Isaac Van Zandt
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Life and career
Van Zandt was born in Franklin County, Tennessee in the United States to Jacob and Mary Isaacs Van Zandt. The Van Zandt family had migrated to America from Holland prior to the American Revolutionary War. In 1833 he married Frances Lipscomb and went into a joint business venture with his father by opening a store. Van Zandt later moved to Coffeeville, Mississippi, where he opened his own store. After experiencing financial difficulties after the depression of 1837, Van Zandt became interested in a debate society which enabled him to use his natural talent for public speaking. This spurred an interest in law and within a year he was a member of the Mississippi bar.
Van Zandt was the representative of Harrison County in the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas from 1840 until 1842, when Sam Houston appointed him Republic of Texas Chargé d'Affaires in Washington, DC. In 1841 Van Zandt donated land, along with Peter Whetestone, to create a county seat for Harrison County. Van Zandt named the new city in honor of the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John Marshall. As the Republic of Texas ambassador to the United States Van Zandt was instrumental in crafting the Annexation Treaty of the Republic of Texas to the U.S.
The Van Zandt family donated their plantation as the site for the College of Marshall in 1912. In 1936 a memorial was constructed in Canton, the seat of Van Zandt County. Isaac Van Zandt is the father of Texas politician and businessman K. M. Van Zandt and his sister Ida Van Zandt Jarvis, a generous benefactor and the first female trustee of Texas Christian University (TCU). Isaac was also the third great-grandfather of country music songwriter and performer Townes Van Zandt.
- Papers, 1774-1953 and undated, of son Khleber Miller Van Zandt in the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at Texas Tech University
- K.M. Van Zandt, Force Without Fanfare: The Autobiography of K.M. Van Zandt (Fort Worth: Texas Christian Univ Pr, 1995), p. 1.