Thomas J. Rusk was the oldest child of John and Mary (Sterritt) Rusk. He was born in South Carolina, but in 1834 he found himself in Texas chasing embezzlers from a company in which he had invested in. The next year he supported the independence movement when he and his men joined Stephen F. Austin’s army in Gonzales, but Rusk left the army before the siege of Bexar. 
Thomas Jefferson Rusk signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, was the Secretary of War for the Republic of Texas, a Brigadier General of the army and hero at San Jacinto, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Texas, and a United States Senator. The city of Rusk and Rusk County are named after him. The State of Texas placed a Texas Centennial Celebration monument at his and his wife’s gravesite at Oak Grove Cemetery, which is in Nacogdoches, Texas. 
The Thomas J. Rusk statue is located on the northeast corner of Main and North/South Streets diagonally across from the county courthouse. Friends of Historic Nacogdoches, Inc. sponsored the bronze statue sculpted by Paula Devereaux-Kurth in 1999.