arguing that the Mexican Congress approve separate statehood for Texas.   Gen. Sam Houston was chairman of the committee which drew the constitution; Burnet wrote the memorial praying for its adoption, and Stephen F. Austin , as commissioner, carried both to Mexico City.  The base imprisonment of Austin and utter refusal to adopt the constitution and allow Texas to have a separate State government from Coahuila were the causes, direct and indirect, of the Texas revolution.

Burnet also authored resolutions denouncing the African slave trade in Texas.  The anti-slave trade resoultions met violent opposition led by Monroe Edwards and others already involved in the trade, but were passed by the Convention.

In 1834 a law was passed establishing a Superior Court in Texas, with a judge, and three districts with a judge each—Bexar, Brazos and Nacogdoches.  Burnet  hoped to become chief justice of the newly established Texas Supreme Court, instead Burnet was appointed judge of the district of Brazos, that is, all of Central Texas.     Instead of his $1,000 per annum allotment, Burnet wanted a handsome stipend in land like that which Chief Justice Thomas J. Chambers received.  He held terms of court until superseded by the revolutionary provisional government in Nov 1835, and was the only person who ever held a court of law in Texas prior to that time.

Shortly after the Convention of 1833 disbanded, Antonio López de Santa Anna became the new president of Mexico. Over the next two years Santa Anna began consolidating his political control over the country by dissolving the Mexican congress, and disbanding state legislatures. In October 1835 Santa Anna declared himself military dictator and marched north to “reassert control over Texas”.

During this time, Burnet had been appointed the first judge of the Austin district and organized a court at San Felipe. From then on he was known as Judge Burnet.   He and other Texians were determined that Texas should be an independent state within Mexico. In November 1835, the Consultation of 1835 was held at San Felipe. At the consultation, Burnet took the lead in forming a provisional state government based on the 1824 Constitution of Mexico, which Santa Anna had already repudiated.

Republic of Texas

Burnet was against independence for Texas in 1835, although he deplored the tendency of the national government toward a dictatorship. Thus his more radical neighbors did not choose him as a delegate to either the Consultation or the Constitutional Convention of 1836,

The Convention was held on Mar 1, 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos.  On hearing of William Barret Travis’s   plea for help at the Alamo, Burnet immediately set out to offer his assistance. He stopped at the convention to try to recruit others to join the fight, but soon became so “inspired by their deliberations” that he remained as a visitor.  Speaking privately with many of the delegates, Burnet professed that he would be willing to serve as president of a new republic, even if that made him a target of Santa Anna.

He attended the session on March 10, where he successfully gained clemency for a client sentenced to hang.

After hearing of the fall of the Alamo, the chairman of the convention, Richard Ellis, wanted to adjourn the convention and begin again in Nacogdoches. Burnet leaped onto a bench and made a speech asking the delegates to stay and finish their business. They did so, and the new constitution was adopted that evening. The front–runners for the presidency of the new country, Austin, Sam Houston, and William H. Wharton were absent from the convention.  Also the delegates, who were opposed to electing one of their number president of the new republic.  The nominees became Burnet and Samuel Price Carson. Burnet won, on a vote of 29–23, in the early hours of March 17, becoming the interim president of the new Republic of Texas. De Zavala was elected vice-president.

David Burnet – Ad- Interim President Mar 16, 1836 – Oct 22, 1836 Courtesy State Preservation Board

Interim presidency

The fame of President Burnet very largely rests upon his administration through those eight months of peril, gloom, disaster and brilliant success. The Alamo had fallen twelve days before. The butchery of James Fannin and his 345 men occurred nine days later. Houston was then retreating before Santa Anna

One of Burnet’s first acts as president was to transfer the capital of the new state from Washington-on-the-Brazos to Harrisburg (today part of Houston), which was located nearer the small Texas Navy at Galveston Island. Harrisburg was also closer to the border with the United States and would allow easier communication with U.S. officials. The move took on a sense of urgency when the convention received word that Santa Anna was within 60 miles of Washington-on-the-Brazos. Burnet quickly adjourned the proceedings and the government fled, inspiring a massive flight known as the Runaway Scrape.  Burnet personally carried the Texas Declaration of Independence in his saddlebags.

