Texas Originals

Former Governor of Texas Sam Houston

Commanded the Texian soldiers in their fight for Texas independence. He became Governor of Texas and helped The Republic of Texas become the 28th state in the United States.

Portrait of General Sam Houston, made in about 1861 by Mathew Brady.

March 2, 1793 – July 26, 1863

In 1861, as the Civil War loomed, Texas Governor Sam Houston watched his constituents vote to secede from the Union.  Houston could not believe that two decades of his work was about to unravel.  His loyalty to the Union was genuine and he was not willing switch his allegiance to the Confederacy.  Houston was forced out of office but not before saying “I love Texas too well to bring civil strife and bloodshed upon her.”

Houston had never refused a fight in his life.  But he understood how disastrous the Civil War would ultimately be.

Sam Houston had arrived in Texas, almost 30 years prior, in 1832.  The former Congressman and Governor of Tennessee’s new cause was Texas independence.  He led the army that defeated Mexican General Santa Anna at San Jacinto … an achievement that secured his place in Texas history.

portrait of Sam Houston Scratched on back of plate: 233; Sam Houston, Texas. Hallmark: Rinhart 46. Identification from lithograph by Konrad in Huber, History of Texas, 1856, v. 2, frontis. Facing the light / H. Pfister. Washington : Smithsonian Institution press, 1978, p. 327. Transfer; U.S. War College; 1920; (DLC/PP-1920:46153). Forms part of: Daguerreotype collection (Library of Congress). Produced by Mathew Brady's studio.
Sam Houston, half-length portrait, three-quarters to the left, in civilian dress, clean shaven.

Just fifteen years later, the Civil War was about to tear his country apart.  At 67, Sam Houston’s fighting days were behind him and he retired to a quiet life in Huntsville.  Two years later in 1863, as the Civil War was raging … Sam Houston died. Sam Houston’s next challenge was convincing Texans to join the United States.  It took almost a decade but annexation occurred in 1845.

His final home still stands on the grounds of Sam Houston State University and is visited annually by thousands who pay tribute to this iconic Texan.



Selected Bibliography

Brands, H.W. Lone Star Nation: How a Ragged Army of Volunteers Won the Battle for

Texas Independence—and Changed America. New York: Doubleday, 2004.

DeBruhl, Marshall. Sword of San Jacinto: A Life of Sam Houston. New York: Random House, 1993.

Campbell, Randolph B. Sam Houston and the American Southwest. Edited by Oscar Handlin. New York: HarperCollins, 1993.

Haley, James L. Sam Houston. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004.

Kreneck, Thomas H. HOUSTON, SAMUEL. Handbook of Texas Onlinehttp://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HH/fho73.html

This episode first aired on March 3, 2012.