Samuel Houston was born on March 2, 1793, in Timber Ridge Church, Virginia. After his father passed away, the family moved to Tennessee when Samuel was thirteen years old. They lived in a frontier settlement next to the Cherokee Indians; the Cherokee adopted Samuel into their tribe, and he lived with them for three years.
Samuel eventually returned to the white settlement where he taught school. When he was twenty years old he served under General Andrew Jackson in the battle of To-ho-po-ka. He was wounded severely and given up for dead. He headed to his mother’s house and reached home after almost two months of severe suffering.
Houston was elected to Congress in 823; four years later he became the governor of Tennessee and was re-elected in another four years. He married Eliza Allen, but she left him; he resigned his office and became an Indian trader in Texas. He lived with the Indians for three years and resumed his Indian name of Colonnel. He traveled to Washington, D.C. several times to plead for better treatment of the Indians.
Houston took a beautiful Indian maiden named Tyania Rodgers as his wife and lived with her until he returned to civilization. She desired to stay with her own people and died a few years later.
Sam Houston became famous in Texas’ fight for independence from Mexico. He organized a small army of Texans and led his badly outnumbered forces into battle against Mexico. His greatest victory took place in April 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto. He captured Mexican general Antonio de Santa Anna, and Texas won its independence from Mexico.
Houston was elected as the first president of the new Republic of Texas and served until 1838; he served in the same capacity again from 1841 until 1844. Governor Houston married Margaret Moffette Lea in 1840, and the couple became parents of four sons and four daughters.
Under Houston’s leadership, Texas was admitted to the Union in 1845. He served as a U.S. Senator from Texas for nearly fourteen years. Houston stood staunchly with the Union and vigorously opposed secession. He was elected governor again in 1859 while running on an anti-secession platform. Texas voted to secede in 1861; when Houston refused to take Texas out of the Union, Confederate forces removed him from office.
Sam Houston retired to Huntsville, Texas, where he passed away on July 26, 1863.