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In his old age Sam Houston remarked that American authors 
had no need to turn for inspiration to "European castles and 
their crazy knights and lady loves." They should rather "set 
themselves to work to glean the unwritten legends of heroism and 
adventure which the old men would tell them who are now smok- 
ing their pipes around the rooftrees of Kentucky and Tennes- 
see." Marquis James has heeded this advice, in spirit as in fact. 
Much of what he has to tell us about Sam Houston he has 
gleaned from old men who knew him or his family or his asso- 
ciates. He has taken folklore and unwritten legends and trans- 
formed them into history, and he has not lost the "heroism and 
adventure" in the process. 

What a tale of heroism and adventure it is, this story of the 
Raven! Even the name is like something out of mythology, yet 
soberly authentic. This is the stuff of which legend is made, this 
story of the making of Texas, and Houston is one with those 
semilegendary characters with Daniel Boone and Davy Crock- 
ett, with Marion the Swamp Fox and Ethan Allen. Nay, more ; 
in a sense he serves the history of Texas in the same way that 
Charlemagne and Alfred and Barbarossa and Valdemar Sejr 
serve the histories of the nations they helped to make. In a sense 
Houston is too good to be true, this man who wrought such 
mighty deeds within the lifetime of our fathers and grandfa- 
thers ; in a sense if he had not existed we should have had to 
create him. And what better testimony is there to the romantic 
quality of our history than that our most legendary characters 
are authentic, and our most sober history wildly improbable. 


What is most striking is that Houston seems made to order 
not only as a nation builder, but as a repository of all of those 
qualities which we associate with his time and his country. It 
would be absurd to insist that he was a typical American, but it 
is no exaggeration to say that he symbolized the most dramatic 
qualities of the American character at mid-century. For we 
have in him, as Mr. James makes clear with such effortless 
artistry, that remarkable combination of the primitive and the 
sophisticated which has always delighted the European observer 
and has never embarrassed the American. He was a school- 
teacher and a lawyer, but he was a hunter and a fighter ; he was 
equally at home in a courtroom or in the halls of Congress and 
in an Indian wigwam or a military tent ; it was appropriate that 
on one occasion he appeared in the White House in full Indian 
regalia. Houston displays, too, that astonishing blend of ro- 
manticism and realism so characteristic of the age everywhere, 
and still characteristic of America. He could adapt himself to 
the realities of Tennessee politics itself no mean achievement 
and he could renounce a brilliant political future with a 
chivalrous gesture. He had a romantic affection for Nature, 
and an easy accommodation to it. He had the weaknesses, even 
the vices, of the frontiersman, and took to dirt and drink and 
sloth with downright enthusiasm, but as a soldier and a states- 
man he displayed fortitude, sobriety and prudence. 

All his life, so a contemporary observed, Sam Houston at- 
tracted artists, and he was on the whole happy in the artists who 
portrayed him. He never found a more faithful or more talented 
portraitist than Marquis James, and we are fortunate that this 
painting remains available after nearly twenty-five years. When 
Mr. James paints the Raven, he paints not only the lineaments 
of this nation builder,* but the lineaments of the young Repub- 
lic : of romanticism, of democracy, of the frontier, of expansion, 
of nationalism. The Raven himself was an authentic expression 
of the American spirit ; it is clear that this portrait of the Raven 
is an expression of that spirit in history and in literature. 






I ". . . ONE SWORD, $15" 3 




VI Six FEET Six 63 















CONTENT S Concluded 





















Sam Houston A photograph by Frederick of New York 
City, made in 1856 when General Houston was 
a memher of the United States Senate . Frontispiece 



Ensign Houston at To-ho-pe-ka . . . . .50 

Sam Houston at Thirty-three Military hero, Congress- 
man, protege of Andrew Jackson and Tennessee's 
young Man of Destiny ...... 51 

Courtship's Offering A cameo medallion of General 
Houston while President of the Texas Republic, made 
in Italy in 1837 or 1838. Presented to Margaret Lea 
in 1839 82 

The Raven Sam Houston as ambassador of the Cherokee 
Nation of Indians to the seat of the Great White 
Father 83 

Capitol of the Texas Republic Houston, 1837 . . 114 

"Paint Me as Marius!" Sam Houston in the rdle of a 

favorite character in Roman history . . * 115 

General Santa Anna ....... 146 

President of the Texas Republic Sam Houston in 1837 

or 1838 .147 

On the Retreat from Gonzales Houston dictating to 
Hockley the order for Major Austin to go in search 
of artillery 178 



Map of campaign showing routes of various generals . 179 

Map of final moves of Houston and Santa Anna before 

battle 210 

Map of battle of San Jacinto 211 

Battle of San Jacinto A painting in the Texas State 

Capitol, Austin ....... 242 

Map Republic of Texas, 1836-1846 . between 258-259 
As United States Senator 274 

The Brazos Talleyrand Sam Houston at the moment of 
his greatest triumph when he redeemed his pledge to 
Andrew Jackson by bringing his Republic into the 
Union ......... 275 

Map Houston's conception of a greater Texas Republic 306 

Senator of the United States Sam Houston at the begin- 
ning of his long and bold fight against disunion * . 307 

The Democratic Funeral of 1848 . 

Braving the Storm!!! m 

Governor of Texas, 1859 Sam Houston at the time of his 
last triumph and the beginning of his battle against 
secession ...... 870 

The Noblest Roman of Them All . . . . * 871 

"I Will Not Take This Oath!" A life mask of General 
Houston by Dexter, made in 1860 shortly before his 
refusal to swear allegiance to the Confederacy and 
consequent deposition from the governorship , w 402 

The Grim Dreamer-r-The last known likeness of Sam 
Houston, made in 1862 or 1863, while secretly shap- 
ing events for a restoration of "His Republic" . , 408 




"Two classes of people pursued 
Sam Houston all his life 
artists and women/' 

belle of Old Nashville, 



. (hras SWOBB, $15" 

THE vessel seemed off her course, and the crew grumbled 
about its work while a troubled landsman paced the quarter- 
deck. The Captain was below in irons, the pass-engers on their 
knees in the waist thanking God that matters were no worse 
which easily might have been. But for a chance discovery and 
a bold plan carried boldly through, who could say what should 
have been their fate at the hands of the wicked mariner to 
whom they had entrusted their lives and their fortunes? 

The fortunes were at the root of the trouble. At Belfast 
too many kegs of gold sovereigns had gone on board under 
the meditative eye of the Master. It was uncommon for emi- 
grants to be so well fixed. Half-seas-over the situation got the 
best of the Skipper, But his buccaneering plot was found out, 
and the passengers overwhelmed the ringleaders and took 
charge of the ship. One of their number said he understood 
enough navigation to bring her into Philadelphia. 

That had happened eight days ago, and a landfall was 
overdue. But prayer fortified the voyagers' spirits, and surely 
enough, before the day was out, a seaman cried, **Land 
and the South River capes spread into view. 


When the ship came to berth a thick-set man in middle life, 
with silver buckles on his shoes, stepped ashore with his mother, 
his wife and six children. The family of "John Houston, 
Gent.," descendants of baronets, whose ancestors were in the 
company of Scottish archers that led the way for Jeanne 
d'Arc from Orleans to Reims, stood on the wharf and saw 
their keg of s-overeigns safely on the soil of the New World, in 
the year 1730. 1 

Twenty-four years later Gentleman John could have looked 
back on a span of life exti'aordinary for its success at colonitu 
endeavor. He had tarried in Pennsylvania long enough to 
marry off young John, his son, and two daughters. Then UK- 
tide of Scotch-Irish immigration streaming southward had 
swept him up and set him down in the upper Valley of Virginia 
among the Stuarts and the McCorkles, the Paxtons, Davidsons, 
Montgomerys, McCormicks and McClungs. He had become 
one of the first citizens of the new Presbyterian commonwealth 
beyond the Blue Ridge, at which the Episcopalian aristocracy 
of the Tidewater was beginning to cease to tilt its nose. His 
lands were extensive and he had been among the first to import 
negroes across the mountains not without a twitch of his non- 
conformist conscience in the beginning, perhaps, for until then 
the rougher tasks had been undertaken by indentured white 
servants who were slaves but temporarily. He had built roads 
that exist to this day and a stone church in which Valley folk 
still worship. He had administered the King's justice as a 
magistrate and fought the French and the Indians. 

At the age of sixty-five, rich and honored, he continued 
the pioneer. He was clearing a new field, and when something 
went wrong, Squire John stepped under a tree that was* afire 
to give an order. A great limb fell, pinning him to the earth. 
When his servants reached him John Houston, Gentleman, the 
founder of an American family, was dead. 

". . . ONE SWORD, $15" 5 


Squire John's son, Robert, had married one of the well-to- 
do Davidson girls and established himself on the Timber Ridge 
Plantation. There Robert built a fine house (though aristo- 
cratic Tidewater would not have thought it much), with a 
two-story gallery supported by square columns. He could sit 
on his gallery and look down the rows 1 of locust and maple 
trees he had planted along the driveway that joined the main 
road to Lexington. He could extend his field of vision for a 
long way down the Valley, and much of what he saw he owned. 

The Valley had prospered and begun to lose some of the 
rawness and severity that irritated the Tidewater. It built 
better houses and made a beginning at the art of living accord- 
ing to what was already a Virginia tradition. But on the 
whole Tidewater remained unimpressed and was disposed to 
regard the Valley as a barbarous region where gentlemen 
worked with their hands and a man might be put in jail for 
skipping church service. 

Tidewater's- criticisms do not appear to have disturbed 
Robert Houston, who was not the kind to borrow trouble. 
When his work was caught up, he could enjoy his breeze-swept 
gallery or a court-day excursion to Lexington, the county-seat, 
seven miles away, to hear the news. Perhaps he heard, and 
passed an opinion on the fact, that William Gray had been 
presented to the grand jury for driving a wagon on Sunday, 
and that Charles Given was complaining to the authorities that 
his left ear had been bitten off by Francis McDonald, 

Yes, the court-house was the place to go for the news: 
Judith Ryley accused of killing her bastard child. . . . Nat, 
an Indian boy, complains* that he is held in slavery by the 
rich Widow Greenlee. . . . John Moore presented for stay- 
ing away from public worship. . . . Elizabeth Berry sen- 
tenced to receive twenty-five lashes on the bare back for steal- 
ing a shirt of Margaret McCassell. . . . Malcomb McCown 
indicted for the murder of Cornstalk and three other Indians; 


no prosecution. Malcomb McCown suspected of stealing a 
horse; to jail without bail. . . . Sam Jack presented for 
saying "God damn the Army to hell." 2 

General Washington's Army was the one Sam Jack had 
in mind. This made the transgression a grievous one, offending 
the Deity and the cause of freedom as well. Upper-crust Tide- 
water had its share of Tories, but the Valley was for "inde- 
pendency" almost to a man. Mr. Jack ^as fined fifty pounds 
and sentenced to spend twenty-four hours in jail, which Robert 
Houston doubtless felt was no less than he deserved. For 
Robert was a rebel and had a boy in the war. 


Samuel Houston, the son of Robert, liked the military life 
and came home a captain in Morgans Rifle Brigade, the most 
celebrated corps in the Continental Army. When his father 
died, Captain Houston got the Timber Ridge place, He 
married Elizabeth, a daughter of Squire John Paxton, one of 
Rockbridge County's richest men. The new mistress of Timber 
Ridge was tall and handsome. She was counted a lady al- 
most in the Tidewater manner. 

The war had brought wonderful changes to the Colonies, 
and some of these had reached the sheltered Valley. Captain 
Houston, for one., had traveled and learned to prefer the easy 
life and cavalier tone of the seaboard. With his inheritance! 
and a rich wife, he felt in a position to order his life to conform 
to his new ideas. He decided to embrace the profession of 
arms as a career. It was a gentleman's occupation- 

Consequently the Captain remained in the military estab- 
lishment, the State establishment, with appointment as briga- 
dier inspector, which was the utmost Virginia could do toward 
providing professional standing for an officer of militia* But 
it suited Captain Houston, who gravely pursued his un- 
eventful rounds for twenty-three years which is a long time 
to sustain am illusion 

"- . . ONE SWORD, $15" 7 


Ten of these years had gone by when one day the Captain 
rode home in haste. It was late February and the last ascend- 
ing curve of the Plank Road from Lexington lifted the rangy 
outlines of the homestead on the hill against a sunless back- 
ground of sky and valley. On the maple and locust trees a 
few buds put forth their points shyly as if committing an 
indiscretion. The Captain crossed the two-story gallery, 
turned the small, burnished, brass door-knob and stepped 
briskly within. 

All was well and he had arrived in time in good time, 
for not until the second day of March, in 1793, was the baby 
born. It was the fifth that had blessed the union of Samuel 
and Elizabeth Houston and, like the others, a boy. Captain 
Houston gave his own name, Samuel, to the little fellow and 
posted away again, the hoofs of his* saddle horse drumming 
on the great puncheons of the Plank Road an axiom of the 
trade of arms. It is hard for a soldier to have any home life. 

The black nurse girl, Peggy, took charge of Sam, which 
enabled Mistress to resume supervision of the plantation sooner 
than otherwise. 


When Sam was three his brother William was born. A 
year later a baby sister came. That was an event. Six boys 
and then a girL They named her Mary, She was Sam's fa- 
vorite, and grew up to be a great belle who lived bravely and 
died tragically. When Sam was five there was another girl 
Isabella. Two years after that, in 1800, the turn of the 
century brought Elizabeth Paxton her ninth child, christened 
Eliza Ann. In 1803 instead of another baby, the household 
at Timber Ridge was thrilled by the Louisiana Purchase and 
Papa's promotion to major* Then, presently, a war 
Spain was- spoken of. 


Sam Houston had attained his eleventh year, one ot 
six brothers and three sisters who rode horseback, swam in 
Mill Creek, hunted in the woods, and as Sam afterward recalled, 
slew Redcoats and Redskins impartially, with father's second 
best sword. The cream of juvenile society in the Valley was 
theirs. They visited at Cousin Matthew Houston's, near High 
Bridge, which is now called Natural Bridge. Cousin Matthew's 
house was then as now a show place of the region, reckoned as 
grand, indeed, as Mr. Jefferson's Monticello and, unlike Monti- 
cello, maintained without bankrupting its proprietor. They 
visited at Cousin Samuel Houston's, saw his wheat-cutting 
machine and heard the inventor discourse on the Greek and 
Latin classics. Cousin Samuel expected to make a fortune 
with his reapers. He might have done so had not Cyrus Mc- 
Cormick, the son of another Rockbridge County planter, who 
was always tinkering at his father's forge, fashioned a better 
machine for cutting wheat. 

Sam and his brothers and sisters went to church every 
Sunday the stone Timber Ridge Church, a hundred yards 
from the homestead, a monument to the pious initiative of 
their great grandfather and to the women who had brought 
sand for the mortar in their saddle-bags from South River. 
They went to school in a building of logs that stood a short 
distance from the church. Major Houston had donated forty 
acres of land and with a few neighbors- started the school. 

Sam was a poor student and a truant. He preferred his 
father's library to the classroom, and was often stretched Math 
a book before the white five-foot-high mantel that lent bright- 
ness and charm to the somber walnut-paneled living-room at 
Timber Ridge. 3 The book might have been Brook's 1 Gazetteer 
or one of the eight volumes of Rollin's Ancient History* And 
not improbably, in his explorations of the family copy of 
Morse's Geography, the boy's fingers wandered over a nebulous 
representation of "Tejas" for the Spanish war talk had 
touched the routine of life at Timber Ridge. 

Expresses from the West indicated that Kentucky and 

". . . ONE SWOKD, $15" 9 

Tennessee accepted the early coming of hostilities as one of 
the few certainties of life on a frontier. The Virginia militia 
was stirred. Never had the Major been busier with his in- 
spections. The gravity of matters left little time for personal 
affairs. Perhaps 1 this was a relief, for the Major's personal 
affairs were not a pleasant topic to consider. Timber Ridge 
was feeling the effect of a military career. The cash ac- 
cumulations of two thrifty generations had been spent. A 
sizable inheritance from Mrs. Houston's- father was gone. 
Slaves had been sold off, and then land a parcel here and 
a parcel there, and some lots in Lexington. But with a war 
on the horizon a soldier puts selfish thoughts aside. Timber 
Ridge was still a valuable property and sufficient, with 
economies, to keep the family until the public crisis was over. 

This crisis hinged and with it Major Houston's expecta- 
tions of a call to the field of honor somewhat on the outcome 
of the designs of Aaron Burr, although no one knew, or has 
since found out, what those designs were. Colonel Burr had 
a way of keeping his projects flexible. They seemed to com- 
prehend anything from a colonization scheme in the Spanish 
province of Tjas, to the seizure of New Orleans, the alienation 
of the Mississippi Valley, the conquest of Mexico and the 
coronation of Aaron I as emperor of the Southwest against 
a twinkling background of orders of nobility and star and 
garters. One paid his money and took his choice. 

