The Legendary Samuel Houston

At six foot two, this large man could hold his own, and he wasn’t afraid to stand firm in his beliefs.  He lived by his own convictions even when his ideals went against the norm.  This man was always outspoken and always controversial; Samuel Houston has continued to live on as one of our nation’s most imaginative and outrageous characters. He was born on March 2, 1793 in Timber Ridge, Virginia to his parents, Samuel Houston and Elizabeth Paxton. His father died when he was thirteen years old, and his mother moved the family to Tennessee and settled the family on a farm in Maryville. Since he did not enjoy working on his family farm, he escaped his older brother’s efforts to train him as a farmer. In time, the young rebel ran away and lived with a local Cherokee tribe, and he was given the name “Black Raven.” He lived with his new family for about three years, so he learned their customs and their language.

In 1813, Houston joined the U. S. Army to fight in the War of 1812. He was enlisted as a private soldier, and he eventually became a sergeant of a company. Because of his leadership skills, he eventually became a lieutenant under General Andrew Jackson. During the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, he was one of the first soldiers to jump over a blockade and charge towards the enemy. This daring soldier was shot several times. Although he was left for dead on this battlefield, he survived. The next day, he was found and taken to a doctor who tended to his wounds.

Once the war ended, Houston worked for the government as an arbitrator for the Cherokee Nation in Tennessee. He was an outspoken advocate and spokes-person for his adopted family. About this time, he began to study law and opened a law practice in Nashville in 1818. His next move placed him in the center of politics, and he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1823 and again in 1825. In 1827, he became the governor of Tennessee. While he was Governor of Tennessee his marriage to Eliza Allen ended under unfavorable conditions, and he resigned from office and returned to live with his Cherokee family. During his stay in 1830, he married a Cherokee woman, Tiana Rogers Gentry, in a tribal ceremony. Although Houston and Tiana established a home and a trading post called Wigwam Neosho along the Neosho River, Houston eventually returned to his old life, but his wife did not follow her husband.

Eventually, Houston moved to Texas in 1832. During this time, Texas was still a territory of Mexico. Houston and many other settlers were not pleased with the leadership of this country. Once General Santa Anna took control, the two conflicting sides went to war. In 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico, and Texas settlers elected Houston as the commander of its army.

The Mexican general invaded Texas to squash their rebellion. One of the first major battles occurred at the Alamo. General Houston ordered his men to retreat, but they refused his orders. The battle of the Alamo was lost, and the remaining soldiers were executed.

Since Santa Anna continued to advance, Houston ordered his band of rebels to retreat from the larger Mexican Army. For over a month, Houston and his men dodged Santa Anna and his military forces. Although Houston’s men were furious with his decision to evade Santa Anna’s army, this maneuver provided the necessary time to train his ill-equipped men.

The Surrender of Santa Anna
by William H. Huddle

On April 21, 1836, Houston and his men made a surprise attack on Santa Anna as he and his men camped along the banks of San Jacinto River. They defeated the general and his men in under twenty minutes at the Battle of San Jacinto. With this win, Santa Anna surrendered, and a treaty was established which gave Texas their freedom and independence.

Once the revolution ended and Texas gained their freedom, Houston was elected as the first President of Texas in the fall of 1836. He won by a landslide, for he received eighty percent of the Lone Star votes, and he served as president for two terms. During this time, he also assisted Texas in becoming part of the United States. Later, he became a U.S. Senator for Texas between 1839-1841. Although Houston was a slaveholder, he voted against the spread of slavery into new territories

During his office as senator, Houston married Margaret Moffette Lea form Marion, Alabama on May 9, 1840. The couple had eight children, and they eventually moved to Huntsville, Texas in 1862.

When the Civil War started in 1861, he strongly opposed against Texas leaving the United States and joining the Confederacy, and he was the only Southern governor to oppose this action. When Texas succeeded on February 1, 1861, he later refused to swear allegiance to the Confederate States. Because of his principles, he was removed from his office of governor in March 1861.

Houston retired from politics, and returned to his home in Huntsville, Texas. This legendary man died on July 26, 1863, and he was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville.

Family Tree

Samuel Houston (1793 – 1863)
2nd cousin 6x removed
Samuel Houston (1754 – 1906)
father of Samuel Houston
Robert Houston (1720 – 1753)
father of Samuel Houston
Tamar Houston (1732 – 1764)
daughter of John Houston
Mary Plaster (1758 – 1836)
daughter of Tamar Houston
Tamar Burson (1777 – 1825)
daughter of Mary Plaster
Tacy Wilson (1795 – 1860)
daughter of Tamar Burson
Sara Alvira Hogue (1834 – 1902)
daughter of Tacy Wilson
Tamra Anna Payton (1860 – 1945)
daughter of Sara Alvira Hogue
Thomas Allen (1896 – 1975)
son of Tamra Anna Payton
Dorothy Marie Allen (1934 – 2006)
daughter of Thomas Allen
Ann Marie Bryant
daughter of Dorothy Marie Allen






6 thoughts on “The Legendary Samuel Houston

  1. “Let me tell you what is coming. After the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives you may win Southern independence, but I doubt it. The North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche.”
    Samuel Houston

    One of my favorite quotes.

    Liked by 1 person

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