Thursday April 02, 2015
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10-033 Sam Houston II

Thursday Apr 02, 2015

Lead: His marriage to Eliza Allen in tatters for mysterious reasons and hounded by malicious gossip, Governor Sam Houston of Tennessee resigned in disgrace and headed west to pick up the pieces of his life.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: As a youth, Sam Houston had spend three years with the Cherokees and grown to love their life and culture. With his 1829 marriage over and his political career imploding, Houston headed crossed the Mississippi into Arkansas, found healing in the company of many of his old Indian companions, particularly that of the stunning and lovely Tiana Rogers, ancestor of Will Rogers, but he also medicated himself against depression with lots of liquor. For a time the Indians took to calling him “The Drunk.”

By 1833, restored to his former vigor, he had left Tiana and was in Texas scheming, probably in concert with his old mentor and friend and now President Andrew Jackson, for the eventual annexation of Texas. He eschewed the moderate course of original colonizer Stephen B. Austin and, taking the side of hard-liners, began to agitate for more independence for provincial Texas within the Mexican Republic.

When the government of President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna resisted and then stationed troops to enforce Mexican control, Houston and the Texas patriots began to push for the vote for independence. They succeeded on March 2, 1836. There followed the seven-month war for Texas’ freedom, the massacre at the Alamo, Houston’s brilliant retreat which, though unpopular with many hotheads at the time, was essential for the eventual defeat of Santa Anna at San Jacinto and the treaty giving Texas independence. Houston was overwhelming elected President of the new Texas Republic.

Next time: Annexation, Senate service and the Union forever.

At the University of Richmond’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies, I’m Dan Roberts.


Fehrenbach, T. R. Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans. New York: Collier Books, 1980.

Friend, Llerena B. Sam Houston: The Great Designer. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1954.

Hitsman, J. Mackay. “The Texas War of 1835-1836,” History Today 10 (2, 1960): 116-123.

Houston, Samuel. The Writings of Sam Houston: 1813-1863. Eugene C. Barker and Amelia Williams, eds. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938-1943.

Marquis, James. The Raven: A Biography of Sam Houston. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1929.

Williams, John Hoyt. Sam Houston: A Biography of the Father of Texas. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Copyright 2015 by Dan Roberts Enterprises, Inc.


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