Washington to Harrisburg

In the Runaway Scrape, Burnet transferred the government 90 miles from Washington-on-the-Brazos to Harrisburg,

Sam Houston, leading the Texan Army, also decided to strategically retreat from Gonzales after learning of the defeat at the Alamo. On hearing of the government’s flight, “Houston was pained and annoyed”, maintaining it was a cowardly action that caused a great deal of unnecessary panic.  Burnet was infuriated by Houston’s criticism and accused Houston of staging his own retreat because he was afraid to fight. Within several days, Burnet had stationed a spy, Major James H. Perry, on Houston’s staff. In an effort to discredit Houston, Perry initiated a groundless rumor that Houston had begun taking opium.

On March 25, Burnet declared martial law and divided Texas into three military districts. All able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 55 were ordered to report for military duty. Four days later, Burnet issued a proclamation declaring that a man would lose his Texas citizenship and any future claim to land if he left Texas, refused to fight, or helped the Mexican army.

In the hopes of gaining assistance from the United States, Burnet sent Carson, now his secretary of state, to Louisiana to approach General Edmund P. Gaines. Gaines had been given orders by President Andrew Jackson not to cross the Sabine River into Texas.  A small amount of relief did come on April 9, however, with the arrival of the “Twin Sisters,” two six–pound cannons that had been sent as a gift from the people of Cincinnati to show their respect for the Burnet family (at that time Burnet’s brother Isaac was mayor of Cincinnati). Burnet immediately sent the guns to Houston.

Out of safety concerns, the government was moved again on April 13, this time to Galveston.  Two days later, Santa Anna’s army reached Harrisburg, to find a deserted town. On April 17, Burnet received word that the Mexican Army was headed for his location. He and his family crowded into a rowboat immediately, leaving all of their personal effects behind. When they reached 30 yards  offshore, Colonel Juan Almonte and a troop of Mexican cavalry rode into view. Burnet stood up in the rowboat so that the army would focus on him instead of his family. Almonte ordered the troops not to fire, as he had seen Hannah (Estey) Burnet in the boat and did not want to put her in danger.


Peactime challenges included:

  • The disposition to be made of Santa Anna;
  • The maintenance of an army in the field, without money, supplies or resources in a country from which the inhabitants had recently fled and were returning without bread—the condition soon aggravated by men poorly fed and idle in camp;
  • The creation of a navy against Mexican cruisers;
  • Indian ravages on the frontier;
  • The regular organization of the Republic, by elections under and the ratification of the constitution

Burnet did not hear of Houston’s victory at San Jacinto and subsequent capture of Santa Anna until several days after the fact. He hurried to the battlefield, where he complained often about Houston’s use of profanity. Houston’s staff “complained that the president grumbled ungraciously, was hard to please, and spent all of his time giving orders and collecting souvenirs. “The two men also argued over the distribution of $18,000 in specie that had been found in Santa Anna’s treasure chest. Burnet insisted that the money should go to the Texas treasury, but Houston had already given $3,000 to the Texas Navy and distributed the rest among his men.

Santa Anna, in his distrust of civil government, had requested that he be allowed to negotiate a treaty with Houston. His request was rejected, and Burnet took him into custody, first to Galveston Island and then to Velasco (today part of Freeport). On May 14, 1836 the two men signed the Treaties of Velasco. In a public treaty, Santa Anna agreed to immediately cease all hostilities and withdraw his troops south of the Rio Grande. Burnet pledged that Santa Anna would have safe passage home. Secretly, the men also agreed that Santa Anna would “use his influence with the Mexican government to secure the recognition of Texas Independence with its southern boundary as the Rio Grande.” Mexico later repudiated the treaty.

The people of Texas were incensed at the terms of the treaty. The public, along with the Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy, wanted to see Santa Anna executed for his actions.  Despite the criticism, Burnet made arrangements for Santa Anna to travel by boat to Mexico. His ship was delayed for several days by wind, and while it was docked 250 volunteers commanded by Thomas Green arrived. Green demanded that Burnet resign immediately. The ship captain, afraid for his own safety, refused to set sail unless Green approved. With few other options, Burnet ordered Santa Anna brought ashore and imprisoned at Quintana. Many of the Texas army officers threatened to execute Santa Anna and try Burnet for treason.

