S is for Sam

Sam4S is for Sam –Sam was born in 1793, not in the west where he would become famous and rise to be elected President, but in Virginia. Most of his youth was spent in the mountains of Tennessee, where he became an adopted member of the Cherokee Nation.  He fought and was gravely wounded in the War of 1812 and rose to appointment as an officer of some renown during his career. He left the army to study law, was admitted to the Bar and practiced in his beloved Tennessee. Friend and ally to Andrew Jackson, Sam Sam6became a Congressman and then Governor of Tennessee. While still in office, he married a woman half his age from a wealthy, Tennessee family. Power, wealth, influence — Sam seemed on the fast track to the white house.

But his young wife abandoned him less than four months later and returned to live with her family. No one to this day is sure of the reason for the rift, but speculation runs wild. Some claim she cuckolded Sam, others that he was suffering from venereal disease. Whatever the truth, scandal or loss proved too much for the governor. He resigned and relocated to Oklahoma where he became a hopeless drunk, took a common law wife among his friends the Cherokee and received appointment as Indian Agent for the US government. Sam was a broken man and has-been.

samp1Later in opposition to the cruelties brought on the Cherokee by his old friend Jackson’s policies under the Indian Removal Act, Sam would become a champion of the Indian cause in Washington. While lobbying in on behalf of the tribes in the west, Sam lost his temper at accusations of his corruption from Ohio Congressman, William Stanbery. On Pennsylvania Avenue, Sam confronted and beat the Ohioan severely with a cane. Congress ordered his arrest and convicted him of contempt of congress for the assault. Sam fled the US for Mexico. All would seem lost.

Yet Sam would once again rise to the rank of General and lead an army to victory in one of the most important battles ever fought in North America. He would regain political prominence in another slave state and eventually become governor there. He opposed secession during the sectional crisis that would lead to Civil War, however, and suffered another reversal of political fortunes for that opposition when his state quit the Union.

So how was it that Sam, a man who experienced such highs and lows of personal and political fortunes, could ever have arisen to the office of President? Well, it could only happen in the Lone Star State. You see Sam was the first President of the Republic of Texas and the man for whom Houston, fourth largest city in the United States he so vigorously supported, is named. He died disgraced during the War Between the States. His fellow citizens held the father of Texas in the highest contempt for his defense of the government which annexed her and ended their republic.


Sam Houston


28 thoughts on “S is for Sam

  1. Sam Houston–what a legendary man. He is one of the few giants of his time, about whom the legends are true. How he survived the injuries garnered over the decades is a mystery.

    1. How true. He is one of those mythic type characters who was a significant historical figure, but a frontier legend as well. Thanks so much for coming back Susan. Glad to hear from you again

  2. Wow….I am Canadian, so know the war Of 1812 very well, and have studied the Civil War on my own. I had not heard of Houston’s trials and tribulations. Good or bad, right or wrong, his life was certainly an example of “it ain’t over till it’s over”!

  3. such interesting histories here – love reading about the past and seeing how things used to be. we think we have it rough, today is nothing compared to yesteryear! i am happy to be living in this time!
    happy a to z-ing!

  4. I’m originally from the south, so I’ve heard of Sam Houston, and have been through Texas on my way to the west coast. Texas was such a bone of contention in many ways, tough men were needed, isn’t that why there were Texas Rangers? Thanks for visiting my blog!

  5. It’s always interesting to see the more human sides of historical figures. I feel like this blog entry has done just that 🙂

  6. Wow, there’s a lot of information here that I didn’t know! I kept thinking “Sam? Which president was Sam?” President of Texas! That reminds me that I have a book called the Charge on my TBR list (it’s an alternate history where Texas is an empire).

    Best of luck on your upcoming release in June. It’s a Western novel?

  7. Whoa, what an intriguing story! I love the cane fight. You know someone is really pissed off about politics when that happens. Also, good for him, standing up for the Cherokee against Jackson.
    Great blog! Thanks for the visit! 🙂

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Tales of colors
    MopDog – The crazy thing about Hungarians…

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