Houston, Sam(uel)

Houston, Sam(uel)

biographical name


Sam Houston, photograph by Mathew Brady—Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

(born March 2, 1793, Rockbridge county, Va., U.S.—died July 26, 1863, Huntsville, Texas) U.S. politician. After the death of his father in 1807, Houston moved with his family to a farm in rural Tennessee. In his mid-teens he ran away and lived for nearly three years with the Cherokee Indians. After service in the War of 1812 he practiced law in Nashville and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1823–27). He was elected governor of Tennessee in 1827. After his marriage failed in 1829, he resigned his office and sought refuge among the Cherokee, who formally adopted him into the tribe. He twice traveled to Washington, D.C., to expose fraud perpetrated by government agents against the Indians. In 1832 he was sent by Pres. Andrew Jackson to Texas, then a Mexican province, to negotiate treaties with the Indians there. When U.S. settlers in Texas began an armed rebellion in 1835, the provisional Texas government chose him to command its army, and he defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, securing Texan independence. He served as president of the Republic of Texas (1836–38, 1841–44) and helped it to win statehood (1845); he then served in the U.S. Senate (1846–59). He was elected governor in 1859, but his pro-Union views were opposed by Democratic state leaders, who voted to secede in 1861. After he refused to swear allegiance to the Confederacy, he was deposed. The city of Houston was named in his honour.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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