Green, Thomas Jefferson (1802–1863)

By: Robert Bruce Blake

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 9, 2020

Thomas Jefferson Green, soldier and legislator, son of Solomon and Frances (Hawkins) Green, was born in Warren County, North Carolina, in 1802. After attending the United States Military Academy at West Point, he was elected to the General Assembly in North Carolina in 1823. Soon afterward he went to Florida, became a planter, and served as a representative in the Florida legislature. He married Sarah Wharton in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 8, 1830; they had one son, Wharton Jackson Green. John Austin Wharton and William H. Wharton were Sarah's cousins and were raised by her father, Jesse Wharton. Sarah died in 1835. Thomas Green organized the Texas Land Company and moved to Texas in 1836 but abandoned the colonization project to serve in the Texas army. After being commissioned brigadier general, he returned to the United States to raise volunteers, money, and ammunition for the Texas cause.

Beginning on October 3, 1836, Green represented Bexar County in the Texas House of Representatives. In 1837 he was elected to the Senate of the Second Congress, but his seat was declared vacant twenty-five days after the session opened. As a member of the Somervell expedition in 1842 he remained on the Rio Grande when Alexander Somervell turned back; Green was second in command on the Mier expedition. He surrendered to Gen. Pedro de Ampudia and was held at Perote Prison. He escaped and returned to Velasco, Texas, where he was elected to represent Brazoria County in the Eighth Congress.

He returned to the United States just before the annexation of Texas, and moved to California in 1849. He served in the First Senate of California and sponsored the bill creating the University of California. He later became major general of the California militia. In his declining years he returned to North Carolina and settled on Esmeralda Plantation on Schocco Creek, where, according to his son, on December 12, 1863, he died of heartbreak over the reverses of the Confederacy. He was buried in his garden, but in 1905 his remains were reinterred in Fairview Cemetery, Warrenton, North Carolina. Greenville, the county seat of Hunt County, is named in his honor.

DeWitt Clinton Baker, comp., A Texas Scrap-Book (New York: Barnes, 1875; rpt. 1887; facsimile rpt., Austin: Steck, 1935). Thomas J. Green, Journal of the Texian Expedition Against Mier (New York: Harper, 1845; rpt., Austin: Steck, 1935). Thomas Jefferson Green Papers, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ina Kate Hamon Reinhardt, The Public Career of Thomas Jefferson Green in Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1939). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Homer S. Thrall, A Pictorial History of Texas (St. Louis: Thompson, 1879). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution
  • Republic of Texas

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

Robert Bruce Blake, “Green, Thomas Jefferson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 9, 2020