Friday!! Time for an American Hero!, Today is:
Knowing your American Heroes
Samuel Houston (1793–1863)
Born on his family’s plantation
To Major Samuel Houston.
He was one of nine children
Mother was Elizabeth Paxton.
Samuel ran away from home
In eighteen hundred and nine.
Adopted into the Cherokee Nation
Two cultures he’d intertwine.
Returned home in eighteen-twelve
To Maryville, Tennessee.
Built the very first school in the state
For all to learn how to write and read.
In eighteen-twelve Houston enlisted
Into the 7th Regiment of Infantry.
Wounded at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend
Was assigned as an agent to the Cherokee.
From lawyer to Attorney General
Given command in the state militia.
To the House of Representatives
Then Congress where he showed sententia.
While Governor of Tennessee
And Governor of Texas to relate.
The only person in U.S. History
To become governor in two states.
Houston surprised Santa Anna
At the Battle of San Jacinto
Badly beaten he was forced to sign
The Treaty of Velasco.
A key figure in our history
An Orator, Statesman and Patriot.
A Politician and a soldier
A loyal citizen and compatriot.
Houston’s reputation survived
A city in honor of his name.
The leader of the Texas Revolution
The son of Texas he’ll always remain.
He returned to Huntsville, Texas
Died July twenty-six in sixty-three.
At six-sixteen p.m. his last words
Was “Texas, Texas, Margaret” to be.
AUTHOR NOTES: Sam Houston was born on his family’s plantation near Timber Ridge Church, outside Lexington, Virginia in Rockbridge County, to Major Samuel Houston and Elizabeth Paxton and was one of nine children. His father was a member of Morgan’s Rifle Brigade during the American Revolutionary War. Receiving only a basic education, he immigrated with his family to Maryville, Tennessee following the death of his father in 1807. His mother then took the family to live on Baker Creek, Tennessee. He ran away from home in 1809 and resided for a time with the Cherokee tribe of Chief Oolooteka on Hiwassee Island. He was adopted into the Cherokee Nation and given the name Colloneh or “the Raven”. He returned to Maryville in 1812 at the age of 19 and founded a one-room schoolhouse. This was the first school ever built in Tennessee, which had become a state in 1796. In 1812 Houston enlisted into the 7th Regiment of Infantry to fight the British in the War of 1812. By December of that year, he had risen from private to third lieutenant. At the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in March 1814 he was wounded by a Creek arrow. His wound was bandaged, and he rejoined the fight. When Andrew Jackson called on volunteers to dislodge a group of Red Sticks (Creek Indians) from their breastworks (fortifications), Houston volunteered, but during the assault was struck by a bullet in the shoulder and arm. Houston became close to Jackson, even joining Jackson’s Masonic lodge, Cumberland Lodge No. 8, in 1817. Following his recovery he was assigned as an Indian agent to the Cherokees. He left the army in March 1818. Following six months of study at the office of Judge James Trimble he passed the Nashville bar exam, after which he opened a legal practice in Lebanon, Tennessee. He was made attorney general of the Nashville district in late 1818 and was also given a command in the state militia. In 1822 he was elected to the House of Representatives for Tennessee, where he was a staunch supporter of fellow Tennessean and Democrat Andrew Jackson and was widely considered to be Jackson’s political protégé though their treatment of Indians differed greatly. He was a congressman from 1823 to 1827. He was re-elected in 1824. In 1827 he declined to run for re-election to Congress and instead ran for, and won, the office of governor of Tennessee, defeating the former governor, Willie Blount. He planned to stand for re-election in 1828, but resigned after marrying eighteen year old Eliza Allen. The marriage was forced by Eliza’s father, Colonel John Allen, and never blossomed into a relationship. Houston and Eliza separated shortly after the marriage, for reasons Houston refused to discuss to the end of his life, and divorced in 1837, after he became President of Texas. He spent time among the Cherokee, married a Cherokee widow named Tiana Rogers Gentry, and set up a trading post (Wigwam Neosho near Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation), apparently drinking heavily the entire time. His alleged drunkenness and abandonment of his office and wife caused a rift with his mentor Andrew Jackson, which would not be healed for several years. Houston attended the Convention of 1833 as representative for Nacogdoches and emerged as a supporter of William Harris Wharton and his brother who supported complete independence from Mexico, the more radical stance of those represented. He also attended the Consultation of 1835. He was made a Major General, of the Texas Army in November 1835, then Commander-in-Chief in March 1836. He negotiated a settlement with the Cherokee in February 1836. Following the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836, Houston joined his volunteer army at Gonzales, but was soon forced to retreat in the face of the forces of Mexican General and Dictator Antonio López de Santa Anna, whose army killed all those at The Alamo Mission during the Battle of the Alamo on March 6. At the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, however, Houston surprised Santa Anna and the Mexican forces during their afternoon siesta. Badly beaten, Santa Anna was forced to sign the Treaty of Velasco, granting Texas independence. Although Houston stayed on briefly for negotiations, he returned to the United States for treatment of a wound to his ankle. In 1862, Houston returned to Huntsville, Texas, and rented the Steamboat House; the hills in Huntsville reminded him of his boyhood home near Maryville, Tennessee. His health deteriorated quickly over the next few months as he developed a persistent cough. In mid-July, Houston was struck with a severe chill which progressed into pneumonia. Despite the efforts of Drs. Markham and Kittrell, on July 26, 1863, at 6:16 p.m, Houston died quietly in his Steamboat House with his wife Margaret by his side. His last recorded words were “Texas. Texas. Margaret”. Samuel Houston (March 2, 1793–July 26, 1863)