In any event, a part of the program was war with Spain, 
which the West was 1 hot for, and therefore hot for the Burr 
business under the notion that it was somehow an instrument 
for hastening the humiliation of the dons and snatching a 
slice of territory in the bargain. Ohio and Kentucky were 
delirious with patriotic intentions-. In Tennessee a lean back- 
woods lawyer named Andrew Jackson awaited a signal to rally 
two thousand frontiersmen and swarm southwestward. West- 
ern Virginia was on the qui vive. 

In the summer of 1806 the flatboat flotilla that was 1 to con- 
vey Burr and the vanguard of his "colonists" to their adven- 


ture was loading on the Ohio and on the Cumberland. Young 
Samuel Swartwout, of New York, rode through Virginia bound 
for the tropical Sabine, In his saddle-bag was a cipher mes- 
sage signed by Aaron Burr. That message got young Mr. 
Swartwout in jail and helped to encourage Mr. Jefferson's 
zeal to hang Mr. Burr. Consequently, no colonization of the 
Washita, no Emperor Aaron, or star and garters, or war 
with Spain. A little sheepishly the taken-in West turned to 
other forms of entertainment. The experience was also a lessor 
to young Mr. Swartwout. 

Sam Houston was thirteen years old when the Burr bubble 
burst, and the Major, his father, was left free to resume the in- 
terrupted consideration of his personal affairs. There was 
much to consider. Timber Ridge was bankrupt. The Major 
was past fifty, and his health had begun to fail. A reckoning 
was on the way. 

The old militiaman met the crisis with soldier-like poise. 
He made a plan. He would resign his commission and leave 
Virginia which had set the stamp of failure on his affairs. He 
and his would remove to Tennessee, a new country shimmering 
with the prospects that far fields almost infallibly display be- 
fore the impaired in fortune. 

The West tugged like a magnet. On the seaboard from 
Maine to Georgia waves 1 of men were on the move. Few had 
rolled farther, or gathered as much moss with each roll, than 
a certain Connecticut Yankee, as astute as he was restless. 
Moses? Austin had tried Pennsylvania and Virginia. Now he 
was in Missouri working lead mines in a wilderness, and listen- 
ing with a shrewd squint to the tales trappers and traders 
brought from beyond the Sabine. Already Moses Austin's rov- 
ing eye was on Texas. With him was a son named Stephen, 
born in Virginia the same year Sam Houston was. 

The reckoning that was on the way never quite overtook 

". . . ONE SWORD, $15" H 

Major Houston. In September of 1806 he sold for a thousand 
pounds what was left of the Timber Ridge plantation. The 
Major was ill, but duty called and he rode away on his last 
tour of military inspections, dying at Dennis Gallighan's 
friendly tavern house on the New Road to Kentucky. A large 
turnout of Valley gentility saw him buried in the High Bridge 
churchyard, near the elaborate mansion of Cousin Matthew. 

"One sword," noted the executors in their appraisal of the 
estate, "one sword, $15. . . . 

"One Negro Woman named Peggy aged 27 years $166.66 
One Negro Woman named Lucy aged 17 years 250 One negro 
boy Jerry 13 years 250 One negro Boy a child named Andrew 
2 years 40 one do a Boy named David 10 months 20 one iron 
grey mare 90 ... One Riding Chair and Harness 55 ... 
One red cow 10 ... One womans sadle bridle and martingale 
20 one mans s-adle Plated stirup 17 ... One card table 
$6.50 three tea boards $3 One bottle case & contents 4 . . . 
One umbrella $2 ... One pistol 50 ... 2 turkey coun- 
terpins- $7. Nine sheets $.50 . . . Morse's Geography 2 
vol 6.50 . . . Sundry bonds and notes amounting to 
1468.20" and other items sufficient to fill two sheets of fools- 
cap and foot up to $3,659.86.* 

Riding chair, card table, tea boards, wine s-et, bed linen, 
eight saddles 1 relics of a Virginia gentleman who had seen 
better days. Still, thirty-six hundred dollars was no trifling 
inheritance. But debts took a large part of this residue. 

Fearing he might not live to conduct his family to the 
promised land, the Major had taken steps to outwit the hand 
of death. In the closing weeks of his life he had opened ne- 
gotiations for a grant of land in East Tennessee, and had 
inserted in his will a clause directing his 1 executors to set 
aside "as much as they may actually find nes-sery ... to 
Enable . . [the family] to move with convenience." Two- 


thirds of what was left "is to be applied to purchase land . . . 
and such articles as may be needful" for the family's "support 
until they can be otherwise provided for." The remaining 
third was "to be at the disposal of my wife" with the injunc- 
tion that having made the move "shee is to apply as much of 
the property of horses and other things which they will require 
in Moving to the purchase of [additional] Lands, [which] 
shal be divided at the deceas of my wife ... in the follow- 
ing manner, to my son John two shares and to my other 
children one share each." 

Western land. Sell the horses, the wagons that took you 
and buy more land and be rich. Major Houston had imbibed 
the spirit of his age. Almost his last purchase had been a 
new "waggon with chain and gears compleat for five horses 
[$] 174." Fourteen-year-old Sam (calculated the Major) 
should ride in this wagon and have for his own a tenth part of 
the greater legacy that lay where the rainbow dipped in the 
southwestern sky. 



IN THE spring of 1807 a Virginia widow more accustomed 
to her own riding chair than an immigrant wagon, however 
new, took her place behind a five-horse team. The five-horse 
team, followed by a four-horse team and an older wagon, moved 
out on the road from Lexington that threaded the green Al- 
legheny passes and descended into the wilderness of Tennessee. 
The widow was in her fiftieth year. Her hair was 1 iron gray, 
Her tall form had grown matronly from bearing the nine 
children who shared the two wagons with the remainder of the 
worldly possessions of this reduced gentlewoman. 

In three weeks the little procession passed through the 
collection of log houses known as Knoxville, the village capital 
of Tennessee. They forded a river and continued southwest- 
ward over an old Indian trace. Fifteen miles farther, they 
forded a creek by a grist mill that stood inside a stockade. 
Climbing the steep bank on the farther side, the travel-stained 
outfit creaked into the midst of another collection of houses, 
strung along either side of the trace. This collection was 
smaller and ruder than the one called Knoxville. Logs were 
unsquared and windows hung with shutters that would turn 
an arrow or stop a musket ball. This was Maryville, the seat 
of government of Blount County. 

The ten miles beyond Maryville were the worst of the trip. 
The country got wilder and rougher. The trace was- a poor 
excuse for a road. More streams to ford and steep banks 



dense with underbrush to worry the wagons up and down. Up 
the Baker's Creek Valley and then up a branch stream that 
tumbled down from the hills, they worked their way over no 
road at all until the Big Smoky Mountains rose into view. 
Their journey was ended. Elizabeth Houston had fulfilled 
the dying wish of her husband. On the Baker's Creek branch 
she patented four hundred and nineteen acres that had been his 
personal selection. 

Sam Houston seldom spoke of his father, whom he re- 
membered "only for one passion, a military life." But hia 
mother was "a heroine ... an extraordinary woman . . * 
gifted with intellectual and moral qualities, which elevated 
her ... above most of her sex. Her life shone with purity 
and benevolence, and yet she was nerved with a stern fortitude, 
which never gave way in the midst of the wild scenes that 
chequered the history of the frontier settler," 1 

East Tennessee was filling up rapidly, but the arrival of the 
widow and her band was probably something of an event 
because of the local prestige of the Houston name. James 
and John Houston, cousins of the Major, had come out directly 
from the Army at the close of the Revolutionary War. There 
was no such place as Tennessee then. The country was a part 
of North Carolina. Reverend Samuel Houston, Greek 
scholar and unsuccessful inventor, had been there off and on. 
He had joined picturesque John Sevier and his resolute wife, 
Bonny Kate, in founding the State of Franklin. Though 
stonily ignored by the other commonwealths of our Federal 
Union, the State of Franklin for three stirring years main- 
tained behind the long hunting rifles of its sponsors a sov- 
ereignty that paved the way for the creation of Tennessee* 

When this was accomplished Blount County sent James 
Houston to the Legislature. Jim Houston of Jim Houstotfs 
Fort was a power in those clearings. Jim Houston's 


Houston Blockhouse on old maps was on Nine Mile Creek five 
miles from the spot Elizabeth Houston picked for the site of 
her homestead. As likely as not, Mrs. Houston and her flock 
put up at Cousin Jim's while the new home was being built, 
and there young Sam got a foreshadow of the life in store for 

At Cousin Jim's the boy would have found himself behind a 
stockade enclosing the Houston residence, slave quarters and 
outbuildings. Jim Houston's Fort had turned back more than 
one Indian attack, but the last good fight had been nineteen 
years ago, with no serious scare for ten years. In that time a 
restless Paxton, Elizabeth's blood cousin, had made his way to 
Tennessee, and he and a Houston had married into the same 
family there. The blockhouse families were all intermarrying. 
Montgomery, Wallace, McClung, Stuart and other Rock- 
bridge County names gave a feeling of familiarity to the 

The adventure touched Sam Houston's passion for the 
heroic. Forty years later the recollection of it moved him 
to complain that American authors need not turn for in- 
spiration to "European castles? and their crazy knights and 
lady loves," but should "set themselves to work to glean the 
unwritten legends of heroism and adventure which the old men 
would tell them who are now smoking their pipes around the 
rooftrees of Kentucky and Tennessee." 

But for Sam the romantic part of the migration ended 
when the new house on the Baker's Creek branch was finished 
and the family moved in and began to clear the farm. Of 
Elizabeth Houston's six sons, Sam seemed to take after his 
father the most in one respect: his talents did not incline 
to agriculture. Frontier farming was an occupation involving 
much commonplace labor in order to eat not any too well, Sam 
perceived flaws in this scheme. Nor did he share the frontier's 
opinion of contempt for the Indians, who got along comfort- 
ably by hunting and fishing, and when let alone by the whitest 
seemed to have a good enough time. 


To what extent Sam's ideas were influenced by a book he 
was reading one can only guess. The book was Alexander 
Pope's translation of the Iliad. But there is no guesswork in 
the assertion that Sam's views were not accepted by the other 
members of the household. They went to work on the new 
four hundred acres. From the start they prospered better 
than most settlers. They bought slaves. They acquired an 
interest in a general store in Maryville. They enlarged the 
family residence. 

The house stood near a cool mountain spring on a .shelf 
of land sloping away in three directions, before which lay a 
magnificent sweep of mountain scenery. When he grew up 
and got into politics, Sam used to speak of his boyhood 
Tennessee home as a cabin, but the neighbors thought it a fine 
house, for it had an up-stairs, which in that day was a mark 
of splendor. 2 

By the terms of Major Houston's will, the Tennessee ven- 
ture was a joint undertaking in which Sam originally enjoyed 
a ten per cent, interest. A few years after the family's arrival 
Paxton, the eldest boy, died. Death also took Isabella. Sam's 
share was then one-eighth, and affairs were prospering. The 
value of his holding increased with the rest. This was because 
everybody worked but Sam. 

He was a likable culprit, though, and the handsomest of 
Elizabeth Houston's sons fair and tail, with wavy chestnut 
hair and friendly blue eyes that looked from a head full of 
droll humor and long words he saw in books ; in fact, a hard 
boy to scold. He would disappear for days usually with a 
book, but the stories that came drifting back were often 
difficult to reconcile with the pursuit of literature. There were 
reproofs from Mother which Sam took with his tongue in his 
cheek, but the bossing by his brothers stirred him to rebellion. 

At length it was conceded that Sam was not cut out to 
be a planter, and so he was placed behind the counter of 
the store in Maryville. Here Brother James also acquired his 
early merchandising experience and lived to become a success- 


ful shopkeeper in Nashville. But Sam gave promise of no such 
satisfactory future. His lapses increased, and he got the 
name of a wayward boy. 

The conquest of the wilderness was not without its frivoli- 
ties. At the taverns and ordinaries the bloods rolled dice and 
played with dirty cards. No cock-fight, wedding, log-rolling, 
dance or funeral was complete without whisky. There was 
a startling number of illegitimate children if one included 
Indian and negro half-breeds, which one did not, of course. 
There were two kinds of liquor. "Whisky" was the native 
distillation of the native corn, price thirty-five cents a gallon. 
"Red whisky" came from the western, or "whisky," counties of 
Pennsylvania ; this was 1 the refreshment of the quality. To kill 
an Indian was a public-spirited act ; to swindle one, the exercise 
of common sense. 

The beau ideal of this frontier was Andrew Jackson. He 
had been a United States senator, a militia general and a judge. 
He had killed a man in a duel. He gave the old-timers smoking 
under the rooftrees plenty to talk about. A contemporary 
anecdote, somewhat apocryphal but not so much so as to give 
a false idea of the man or of his times, has Jackson holding 
court in a log house when a drunken bad man armed with a club, 
a knife and a gun started a row and defied the sheriff to arrest 
him. "This court is adjourned for ten minutes," said Judge 
Jackson, drawing a pistol. He collared the disturber in less 
time than that. 

Reverend Peter Cartwright approached his ecclesiastical 
responsibilities with no less lan. "They came drunk," he 
r/rote, "and armed with dirks, clubs, knives, and horsewhips, 
and swore they would break up the meeting. ... I advanced 
toward them. . . . One of them made a pass at my head 
with his whip, but I closed in with him, and jerked him off his 
seat. A regular scuffle ensued. ... I threw my prisoner 


down, and held him fast. ... An old and drunken magis- 
trate came up to me, and ordered me to let my prisoner go. I 
told him I should not. He swore if I did not he would knock 
me down. I told him to crack away. . . . The drunken jus- 
tice made a pass at me ; but I parried the stroke, and seized 
him by the collar and the hair of the head . . . brought him 
to the ground and jumped on him. . . . The mob then rushed 
to the scene; they knocked down several preachers and 
others. . . . The ringleader . . . made three passes at 
me. ... It seemed at that moment I had not power to re- 
sist temptation, and I struck a sudden blow in the burr of the 

ear." 8 

Still, for a dreaming boy with a pas-sion for pagan poetry, 
this life lacked something. 

4 , 

Sam Houston liked a good time as well as the next one, but 
after all that has been said on this subject he does not seem 
to have made the most of his 1 early opportunities. Sixty years 
later a proud Tennessee grandmother said in her fireside 
reminiscences that he had no "small or mean vices." Sam him- 
self allays our worst fears with the grave assurance that his 
youth "was wild and impetuous, but it was spotted by no 
crime." 4 

The family, however, expected more of Sam than this and 
was supported by an authority that spoke from the grave. **! 
give and bequaith," Major Houston had written in his will, 
"unto my son John my sword . . . and my appearil." Job? 
also received a riding horse and two shares in the Tennessee 
venture to one share apiece for Sam and the other children. 
But John was to earn that horse and extra share. "He is to 
pay strict attention to my family and Endeavor to s-ee them 
raised and treated with Justice. My executors are to be the 
gardians of my children until they shal arive at lawful age 
and I would recommend that they put my sons to such trades 


as may seem most beneficial and I do appoint as Execu- 
tors . . . my wife Elizabeth and my sons James and John." 

Something more than moral suasion was provided to en- 
force these stipulations. "If any dispute shal arise respecting 
the Executing of the above ... the court in the county 
therein the majority of the legatees shal reside shal have power 
to appoint five men who shal put a construction on the 
same . . . which shal be the final decision," But Sam s*aw 
a simpler way. One morning he did not show up for work 
at the store. 

Weeks passed, and there was a great search and stir. 
Finally the family heard that its black sheep had crossed the 
Tennessee River into the Indian country and was living with 
the Cherokees. James and John went to bring him back. 
They were directed to the wigwam of the chief. 

Chief Oo-loo-te-ka's personal seat and the council house of 
his band were on an island that parts the current of the Ten- 
nessee where the yellow Hiwas-see boils into it from the Big 
Smokies. The brothers paddled up to find the runaway lying 
under a tree, scanning lines of the Iliad. He was invited to re- 
turn home, Sam relates that he stood "straight as an Indian/* 
and (with a creditable touch of Cherokee imagery for a be- 
ginner) replied that he "preferred measuring deer tracks to 
tape" and "the wild liberty of the Red Men better than the 
tyranny of his own brothers." He begged to be excused from 
saying more as "a translation from the Greek" claimed his 
interest and he desired to "read it in peace." He got his wish. 

But when the brothers left they thought that Sam would 
follow them home, Sam did follow, though not for more than 
a year. His mother and sisters were scandalized by his wild 
appearance. They made him a new suit of clothes, but this 
outward sign of respectability had slight influence on the 
deportment of the prodigal ''Ordered . . ," runs the record 


of the Blount County Court under date of September 29, 1810* 
"that John B. Cusack be fined Ten Dollars & Samuel Houston 
Five Dollars for ... disorderly riotously wantonly with an 
Assembly of Militia Annoying the Court with the noise of a 
Drum and with force preventing the Sheriff and Officer of the 
Court in the discharge of his duty . . . against the peace 
and dignity of the State/ 55 

This is the earliest public notice of the military prowess of 
a man whose sword was to alter the destiny of a continent. The 
occasion was a muster of the Mounted Gunmen, the local 
militia company of which John B. Cusack (or Cusick) was 
captain. At these musters there was always whisky on tap 
and a good deal of horse-play at the finish. Neither Captain 
Cusack nor Drummer Houston paid his fine, however, and at 
the next term of court the penalties were remitted* Drummer 
Houston was not on hand to receive this absolution. He had 
disappeared again and did not return until after another 
year's absence. On this occasion Mother provided a suit of 
homespun as before and Sam promised to stay. Very shortly, 
however, he fell out with his brothers and was off for his 
third year with the Indians. 