President Burnet, as well as Houston and even Stephen F. Austin were accused of wrongdoing and even taking and dispensing bribes. Militarism and subversion of civilian authority was a real danger. Rumors abounded that President Burnet would be assassinated and the story goes that on one particular night when an attack was suspected, Mrs. Burnet kept a light burning all night and sat at an open window all night with a loaded pistol. Because of his resistance to militants who at times threatened and even attempted to arrest him and his cabinet, Burnet is credited by some with preventing the rise of militarism and military rule in the new Republic, although it is believed a majority of Texas leaders and the public also opposed such moves.

The majority of Burnet’s time was spent writing proclamations, orders, and letters appealing for funds and volunteers.   As a system of taxation had yet to be implemented, the Texas treasury was empty. There was no money to pay Burnet a salary, and his family soon had trouble paying for their expenses. To make ends meet, they sold a Negro woman and boy.  Filling the treasury would take more effort, and Burnet proposed that they sell land scrip in New York. The bids dropped as low as one cent per acre, so the plan was shelved.

On 12 Jul President Burnet issued a proclamation forbidding the acquisition of private property for military use and revoked all commissions of persons not on active duty in the army or navy. Although popular with the public, this further antagonized the military loyalists. He called for a general election per the Constitution of the Republic. This post-San Jacinto period took its personal toll on Burnet. A child died from exposure due to the primitive living conditions on the coast.

With no money and little respect for Burnet, it was not surprising that “no one followed orders, and the government struggled to direct the state effectively.”  Burnet wished to replace Thomas Rusk as commander of the army, and sent his Secretary of War Mirabeau B. Lamar to take Rusk’s place. Rusk instead proposed that General Felix Huston be named as his replacement. Lamar called a vote of the men in the army, who overwhelmingly voted for Huston, essentially a vote of no confidence in Burnet’s decisions.

His actions angered Sam Houston, the army, the vice president, many cabinet members, and the public, and he left office embittered, intending never to return home, where a number of neighbors had turned against him. He lacked legal clients and was forced to turn to subsistence farming.

Vice Presidency

The first Texas presidential election was held September 5, 1836. Burnet declined to run, and Houston was elected to become the first president. Houston was expected to take office in December. On October 3, Burnet called the first session of the Texas Congress to order in Columbia. Houston arrived at the session on October 9, and the Congress quickly began lobbying Burnet to resign so that Houston could begin his duties. Burnet finally agreed to resign on October 22, the day after de Zavala resigned as Vice-President.

During the transition of power, Burnet’s son Jacob died at Velasco (today part of Freeport). The Burnets returned to their home, which had been looted, leaving them with no furniture or other household articles. To support his family, Burnet practiced law and farmed

Houston’s term as president expired in 1838. Burnet declined offers to run as his replacement, but instead agreed to run as the vice-president for his friend Mirabeau B. Lamar.  Once the election returns were in, Burnet and Houston engaged in a shouting match, with Burnet calling Houston a “‘half-Indian'” and Houston calling Burnet a “‘hog thief'”. Burnet challenged Houston to a duel, but Houston refused, saying “‘the people are equally disgusted with both of us.'” Lamar and Burnet were inaugurated on Dec 10, 1838.

Burnet was an active vice-president. In 1839, he briefly served as acting Secretary of State after Barnard Bee had been sent to Mexico. Burnet served as part of a five-man commission to negotiate with Chief Bowl for the peaceful removal of the Cherokee tribe from their territory to the northwest of Nacogdoches. After a week of negotiations the group was not close to an agreement. On July 15, three regiments of Texas troops attacked the Cherokee at the Battle of Neches. Chief Bowl and 100 Indians were killed; the survivors retreated into Arkansas Territory. Burnet fought in the battle as a volunteer and suffered minor wounds.

In Dec 1841, Burnet became acting president when Lamar took a leave of absence to seek medical treatment in New Orleans for an intestinal disorder.  His first official act, on Dec 16, was to deliver an address to Congress alleging that Mexican armies were preparing to invade Texas. Burnet wanted Congress to declare war on Mexico and attempt to push the Texas southern boundary to the Sierra Madres. His proposal was defeated by supporters of Houston in the legislature.

