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Learn Why Sam Houston is Honored in Texas and Elsewhere

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Portrait of Sam Houston

Portrait of Sam Houston

Many Places Bear His Name

My husband and I currently live in Houston, Texas. It is the fourth largest city in the United States, founded in 1836. During that same time frame, the President of the Republic of Texas was Sam Houston. Many sites in Texas bear the name of this notable man.

My husband attended Sam Houston High School in San Antonio many years ago. There is also a high school in Houston that bears the name Sam Houston Math, Science & Technology Center.

One of the largest Army Bases is in San Antonio, and it is called Fort Sam Houston. My brother Jim spent over nine months hospitalized there after a horrific helicopter crash at Fort Hood. His burial is in the Fort Sam Houston cemetery per his final wishes. (My maternal grandfather did some of his national guard military services at Fort Sam Houston when Pancho Villa was making raids into Texas from Mexico).

The Sam Houston National Forest is one of four national forests in Texas.

Huntsville, Texas, is the home of Sam Houston State University. On the south side of Huntsville is a massive 67-foot white statue of this beloved statesman along Interstate 45. It is also the burial place for Sam Houston, along with a memorial museum in his name.

Sam Houston Park is a grouping of historic homes and a church on 20 rolling acres of ground nestled up against a backdrop of the tall downtown Houston buildings and a busy raised Interstate 45, which whisks people above and past this quiet park setting.

Numerous items and sites outside of Texas bear the name of this venerable man and statesman. One example includes a ballistic missile submarine named the USS Sam Houston. There is even a U.S. postage stamp that honors the legacy of this important figure in history.

His Childhood

Young Sam Houston bore his father's name and was one of nine children and the number five son in his family. The year he was born in Virginia was 1793, and the history of what would become the United States was still in its infancy. It was frontier days, and times were unsettled.

His dad was a Major in the American Revolutionary War, which began when the American colonists rebelled against Great Britain, primarily regarding taxation without representation. It was a war that lasted from 1775 to 1783. The countries of France, Spain, and the Netherlands helped by aiding the colonists with supplies.

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress forming the United States of America declared total independence from Great Britain. Many more hard-fought battles ensued, and the United States had a long way to go before it would resemble what we currently enjoy today.

Sam Houston's father died in 1807, and his mother moved the family to Tennessee from Virginia to be near other family members. Young Sam was 14 years of age at this time, and only two years later, he would leave home.

He lived with a Cherokee tribe of Native Americans. They gave him the name which translated meant "the Raven." Later adopted, he became an official citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

Young Adulthood

At age 19, he followed in his dad's footsteps joining in a war effort still battling the British in The War of 1812. He was injured and did not rise above the rank of 3rd lieutenant before becoming a disabled veteran.

At the time, Houston had been a part of Andrew Jackson's army, and the two men got to know each other quite well. Following the war, Jackson would appoint Houston to be the Indian agent for the Cherokees.

Houston studied law under Judge James Trimble and passed his bar examination, becoming a lawyer. By 1818 Sam Houston became a prosecutor in Nashville, Tennessee, and by 1822 was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for Tennessee.

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All of his experiences with the Cherokee Nation, getting to know Andrew Jackson during the war, plus his congressional expertise for four years led him to become Governor of Tennessee in 1927. He was on a rapid rise to the top politically!

Daguerreotype of Sam Houston from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Daguerreotype of Sam Houston from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Personal and Political Life

His first marriage to young 19-year-old Eliza Allen in 1829 ended abruptly after only a short time of eleven weeks. It so affected Houston that he resigned as Governor of Tennessee.

Once again, he fled to the comfort of living with the Cherokees for a total of three years. During that time, Houston married in a Cherokee ceremony Diana (Tiana) Rogers Gentry, who was of partial Indian blood.

Houston again entered politics, and there was once an accusation of his beating a U.S. Congressman with a hickory cane because of a verbal disagreement about Indian rations. That must have been quite a scene in Washington! After a rather famous trial, he was reprimanded and once again shifted focus.

What would ultimately become the sovereign state of Texas was at that time a part of Mexico. Mexico had won its independence from Spain in the Mexican War of Independence, which ended in 1821. But it was hard for Mexico to control its northern territories. With the expansion of settlers from the United States, these lands were becoming more contested, ultimately resulting in the Texas Revolution.