Chief Oo-loo-te-ka adopted Sam as a son and christened him 
Co-lon-neh The Raven. The name was a revered one, with 
associations in Cherokee mythology. It was borne also by a 
neighboring chieftain who sat with Oo-loo-te-ka on the Na- 
tional Council of the Cherokee Nation. Sam liked the 
change & new name and a new life; new sights, new sounds, 
new occupations, new ideas communicated by a new language 
with which he became daily more familiar. The young brave 
taught him the green corn dance, the hoop and pole game and 
the ball play. 

The Indian ball play is the father of lacrosse. It was the 
national pastime of the Cherokees and had a religious signi- 
ficance proceeding from the nebula of tribal mythology deal- 
ing with the days when only animals inhabited the earth. From 
\he lips of the shamans, or priests, The Raven heard the sacred 


lyrics of the first ball play, which was between the birds, led 
by an eagle, and the beasts, led by a bear. The birds won a 
spirited contest through the dexterity of the flying squirrel and 
of the bat, whose services had been rejected by the animals. 
The history of that game is a long one, wonderful with detail 
and allusion to the meshwork of myth that forms the back- 
ground of Cherokee theology. It opened the door to the 
Cherokee spirit world, where Sam perceived the existence of 
more and quite as extraordinary gods as dwelled on Otympus. 
Behind the fantastic conception lay a range of thought and 
imagination frequently as lofty as that of Greek invention, 
though the simple imagery of the shamans exhibited few of the 
ornaments of style so treasured by Mr. Pope, 

Sam preferred these diversions to those of the gilded youth 
on the civilized side of the Tennessee. He reveled in the wealth 
of legend with which Cherokee life abounded. The earth and 
the air, the trees and the streams were peopled by the super- 
natural, all with their curious histories. In the evenings 
Sam sat about the fires where the long pipe was passed, filling 
his mind with the maxims of the headmen and the picturesque 
idioms of the Indian speech, which time never eradicated from 
his vocabulary. 

Oo-loo-te-ka was the head of a contented following of 
nearly three hundred Cherokees a large constituency, Indian 
bands having been much smaller than most white people sup- 
pose. They lived by hunting and by fishing and on corn culti- 
vated by their women. Oo-loo-te-ka was about forty-five 
years old. He was not a warlike chieftain. His name means 
He-Puts-the-Drum-Away. He had more brains* than most 
local chiefs but, at this time of life, little ambition. Member- 
ship on the National Council was a genuine distinction, but 
Oo-loo-te-ka found the journey to the grand council house in 
Georgia too great an exertion to draw him very often from 
the comforts of his island home, his squaws, and the affairs of 
his own band which he administered with more than ordinary 
Some of Oo4oo-te-ta 5 s success, however, must be at- 


tributed to his brother-in-law and headman, John Rogers, who 
was part Scot. Headman Rogers had two wives and many 
children, including two boys named, singularly enough, John 
and James. They were The Raven's fast friends. 

Such were the unconscious preceptors of an imaginative 
boy who had forsaken a disorderly civilization to find tran- 
quillity in the camps of decorous barbarians. These years 
were a permanent influence on Sam Houston's life. They left 
him with an attachment for the wilderness, a deep interior 
preference for deer tracks to tape, and a faith in primitive 
fellowships that one day was to break the impact of a world 
tumbling about his ears, and whip him into the desperate im- 
provisation of the Texas epic. 

**It was the moulding period of life,' 5 he wrote, "when the 
heart, just charmed into the feverish hopes and dreams of 
youth, looks wistfully around on all things- for light and 
beauty 'when every idea of gratification fires the blood and 
flashes on the fancy when the heart is vacant to every fresh 
form of delight, and has no rival engagements to draw it from 
the importunities of a new desire,' The poets of Europe, fancy* 
ing snch scenes, have borrowed their sweetest images from 
the wild idolatry of the Indian maiden." 6 

The Raven knew the warm touch of delights that captivated 
these worshipers from afar. But the hearts of the wild idola- 
trous maidens were not to be possessed without assistance from 
the gods, who must be petitioned in proper form. In the first 
place it was necessary to dispose of any possible rival. "Now 
your soul fades away. Your spirit shall grow leas and less and 
dwindle away, never to reappear," If the gods were willing 
to accommodate in this matter the next step was to influence 
the girl, "Let her be completely veiled in loneliness. O Blaclc 
Spider, may you hold her soul in your web, so that she may 
never escape its meshes." Then the final declaration to the 
desired one thus involved. **Your sroul has come into the very 
ce&ter of my soul, never to turn away, ?n 

This was the way of the school in which Sam Houston 


learned to practise the arts of courtship, "wandering,* 5 he 
wrote, "along the banks of streams, side by side with some 
Indian maiden, sheltered by the deep woods . . . making 
love and reading Homer's Iliad" Enchanted island. 

Thirty-seven years later a man to whom few illusions re- 
mained lingered over the memories of his youth in a Pan's 
garden, "Houston," he said, speaking of himself in the third 
person, as he frequently did, which is another Indian trait, 
"Houston has seen nearly all in life there is to live for and yet 
he has been heard to say that when he looks back over the 
waste . k there's nothing half so sweet to remember as this 
sojourn he made among the untutored children of the forest/' 8 



SAM acknowledged the hospitality of the island by oc- 
casional trips to Maryville and to Kingston to buy powder and 
shot and "little articles of taste or utility 5 ' for his Indian 
friends and sweethearts. Purchasing on credit, at the end of 
three years he owed a hundred dollars. In the spring of 1812 
The Raven left the wigwam of Oo-loo-te-ka to pay the fiddler, 

It was not an easy thing in normal times for a youth 
of nineteen with an attitude of reserve toward labor to lay 
hands on a hundred dollars. In the spring of 1812 times were 
abnormal, which made it still more difficult. The air was full 
of war talk* Now it was England the West wanted to fight. 
The East was against it, and this made the West more blood- 
thirsty than ever. The Mounted Gunmen were mustering often. 
Sam's brother, Robert, had joined the Regular Army. 

Sam loafed about Maryville and made known his need of 
employment. Maryville contained forty families now and was 
a place of importance. Two stage routes crossed there: one 
from the Carolina^ to Nashville, and one from Georgia to 
Knoxville. The horses were changed at Russell's Inn. They 
were shod at Samuel Houston's- blacksmith shop which stood 
at the fork of the roads. Mr. Houston's residence was in front 
of his shop. The firm of Love & Toole made saddles, but the 
partners had their individual enterprises. Sam Love built 
beaver hats for gentlemen, such as Jim Houston, 
of Jim Houston's Fort, and Reverend Mark Moore. 



head teacher at the Academy. William Toole had a tan-yard 
on the edge of town. There were four general stores. The 
largest building in the town was the court-house where John 
Houston was clerk of the court. Back of the court-house was 
the jail and a pair of stocks. Across Pistol Creek was John 
Craig's grist mill. 

Sam probably could have found work had he been willing 
to take anything. Brother James was clerking in the store 
his mother was interested in. But Sam was discriminating 
and entertaining as well. What Sam Houston would do next 
was occasion for a great deal of spoofing, but Sam did not 
mind. It was a form of advertising. Presently Sam announced 
that he would open a private school. 

This was the best joke in a long while. Sam tolerated a 
good many pleas-antries about his "degree" from the "Indian 
University," and enjoyed himself thoroughly. True, Sam's 
formal schooling amounted to little. He had taken slight ad- 
vantage of the excellent opportunities that Major Houston 
had provided for his children; but he read every book within 
his reach ; he had spelled down half of Blount County ; he could 
recite from memory the best part of all twenty-four books 
of the Iliad. Thes-e claims to scholarship Maryville did not 
take lightly. Moreover, before carrying Homer off among 
the Indians, there had been a term at Porter Academy. 

Porter Academy or, rather, "The Academy," since it 
was the only one in that part of the country occupied a two- 
story log house in a meadow just off Main Street. There were 
about twenty students. Classes were kept the year round with 
one three-week vacation in the spring and another in the 
fall. The summer hours were from eight to twelve in the fore- 
noon and from two to five-thirty in the afternoon. During 
the winter when the light was poorer the hours were from nine 
to twelve and from one to four. "No student," said the regu- 


lations of Sam Houston's day, "shall get drunk, or be admitted 
to play at cards or other games of hazard. . . . No student 
shall use profane, irreverent or obscene language or be guilty 
of conduct tending thereunto. . . . No student shall attend 
a horse race, a ball, or other frolicking assembly. ... No 
student shall be guilty of fighting." 1 

Sam had left the Academy under a cloud. He said this was 
because he insisted on being taught Latin and Greek classics 
in the original. The implication that this was beyond the depth 
of the Academy's faculty is not supported by the minutes of the 
Board of Trustees, of which James and Robert Houston were 
members. These mention "the Latin and Greek languages-" 
as a part of "the course of academical study," and give the 
names of the students passing examinations in the same, Sam 
Houston's name is not on the list. 

Sam obtained quarters for his school, and gave out the 
tuition rate as eight dollars for the term. This was a srfciffer 
price by two dollars than any other teacher had charged for 
a primary or "English" school. The Academy charged only 
fifteen dollars a year. Sam stipulated that one-third of the 
eight dollars should be paid in cash, one-third in corn &t 
thirty-three and one-third cents a bushel and one-third in 
calico "of variegated colors," from which the professor was to 
have his shirts made. 

Although few pupils applied, Sam opened his classes after 
corn-planting in May of 1812. Except for the wheat harvest 
in July, there would be nothing to take the pupils from their 
studies until corn-gathering in November, After that school 
was impossible anyhow; it would be too cold to open the 
"windows" for light. The schoolhouse was in a clearing on 
John McCulloch's farm five miles- east of Maryville. An oak 
tree had been spared to shade a spring of drinking water, 2 On 
one side and at one end of the room a log had been omitted from 
the walls. These apertures answered for windows. They were 
equipped with shutters which, in daytime, were opened down** 
ward on the inside, forming shelves that served as desks. 


Sam's school caught the air of success. The split log 
benches were filled, and applicants were turned away. Years 
afterward, while swapping yarns on a steamboat crossing 
Galveston Bay, an old army comrade reminded General Hous- 
ton that he had been the governor of one state, a United 
States senator from another, the commander-in-chief of an 
Army and the president of a Republic. Which office had af- 
forded him the gi-eatest pride? 

"Well, Burke/' replied Sam Houston, "when a young man 
in Tennessee I kept a country school, being then about eighteen 
years of age, and a tall, strapping fellow. At noon after the 
luncheon, which I and my pupils ate together out of our 
baskets, I would go into the woods and cut me a *sour wood* 
stick, trim it carefully in circular spirals and thrust one half 
of it into the fire, which would turn it blue, leaving the other 
half white. With this emblem of ornament and authority ii? 
my hand, dressed in a hunting-shirt of flowered calico, a long 
queue down my back, and the sense of authority over my 
pupils, I experienced a higher feeling of dignity and self-satis- 
faction than from any office or honor which I have since held."* 

When corn-gathering and cold weather put an end to Sam 
Houston's s-chool, the professor's debts were paid and he re- 
turned to Maryville with money in his pocket. 

It had been an eventful six months. At sundown on the 
twelfth day of June, 1812, little Billy Phillips, an old race- 
horse jockey from Nashville, swung into his saddle in front 
of the War Department in Washington and was off "like 
Greased Lightenin* ... his horse's tail and his own long 
hair streaming in the wind.'* The President's courier reached 
Knoxville to find that Governor Blount had gone to Nashville* 
But Maryville got the news. The West had its' war. 

Billy clattered into Nashville at seven in the evening of 
June twenty-first and placed a copy of the war message in the 


hands of the Governor. In nine days to the hour, he had 
ridden eight hundred and sixty miles over primitive roads and a 
chain of mountains. Tennessee had convulsions. The Gov- 
ernor summoned volunteers. "Those having no rifles of their 
own . . . will be furnished hy the State to the extent of the 
supply on hand. . . . Each volunteer, including Company 
officers, is entitled to a powder horn full of the best Eagle 
powder, one dozen new sharp flints and lead enough to mould 
100 bullets that fit his- rifle. . . . It is desired to avoid the 
use of smooth-bore muskets as much as possible. They ... do 
not carry straight. They may be good enough for Regular 
soldiers but not the Citizen Volunteers- of Tennessee, Uniform 
clothing being desirable ... the Major General advises . . . 
dark-blue or nut-brown homespun. . . . Buckskin hunting 
shirts and leggins also may be worn. . . . Men who have 
them may, upon parade, wear white pantaloons and waist- 

The force was raised in two "divisions 5 * those of West and 
of East Tennessee. The West Tennesseeans, under Major 
General Jackson, formed the corps d'elite. They rushed to 
meet the foe at Natchez, but not until the commanding genera] 
had written a proclamation. "There is not one individual 
among the Volunteers who would not prefer perishing on the 
field of battle . . . than to return . . . covered with 
shame, ignominy and disgrace! Perish our friends perish 
our wives perish our CHILBEEN . . . nay, perish . . . 
every earthly consideration! But let the honor and the fame 
of the Volunteer Soldier be untarnished." 

Captain Cusack's Mounted Gunmen flew the colors and 
were mobilized with the eastern division, but no such prospects 
of glory awaited these defenders, 

Sam Houston had taken in all this from his classroom. 
No dark-blue or nut-brown homespun regalia for him; no 
flask of Eagle powder. Sam continued to work off his debts. 
It was just as well. There was glory that winter for none 
pf the Tennessee troops. At Natchez no foe turned up. 


In the fall Sam returned to Porter Academy as a student, 
but Sam never had much luck at the Academy. This time it 
was mathematics. He said he found geometry so "uninspir- 
ing" that he could not bring himself to solve the first problem 
in the book. Dr. Isaac Anderson, the new head teacher, does 
not mention geometry, but says Sam Houston was the most 
provoking student he ever had. "I often determined to lick 
him, but he would come up with such a pretty dish of excuses 
I could not do it." 4 

Tennessee war news continued unencouraging. But Sam 
had his fill of school. Besides, his money had run out. On the 
twenty-fourth of March, 1813, he and a small boy named 
Willoughby Williams stood on a corner in Maryville watching 
a recruiting demonstration. Sam had watched many such, but 
this was a Regular Army party smooth-bore muskets, pos- 
sibly, but white pantaloons and waistcoats for every man. 
The drums were rolled, the colors paraded and the sergeant 
made a talk. When he finished Sam Houston stepped up and 
took a silver dollar from the drumhead. That was the token 
of entry into the military service. 

As the recruit had barely passed his twentieth birthday, 
his mother's consent was necessary for his enlistment. She 
gave it and, at the same time, slipped on Sam's finger a plain 
gold ring a talisman for the young soldier about to face the 
world. On the inside of the ring was engraved a single word 
epitomizing the creed that Elizabeth Houston said must for 
ever shine in the conduct of her son. 

Before he left home Sam received from his mother another 
gift, and a most practical one considering the state of the 
western depots of the Army. "My son, take this musket and 
never disgrace it: for remember, I had rather all my sons 
should fill one honorable grave than that one of them should 
turn his back to save his life. Go, and remember, too, that 
while the door of my cabin is open to brave men, it is eternally 
shut against cowards?." 5 

This quotation was set down by her son in later years. It 


isr possible that Elizabeth Houston said it that way; possible 
also that Sam may have touched up her remarks with a few 
ennobling phrases of his own. But when one considers the 
temper of the motto In the ring and Sam Houston had that 
ring on when he died the feeling grows that the words were hisr 

There was the usual feeling between the Regular and the 
volunteer troops, and before he joined his regiment Sam heard 
from the home-folk on this- subject. With the galling in- 
activity of the East Tennessee militia and the bootless- Natchez 
expedition in mind, Sam retorted that Blount County should 
*hear of me" before the war was over, 

He marched off to the encampment of the 7th Infantry 
at Knoxville, In thirty days he was drill sergeant. In four 
months he was commissioned an ensign and transferred to the 
39th Infantry, After a year of careful preparation, the 39th 
Regiment took the field. Not, however, to fight the British. 
At the last moment it was diverted against a strong tribe of 
Creek Indians who had gone over to the English. But th* 
Cherokees whose hospitality Houston had enjoyed for three 
yearg were loyal. A band of their warriors John and James 
Rogers among them went ahead as scouts when the 39th 
Infantry marched into the wilderness of the Creek country, 

The Creeks owned much of the land that is- now Alabama. 
It had been guaranteed to them by a treaty which the whites 
had violated. This state of affairs was turned to the advan- 
tage of the British by Tecumseh, probably the most gifted of 
North American Indians, and a brigadier-general in the 
British Army, Tecumseh went south and stirred up a clan 
of the Creeks, The crimson war club, or Red Stick, was hung 
in the squares of their encampments?, the British supplied arms 
and the braves rose under the half-breed* Bill Weathers ford, 
Settlers fled to stockades. In August of 1813 WeathersforcJ 


fell upon one of these and scalped four hundred of the occu- 

With twenty-five hundred Tennessee militia, Andrew Jack- 
son went after Weather sford. He won the first two battles. 
The next two were draws because a good part of Jackson's 
army ran away. Weathersford remained in the field with a 
thousand Red Sticks. Jackson was in camp at Fort Strother 
with a rabble of mutinous militiamen. Five thousand more 
militia had been ordered out, but what pleas-ed Jackson most 
was the unexpected news that the 39th Regular Infantry was 
on the way to join him. "I am truly happy,' 5 he wrote in a 
confidential letter. "The Regulars will give strength to my 
arm and quell mutiny." 

