The First President LbNA # 54282 (ARCHIVED)
|Placed Date||Jul 1 2010|
David Gouverneur Burnet was an early politician within the Republic of Texas. Burnet was born in 1788 in New Jersey and attended law school in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a young man, he moved to Natchitoches, Louisiana for health reasons and ventured into Mexican Texas where he lived with a Comanche Indian tribe for a year before returning to Ohio. In 1826, he moved to Stephen F. Austin’s colony. He received a land grant as an empressario but was forced to sell the land after failing to attract enough settlers to his colony. He sold it to a group from the East and used the money to build and operate a sawmill on the San Jacinto River. He later lost his right to operate it after he refused to convert to Roman Catholicism. He was a very devout Christian and never swore or drank alcohol, a trait which caused him to despise the profane drunk, Sam Houston. On hearing of William B. Travis’s plight at the Alamo, Burnet traveled to Washington on the Brazos to recruit help from the Convention of 1836. He remained at the convention and was elected interim president on March 17, 1836. On his orders, the government fled Washington on the Brazos for Harrisburg, thus inspiring the Runaway Scrape. Burnet narrowly avoided capture by Mexican troops the following month, but was spared because his wife was with him. After Sam Houston's victory at the Battle of San Jacinto, Burnet took custody of Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and negotiated the Treaties of Velasco. Many Texians were infuriated that the treaty allowed Santa Anna to escape execution, and some people called for Burnet's arrest for treason. Burnet blamed Sam Houston for his problems. The Republic was broke and when Houston confiscated $18,000 that he found on Santa Anna, Burnet ordered him to turn it over to the government. Instead, Houston gave $3000 of it to the Texas Navy and distributed the rest among his men. Burnet declined to run for president, and resigned as interim president on October 22, 1836.He served as the Vice-President under Mirabeau B. Lamar and participated in the Battle of Neches. He was defeated in the next presidential election by Houston. The election was not pleasant. Burnet called Houston a drunk and spread a rumor that he was partaking of opium and Sam Houston called him a Hog Thief. When Texas was annexed into the United States, Burnet served as the state's first Secretary of State. 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. The city of Burnet and Burnet County, Texas are named for him.
From Burnet, Texas, go 9 miles west on Hwy 29 to Park Road 4, then go south 3 miles to the headquarters of Inks Lake State park on the right. Pay fee, get a map and turn right at next intersection. Drive to the trail head for Devil's Waterhole near campsite #245 and park.
Follow the trail about 200 yards to the waterhole, then continue northeast up the rocks about 50 yards to a dirt path on the right just before you crest the rock climb. Follow the path about 40 steps to a trash can on the right. Continue on to where you can see a road veer off to a gate on the right, but stay on the path to the left. You will shorly cross another path. Continue on past a large boulder on the left and you'll come to a rocky clearing that slopes down to the river. Look to the right for a 6 foot tall lone boulder on the right. Take 18 steps past it and look to the right. There is a long, low rock and, beyond it, a granite wall that has a fissure about midway. The box is located in that fissure with a good sized piece of granite on top of it.