Presidential candidate

During his time as acting president, Burnet dismissed several of Lamar’s appointees, angering the president. At the conclusion of Lamar’s term, Burnet agreed to run for president.  Lamar and his supporters only reluctantly supported Burnet after they could not entice Rusk to run. Burnet’s primary competition was Houston, and the campaign was dominated by insults and name–calling. Houston questioned Burnet’s honesty, accusing him of taking a $250,000 bribe from Santa Anna and calling him a ‘political brawler’ and a ‘canting hypocrite.’ Houston also accused Burnet of being a drunk. Burnet again challenged Houston to a duel, and, again, Houston refused. Houston won the election, with 7,915 votes to Burnet’s 3,619.

Burnet’s personal flaw was sensitivity to criticism and political enemies to the point that it inhibited his happiness and statesmanship. In contrast to others as Thomas Rusk, Burnet never liked Sam Houston sufficiently to be an amiable partner in development of the Republic and State of Texas although political expediency and common vision caused both to work together positively for the good of the Republic. Political dueling between Burnet and Houston was often vitriolic and apparently resulted in a challenge by Burnet to Houston for a duel with pistols. In the campaign for President in 1841, the Austin Texas Sentinel, supporting Burnet, wrote that Sam Houston would “blaspheme his God, by the most horrible oaths, that ever fell from the lips of man.”

The Houstonian supporting Houston wrote about Burnet“You prate about the faults of other men, while the blot of foul unmitigated treason rests upon you. You political brawler and canting hypocrite, whom the waters of Jordan could never cleanse from your political and moral leprosy.” The latter was supposedly written for the paper by Houston.

Burnet reputedly routinely referred to Houston as a “half-Indian” while Houston often reportedly referred to Burnet as “Wetumpka” meaning a hog thief, which supposedly triggered the challenge by Burnet.  Houston, of course, never accepted the challenge replying in effect that Burnet would have to take his place in line with the others which reportedly at one time or another included Albert Sidney Johnston, Mirabeau B. Lamar, Commodore Edwin W. Moore and possibly Gen. Felix Houston and William and Samuel R. Fisher.

Later Life

After losing the presidential election, Burnet returned to his farm.

Burnet was against annexation to the United States in 1845 but nevertheless applied for the position of United States district judge in 1846. Even with the Whig influence of his brothers, however, he lacked enough political influence. He was named secretary of state by Governor James P. Henderson. in 1846 and served one term. An application to the Whig administration in 1849 for a position as Galveston customs collector also failed.

His feud with Houston continued, and in 1852 Burnet wrote a pamphlet titled “Review of the Life of General Sam Houston” which recounted many rumors and allegations of Houston’s improper behavior. Houston retaliated in February 1859 by giving a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate that disparaged Burnet.

Burnet’s health deteriorated so that he needed help with his farm work. He and his wife purchased an African American slave and his sick wife for $1400. The man robbed them and ran away. Unable to make ends meet on their own, Burnet and his wife rented their 300 acres  to another family in 1857, but continued to live in their house.

Hannah Burnet died on Oct 30, 1858.   After Hannah’s death Burnet had to hire out his slaves and rent his farm in order to have income to pay his room and board in Galveston.  Their only surviving child, William Estey Burnet, took a leave of absence from his military service and helped Burnet move to Galveston, where he lived with an old friend, Sidney Sherman.   Burnet opposed secession, and was saddened when his son joined the Confederate States Army, but later supported his efforts. Col. William Burnet was killed on March 31, 1865 at Spanish Fort, Alabama, leaving Burnet the only surviving member of his family.

He and Lamar intended to publish a history of the republic to expose Sam Houston, and though Burnet furnished Lamar with many articles, Lamar was unable to find a publisher. Burnet burned his manuscript shortly before his death.

In 1865, Sherman’s wife died, and Burnet left his home to live with Preston Perry.  His only other public office was largely symbolic, a reward for an elder statesman. In 1866 the first Reconstruction state legislature appointed Burnet and Oran Roberts United States senators, but upon arrival in Washington they were not seated.   Texas had failed to meet Republican political demands.   Neither man was able to take the Ironclad oath,  Although intellectually opposed to secession, Burnet had embraced the Southern cause when his only son, William, resigned his commission in the United States Army and volunteered for Confederate service.