Ensign Sam Houston was leading a platoon when the 39th 
Infantry, three hundred and sixty strong, marched into Fort 
Strother on February 6, 1814. The Regulars' presence re- 
stored the fortunes of the campaign. Their first job dealt 
with mutiny, and gave Ensign Houston his first close view of 
the man whose star he was to follow so long and so far. 

The morning had dawned cold and rainy and Private John 
Woods, having been on guard all night, obtained permission 
to leave his post and get something to eat. John was a quick- 
tempered boy of seventeen who had been in the militia a month* 
He was in his tent eating when the officer of the day came by, 
and ordered the occupants to remove the scraps of their meal 
from the ground. Woods refused and couched his refusal in 
quite unmilitary terms. The officer ordered him arrested. 
Woods primed his gun and threatened to use it on the first 
man to touch him. Jackson heard the commotion* 

"Which is the rascal? Shoot him!" he shouted, rushing, 
from his tent. 

Woods submitted to arrest and was confined in irons in the 
camp of the Regulars, but no one took the incident seriously. 
At worst it would mean drumming another man out of camp. 
Insubordination had been no novelty with the Tennessee 


John Woods was tried for mutiny and sentenced to be shot. 
For two nights- Jackson paced his tent without closing his 
eyes. Then he mounted his horse and rode out of earshot of 
musketry. The army was formed in hollow square. A scared 
backwoods Tennesssee boy faced a squad of Regulars with 
their smooth-bore rifles of .70 caliber primed and cocked. An 
officer dropped his sword, and the professional soldiers did 
their duty. 

The effect on the army was described, by one who was 
there, as "salutary." 

Forty hours later the army was on the march. Weathers- 
ford was waiting. He had put the finishing touches to his 
entrenchment at To-ho-pe-ka, or the Horseshoe, a bend in the* 
Tallapoosu River, fifty-five miles south of Fort Strothor. It 
took Jackson ten days to beat through the wilderness that far, 
He arrived on March 26, 1814, with two thousand men. 

The Horseshoe enclosed one hundred acres, furrowed by 
gullies and covered with small timber and brush. Weathers- 
ford had improved this natural situation with a log breastworks 
across the neck of the peninsula. At the end of the peninsula, 
he had tied a fleet of canoes to insure his- retreat should the 
breastworks be overrun. 

Jackson surrounded the peninsula, Cherokee scouts swam 
the river and carried off Weathersford's canoes. A thousand 
men were drawn up on the land side to storm the breastworks. 
Interpreters were sent to tell the Creeks to send their non- 
combatants across? the river. At ten o'clock on the morning 
of March twenty-seventh, Jackson's two little cannon began 
to whang away at the breastworks at eighty yards. The 
round shot sank harmlessly in the spongy green logs, and 
Creek sharpshooters picked off the artillerymen at the guns* 

The infantry attack was delayed until the Indian women 
and children were conveyed to places of safety. This wa* 


Completed at twelve-thirty o'clock. The Red Sticks signaled 
that they were ready. Jackson was ready. The drums beat 
the long roll, and the infantry charged. 

The Regulars reached the ramparts- first. Major Lemuel 
P. Montgomery scaled them and toppled back dead, but his 
name survives- in the capital city of Alabama. Ensign Sara 
Houston was the next man on the works. Waving his sword 
he leaped down among the Red Sticks on the other side. The 
platoon scrambled after its leader. The first men over found 
him, covered with blood, beating off a ring of Indians with his 

The ramparts were taken. Ensign Houston tried to pull 
out an arrow that was sticking in his- thigh, but it would not 
come. He asked a lieutenant who was fighting near by to 
remove it. The officer gave a pull, but the arrow was a barbed 
one and held fast. The lieutenant said to go to a surgeon. 
Infuriated by pain, Houston brandished his sword and com- 
manded the lieutenant to pull with all his strength. The officer 
braced himself and yanked the arrow out, but made such a 
gash that Houston limped away to find the surgeons. They 
plugged up the wound, and Houston was lying on the ground 
to steady himself when Jackson rode by. He inquired about 
Houston's injury and ordered him not to return to the battle. 
Houston later said he might have obeyed if he had not recalled 
his boast that Maryville should hear of him before he got 


When their fortification was* overrun, the Creeks split 
into bands and retreated into undergrowth which made ideal 
Indian fighting ground. Twenty small battles raged at once, 
each a confusion of arrows, balls, spears, tomahawks and 
knives. The Red Sticks fought with the impersonal courage 
that is a part of the Indian culture. If the battle had started 
off badly, no matter. The Great Spirit was testing the faith 
# his children. He would intervene and ffive them victory. 


The medicine-men had said so. The signal would be a cloud 

in the heavens. 

So Weathersf ord's- men fought on beneath a cloudless sky 
that spanned the bloody hundred acres, "Not a warrior," 
Sam Houston related, "offered to surrender, even while the 
sword was at his breast/' Band after band was surrounded 
and slain to a man. Medicine-men moved among those who 
held out, impassively scanning the heavens, 

In the middle of the afternoon Jackson suspended hos- 
tilities and sent an interpreter to say that all who surrendered 
should be spared. During this lull in the action a small cloud 
appeared. The medicine-men redoubled their incantations and 
the warriors renewed the fight with fanatic fury. The result, 
said Houston, was "slaughter." The signal in the heavens 
brought a quiet spring shower, but no deliverance to the brave. 
By evening resistance was at an end, except for a band 
entrenched in a covered redoubt at the bottom of a ravine, 
Jackson offered them life if they would give up, but they 
declined it. The General called for volunteers to storm the 
stronghold. For a moment no officer stepped out. Then 
Ensign Houston, calling to his men to follow, advanced down 
the ravine. 

When the men hesitated the wounded Ensign seized a 
musket from one of them and ordered a charge. The only 
chance of success was to rush the port-holes which bristled with 
arrows and rifle barrels. Houston plunged on, and when five 
yards from the redoubt stopped and leveled his piece. He re- 
ceived a volley from the port-holes. One ball shattered his right 
arm. Another smashed his right shoulder. His musket fell to 
the ground and his command took cover* The rash boy officer 
tried to rally his men; they failed him, and alone he climbed 
back up the ravine under fire and collapsed when he reached 
the top. 

Jackson reduced the redoubt by setting fire to it with 
flaming arrows. The Creek insurrection was over, and th 
British were without military representation in the South* 



THEY carried Ensign Houston to the clearing where the 
surgeons were busy by the light of a semicircular brush fire. 
A canteen of whisky was thrust in his hands 1 , and the wounded 
boy was told to take a pull. A pair of muscular orderlies 
took hold of him, and the doctors went to work. They re- 
dressed the lacerated thigh and splinted the broken arm. They 
tried to fish the ball from the smashed shoulder, but gave up 
the job; it did not seem that the Ensign could live until morn- 
ing anyhow. He had bled too much. 

Sam was laid on the wet ground for the night. It occurred 
to him that he had done enough for the home-folk to hear of it. 
He tried to recall just what he had done, but things grew 
dimmer and calmer and he went to sleep. 

In the morning Sam, too weak to walk, was lifted on to a 
litter made of s-aplings and started on a journey through the 
wilderness to Fort Williams sixty miles away. How he sur- 
vived the trip, Houston himself said he never knew. The 
other wounded officers' were taken to Fort Jackson and 
well cared for, but through an oversight, or because his con- 
dition would not admit of removal, Sam was left at Fort 
Williams under the care of two sympathetic militia officers of 
no medical experience. They finally sent him to a crude field 
hospital maintained by the volunteer troops of East Tennessee. 

When the East Tennesseeans started home to be demo- 
bilized, they carried the abandoned Ensign on a horse litter* 



He was delirious part of the time, his food was of the coarsest 
description, and he lacked the simplest medicines. In May of 
1814, nearly two months after the battle, he reached his 
mother's home. Mrs. Houston recognized her son only by the 
"wonted expression" in his eyes. 

At the house on the hillside Sam began to mend and pres- 
ently traveled to Knoxville to see a doctor. The journey 
exhausted him completely. The doctor, a Scotchman, said 
that since Sam could live only a few days, it would be needless 
to run up a bill. Houston installed himself in lodgings, and 
two weeks later revisited the doctor, who then took the 
case. After a couple of months, the convalescent was able to 
set out on horseback for Washington, thinking to benefit by 
the change of scene. Besides, he had never been to Wash- 

The British started for Washington about the sme time 
and got there first. Houston saw only the ashes of the Capitol 
and of the President's house. Beholding "the ruins that heroic 
people had worked" Sam said his "blood boiled" and caused 
fiim "the keenest pangs" to think that he "should be disabled 
at such a moment." His wounds began troubling him again, 
so he posted over the Blue Ridge to rest at the homes of his 
relations in the Valley of Virginia. 

Early in 1815 Sam rejoined his regiment in Tennessee, 
there receiving the glorious news of the battle of New 
Orleans. "People here are much gratified at the restoration of 
peace," he wrote to his cousin, Robert McEwen. "The officers 
of the army," however, "would as soon the war continued." 
But Sam was "willing to sacrifice my wish to the welfare of 
the Republic." The sacrifice might be a real one. Sam was 
afraid peace should leave him without an occupation. If so, 
he would go to Knoxville "for it will be proper for me to 
pursue some course for a livelihood which will not be laborious 
as my wounds are not near well, and I suppose it will be im- 
practicable for a disbanded officer to marry for thefy] will 
be regarded as cloathes out of fashion . . . but I will not 


despond before I am disappointed and I suppose that will be 
some time for I will not court any of the Dear Girles before I 
make a fortune and if I come no better speed than I have done 
heretofore it will take some time." 1 

The young veteran's misgivings concerning peace proved 
baseless. The 39th Regiment was discontinued in post-war 
reduction of the Army, but Ensign Houston was promoted to 
second lieutenant and transferred to the 1st Infantry, gar- 
risoned at New Orleans. At Nashville he equipped himself for 
active duty. 

A promenade in the public square brought the new lieuten- 
ant to the notice of two elegantly attired young ladies. They 
were the Misses Kent, top-notch quality from Virginia, but Sam 
had not been introduced. Nevertheless, he touched his shako. 

"Who was that handsome officer?" whispered one of the 

Sam turned and saluted the sisters with an elaborate bow. 

"Lieutenant Houston, United States Army, ladies, at your 
service," he said, and strolled on. 2 


Sam was delighted with the prospects of the New Orleans 
assignment. With two youthful companions he bought a skiff 
and embarked by way of the "three rivers," as the saying 
was the Cumberland, the Ohio and the Mississippi. The first 
two thousand miles 1 of the circuitous journey proved devoid of 
adventure, however, and Sam spent most of his time reading 
some books he had brought along, including Shakespeare, 
Akenside's poems, Robinson Crusoe, The Pilgrim's Progress, 
The Vicar of Wakefield and a Bible that his mother had given 
him. Rounding the point of a bluff above Natchez, the young 
travelers saw what looked like a great raft afire in the middle 
of the river. It was a steamboat, the first the adventurers ever 
had seen. They sold their skiff and took passage to New 
Orleans on the steamboat. 


New Orleans came up to expectations. Saturday parade 
in the Place d'Armes was followed by a promenade of the 
fashionable along the willow bordered walks beyond the dis- 
mantled ramparts. At the Hotel du Tremoulet in the Rue St. 
Pierre, the Bourbonists held forth in high feather* while two 
threadbare generals of Napoleon sipped their four-o'clock 
coffee and cognac at the Cafe des Refugies, and plotted with 
the retired pirate, Dominique You, to bring the Emperor 
thither from the Rock, In the cool of the evening, Spaniards 
strummed guitars among the palms of the Place Congo* 
Nights were gallant and gay: the twice-weekly masked ball 
at the French theater in the Rue St. Philippe . . * the 
quadroon ball which began at midnight a square away * . * 
a peal of laughter from a shuttered house . . * the silvery 
cathedral bells'. The old Creole town was not the place to 
ignore a big good-looking boy with a locker full of white panta- 

This was too pleasant to last. The Army doctors looked 
at Sam's To-ho-pe-ka shoulder, and said that the ball in there 
would have to come out. It was removed, but Sam nearly died 
as a result of the operation, which lamed him for life. The 
shoulder never healed. 

During a winter of suffering in the damp French-built 
barracks by the river, the invalid got a taste of the dismal 
bickerings that seem inseparable from peace-time Army life. 
Lieutenant Houston wrote to the Secretary of War in Feb- 
ruary of 1816: 

"Mr. Crawford, Sir, I address you in consequence of an 
error in my last promotion, which was to a 2d Lieut in the 89th 
Regt of Infy. My promotion is dated the 20th of May 1814 
and the vacancy which I filled occur'd on the 27th of March 
1814, [when] the deaths of Lieuts Somerville and Moulton 
gave me promotion and I hope you will not conceive me intrud- 
ing when I am contending for the rank which I am entitled 
to. ... For a proper knowledge of my conduct * . . I 
refer you to Major Genl Jackson under whose eye I was 


amongst the first to charge over the enemies Breast- 
work. . . . My reasons- for not referring you to my former 
Col Williams are He has ever been inimical to me, since I have 
joined this Regiment he has written letters to officers cal- 
culated to prejudice them against me. . . . Your Hble Servt 

"Lt 1st Regt Infantry." 8 

The interest that Jacks-on had taken in the wounded 
Ensign appears to have been the cause of Colonel Williams's 
aversion. Sam was disgusted and thought of leaving the Army 
as soon as- his wounds were well. But his health showed no 
improvement, and in the spring he was sent by sea to New 
York for further treatment. After several weeks there, he 
began to feel better and went to East Tennessee on furlough 
to visit his family. He was not home long, but there was time 
enough to fall in love before orders came to report at Nashville 
for duty at the headquarters of the Southern Division of the 

Jackson commanded the Southern Division. He had been 
a major-general in the Regular establishment since To-ho- 
pe-ka. This made a difference In Army life for Lieutenant 
Houston* The East Tennessee love-affair also made a differ- 
ence. But surveying matters from the perspective of Nash- 
ville, Sam seems to have regained his grip on his earlier 
resolution concerning matrimony, True, he was in rather 
deeply so deeply that he felt the need of help in extricating 
himself. He asked a boyhood friend in Knoxville to call on the 
young lady and see what could be done. This ambassador 
mismanaged his mission : 

"Sam, perhaps I ventured too far after hearing 
from you , , . respecting the affair between yourself and 
M . , i , Things stand in a remarkably unpleasant sit- 
uation with respect to you & the queen of 'gildhalP Her 
friends- perhaps have led her into error and one too for which 
she will not soon pardon herself but she has thrown W M* """ 
sky high and is ready anj moment to join her fate to 


Sam's. . . . Why should you not realize the golden days 
that await an union with the Princess of E. T.? When yor 
cease to love her your heart will become vitrified & a marriage 
with any other person will be for convenience and not for 
happiness. . . . Here she is ... ready to leave mother 
home friends and every thing dear to her, and forsake them 
all, and go with you to earth's remotest bounds. ... I 
know & you know that J. Beene is your friend & if I were to 
advise you it would be to speedily marry M - by moon- 
shine or any other way the most handy. . . . Weigh well 
the verdict you are about to pronounce. . . 

"Yours Sentimentally, 


How the Lieutenant wiggled out of the dilemma does not 
appear, but the files of the War Department indicate a mood 
for special duty. Houston solicited a transfer, which Jack- 
son endorsed, and the Lieutenant took off his uniform and 
unobstrusively left Nashville. 


In beaded buckskins, Co-lon-neh crossed the boundary into 
the Indian country and took the trail toward the island home 
of Oo-loo-te-ka : The Raven had returned to his brothers. 
The Indians received him without suspicion, which, in view of 
the strained relations existing between the United States and 
the Cherokee Nation, was more than they would have done for 
almost any one else bearing the credentials of a subagent of 
the Indian Bureau. 

The trouble arose from the treaty of 1816, signed the year 
before. By this instrument a group of Cherokee chiefs had 
ceded to the United States one million three hundred thousand 
acres of the Cherokee Nation in eastern Tennesse in exchange 
for territory west of the Mississippi for which the whites had 
no use. The individual tribesmen, and many of the chiefs, not 
having been consulted, sought to repudiate the action of the 
signers. The Tennessee mountains were the only home they 


had ever known. Their cornfields were there ; their gods dwelt 
in those skies. This land had been guaranteed to them "for 
ever" by the United States Government. They declined to 
move. The treaty-making chiefs could do nothing about it. 