Sam Houston left his Cherokee wife Tiana behind, becoming involved in Texas independence from Mexico. At that time, he was a major general in the Texas Army. After many evasive actions and defeats at the hands of Santa Anna, the most famous being the crushing defeat at the Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio, the final victory was at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.

Republic of Texas and Beyond

Sam Houston became the first and third President of the Republic of Texas. Later, after Texas joined the Union, he became a U.S. Senator and also the 7th governor of the state.

In 1840, having divorced his first wife some years prior, Houston married his 3rd wife, Margaret Moffette Lea, who was 21 years old. The second marriage did not matter in the civil courts at that time since it was under Cherokee laws.

They had eight children. One was named Sam Houston, Jr., and another boy was named Andrew Jackson Houston. Sam Houston thought a lot of Andrew Jackson despite not always agreeing on subjects such as the treatment of the Native Americans like his "adopted" family, the Cherokees.

Sam Houston resigned from being the Governor of Texas when secession from the Union was under consideration in what would become the U.S. war between the states.

He sided with Abraham Lincoln and others in not wanting to break the Union apart and retired with his family to Huntsville, Texas, where he would die at age 70 from a bout with pneumonia before the end of the Civil War.

Sam Houston grave monument in Huntsville, Texas

Sam Houston grave monument in Huntsville, Texas

A Mason

Sam Houston had been a Mason for much of his life and has Masonic emblems in his final resting place, the Oakwood Cemetery located in Huntsville. He was the first presiding officer of the Grand Lodge of Texas and was a Master Mason who belonged to lodges in Nashville, Tennessee, Houston, and Huntsville at various times in his life.

A plaque on the base of the Sam Houston statue located in Huntsville, Texas, created by David Adickes, titled "Tribute to Courage," was dedicated by the Grand (Masonic) Lodge of Texas in 1997. It has two quotes attributed to Sam Houston. They are the following:

"The great misfortune is that a nation obtains with those in power that the world, or the people, require more governing than is necessary. To govern well is a great science, but no country is ever improved by too much governing...most men think when they are elevated to position, that it requires an effort to discharge their duties, and they leave common sense out of the question."

"Govern wisely, and as little as possible."

These highlights are merely some of the facts about the life of Sam Houston. History buffs can study and learn much more about this fascinating man.

A Few of The Texas Sites Named After Sam Houston.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Houston

Cherokee Nation:https://www.cherokee.org/

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Sam-Houston

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 03, 2018:

Hi Rajan,

It is understandable since you live in India that you would not necessarily be familiar with Sam Houston. You continually provide information about foods that you typically eat as well as other items of interest that is often new to me. That is one thing about the Internet. We can continually learn from one another. So happy to learn that you enjoyed learning about Sam Houston and why he is famous in our part of the world.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 03, 2018:

I had no idea about Sam Houston at all and his connection with Texas and Houston. Thanks for providing information about the life and times of this famous man.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 10, 2016:

Hi Robert,

Glad you liked this hub regarding the part Sam Houston played in history...particularly that of Texas.

Robert Sacchi on July 08, 2016:

An interesting Hub about the life and times of one of the Texas Founding Fathers.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 15, 2013:

Hello cygnetbrown,

Glad you liked this piece written about Sam Houston. He is well revered in Texas!

Cygnet Brown from Springfield, Missouri on October 14, 2013:

How sad it must have been for Sam Houston to have died separated from service in his beloved state. However, it is wonderful that Texans keep his greatness alive. The article was very informative and very well done.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 24, 2013:

Hi Paul,

So glad to know that you liked this and learned a bit more about Sam Houston by reading this hub. Thanks for sharing this information with others.

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on August 24, 2013:

Peggy,

This is an awesome hub which I also found very interesting and useful. The only things I previously knew about Sam Houston were that he was the first president of Texas and fought with Davey Crockett at the Battle of the Alamo. For some reason, I thought that he died with Crockett at the Battle of the Alamo. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning and Tweeting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 16, 2013:

Hi toptendeals,

Sam Houston is well known in our part of the country! Glad you learned something new today. :)

Jason Benedict from Boca Raton, Florida on August 15, 2013:

I didn't even know Houston was a historic figure! Thanks for writing this, you learn something every day.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 04, 2013:

Hi Shyron,

So glad that you liked this hub about the famous Sam Houston. Appreciate the votes and share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2013:

Hi Au fait,

The history of Sam Houston is much revered in the South, particularly in Texas. Glad you liked learning more about him. Thanks for the shares. :)

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 31, 2013:

Peggy W. This is very interesting and I will have to re-read it from time to time. Voted up awesome, beautiful and interesting and shared.

