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TNA convention medal honors Texas great

The Texas Numismatic Association will issue its new 2008 convention medal May 16.
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The Texas Numismatic Association will issue its new 2008 convention medal May 16.

The obverse of the 2008 TNA medal features Mirabeau B. Lamar, who is honored as the ?Father of Texas Education.?

Lamar was born near Louisville, Ga., on Aug. 16, 1798. He grew up at Fairfield, his father?s planation near Milledgeville, Ga. As a youth he became an excellent horseman and an expert fencer. By 1819 he had engaged in several business ventures: a general store at Cahawba, Ala., and in 1821 as a joint publisher for the Cahawba Press.

In 1823, Lamar returned to Georgia and became the private secretary of Governor G.M. Troup. Lamar traveled for two years, then returned and ran for Congress in 1832 and 1833 but was defeated both times. With these losses and a series of deaths in his family, he decided to sell his stock in the Columbus Enquirer, a newspaper he had established.

In 1835 he followed his friend, James W. Fannin Jr., to Texas. He supported Texas Independence, helped build a fort at Velasco and returned to Georgia to get his affairs in order.

Soon Lamar learned of the battle of the Alamo and the Goliad massacre, hurried back to Texas and enlisted as a private in the army at Groce?s Point. Because of his heroic actions on the battlefield, he received a verbal commission as a colonel and commander of the cavalry. A few days later, he became Secretary of War and soon commander-in-chief of the Texas Army. He was elected vice president and two years later was elected the second president of the Republic of Texas from 1838 to 1841.

Lamar is recognized for introducing the proposal that Texas establish a system of education endowed by public lands, support for a Texas navy, enactment of the Homestead Act of 1839 and moving the state capitol to Austin. It was during his term as president that the Lone Star flag and state seal were officially adopted.

In 1857 Lamar was appointed U.S. minister to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. He held this post for 20 months and then returned to his Richmond plantation where he died on Dec. 19, 1859.

Mirabeau B. Lamar played a key role in the early history of Texas and the United States Lamar County and the town of Lamar in Aransas County were named in his honor, as well as Lamar University in Beaumont.
The medal was designed by Frank Galindo, TNA medals officer, of San Antonio, Texas.

The reverse of the medal shows the official seal of the Texas Numismatic Association.

Single bronze medals are $4.50, postage paid. Sets consisting of one bronze medal and one silver medal cost $33 plus $4 for postage and handling per set. Optional insurance costs an additional $2 per set. Checks or money orders may be made payable to TNA.

Orders may be placed by contacting Galindo at P.O. Box 12217, San Antonio, TX 78212-0217. E-mail for more information.