In the eyes of the United States this was impertinence. 
"Unprincipled" was what Governor McMinn, of Tennessee, 
called these Indians, repudiating the pledged word of their 
own leaders whom the United States had so carefully bribed. 
They were "a Set of the most Finished Tyrants that ever 
lived in a land of liberty." 5 

The frontier took alarm and demanded "firm" measures. 
But this 1 fell out at an awkward time for the military. The 
Commanding General of the Southern Division was occupied 
with plans for another Indian war. The disrespectful attitude 
of the Georgia Seminoles afforded a pretext for seizing Flor- 
ida, and so Jackson wanted no distractions at home. The 
olive branch and not the sword must be carried among the 
Cherokees. When Lieutenant Houston applied for an Indian 
assignment, Jackson wrote a strong endorsement to the appli- 
cation. Houston "has my entire confidence," the Secretary 
of War was informed. 

The new Indian agent began his labors' well. He appeared 
among the nettled tribesmen, speaking their language and liv- 
ing their life. His first acts were to make good some of the 
government's defaulted promises. It was winter, and Houston 
requisitioned blankets and distributed them. He got kettles 
for the women, traps for the hunters and, as proof of his 1 con- 
fidence in the honor of his Indian brothers, rifles for the braves. 
Then it was time to sit by a council fire and speak of the 
unfortunate treaty of 1816. 

Sam Houston approached the whole situation from his 
knowledge of the Indian's character and of the pattern of his 
mind. The first consideration concerned the sacredness of 
treaties. A "paper talk" had been made. Rightly or wrongly 
certain chiefs had signed it. Houston was* on strong ground 
there. Contrary to centuries of propaganda that has crys- 


tallized into a fixed idea, Indians were usually more faithful to 

their word than the frontiersmen with whom they came in 


Yet, a difficulty confronted the negotiator of which the 
white officials probably knew nothing. Irrespective of the 
treaty, a grave consideration Interposed against the emigra- 
tion. The Cherokees were to go West, and West in the Chero- 
kee religion had a sinister connotation. The West was the 
Darkening Land, abode of the Black Man, the god of evil, and 
his myriad of ill-intentioned black godlings. The Cherokees 
had no wish to turn their backs on the East, the Sun Land, 
residence of the Red Man and his good under-gods. In all the 
legends the Cherokee people knew, the West symbolized dark- 
ness, death and defeat. 

Nevertheless, Lieutenant Houston convinced the Cherokee^ 
that they would be better off beyond the Father of Waters 
where the white man should never intrude. Oo-loo-te-ka and 
his band were the first to depart. The government generously 
equipped them for the journey. A party of three hundred 
and forty-one, including one hundred and nine warriors "each 
armed with a good new rifle," embarked on well-provisioned 
flatboats. This "dazzling" display was paraded before the 
Indians who still hesitated. The moral effect was tremendous, 

Oo-loo-te-ka's name was also signed to a propaganda let- 
ter enumerating the benefits the Indians? should derive from 
emigration to this Eden on the Arkansas, "You must not 
think by removing we shall return to the savage life. Yots 
have taught us to be Herdsmen and cultivators. . * . Our 
women will raise the cotton and the Indigo and spin and weav<j 
cloth to cloath our children. Numbers- of our young people 
can read and write, they can read what we call the Preachers 
Book. . . . By intermarriages with our white brethren we 
are gradually becoming one people." 6 

Since Oo4oo-te-ka could not write and was opposed to 
Christianity and cross-marriages, the origin of this document 
is obscure, but Sam Houston may have inspired it. In any 


the Cherokees were off, the border rested easier and 
Sam returned to Nashville to receive the thanks of Governor 
McMinn, and promotion to first lieutenant. 


Then something happened that threatened to upset every- 
thing. Ten years before, there had been a voluntary westward 
emigration of Cherokees under Tah-lhon-tusky, an older 
brother of Oo-loo-te-ka, and one of the great Cherokee lead- 
ers of the period. The vanguard of the new exodus was 
scarcely on its way when Tah-lhon-tusky appeared in Knox- 
ville. His look was troubled. 

The West, indeed, was- the Darkening Land. There were 
the Osages to fight ; but Tah-lhon-tusky said he could handle 
the Osages, if the government would attend to some other 
things. His western Cherokees had not received their share 
of the annuities the government paid into the treasury of the 
Cherokee Nation, as indemnity for ceded lands. Tah-lhon- 
tusky wished to secede from the central government of the 
Nation, located in Georgia, and wished the United States to 
recognize his independence. With a number of warriors and 
statesmen, he was on his way to lay the case before President 

Governor McMinn detained Tah-lhon-tusrky with fair 
assurances, and sent letters to forewarn Washington of the 
impending complication. The venerable Indian made a deep 
impression on the Governor who endeavored to pass on to Sec- 
retary of War Calhoun some idea of Tah-lhon-tusky and his 
colleagues'. "I hazard nothing that he is considered in the 
light of a king among his people." Next in rank of the dele- 
gation was Too-chee-la, a chieftain second in influence only fa/ 
the great leader. There was also The Glass, "more celebrated 
for his upright deportment than , . . for his valor in war," 
but the military was represented by Captain Speers and Cap- 
tain Lamore, who had fought with Jacks/on in 1812. The 


interpreter was James Rogers, nephew of Tah-lhon-tusky and 
a boyhood friend of Sam Houston. This selection seems to 
have been a happy one. James's father was now secretly in 
the pay of the United States. And Governor McMinzi had 
provided still another safeguard. "Lieutenant Houston . . . 
by whose vigilance and address they will be most profited" 
would accompany these important travelers to the seat of the 
Great White Father. 7 


Lieutenant Houston had returned from his earlier mission 
to the Indian country in great distress from an inflammation 
of his shoulder wound. Nevertheless, he resumed his breech 
clout and blanket and, as The Raven, presented himself to his 
foster-uncle, the eminent Tah-lhon-tusky. The prestige that 
family ties have among Indians placed Sam Houston in a 
position of tactical importance to his government. 

The delegation set out from Knoxville making a fine show* 
"the equal," wrote so watchful a critic as Governor McMinn, 
"in point of respectability of Character, of appearance and 
Dres-s to any other I have ever seen from any of the Indiai) 
Tribes." They traveled slowly. Tah-lhon-tusky was old, he 
had been little in the white man's country, and there was much 
to see. On the fifth day of February, 1818, the party arrived 
in Washington and was received by the Secretary of War, 
Mr. Calhoun had been coached in advance. He welcomed the 
visitors with the flawless- Carolina courtesy that was to carry 
this statesman near, quite near, to the goal of his ultimate 
ambitions. After an exchange of amenities, the Secretary said 
that President Monroe was waiting to greet the delegation. 

Tah-lhon-tusky and his people rose to depart. As they 
filed out the Secretary signed for Lieutenant Houston to re- 
main. When the two were alone the mask of official politeness 
fell, and Mr. Calhoun abruptly demanded what an officer of 
the Army meant by appearing before the Secretary of War 
dressed as a savage. 


Houston was somewhat stunned. The diplomatic advan- 
tage of having an agent who could pass as Tah-lhon-tusky's 
kinsman, was evidently less important to Mr. Calhoun than 
the punctilio of military etiquette. 

With the reprimand still galling his pride, Houston some 
days later received a second summons to the Secretary's- office. 
Mr. Calhoun gravely informed the Lieutenant that he had been 
accused of complicity with slave smugglers. Houston told 
his side of the story. During his recent presence among the 
Cherokees in Tennessee, he had come across a band of slave 
smugglers carrying negroes from Florida and broken up its ac- 
tivities without asking for instructions. 

Houston's story was so straightforward that the Secretary 
promised an investigation. Houston vigorously assisted this 
inquiry. He carried his case in person to President Monroe. 
It was disclosed that Houston had told the truth, and that the 
accusation had originated with members of Congress who were, 
t.o say the least, on friendly terms- with the smugglers. 

Houston cleared himself, merely that. There was 1 no 
move to prosecute those whose guilt he had made plain; no 
move to investigate the crooked politicians who had 
undertaken to ruin an obscure Army officer; no expression of 
thanks to Houston; no regret for the false accusation. Sam 
Houston went to his lodgings and wrote in a hand too hurried 
for punctuation: 

"Washington City 

"March 1st 1818 

"You will please accept this as my resignation to take 
effect from this date. I have the honor 

to be 

"Your Most Obt Servt 
"1st Lieut 1st Infy 
"Genl D. Parker 
"A & Ins Genl. 
"W. City." 8 


With a certain impassioned dignity, the profession of anrs 
was renounced by a young man of twenty-five, who had in- 
tended to follow that calling through life. Sam Houston had 
grown to like the Army. He was ill from wounds. Five years 
of somewhat distinguished, and certainly disinterested service, 
had been shabbily rewarded. Yet the regret with which he 
took his leave appears in the request for a memento, appended 
as a postscript to his resignation. 

"I will thank you to give me my commission, which I am 
entitled to by my last promotion. Yours &c 


Tah-lhon-tusky and his followers had been in Washington 
all this time. They were showered with attention and sent 
away with promises, personal gifts and a consignment of seed 
corn for the tribe apparently as pleased as if they had ob- 
tained all that they had come for. Governor McMinn hast- 
ened to congratulate the Secretary of War. "I am truly 
pleased to learn that the usual plan has been taken with the 
Chiefs , . . corrupt as it may appear," namely that of 
"purchasing their friendship." 9 

The ex-Lieutenant journeyed westward with Tah-lhon- 
tusky as far as the Hiwassee River in Tennessee* He wound 
up the affairs of his subagency and resigned that office akcv 
Saying good-by to the last of his Cherokee friends- who were 
leaving for the Arkansas, he turned his horse toward the dis- 
tant metropolis of Nashville. 


WHEN Lieutenant Houston, left the Army he was fash- 
ionably in debt, and to liquidate his obligations sold "every- 
thing" he could spare, "including some land." This seems 
to have been the end of his eighth interest in the Baker's Creek 
farm, which already had afforded an example of worldly pos- 
sessions failing to comfort the possessor. The property was 
taken over by Brother James. 1 The consideration does not 
appear to have been much, although the land was valuable by 
now. At any rate, the sale of all his effects failed to bring 
Sam out of debt. Sam was no great business man, but he 
usually got what he wanted, If he tossed his patrimony to a 
hard-fisted brother for a pittance it was probably because tho 
gesture was worth more to him than the money. 

In Nashvills he began to read law in the office of James 
Trimble. Judge Trimble had known Sam's people in Virginia. 
He outlined an eighteen-month course of reading. Sam sat 
down m the chair that Lemuel Montgomery had occupied, and 
opened the same books that that eager young man had put 
down in 1812 to go to war. 

In six; months the student astonished his preceptor by 
passing an examination for admission to the bar. He went 
to Lebanon, thirty miles east of Nashville, to practise, There 
he was befriended by Isaac Galladay, whose benevolences Hous- 
ton never forgot, For & dollar a month Mr, Galladay pro- 
vided the young lawyer with an office. As postmaster, Mr. 



Galladay extended credit for postage quite an item since it 
cost twenty-five cents to send a letter. As merchant, he fur- 
nished his young friend with a wardrobe, and in this detail 
Sam did not stint the generosity of his benefactor. He dressed 
fit to kill: bell-crowned beaver, plum colored coat, tight 
breeches and waistcoats that were studies. 

The well-attired stranger was instantly popular. He was 
easy to remember a perfectly proportioned, military figure 
considerably more than six feet tall, with a pleasant way, a 
pleasant word and a rich warm voice. Maidens were interested 
when he bowed over their hands, and the young ladies* mothers 
no less charmed by his careful courtesy. Men repeated his 
anecdotes' and listened to his views on politics. 

The barrister rode to Nashville often. Lebanon knew little 
of these journeys, except that they had an air of importance 
which was enough. On the way Houston usually stopped off at 
the Hermitage. Governor McMinn also was a regular caller 
at General Jackson's residence. After one of his visits, the 
Executive drove back to Murfreesboro and announced the 
appointment of Sam Houston as adjutant-general of the state 

This made him Colonel Houston, and Sam was not the man 
to scorn a military title so essential to good standing. There 
were journeys to Murfreesboro, the state capital, to sweat over 
muddled records. It was tedious business, and so one day 
when John Rogers was announced, the Colonel cheerfully 
pitched aside his ink-spattered muster rolls to talk of old times* 

The two friends had much to say. Times had changed 
since the days on Oo-loo-te-ka's island, where Sam had discov- 
ered love and John had discovered English from Sam's recita- 
tions of the Iliad. John's father was still headman of the tribe, 
and young John himself was- coming on Captain Rogers, he 
now subscribed himself, showing the effect of proximity to a 
superior culture. 

John related the story of the Cherokees' odyssey. They 
had fulfilled their part of the treaty, but the government had 


not fulfilled its part. The generous gesture that had lured the 
Indians away peaceably was terminated when the government 
had the Indians where it wanted them. The lands on the 
Arkansas had been flagrantly misrepresented. The neighbor- 
ing tribes were hostile. There Cherokees were harassed, hungry 
and homesick. The agent, Reuben Lewis, rather increased 
their hardships than otherwise. The West was the Darkening 

Oo-loo-te-ka was trying to make the best of his bargain, 
He had prevailed upon the agent to resign, 2 a statement which 
Sam must have thought incredible until John exhibited a copy 
of the resignation. This was all very well, but Oo-loo-te-ka 
had another idea in mind when he persuaded the agent to with- 
draw. He besought The Raven to return to his "father" and 
accept the vacancy. 

Sam Houston was profoundly touched. He sensed an obli- 
gation unfulfilled. Already Sam had seen enough of another 
life to appreciate the wilderness and his early taste of its 
sweets-. He wavered from the resolution that had fortified him 
against the loss of an Army career, and bidding John an 
affectionate good-by, wrote impulsively to Jackson. "Now, 
General, be candid. ... I have some liking for such a 
situation! I don't know what is best, but permit me to ask 
you." 8 

Jackson did not lose a day in sending a three-page letter 
to Mr. Calhoun. "I ... enclose you a letter from Col. 
Samuel Houston . . . formerly of the 39th and last of the 
first Regiment of U. States Infantry. I have recommended 
him to accept the appointment of Agent. I have done this 
more with a view to the interest of the U. States than his 
own. ... In the capacity of agent he can draw to the 
Arkansas in a few years the whole strength of the Cherokee 
Nation now in the East of the Mississippi River." 4 In the 
light of contemporary Indian policy, better reasons for the 
appointment could not have been urged. 

Mr. Calhoun made the appointment but Houston's mood 


had passed. He declined the post. A little later another open- 
ing was presented that was- more in accord with his previous 
aims. With Jackson's endorsement, Sam Houston captured 
a nomination for pros-ecuting attorney, or attorney-general as 
they called it, of the Nashville district and was elected. 

In Lehanon there was a great ceremony of leave-taking* 
The public square was filled. Houston stood on the steps of 
the little court-house and made a speech. Descending, he 
moved through the throng of well-wishers, shaking hands and 
bowing himself from Lebanon's small world which had known 
the man it honored in such warm fashion for less than a year* 

General Jackson's presentable young friend proved so suc- 
cessful as a public prosecutor that he resigned in a year to 
reap the larger rewards of a private practise. He made a 
local reputation as a trial lawyer. His fellow officers in the 
state militia elected him their major-general. The ground oi 
Tennessee was rising under Houston's feet, but this was of no 
avail in a matter that had been hanging fire in the War 
Department since the Major-General was a first lieutenant of 
Regulars. After resigning from the Army and from the 
Indian service, the final audit of his accounts showed a balance 
due from the government of one hundred and seventy dollars 
and nine cents. In his- starving student days and later* 
Houston had vainly tried to collect this money, but could never 
surmount the complications which he attributed to the personal 
vindictiveness of the Secretary of War. 

In 1822, when Houston's law practise was yielding a good 
income, the debt was paid by a draft on a Nashville bank. 
The bank offered to honor the draft at a discount of 
twenty-seven per cent., and Houston returned it to Mr. Cal~ 
houn "I can see no reason for the conduct pursued by 
you . . . unless it is that I am the same man against whom 
you conceived so strong a prejudice in 1818* . . . Sir I 



Military hero, Congressman, protege of Andrew Jackson 

and Tennessee's young Man of Destiny. 

