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.
7th Governor of Texas
In office December 21, 1859 – March 18, 1861
Sam Houston’s next challenge was convincing Texans to join the United States. It took almost a decade but annexation occurred in 1845.
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.
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.
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 Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HH/fho73.html
This episode first aired on March 3, 2012.