Sam Houston

Sam Houston c1850-crop.jpg STORY OF SAM HOUSTON:
The son of Major Samuel Houston & Elizabeth Paxton Houston, Sam Houston was born in a log cabin on this Timber Ridge, Virginia farm on March 2, 1793. 

Major Samuel Houston had served in the Revolutionary War and after his death in 1806, Mrs. Houston moved the family to Tennessee the following spring. They first stopped in Knoxville and then settled on a farm in Marysville, Tennessee that Major Houston had received as a land grant before his death. Sam’s brothers John and James Houston ran a store in Marysville.

In 1809, at age 16, Sam went to live with the Cherokee Indians. Sam spent about a year with the Cherokees before returning home. Upon returning home, Sam had another argument with his brothers and soon returned to live with the Cherokees.

When the war of 1812 broke out Sam’s brother Robert joined the Army and Sam opened a school and became a teacher. He then signed up for school at Porter Academy, but later dropped out and joined the Army. He served as Third Lieutenant under General Andrew Jackson in the war against the Creek Indians. Sam was injured in this battle when an arrow hit his thigh and a friend pulled it out. General Jackson ordered Sam to stay out of the fighting to give his leg time to heal. Later Sam volunteered to lead a charge at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend where he was again wounded when a musket ball hit him in his shoulder and another in his forearm. The injuries were severe enough that the doctors did not expect him to live.

In 1814, Sam rode his horse to Washington D.C. for more medical treatment. What he found when he arrived was the British had burned the Capitol building and the White House. After receiving medical treatment, he rode back to Timber Ridge, Virginia where he spent the winter visiting friends and relatives.

In 1818 Sam resigned from the Army, studied law and was soon elected attorney general for Nashville and appointed adjutant general of Tennessee. He served two terms in Congress 1823-1927 and was elected governor of Tennessee in 1827.

In 1829 he married Eliza Allen, and for unexplained reasons the marriage dissolved almost as soon as it happened. Shortly thereafter, Sam resigned his office. For the next 6 years he lived with the Cherokee in Oklahoma.

Sam Houston’s Claim to Fame-In 1835, Sam Houston moved to Texas and was named the commanding general of the revolutionary army. On March 2, 1836, Texas issued its declaration of Independence from Mexico.

Sam Houston led Texas into battle at San Jacinto and forced Santa Anna to order all of his troops out of Texas. Texas was soon free and independent and Mexico was forced to sell California to the United States. Sam served as the first president of the new republic of Texas from 1836-1838 and was later elected to a second term. After the annexation of Texas by the United States, Sam was elected to the US Senate, serving from 1846 to 1859. Upset that Texas was moving toward secession, he successfully ran for governor in 1859. Despite his efforts against, the people of Texas voted to secede, and Sam was forced out of office in 1861.

Sam and Margaret Houston had eight children. Houston is said to have designed the home his family occupied beginning in 1848 in Huntsville, and lived in periodically until it was sold in 1858. Near the end of his life, Sam Houston said that his Huntsville, Texas home reminded him of his Virginia birthplace and referred to it as “our dear woodland home”.
Marquis James described the Huntsville property this way in “The Raven”:

Sam Houston died in his home in Huntsville, Texas on July 26, 1863. (see obituary) Today there is a monument on a parcel of his original home place in Timber Ridge, Virginia and a bust of Sam Houston is located at the Capitol of Virginia in Richmond and a second monument in Huntsville, Texas.

Sources: Hopewell, Clifford, Sam Houston, Man of Destiny. Austin, TX;Eakin Press 1987. Nevin, David F. Fight and Be Damned: Said Sam Houston, Smithsonian, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Association, July 1992,pp 82-91. The New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Rockbridge County, Virginia Heritage Book 1778-1997: published by the Rockbridge Area Genealogical Society