(A miniature on ivory painted "by /. Wood in Washington, 
1826. The earliest known authentic likeness of Houston. 
At various times in the possession of Houston's sister, 
Eliza Moore, Eliza Allen, General Jackson, and Mnv, 
Robert McEiven, of Nashville. Reproduced by courtesy 
of General Houston's ffrandda-uffhter, Mrs, Robert A* John, 
of Houston) 


could have forgotten the unprovoked injuries inflicted upon me 
if you were not disposed to continue them. But your reitera- 
tion shall not be unregarded. . . . Your personal bad 
treatment, your official injustice . . . was 1 to oblige a Sen- 
ator secure his interest and crush a sub agent. . . . All 
this will I remember as* a man. 595 Fair warning, Mr. Calhoun. 
But where one man in Washington seemed to go out of his 
way to court the ill-will of Sam Houston a thousand in Ten- 
nessee were anxious to be his friends. The young lawyer was 
well up in the Jackson political hierarchy in the state, and 
much in the company of the new Governor, William Carroll. 
Billy Carroll was Jackson's right-hand man in Tennessee. 
Just now he was experimenting with the political machine 
designed to help the General capture the presidency in 1824. 
Carroll's manipulations mark the dawn of modern politics, 
and various chores were delegated to Houston who did them 
well. In 1823 the new helper had qualified himself for pro- 
motion. A nod from Jackson and Sam was nominated for 
Congress. The election that followed was somewhat in the 
nature of a try-out for the Carroll machine. The perform- 
ance was satisfactory. Having no opposition, Houston re- 
ceived every vote cast. 


Five years after Sam Houston had left Washington a 
disillusioned ex-lieutenant without occupation or prospects, he 
returned a major-general, a congressman-elect and a protege 
of the most popular man in the country. He strolled along 
Pennsylvania Avenue rather pleased with himself except in one 
particular: he did not care for the hat he was wearing. But 
this upsetting circumstance did not endure for long. He ran 
across Edward George Washington Butler, an old Tennessee 
friend, who knew Washington. Where was the best place to 
buy a narrow-brimmed beaver? 

The two visited shop after shop until Sam found the right 
hat. He put it on and asked his friend to walk to the Capitol. 


They crossed the sheep meadow that surrounded the govern- 
ment house, and ascended the broad white steps. Sam made 
his way to the colonnaded hall of Representatives and 
roamed through the empty chamber. Finally he selected the 
seat he wanted for his own. 

"Now, Butler," he remarked, "I am a member of Congress, 
I will show Mr. Calhoun that I have not forgotten his insult 
to a poor lieutenant." 6 

The dome of the new Capitol under which Representative 
Houston confided this inkling of his aspirations was smaller 
than the one that is there now, but otherwise the plan o* 
Washington was "colossal," as the visiting Duke of Saxe- 
Weimar express-ed it, "and will hardly ever be executed. It 
could contain a population of one million, whilst it is said 
at present to have but 13,000." Public buildings were miles 
apart. When one had to walk through the mud from one to 
another, the metropolitan idea seemed like carrying optimism 
too far, and there was talk of moving the seat of government 
to Wheeling, Virginia. 

But congressmen need not walk to the sociable tavern which 
advertised "a post coach and four horses . . . kept for the 
conveyance of Members to and from the Capitol ... by the 
public's- obedient servant WILLIAM O'NEALE." A night's lodg- 
ing at Major O'Neale's cost twenty-five cents, fire and candle 
extra. Meals were a dollar a day, bitters and brandy twelve 
and a half cents, toddy a quarter. 

The elite of southern officialdom held forth at O'Neale's, 
Jacksxm stayed there, and for five winters it had been the home 
of John H. Eaton, Jackson lieutenant and the senior senator 
from Tennessee. The junior senator was Jackson himself. He 
had been elected on short notice. The distinction was unsought 
and unwelcome, but necessary to keep the seat from unfriendly 

Taking his place in Congress under the eye of the Master 
gave Sam Houston entree to the inner circle at O'Neale's where 
the great and the aspiring discussed matters in a close at- 


mosphere of tobacco juice and Monongahela toddies. A young 
man could have found no better school of applied politics, 
although it did not leave Houston much time to use the 
personally selected seat on the floor of the House. In fact, 
trace of his presence in the House is practically limited to 
the yeas and nays. This voting record is a simple duplication 
of the views of the Master, including support of the propos-al 
to place frying-pans on the free list a concession in the Tariff 
Bill designed to captivate the frontier. 

Socially the Congressman had a good time. He kept late 
hours and cruised in interesting company. One evening Repre- 
sentative Daniel Webster and Junius Brutus Booth took ad- 
vantage of an afflorescent tavern fellowship to rally Sana 
on the style of his oratory. Mr, Webster professed chagrin 
that the Tennesseean should prefer the manner of Booth, while 
the tragedian affected disappointment because so promising a 
pupil had selected for his model the gentleman from Massa- 
chusetts-. Both were unjust to their young friend. Sam did 
not make many speeches, and those he did make were quite 
succinct for an era when to be a great orator was to be a 
great man. 

As a matter of course Sam made the acquaintance of 
Margaret O'Neale, the innkeeper's* daughter. Peg was good- 
looking, and the camaraderie of the big tavern house did not 
diminish her charms. To be quite accurate, Peg was now 
Mrs. John Timberlake, but John Timberlake was not much 
in evidence, being a purser in the Navy who went on long 
voyages. The sailor's wife consoled herself with the society 
of her father's clientele. The name mentioned most frequently 
was that of Senator John Henry Eaton, of Tennessee. He was 
rich and a widower. 

The winter passed agreeably enough for Representative 
Houston. "Jackson is gaining every day," he wrote in Feb- 


ruary of 1824, "and will be the next president." 7 And so it 
seemed when the votes were counted that November. Jackson 
carried eleven states. John Quincy Adams- carried seven 
states. Three went to Crawford of Georgia and three to the 
Speaker of the Hous-e, Mr. Clay. But there was no majority 
in the electoral college, and it devolved upon the House of 
Representatives to break the deadlock. 

This would take place in February. Meantime, Washing- 
ton seethed with electioneering. When all was said, it was 
Mr. Clay who would name the next president of the United 
States. Sam Houston was in the midst of that boiling activity* 
He boldly bid for the support of Clay. "What a splendid 
administration it would make," he told the Speaker's friend, 
Sloane, of Ohio, "with Old Hickory as President and Mr. Clay 
as Secretary of State." 8 

The trend of affairs was not encouraging to the Jackson 
forces. Their patron was of slight assistance, turning not a 
hand to win the favor of Mr. Clay. "The members- are as the 
tomb," wrote Houston as the weeks dragged on and the rumor 
grew that Clay would swing his strength to Adams. The 
Jackson people still had strong hopes, though, and in the last 
days of the canvass Houston was grimly "confident . , . that 
Jackson will succeed. . . . This you will at least suppose i& 
my honest opinion as an expression of an opinion at this time 
can answer no purpose !" 9 

But Jackson did not succeed. In a dramatic scene, which 
surprised seasoned politicians who expected a long battle, 
Adams won easily on the first ballot. 

Old Hickory took it more calmly than many of Ms followers 
and paid the President-Elect a stiff courtesy call. And then 
Mr. Clay was made Secretary of State. This was- too much. 
The virtuous Jacksonians recovered their tongues and cried, 
"Corrupt bargain!" 

Meantime John C. Calhoun had slipped into the vice-presi-- 
dency. All in all, the campaign of 1824 represented a reverse 
io a tall young man with a tall hat and similar ambitions* 


But Sam still had an iron in the fire. On his way to Wash- 
ington the autumn previous, he had thought of stopping off 
en route and resuming his journey with a bride. But "to have 
married on my way here would not have answered a good pur- 
pose. My errand here is to attend to ... business . . . 
and not to tf spend honeymoons.' Everything in due season!" 1 * 

Through the stresses of a winter that had seen the lapse 
of many loyalties, the ardent hope persevered in the breast 
of Sam Houston. On the eve of the fatal balloting in the 
House chamber, he wrote to a friend who stood in need of con- 
solation. "I regret that you have been unsuccessful in love 
affairs. .But you have taken the best course possible to be 
extricated., by taking a new chase! For my single self I do 
not know the sweets of Matrimony, but in March or Apl. Next 
I will; unless something takes place not to be expected or 
Dished for." 11 

The unexpected and unwished for somehow interposed. 
March and April came. Houston went home and was reelected 
to Congress, but he returned to Washington still a stranger to 
the sweets of matrimony. 


There was* work to do. Discreet preliminaries for the 
Jackson campaign of 1828 were under way. Sam Houston was 
a freer agent than heretofore, because Jackson was not at his 
side. The old leader had drawn a long breath and retired from 
the Senate to the agreeable shades of the Hermitage* 

Jackson's going gave Houston a chance to develop as a 
legislator rather than a lobbyist. He began to show his head 
above the level of the Congressional pack. He had his minia- 
ture painted and went about in society. The new chase theory, 
possibly; at any rate, the miniature is said to have changed 
ihands rather often. He crossed the river to call on Mary 


Custis, the daughter of George Washington Custis, great^ 
granddaughter of Martha Washington and heiress to the 
mansion of Arlington. Representative Houston was the 
chairman of the Congressional Board of Visitors of the United 
States Military Academy. The annual inspections of this 
august body were a great event at the institution on the High- 
lands of the Hudson where a shy third-classman was writing 
letters to the same Mary Custis. The young lady was so in- 
different to the claims of fame as to prefer this quiet youth 
who did not drink or smote, and eventually to marry Second 
Lieutenant Robert E. Lee, Corps* of Engineers* 

Still, it was as one of Andrew Jackson's young men that 
Sam Houston owed his surest claim to contemporary notice. 
He was one of the trio that Jackson dubbed his "literary 
bureau," from the amount of writing they did to keep the 
General's candidacy before the country. The other two were 
Senator Eaton and Judge Jacob C. Isucks, of Winchester, 
Tennessee. They enjoyed themselves and contributed to a 
great many newspapers. Sometimes the same man, using 
different names, would carry on both sides of a controversy. 

Sam Houston is believed also to have written "A Civil and 
Military History of Andrew Jackson, by an American Arr^y 
Officer," which in 1825 took its place in the current flood of 
Jackson literature. It is better and briefer than "The Life of 
Andrew Jackson, by John Henry Eaton, Senator of the 
United States 1 ," which the author was now enlarging to include 
such details of the Florida campaign as he thought proper. 
The two authors were jealous of each other; Houston's rapid 
rise had irritated many older men. His work suited Jackson, 
though, and, in the second campaign, he was* one of the respon- 
sible circle upon whom devolved the ticklish duty of curbing 
the Master's temper. Once Houston declined to deliver a letter 
that Jackson addressed to Mr. Southard, the Secretary of 
^avy, saying the language was too strong. Jackson recast 
the communication. It got out that Houston could "handle* 5 
Jackson, an accomplishment claimed for few men. 


Henry Clay was the bete noire of the Jackson following and 
the most active in countermining the Jackson moves for 1828. 
With the Southard matter still in delicate balance, Houston 
received from the Hermitage an allusion to the Secretary of 
State. "I have lately got an intimation of some of his secrete 
movements; which, if I can reach with positive & responsible 
proof, I will wield to his political, & perhaps, to his actual 
Destruction he is certainly the bases [t], meanest scoundrel 
that ever disgraced the image of his god nothing too mean or 
low for him to condescend to to secretly carry his cowardly & 
base slander into effect; even the aged and Virtuous female 
is not free from his secrete combinations of base slander but 
enough- you know me . . . retributive justice mil visit him 
and Ms pander[er]$ heads." 12 The campaign was warming 

Sam Houston did know his patron. He knew that he kept 
in order the pistols with which he had killed one man for 
slandering Mrs. Jackson. But the thought of shooting one- 
self into the presidency had so little besides novelty to recom- 
mend it, that Jackson's advisers? were cold to the idea. More- 
over, Mr. Clay had just put a bullet through the coat-tails of 
Jackson's friend, John Randolph, of Virginia, 

The opposition continued its assaults on the character 
of "Aunt Rachel," as- Sam Houston affectionately called the 
wife of his patron. These reached a climax when the un- 
intentional irregularity of the General's marriage was made 
the subject of a contemptible allusion by Adams's organ, the 
National Journal. Duff Green replied in his United States 
Telegraph with tales of Mr. Adams's private life that were 
the product of an equally creative imagination. Pleased as 
Punch, Green wrote to Jackson of what had been done. "Let 
her [Mrs. Jackson] rejoice her vindication is complete, . 
The whole Adams corps was thrown into consternation." 

This was not the kind of vindication Jackson wished. He 
told Green to be truthful. "Female character should never be 
produced by my friends unless attack should continue . * 


on Mrs. J. and then only by way of Just retaliation upon the 
known GUILTY. . . . / never war against females & it is only 
the base & cowardly that do." Whereupon, each side having 
had its moment, the petticoats' were nervously restored to the 
comparative privacy of the whispering gallery. 

The theater of our national affairs did not remain an 
Eveless Eden long enough to become a bore. The choice of 
her father's tavern house as a Jackson stamping-ground placed 
Peggy O'Neale in a position to enlarge the scope of her already 
comprehensive acquaintance. She charmed the old General 
She won the heart of Aunt Rachel, and was not unattractive to 
the critical eye of an elegant widower who was assisting the 
Jackson fortunes in New York Mr. Martin Van Buren, 

But General Jackson's health was the important thing 
now. The candidate was ailing and had openly declared for a 
single term. This- made the selection of a vice-president a 
matter of especial interest, since it was Jackson's plan to 
promote his vice-president in 1832. There were two candidates 
for vice-president between whose claims' the Jackson leaders 
themselves were divided. Ostensibly the General was neutral, 
but the world knew he had not abandoned his old friendship 
for John C. Calhoun. As Secretary of War, Mr. Calhoun was 
understood to have supported Jackson in his Florida cam- 
paign. The General could not forget such an act of accom* 
modation. On the other hand, he did nothing to check his 
supporters who were booming Governor DeWitt Clinton, of 
New York. 

Sam Houston was for Clinton, naturally. Eaton was for 
Clinton ; so were Martin Van Buren and the other New Yorkers 
in the Jackson camp, including Samuel Swartwout, one-time 
dispatch rider for Aaron Burr. Major William B. Lewis, 
Jackson's personal man Friday and inseparable companion, 
also cast his lot with the easterner. Still, the anti-Calhou 


wing failed to gain much ground. The Clinton people were 
getting uneasy when Sam Houston laid his hands on a letter 
that revived their hopes. 

This communication was written in 1818 by President 
Monroe to the Secretary of War, Mr. Calhoun. It made clear 
that Calhoun did not approve of General Jackson's high- 
handed invasion of Florida. There were phases of the Florida 
campaign, concerning which Jackson said as little as possible, 
except to intimate that he had merely taken the steps necessary 
for the ends desired by the administration. Perceiving a 
chance to ride into the presidency on the tail of Jackson's kite, 
Mr. Calhoun had done nothing to damage this impression. 

Sam Houston is said to have kept tins' letter under cover 
for a year, presumably awaiting the right moment to present 
it at the Hermitage. This came early in 1827. The effect 
was "like electricity," as Duff Green might have said. "It 
smelled so much of deception," wrote Jackson, "that my hair 
stood on end for an hour." Calhoun had been playing him 
false all these years. There was a great stir, but Calhoun 
and his supporters kept it under cover. Calhoun protested 
that the letter had been stolen, and the real villain was made 
out to be Mr, Monroe. But Jackson was- not ungrateful to 
Sam Houston for his interest. 

The national campaign thundered on its way. In the 
midst of it, Houston was elected governor of Tennessee which 
transferred his activities from O'Neale's tavern to scenes- less 
remote from the Hermitage, In this favored position, he con- 
tinued to fight Calhoun, There was a plan to induce William 
H. Crawford, who was also in the Monroe Cabinet, to confirm 
Sam Houston's disclosure of Calhoun's attitude on Florida, but 
before it could be executed Governor Clinton died, rendering 
the Calhoun opposition leaderless. An attempt to rally about 
Martin Van Buren was unrealized* Mr, Calhoun was nominated 
and elected with the Jackson landslide. 

But the anti-Calhounists were not ignored, Mr. Van Buren 
was to be Secretary of State, John H. Eaton was to be Sec- 


retary of War. And as Andrew Jackson's friend and personal 
confidant, the handsx>me young Governor of Tennessee found 
himself with his feet on the steps of the temple. 


In the closing weeks of the campaign, the O'Neale tavern 
was a gay as well as a busy place. Upon this scene intruded a 
mes-senger from the Navy Department to say that Purser 
Timberlake was dead. He had cut his throat while on a 
Mediterranean cruise. No official explanation of the act was 
offered, but Washington gossip found a motive in his? wife's 
affair with the Senator from Tennessee, although actually the 
Purser's- depression appears to have been caused by a shortage 
in the accounts of his ship, the celebrated Constitution. 

The public mind honored the deceased with a racy if tran- 
sient notice of obituary, and lost him in the rush of the cam- 
paign. Within a few weeks the incident was so completely sub- 
merged that polite Washington would have been surprised to 
know that Senator Eaton privately had confessed "many an 
anxious and distressed moment" on account of it. For polite 
Washington mistakenly assumed the Purser's passing to have 
simplified matters for the Senator, who had already shown 
substantial proofs of his good-will toward the O'Ncales. In 
fact the O'Neale tavern, though it sometimes still went by its 
old name, was now properly Gadsby's Hotel. When the Major, 
Peg's father, encountered money troubles Eaton had bought 
the inn to help him out, selling it to Gadsby. 