C E Clark from North Texas on July 31, 2013:

Well, I know more about Sam Houston than I did before. We have a Sam Houston Elementary School here also. Very informative for us Yankees who have come to Texas. Voted up, interesting, shared and pinned!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 30, 2013:

Hi Suzanne,

That is a shame when a beloved school closes its doors. Thanks for the share. For some reason this hub keeps getting idled. It needs those shares! :))

justmesuzanne from Texas on July 30, 2013:

Voted up, interesting and shared! Incidentally, I attended Sam Houston Elementary School, which sadly, is no more. I loved it dearly! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 01, 2013:

Hi Rajan,

Happy to be able to shed a little light on who Sam Houston was and his importance in history. Thanks for the votes and shares.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 01, 2013:

I had no idea of who Sam Houston was but now know how importantly linked this name is to the city of Houston. Thanks for sharing this part of history.

Voted up, useful, interesting, shared, pinned and tweeted.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 16, 2013:

Hi A.A. Zavala,

You really do know that statue of Sam Houston well since your family lives in Huntsville, Texas. Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio has seen many a soldier pass through there! Thanks for your comment.

Augustine A Zavala from Texas on June 16, 2013:

I was also stationed at Ft. Sam Houston, and my family lives in Huntsville. Thank you for the wealth of information. That statue is huge! When I see it, I know I'm close to my family. Thanks again for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2013:

Hi Suzanne,

It has been many a year since I have watched the movie The Alamo. I know that I would enjoy it again. I had never heard that about Sam Houston...the possibility that he was bipolar...but it is interesting. Thanks for your comment and votes.

justmesuzanne from Texas on May 08, 2013:

Interesting information. I recently re-watched The Alamo with Dennis Quaid as Sam Houston. I thought he did a stellar job in the role (although Billy Bob Thornton as Davy Crockett definitely stole the show!) I remember reading, when this movie first came out, that historians speculated that Sam Houston may have had bipolar disorder. This would explain his larger than life personality and the many ups and downs of his personal and professional life.

Voted up and interesting! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 27, 2013:

Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals,

I know what you mean. It is wonderful learning about all different subjects by reading hubs from authors on HubPages. Glad that I could share some information about Sam Houston that you did not already know. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on April 27, 2013:

What an interesting life Sam Houston led. I had no idea that he was married more than once or that one of his wives was part Indian. Up, interesting, and awesome. i love when I learn a lot.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 15, 2013:

Hello DREAM ON,

So glad that you learned a lot about Sam Houston by reading this hub. Enjoy the Alamo movie again. It has been some time since I have seen it. Might just have to join you in viewing it again. Thanks for your comment.

DREAM ON on February 14, 2013:

I learned so much more than I learned in school.Thanx for sharing.I will have to watch the Alamo again since I enjoyed the clip and want to see more.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 23, 2013:

Hi epigramman,

I know that it is REALLY cold up where you are right now. Stay warm and stay safe! So happy to hear that you enjoyed reading this hub about Sam Houston. I think that the Battle of the Alamo and the fight for Independence fascinates many people and, of course, the part that Sam Houston played in all of it. Thanks for your comment and wishing you all good things in this new year of 2013.

epigramman on January 23, 2013:

Good evening Peggy from lake erie time ontario canada 6:37pm where we are in the coldest streak of winter weather we've had in over 3 years and I just had to write to tell you how much I loved this hub presentation ..... well actually you have so many great ones to choose from but the story of the Alamo and the fight for independence has always fascinated me as a kid and an adult and you do such world class service here in this landmark hub tribute - thank you for this one and of course your reseach and effort going into this .....hub bravo to you at 6:40pm and happy new year for your health , happiness and prosperity in 2013

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 09, 2013:

Hi vespawoolf,

Glad to be able to enlighten you a bit with regard to the history of Sam Houston. He is certainly a revered figure in this part of the world. Appreciate your comment.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 09, 2013:

I didn't know a lot about Sam Houston before reading this. He was a formidable and interesting man! It sounds like he was Cherokee at heart. The third marriage finally stuck. He was an honest soul and now I can see why he's honored so much in the Houston area. Thank you for another well-written and useful article.