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American History
Sam Houston
contributed by Lu Hickey

Samuel Houston was born in Rockbridge County VA in 1793.  After the death of his father in 1807, his mother moved the family to Marysville, Tennessee.  He had only a few terms in neighborhood schools and found that working in a village store had little appeal for him.  As a young man he spent three years living with Cherokee Indians, he learned to speak their language and respect their customs.  From 1813-1818 he served in the US Army under Andrew Jackson, then resigned to study law.

After a few months of study he opened a law office in Lebanon, Tennessee, where he quickly gained the respect of his frontier neighbors.  He was successively selected as district attorney, adjutant general of the state and state congressman and in 1827 became the governor of Tennessee.  He married Elizabeth Allen in 1829, after three and half months, she returned to her parents and Houston resigned from his position as governor.  No one knows what happened in their life.  Houston become a drifter and came westward and for six years was a trader among the Cherokees.  Like many others, he took an Indian wife and became a member of the tribe.

He traveled into Texas in 1832 to report on Indian affairs to Andrew Jackson, attended a pre-revolutionary convention in 1833 and was counted as a resident of Nacodoches in the census.  He signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, and was elected commander-in-chief of the armies.

Houston was strongly criticized for his actions and military strategy of the Battle of the Alamo.  Some of his peers thought he was cowardly to Santa Anna but at the Battle of San Jacinto, he had mustered enough troops to defeat the Mexican army.  Houston was injured in the San Jacinto skirmish and was sent to New Orleans for treatment. Upon his return to Tejas, he was elected president of the new Republic of Texas.

Against opposition, he secured Santa Anna's release in order to send him to Washington, DC.  He maintained peace with Mexico and served a term that was relatively calm.  Prohibited by law from seeking a successive term, Houston was replaced by Mirabeau Lamar.  Houston kept his political ambition and drive to success by election to the fourth and fifth congress.

He married Margaret Lean in 1840 and she proceeded to persuade him to reduce his intake of whiskey and join the Baptist Church.  He was elected to a second term as president, a time in the Republics history of Mexican and Indian wars and troubled finances.  He favored annexation to the United States and served Texas as a senator nearly fourteen years.  Increasingly, he took nationalistic stands on issues dividing the North and the South.  After losing the race for governor in 1857, he then won in 1859.  He opposed the secession of Texas, argued after the fact that Texas was again an independent republic and quietly yielded his office when deposed by the secession convention.  He refused the aid of union forces to retain his position and and retired first to Houston then on to Huntsville.

General Sam Houston died in 1863.

The Battle of San Jacinto, April 21...

Houston led his troops into action at siesta time. At this point the Texans numbered about 900 men, the Mexican army about 1400.  One drummer and three fifers playing the tune " Will you come to my bower I have shaded for you", the single rank of the Texan army screened by trees and a rise in the ground, advanced on the run.  Santa Anna had posted no guards.  The Texans overran the Mexican camp and won the battle in eighteen minutes.

Two Texans died and Houston was shot in the Ankle.  The Mexicans suffered 630 killed, 208 wounded and 730 captured, including Santa Anna, who was identified by his own men the next day in the uniform of a private.. As previously stated, Santa Anna was set free in Vera Cruz and thus ends the Hispanic power in Texas but the influence of Spanish heritage continues.



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