The death of Mr, Timberlake did not simplify matters for 
Senator Eaton. It complicated them. The complication 
arose, the Senator wrote in great confidence, from an impulse 
to marry Peg and "snatch her from that injustice" done her 
name by "the City gossipers who attend to everybody's reputa- 
tion ... to the neglect of their own." That is what the 
Senator wrote. It is not what he meant, as the complete text 
of his letter, written during one of those "distressed" moments, 


shows. The Senator wished to avoid a marriage and after 
ransacking his wits for a way out, he finally went to Jack- 
son with the plea that there would be "talk" that would work to 
the injury of the new administration, of which Eaton was to 
be a part. The Senator confessed that it took time to acquire 
courage to face Jackson in an effort to obtain his sanction 
to a "postponement" of the wedding on such grounds. 13 

The interview took place at the Hermitage. Major Eaton 
assured the President-Elect that Peg's "own merits" as well 
as "considerations of honor" would impel him "at a proper 
time [italics Eaton's] ... to tender her the offer" of 
marriage. Even then there would be consequences. "The im- 
possibility of escaping detraction and slander was too well 
credenced to me," the Senator went on, "in the abuse of those 
more meritorious 1 and deserving that [than] I ever could hope 
to be." 14 

Eaton's uncertainty as 1 to Jackson's attitude was well 
founded. Old Hickory would hear of no delay. The nervous 
allusion to the manufactured scandal over Jackson's own 
marriage availed as little as one less upset in mind than Senator 
Eaton might have expected. Jackson ordered Eaton to marry 
Peg at once, and the gossips be damned. 

The involuntary suitor returned to Washington. He saw 
Peg and a wedding was spoken of to take place, somewhat 
vaguely, "after the adjournment." Senator Eaton then would 
be a Cabinet officer and anything might happen. But no 
sooner had this improvisation been arranged than Eaton re- 
ceived by the hand of Judge Isacks, late of the literary bureau, 
a letter from Jackson telling Eaton to marry Peg "forthwith'' 
or "change your residence." Eaton wrote a labored epistle of 
"gratitude." "Your admonition shall be regarded. ... In 
the first week of January ... an honorable discharge of 
duty to myself and to her shall be met, and more than this . . , 
T rendered a happy and contented man." 15 

The announcement of the betrothal bowled over Washing- 
ton,, which, in itsr agitation, passed Major Eaton on to posterity 


adorned with a reputation for undiscriminating gallantry that 
is undeserved. 

In Albany, New York, Mr. Van Buren read the tidings in 
a New Year's note from a congressman fz'iend in the capital. 
"May you live a thousand years and always have ... a 
thousand sweethearts and not one applicant for office. . . . 
La Belle Hortense thinks she would like to live in the palace 
again. . . . She will be here in February. . . . Poor Eaton 

is to be married tonight to Mrs. T ! There is a vulgar 

saying of some vulgar man, I believe Swift, on such unions 

about using a certain hous-ehold [sic] and then putting it 

on one's head. The last sentence prevents me signing my 
name." 16 This delicacy has deprived the world of an auto- 
graph and he wrote a lovely hand of Mr. Churchill (X 
Cambreleng, than whom none was more au courant with the 
smart talk of the Washington haute monde. 

Poor Eaton, indeed ! General Jackson had laid the founda- 
tion for his house of cards. Its collapse flung careers about 
like autumn leaves. 


Six FEET Six 

"PRESENT me," Andrew Jackson wrote to Representative 
Houston in November of 1826, "to Mr. John Randolph " 

Mr, Randolph was wearing a new coat now, the gift of 
Henry Clay as reparation for the damage the Secretary had 
done to the Senator's wardrobe with a bullet. But surely this 
was unknown to Jacks-on, already sufficiently chagrined over 
Randolph's poor marksmanship. 

"Present me to Mr. John Randolph. . . . You may sug- 
gest a desire I have of obtaining a good filly got by Sir Archey 
and a full bred by the dam side. If he has a filly of this de- 
scription . . . that he can sell for $300 or under . . . and 
you will bring her out I will be prompt in remitting him the 
amount." And when that was done: "Capt. A. J. Donelson 
who has- engaged my stud colts desires me to say to you if a 
faithfull keeper of horses can be got he will give them good 
wages, a freeman of colour, from one hundred to one hundred 
and fifty of standing wages- . . . besides other privileges." 1 

More august personages than Representative Houston 
would have flown to perform services such as these. Their 
asking bore the stamp of the old General's affection, and 
every one knew how far Andrew Jackson would go for a friend. 
Sam Houston possessed a nature sufficiently warm to be drawn 
to a man like that, and his reciprocation sometimes colored 
Ids official conduct. 



Early in 1826 the postmastership of Nashville fell vacant 
Jackson had a candidate, and Clay had one in the person of 
John P. Erwin, editor of the Nashville Banner and Whig. 
Naturally, the Clay man must be headed off. "Attend to this 
business," 2 Jackson wrote Houston, and the Nashville post- 
mastership became a national issue. Houston did his best. He 
fought Erwin at every turn, writing the President that the 
Clay candidate was "not a man of fair and upright moral 
character," and accusing him on the floor of the House of "a 
want of integrity." Yet Erwin got the place, and Houston was 
warned to look out ; whereupon he took up pistol practise on 
the outskirts of the capital. 

This seemed a prudent thing to do. Houston was already 
involved in an affair of honor with a Tennesseean named Gibbs, 
and a duel seemed so likely that he had written a letter to be 
published "should I perish." "My firm and undeviating at- 
tachment to Genl Jackson has caus-ed me all the enemies I have, 
and I glory in the firmness of my attachment. ... I will 
die proud in the assurance that I deserve, and possess his 
perfect confidence." 3 

The affair with Gibbs- did not come off, but on his return 
to Nashville, Houston received a note from Postmaster Erwin 
asking about the aspersions attributed to him. Houston stood 
by what he had said, which could only be construed as* an 
invitation to fight. Nashville was Jackson-Houston ground t 
and Mr. Erwin had trouble finding a messenger to deliver his 
challenge, until Colonel John Smith T., as he called himself, a 
professional duelist from Missouri, alighted from a westbound 
stage. Houston named Colonel McGregor, of Nashville, as his 
second. With most of Nashville looking on. Smith T. con- 
fronted McGregor in the public square. 

"I have a communication from Colonel Erwin to General 
Houston, which I now hand you, sir," said the challenger's 


"General Houston can receive no communication from your 
hands because you are not a citizen of this state," McGregor 

Smith T. went away, and Houston and his friends were 
gathered in front of the Nashville Inn when Smith returned 
with General William A. White, a lawyer and veteran of the 
battle of New Orleans'. Instead of seeking McGregor, Smith 
handed Erwin's message directly to Houston. 

"Colonel," said White triumphantly to Smith, "I reckon 
he will not deny having received it.' 5 

Houston turned on his heel. 

"I have not received it," he exclaimed, "I do not know 
its contents. I will not open it, but will refer its contents to 
Colonel McGregor. But I will receive one from you, General 
White, with pleasure." 

"I will receive one from you, General Houston." 

"The saddle is on the other horse, General, and that is 
enough to be understood between gentlemen." 

"If I call on you there will be no shuffling, I suppose." 

"Try me, sir," said Sam Houston/ 

But White had no idea of trying Houston. Days passed. 
Erwin evinced a disposition to transfer the controversy to the 
newspapers. Smith T. showed more spirit. He wrote to de- 
mand whether Houston's only reason for refusing to receive 
the challenge in the first instance was because Smith lived in 
another state. Houston replied that this was the only reason 
he had had at the time, but inquiry had given him ground for 
others, such as Smith's "reputed standing and character." To 
the amazement of every one, the Missouri bad man took a boat 
for the West. 

This left White to hold the bag. "Knowing that a coward 
can not live except in disgrace and obscurity," he wrote a 
friend, "I did not hesitate as to my course." He challenged 
Houston on an academic point of honor which dis-avowed any 
feeling of personal animosity. Houston chose pistols at fifteen 
feet. As it had turned out, Houston was to meet the poorest 


shot of three possible opponents, but the short distance was a 
concession to White's indifferent skill. At fifteen feet any one 
stood a chance of hitting a man of Houston's size. 

The date set for the meeting allowed the contestants a 
week in which to improve their marksmanship. Sum Houston 
went to the experienced Jackson for advice. Old Hickory told 
him to bite on a bullet when he drew. It would help his aim. 
Houston practised for a while on the grounds of the Hermitage 
and then retired to the farm of S&nf ord Duncan, near the Ken- 
tucky line, to polish off his training. 

Sanford Duncan had two pups named Andrew Jackson and 
Thomas Benton because they always were fighting each other. 
Houston noticed that Andrew usually came out on top, and 
took this to be a good omen. On the night of September 2L, 
1826, the party that was to accompany Houston to the field 
slept at the Duncan house. At three-forty in the morning, 
Houston was awakened by a barking dog. It was Andrew, the 
pup. Sam arose without disturbing his friends, tiptoed into the 
kitchen and began to mold bullets. As the first ball fell from 
the mold, a game cock crowed. Houston picked up the bullet 
and marking it on one side for the dog, and on the other side 
for the rooster, resolved to use it in his first fire. 

At sunup the two parties met in a pasture just over the line 
in Kentucky. The ground was paced off. The principals took 
their places. 

"Gentlemen, are you ready?" 

"Ready, sir." 

"Ready, sir." 

"Fire! One, two, three, four." 

Houston drew quickly and fired. White sank to the ground, 
shot through the groin. The Houston group started toward 
the Tennessee line when White called weakly. Houston re* 
turned and knelt beside the wounded man. 

"General, you have killed me," White said. 

"I am very sorry," Houston replied. "But you 'know it 
was forced upon me." 


"I know it, and forgive you." 5 

General White spent four months in bed. No one watched 
his progress closer or received assurances of his recovery with 
greater relief than Sam Houston. The Clay faction in Ken- 
tucky made use of the duel in an effort to embarrass Jackson. 
A Kentucky grand jury indicted Houston for assault, but there 
was no arrest and the presiding officer at a political meeting 
in Tennessee introduced Houston with a heroic allusion to the 
affair with White. Sam Houston silenced the applause, said 
he was opposed to dueling, and declined to be honored as a 
duelist. "Thank God," he concluded, "my adversary was in- 
jured no worse." 6 


Everything Sam Houston did redounded to the credit of 
his white-haired patron, who arranged another advancement 
for his protege". William Carroll was retiring from the gover- 
norship, having served three consecutive terms, the limit per- 
mitted by the constitution. 

Billy Carroll was an interesting man. At New Orleans he 
had been Old Hickory's second in command. In Tennessee 
his tall, fastidiously groomed figure was as well known as that 
of Jackson himself. He was rich and ruthless. One glance from 
his steel-blue eyes had made and unmade senators-. Friendship, 
which was everything to Jackson, was nothing to Carroll in 
politics. The only office the dictator cared for personally 
was* the governorship. This was his passion. Sam Houston 
became the candidate of the Jackson democracy to fill in as 
governor for one term, after which Carroll would be eligible to 
resume the reins. Another of General Jackson's young men, 
Mr. James K. Polk, was to take Houston's place in the House 
and carry on the good work at Washington. 

But the governorship was not to be kept in Jackson's hands 
without a fight, A little revolt against the grenadier methods 
of the old leader encouraged the Whigs, who put up Newton 
Cannon, a strong man* 


Houston made an unprecedented campaign. He had bees 
preparing for it for years, under Jackson's coaching. He was 
the best mixer in Tennessee. Log-rollings, barn-raisings and 
barbecues were his forte. On election day he closed his can- 
vass with a tour of the polling places in Nashville. "Mounted 
on a superb dapple-gray horse he appeared unannounced," one 
dazzled spectator recorded, "... the observed of all ob- 

It is no wonder. Sam had dressed for his public: bell- 
crowned, black beaver hat, standing collar and patent-leather, 
military stock, ruffled shirt, black satin vest and "shining" 
black trousers, gathered at the waist with legs full "the same 
size from seat to ankle." In place of a coat the broad shoul- 
ders were loosely draped with a "gorgeous" Indian hunting 
shirt, encircled by a beaded red sash with a polished metal 
clasp. His silk socks were lavishly embroidered and his pumps 
set off by silver buckles. 7 

Judge Jo C. Guild has left a description of the man him- 
self. "Houston stood six feet six inches in his socks, was of 
fine contour, a remarkably well proportioned man, and of 
commanding and gallant bearing; had H large, long head and 
face and his fine features were lit up by large eagle-looking 
eyes-; possessed of a wonderful recollection of persons and 
names, a fine address and courtly manners and a magnetism 
approaching that of General Andrew Jackson. He enjoyed 
unbounded popularity among men and was a great favorite 
with the ladies."* 

Six feet six an entire school of southwestern tradition 
confirms 1 it, but the descriptive list of the War Department, 
wanting in imagination, and by no means incapable of error, 
undertakes to whittle Sam Houston's stature down to six 
feet and two inches. Guild knew Houston well, and the 
nature of their relations protects the Judge against a charge 
of intentional flattery. But no escaping it, there was some- 
thing about this man that made light of yardsticks, 

A probability of similar exaggeration exists in the report 


of the election-day attire, though it was doubtless bizarre 
enough. Sam Houston's clothes were usually equal to the ro- 
coco tastes of his generation, but he did not wear Indian shirts 
in Washington, and he did not wear them in Nashville when 
he danced with Miss Anne Hanna, who has enriched history 
with the observation that "two classes of people pursued Sam 
Houston all his life artists and women." 9 

But Nashville was not composed exclusively of persons as 
discriminating as Miss Anne Hanna. Nashville was the back- 
woods capital of a backwoods state. Of its population of five 
thousand, one thousand were negro slaves. The town made a 
ragged pattern about a public square which crowned a noble 
bluff overlooking the steamboat landing. In the square stood 
the court-house, fenced by a hitch-rail. The Nashville Inn 
was on one side of the square and the City Hotel on another. 
These places of entertainment served the notable of two genera- 
tions. The Inn with its imposing three-story colonnade was 
the headquarters of the Jackson democracy, while all the im- 
portant Whigs hung up their saddle-bags at the City Hotel. 

Sam Houston lived at the Inn. The vacant lot next door 
was reserved for cock-fights. Billiards was also a craze with 
the quality until the Legislature, which convened at seven 
o'clock in the morning, levied a tax of one thousand dollars a 
table on the wicked luxury. But not until later did this revo- 
lutionary body abolish the stocks, whipping-post and brand- 
ing-iron for minor offenders, and the penalty of death without 
benefit of clergy for stealing a horse. The executioner's fee at 
a hanging was two dollars and fifty cents\ Nashville's Clover 
Bottom race-track was one of the best known in the West* 
Patrons were carried thither in a yellow coach "fitted up in all 
the style of Philadelphia." Nine miles east of town was Jack- 
son's Hermitage, the finest residence in Tennessee. 


The returns were slow coming in. The City Hotel people 
more than hopeful at first. In the strong Jackson terri- 


tory of Middle and West Tennessee, Cannon ran surprisingly 
well. In East Tennessee Jackson was weak due to resentment 
over the removal of the state capital from Knoxville. The 
Whigs needed only a small plurality from this territory to 
overcome the slender lead Houston held in the sections where 
Jackson was normally invincible. East Tennessee, however, re- 
turned great majorities for its favorite son, Sam Houston, and 
the final tally was 44,426 votes for him to 33,410 for Cannon. 
It was a personal triumph rather than a victory for William 
Carroll's* machine. 

The Governor-Elect lost no time in starting for Knoxville 
on his dapple-gray horse to thank his friends in the East. 
They gave him a banquet at the Widow Jackson's tavern "and 
it is only necessary to say," remarked the Knoxville Register, 
"that Mrs. Jackson had it in a stile suited to the occasion. . . . 
The ladies generally of the town, and between fifty and sixty 
gentlemen attended. . . , The ladies having withdrawn from 
the table to other seats. . * . and the cloth being removed . 
TOASTS were drunk." 

The schedule called for thirteen of these, with incidental 
music. Glasses were drained to "Major-General Houston 
Distinguished in the social circle by the affability of his man- 
ners, in war by the intrepidity of his character, and in public 
life, by the integrity of his course." (Music, The Wounded 
Hussar.) Others of the illustrious were remembered and the 
formal program ended on a chivalrous note : "To the ladies 
by their sweet names we wave the sword on high, and swear 
for them to live, for them to die." 

