He served in the Tennessee state government, and eventually represented the state in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was known for opposing President Jackson’s policies, particularly in regard to the Native Americans, and this led to his defeat in the 1831 elections. When he failed to be re-elected in 1835, he made the decision to go to Texas, which was at that time still part of Mexico. When he left his home where, as the song says, “he knew every tree,” he picked up a rock, and took it with him to remind him of his family and the land he knew so well.
Not long after he arrived,in Texas, he became involved in the revolution, and he died in march, 1836, defending the Alamo. His son bequeathed this token from his final effects to the SHUSH Museum.