Burnet’s last public service came in 1868, when he was appointed as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention which nominated Horatio Seymour for president.

In his last years, Burnet suffered from senility, and before his death he carried a trunk of his private papers into an empty lot and burned them all.    He was a Mason and a Presbyterian. He outlived all of his immediate family, died without money in Galveston on Dec 5, 1870, aged 82, and was buried by friends.He was first buried in Magnolia Cemetery, but in 1894 his remains were moved to Galveston’s Lakeview cemetery, where he was buried next to the grave of his friend Sidney Sherman.

7. Alfred Augustus Estey 1

Alfred’s first wife Mary Sears was born 24 Dec 1798 in Rome, Oneida, NY. Her parents were Richard Sears and Mary Ash. Mary died 27 Jul 1832 in Albany, Albany, NY. togehter with 4 of their children from cholera.

Alfred waited eleven years to marry his second wife Sarah M. Kelley in 1843 in Rome, NY. She was born 1824 in Camden, Oneida., New York. Sarah died March 06, 1893 in Constantia, NY.

Alfred enlisted in Company I, the Mohawk Rifles of the 81st New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He served from Sep 5 1862 to Feb 24 1865

Occupation: Painter of wood/furniture

8. Mary Estey

Mary’s husband Joseph Chambers Clopper was born 11 Jan 1802 in Chambersburg, Franklin, Pennsylvania. His parents were Nicholas Clopper (1766 – 1841) and Rebecca Chambers Joseph died 7 Jan 1861 in Cincinnati, Ohio

Mary and Joseph had at least two children Helen (b. 1839) and Edward Nicholas (b. 1841)

In the 1850 census, Joseph and Mary were farming in Millcreek, Hamilton, Ohio


Margaret Swett Henson, “BURNET, DAVID GOUVERNEUR,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 01, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Lewis Mills Genealogy

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9 Responses to Moses Estey

  1. Pingback: Isaac Estey II | Miner Descent

  2. David Hardiman says:

    Don’t know how important it is to mention this, but that it is not a daguerreotype of WH Harrison. Look closely. It’s a painting or perhaps a daguerreotype of a painting. In any event there are no known existing pics of WHH. One was taken after his inauguration, but is sadly lost to posterity.

    • markeminer says:

      Hi David,

      I tried to be generic by borrowing Harrison’s picture from wikipedia. The caption states “Harrison in 1841; this is an early (circa 1850) photographic copy of an 1841 daguerreotype”

      Date: circa 1850 copy of 1841 original
      Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession number: 37.14.44.
      Author: Albert Sands Southworth (American, 1811–1894) and Josiah Johnson Hawes (American, 1808–1901). Edited by: Fallschirmjäger

      This picture has been retouched. Here’s a link to the original:

  3. Cindy Este oy says:

    Mark, I am the ggggreat granddaughter of Moses Este & Anne Kirkpatrick, my gggreat grandfather being Alfred Augustus Este. In my research I have Anne’s parents as being David Kirkpatrick b. 1723; d. 1814 and Mary McEowen b. 1728; d. 1795. You have them different. Can you give me te source of where you found this? thank you so much, Cindy Este Loy…BTW great job on this research, it must have taken you years. I’ve been doing it since 2004.

    • markeminer says:

      Hi Cindy, is running 9 to 1 in favor of David and Mary instead of Andrew Kirkpatrick (1722 – 1777) and Margaret Gaston (1728 – 1795) so I’m changing it.

      It still looks like Anne’s brother Andrew Andrew Kirkpatrick (wiki) (1756–1831) was Chief Justice of New Jersey from 1804 to 1825.

      thanks for the heads up,

      • Cindy Este oy says:

        I think all you did was skip a generation. Andrew that married Margaret Gaston is David that married Mary’s brother. Do you happen to have any thing on Alfred Augustus Este, Moses son.? thanks, cindy este loy

    • Amy Mulvaney says:

      Hello Cindy, Alfred Estey is also my ggg grandfather. Who of his children do you descend from?

  4. Pingback: Favorite Posts 2013 | Miner Descent

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