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The Fearless Fifty-Nine, Lorzeno de Zavala

Lorzeno de Zavala was the 47 year old Harrisburg representative. De Zavala was extremely active in Mexican politics before moving to Texas. Early in his life in Mexico, he founded and edited several newspapers in which he expressed the democratic ideas that were to mark his political career. He was imprisoned in 1814 for his support of democratic reforms. In prison, he learned English and enough medical knowledge to allow him to practice medicine upon his release in 1817. In 1821, he went to Spain and upon his return to Mexico, joined the leaders of the new nation in establishing a republican government. He participated in the Mexican congress and Senate between 1822 and 1826. He was forced into exile in June 1830 because of political turmoil. However, after living in New York City for two years he returned to Mexico to serve as governor from 1832-1833. He was an ally of Santa Anna until he learned of his assumed dictatorial powers. He arrived in Texas in July 1835 and immediately got involved in the Texas Revolution. During the Convention, Zavala’s legislative, executive, ministerial, and diplomatic experience, together with his education and linguistic ability, uniquely qualified him for the role he was to play in the drafting of the constitution. He was highly respected among his fellow delegates and they elected him ad interim vice president. After the Convention, he rejoined his family at Zavala Point on Buffalo Bayou but then had to flee from Santa Anna to Galveston Island with other cabinet members. During the battle of San Jacinto, his house was supposedly used as a hospital and one of his sons served as a translator for Sam Houston in his negotiations with Santa Anna. De Zevala was appointed to accompany Santa Anna back to Mexico City as a peace commissioner as a provision of the Treaties of Velasco. He resigned from vice presidency in October 1836 and died a month later from pneumonia after his rowboat had been overturned in Buffalo Bayou. He was buried at his home in a small cemetery plot that has since sunk into Buffalo Bayou.