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Branch, Anthony Martin (1823–1867)

Thomas W. Cutrer Biography Entry

Anthony Martin Branch, Confederate congressman, was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, on July 16, 1823, one of ten children of Winnifred (Guerrant) and Samuel Branch III. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1842 and in 1847 moved to Huntsville, Texas, where he formed a law partnership with Henderson Yoakum and became closely associated with Sam Houston. (When Houston died Branch served as executor of his will and guardian of his children.) On March 18, 1849, Branch married Amanda Smith.

In 1850 he was elected district attorney of the Seventh Judicial District. In 1859 he represented his district in the House of Representatives of the Eighth Texas Legislature, where, according to a contemporary biographer, he "well sustained his reputation for eloquence and ability." In November 1861 he was elected as a Democrat to the state Senate. Although a Unionist, he resigned from the Senate and on March 20, 1862, enlisted in the Confederate Army. A month later he was elected captain of Company A in Col. George Washington Carter's Twenty-first Texas Cavalry. On August 3, 1863, Branch defeated Peter W. Gray in the race to represent the Third District of Texas in the Second Confederate Congress. In Richmond he served as a member of the Elections, Military Affairs, and Territories and Public Lands committees and was vitally interested in the exportation of cotton through Mexican ports. Although a staunch political ally of President Jefferson Davis, Branch was an uncompromising exponent of states' rights. As such he fought to keep Texas troops in Texas and opposed Confederate interference with the Texas economy. After the war he returned to Texas and was elected to the United States House of Representatives in both the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth congresses but was denied his seat by the Radical Republican majority. He returned to Huntsville and helped to incorporate the Central Transit Company in 1866. Branch practiced law until his death during a yellow fever epidemic, on October 3, 1867. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery near the grave of Sam Houston.

Clement Anselm Evans, ed., Confederate Military History (Atlanta: Confederate Publishing, 1899; extended ed., Wilmington, North Carolina: Broadfoot, 1987–89). Jon L. Wakelyn, Biographical Dictionary of the Confederacy (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 1977). Ezra J. Warner and W. Buck Yearns, Biographical Register of the Confederate Congress (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1975).

Categories:

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Ninth Legislature (1861-1863)
  • Senate
  • Military
  • Confederate Military
  • Regimental and Staff Officers
  • Soldiers
  • Politics and Government
  • Government Officials
  • State Legislators
  • Eighth Legislature (1859-1861)

Time Periods:

  • Civil War
  • Antebellum Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Branch, Anthony Martin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 28, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/branch-anthony-martin.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects:

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