But the evening was young. Pryor Lea, Esquire, arose to 
say that the ladies present had asked him to deliver "for them 
a sentiment." Congressman Lea turned to the guest of the 
evening. "I pledge you, General Houston, that the ladies will 
not forget the brave." Sam Houston was on his feet, glass in 
hand. "The Fair of Tennessee," he said. "Their charms cannot 
be surpassed by the valor of her sons." There were forty-two 
more toasts, Spencer Jarnagm, iscimre, an aiumnus o:r 


Academy at Maryville, had the last word, "Mrs. Jackson, 51 
he said. "May all festive boards have such a land lady." 10 

In the Governor's chair Sam Houston continued to im- 
prove his hold on popular favor, When Jackson was elected 
president, Tennessee became politically the most important 
state in the Union. This made the Governor of Tennessee, 
whoever he might be, a national figure. Sam Houston was 
equal to the occasion. Jackson's health gave an interesting 
drift to speculation. "J n ... is wearing away rapidly," 
wrote Alfred Balch, who lived near the Hermitage. "Already 
J ns successor is as much spoken of as J ns late success." Then 
Aunt Rachel died. It seemed as if the old soldier could not 
survive this blow. He rallied, but was not the same man. Sam 
Houston may very well have reflected that the effacement of 
Mr. Calhoun might now do more than assuage an old resent- 

Houston's name took its' place on the inevitable list of "pos- 
sibilities." As a state executive he was independent and level- 
headed. He made no mistakes for adversaries to seize upon ? 
and his- growing prestige filled the stage. He cut away from 
the Carroll wing, and as his term drew near the close, showed 
no sign of preparing to relinquish the office in which he had 
entrenched himself, Jackson viewed this state of affairs with 
a strange complacency, and Billy Carroll was 1 disturbed. From 
distant parts of the country the gaze of observers fell upon the 
rising figure in the West, idol of the politically consecrated 
populace of Tennessee. He seemed to be the Man of Des- 
tiny that many were looking for. The era had dawned that 
was to see three men from Tennessee attain the white "Castle" 
on Pennsylvania Avenue, Two of these were to step up from 
the Governor's chair. With Tennessee and Tennesseeans fa- 
vored of the gods, one so disinclined to exaggeration as Judge 
Guild saw Sam Houston headed for the presidency. 

The Governor appeared to want only one thing desirable 
for political advancement. Sam Houston was thirty-five years 
old. There had been too much toasting the ladies and too mairy 


tales of a variety the Governor's- reputation for gallantr? 
rendered inescapable. "I have as usual had c a small blow up. 5 
What the devil is the matter with the gals I cant say but there 
has been hell to pay and no pitch hot I" 11 The situation worried 
Houston's friends- whose earnest counsel was to marry and 
settle down. Plenty of time for that, said Sam, who was 
credited with the ability to take his pick of the highly eligible 
damsels who beautified Mrs. James K. Folk's cotillions. But as 
a matter of fact the gallant Governor was deeply and miserably 
in love a circumstance at length revealed to an anxious friend, 
Congressman John Marable, in a jocose note that sought to 
disguise the tenderness that was in the writer's heart. "May 
God bless you, and it may be that I will splice myself with a 
rib. Thine ever, SAM Hous-roN." 12 

Within a fortnight Colonel and Mrs. John Allen, of Gal- 
latin, had the honor to announce the forthcoming marriage of 
their daughter, Eliza, to General Sam Houston. The Aliens of 
Gallatin! The Governor's friends were overjoyed. The Car* 
roll people pegged down the flaps of their tents and silently 
whetted their knives. 



THE President-Elect gave the match his blessing and took 
the road to Washington. General Jackson had known Eliza 
Alien from babyhood. She was the eldest child of his old friend, 
John Allen, of Sumner County, the head of a family much of 
whose history is involved with the early annals of Middle Ten- 
nessee. Eliza's uncles, Robert and Campbell Allen, served 
under Jackson in the War of 1812, Robert commanding a regi- 
ment of volunteers. Later Robert went to Congress where he 
met Sam Houston. Representative Houston became an oc- 
casional guest of Colonel John Allen's plantation home in a 
bend of the Cumberland three miles south of Gallatin. The 
Allen hous-e was a gay one at all times, and during the racing 
at the Gallatin track, in the days when Old Hickory himself 
was Tenness-ee's first patron of the turf, it was headquarters 
for General Jacksdn and his entourage. 

Sam Houston enjoyed the hospitality of the big house and 
the lively society of the Cumberland Valley, celebrated beyond 
any region in Tennessee for its blue-grass-. Colonel Allen liked 
his brother's pleasing young friend and made him welcome. Hn 
point of fact, the Colonel had a weakness for notables. 

Eliza did not come in for a great deal of attention at firsts 
being not more than thirteen years old a thoughtful, self- 
contained little girl with large blue eyes and yellow hair. 
Seasons went by, Sam Houston dropping in at the Allen place 



as he passed and repassed between Tennessee and Washington, 
threading his way from backwoods obscurity to the threshold 
of national affairs. One day he looked into Eliza's blue eyes 
and ceased to speak to her of childish things. 

The Governor had not been the first to perceive that the 
blonde girl had grown up. He had a rival. But above all the 
women he had known Sam Houston desired Eliza, and meant to 
win her. 

The Allen family found it impossible to be indifferent to a 
connection so agreeable, but Eliza was simply bewildered to 
find this grown man, who had been a sort of adult confidant 
and comrade, changed to the role of suitor. Moreover, Eliza 
thought her heart no longer hers to give. 

But Eliza's was an age of sheltered daughters. There were 
family councils in the manor that sat on a knoll by the curv- 
ing Cumberland: a confused and immature girl encircled by 
many elders who said many things no girl possibly could under- 

Still, the Governor had something in his favor aside from 
position, prospects and the family endorsement. His manners 
were charming ; his past was romantic and a little mysterious ; 
he was handsome and there was fire in his wooing. Did he not 
desert the splendid society of Nashville, did he not foresake 
grave matters of state in the critical days of Andrew Jackson's 
fight for the presidency to post all the way to Gallatin for an 
hour with his adored? What other Tennessee girl of eighteen 
could say as much for the devotion of a srftitor? 

One such hour was somehow enchanted. On an evening 
when the woods that bordered the Cumberland were aflame with 
the emotional colors of autumn, the enormous passion of Sam 
Houston's hot words went home. The blonde girl was swep'* 
away. An image melted from her mind, and Eliza Allen '^as 
persuaded that she loved this handsome giant, this devastating 
Man of Destiny. 

No other woman by such womanly means, or by any means, 
has so strangely changed the face of American history. 


At candle-light on the twenty-second day of January, 1829, 
Colonel Allen conducted his daughter down the great staircase 
to her place beside the Governor of Tennessee. Before a house- 
ful of the socially eligible and Reverend William Hume, pastor 
to the Presbyterian aristocracy of Nashville, Eliza Allen and 
Sam Houston exchanged the wedding vows. 

Next afternoon the Governor and his bride set out for 
Nashville on horseback, but the weather turned blustery and 
they stopped overnight at Locust Grove, the manor of Robert 
Martin on the Gallatin Pike, a short hour's ride from the 
capital. The day following they rode into town, were enter- 
tained for a few days 1 at the residence of Houston's cousin, 
Robert McEwen, and then moved to the Nashville Inn. They 
went about little, which Mrs. McEwen attributed to a desire to 
be alone together; she had never seen a more affectionate 

Moreover, public affairs had intruded upon the honeymoon. 
The day before the wedding the Banner and Whig contained 
a three-line item to the effect that William Carroll would be 
a candidate for governor in the August election. Nine days 
later the Banner and Whig contained another three-line squib. 

"We are requested to announce the present Governor of 
Tenness-ee, Honorable SAKXJEL HOUSTON, is a candidate for 

In campaign literature "Samuel" was an innovation. It is 
impossible, however, to ascertain whether the Governor was 
married as "Samuel" or as "Sam." The papers are missing 
from the yellowed file of licenses and returns for the year 1829, 
which a dark closet and a coverlet of dust shield from casual 
eyes in the old brick court-house at Gallatin. Therefore, one 
is unable to bring this detail of official evidence to bear upon 
the question whether, as stated in certain quarters at the time, 
Sam Houston married Eliza Allen to break with the past and 


prepare himself for the decorous atmosphere of higher estates 
that seemed to lie in the path of his star. 

The contest for the governorship overshadowed every other 
topic in Tennessee. Sam Houston had dared to challenge the 
boss. The question on every lip was: Where will Jackson 
stand in the battle between his lieutenants? 

A direct answer was not forthcoming, but the public could 
read the signs. The Houston people wore a confident air 
never more so than when the question of Jackson's position 
was raised. The Carroll people seemed anxious to exclude the 
President's name from "local issues." The fact is that Jack- 
son had decided to elect Sam Houston, and Houston had tacitly 
conveyed this to some of his friends. 

Thus the two men marshaled and warily maneuvered their 
forces. Both were masters of the usual arts of political war- 
fare : Carroll at his best in a room manipulating combinations, 
Houston at his best out-of-doors handling a crowd. But Car- 
roll was no weakling, and odds against him meant strength to 
his arm. Besides, he was furiously angry, and felt himself 
tricked by a man he had "made." 

The campaign opened at CockrelPs Spring on Saturday 
afternoon, the eleventh of April. Governor Houston and ex- 
Governor Carroll met on the stump, and the countryside was 
out to see the fun. Houston had hit upon a scheme to swell 
the attendance and possibly turn up some useful political in- 
formation. He asked Colonel Willoughby Williams, the sheriff 
of Davidson County, in which Nashville is located, to muster 
a battalion of the militia at CockrelPs Spring. Williams was 
also to pass through the crowd during the flow of oratory 
and find out what the voters were saying. 

When the meeting was over, the Sheriff and the Governor 
mounted their horses and rode from the muster ground, deep 
in conversation. Williams had good news. The crowd was 
for Houston. Near Nashville Houston stopped off at the 
residence of John Boyd. Williams returned to his command, 
leaving Houston, he said, "in high spirits." 


Williams dismissed the militia but did not personally get 
back to Nashville until five days later Thursday, April six- 
teenth. He rode directly to the Nashville Inn. 

"Have you heard the news ?" inquired Dan Carter, the clerk. 

"What news?" the Sheriff asked. 

"General Houston and his wife have separated and she 
has gone to her father's house." 1 


Up-stairs Williams found the Governor alone with Dr. 
John Shelby. Doctor Shelby was a Sumner County man, 
old enough to be Sam Houston's father. He had known Eliza 
Allen all her life. Houston looked very tired and very troubled, 
He had little to say. The s-eparation had occurred, but the 
cause was something he would never disclose "to a living 

Williams plead for a word of explanation. He was an old 
friend, and loyal, but Sam shook his head. The Sheriff with- 
drew leaving the Governor with Doctor Shelby. Confidences 
are a part of a doctor's profession. 

The Sheriff crossed the street to the court-house. His 
office was filling with people, as were the other offices and the 
corridors. Knots of men gathered in the square, every one 
asking what had come between the Governor and his- wife. Re- 
ports, hearsay, rumor ; hints, whispers, insinuations. The 
scandal-mongers were feeling their way. Willoughby Williams 
pass-ed from group to group, and enigmas began to fill his 

The thing was serious. From the general drift Williams 
gathered that Sam Houston had "wronged" his bride. There 
were no particulars, not one detail that any one knew. But 
a lady's honor was concerned; if Houston did not furnish 
particulars 1 , they would spring from the ground. 

The Sheriff contrasted the mounting excitement of the 
crowd with the incomprehensible scene in Houston's apartment. 


Willoughby Williams had never seen Sam so shaken before, 
and they had been boys together in East Tennessee. Together 
they had gone to the recruiting rally in 1813 when Houston 
joined the Army. Eighteen months- later Willoughby had gone 
down the wilderness trail to meet the stretcher-bearers who were 
bringing the wounded Ensign home to die. Williams walked 
back to the inn to report on the temper of the crowd. His 
friend must talk, defend hims-elf. The fortunes of the cam- 
paign might hinge upon it. 

The Governor was with Doctor Shelby as before. He was 
greatly agitated and striving to control himself, but had re- 
vealed nothing. 

Williams reported on the state of affairs outside. "I said 
to him, 'You must explain this sad occurrence to us, else you 
will sacrifice your friends and yourself/ He replied, *I can 
make no explanation. I exonerate this lady [Eliza] freely, and 
I do not justify myself. I am a ruined man; will exile myself, 
and now ask you to take my resignation to the Secretary of 

"I replied, 'You must not think of it 9 when again he said^, 
'It is- my fixed determination, and my enemies when I am gone 
will be too magnanimous to censure my friends/ " 2 

The resignation showed careful attention to penmanship. 
It had been written, written slowly, in Houston's round, read- 
able script. The signature was in a bolder, quicker hand. 
Williams delivered it to "Genl William Hall" as the super- 
scription styled him "Speaker of the Senate, Tennessee." 

"Executive Office, Nashville, Tennessee 16 April 1829. 

"It has become my duty to resign the office of Chief Magis- 
trate of the State, & to place in your hands the authority & 
responsibility, which on such an event, devolves on you by th3 
provisions of the Constitution. 

"In dissolving the political connexion which has so long, & 
in such a variety of form, existed between the people of Tennes- 
see & myself, no private afflictions however deep or incurable, 
can forbid an expression of the grateful recollections so emeu- 


ently due to the kind partialities of an indulgent public. 
From my earliest youth, whatever of talent was committed to 
my care, has been honestly cultivated & expended for the 
Common good ; and at no period of a life, which certainly has 
been marked by a full portion of interesting events-, have any 
views of private interest or private ambition been permitted to 
mingle in the higher duties of public trust. In reviewing the 
past, I can only regret that my capacity for being useful was 
so unequal to the devotion of my heart, & it is one of the few 
remaining consolations of my life, that even had I been blessed 
with ability equal to my zeal, my country's generous support 
in every vicissitude of life has been more than equal to them 

"That veneration for public opinion by which I have mea- 
sured every act of my official life, has taught me to hold no 
delegated power which would not daily be renewed by my 
constituents, could the choice be daily submitted to a sensible 
expression of their Will ; and although shielded by a perfect 
consciousness of undiminished claim to the confidence & sup- 
port of my fellow citizens, yet delicately circumstanced as I 
am, & by my own misfortunes more than by the fault or con- 
trivance of anyone, overwhelmed by sudden calamities-, it is 
certainly due myself & more respectful to the world, that I 
should retire from a position which, in the public judgment, I 
might seem to occupy by questionable authority. 

"It yields me no small share of comfort so far as I am ca- 
pable of taking comfort from any circumstance, that in resign- 
ing my Executive charge, I am placing it in the hands of one 
whose integrity & worth have long been tried; who under- 
stands & will pursue the true interests of the State ; and who 
in the hour of success & in the trials' of adversity has been the 
consistent & valued friend of that Great & Good man, now en- 
joying the triumph of his virtues in the conscious security of a 

nation's gratitude. 



In his trial draft of this- difficult letter Houston had 
written, "Overwhelmed by sudden calamities, which from their 
nature preclude all investigation,"* but was sufficiently rational 
to strike out the inhibitory clause. Powerless to "preclude in- 


vestigation," he could nevertheless 1 strive to confuse It by con- 
cealing the secret of the "private afflictions . . . deep . . . 
incurable," which "by my own misfortunes rather than by the 
fault or connivance of anyone," had precipitated the present 

This resolution Sam Houston sustained through life, what- 
ever the occasion, whatever the cost. 

The news that the Governor and his bride had parted flew 
from tongue to tongue in Nashville, from county to county in 
the important state of Tennessee. William Carroll's steam- 
boats bore the intelligence down the Cumberland, Pony ex- 
presses posted over the mountains to Richmond, Washington 
and the East. Then came the thunderclap of the resignation 
by a sensational, enigmatical, vaguely self-accusative letter 
which concealed more than it disclosed. 

Rumors multiplied, but after three weeks the responsible 
Niles 9 Register, of Baltimore, could vouch for no dependable 
"information as to the allusions made in the . . . letter [of 
resignation] which while it shows a deeply wounded spirit, 
manifests a lofty patriotism." The Richmond Inquirer dis- 
covered "rumors about Gen. Houston . . . too un- 
pleasant . . . to be repeated. They relate to his domestic 
misfortunes" and in consequence "he has not only left the gov- 
ernor's chair of Tennessee but . . . the state . . . for- 
ever!" While thes-e stories spread, the Register found "the 
public curiosity . . . much excited. The papers rather in- 
crease than dissolve the mystery, by saying that Gen. Houston 
has left Nashville and that his destination is- the Cherokee 

This uncertainty was more than Tennessee could bear* 
Rather than believe nothing, under the impulse of careful 
stimulation it believed the worst. The tongues of scandal 
hesitated at nothing. Tales of the marriage-bed were bawled 
from the roof-trees, and Sam Houston was burned in effigy 
before a howling crowd in the court-house yard at Gallatin. 
In Nashville there was a great running to cover. Friends of 


yesterday, basking in the favor of a favored man, were among 
the most punctual in their repudiation of the same man, in- 
explicably ruined. 

There was one who seemed to be in a position to obtain 
an answer to the questions that were on every lip. The pre- 
rogatives of the cloth favored Dr. William Hume, who eleven 
weeks before had joined the Governor of Tenness-ee and Eliza 
Allen in marriage. He retained the confidence of both parties 
to the controversy, and, moreover, his personal curiosity was 
excited. He was one of the few admitted to the chamber where 
Houston, in one of his rare allusions 1 to the subject, said he en- 
dured "moments which few have felt and I trust none may ever 
feel again." 5 "I am sorry for him," the clergyman wrote in a 
private letter after this visit, "and more sorry for the young 
lady he has ltdft." Doctor Hume also received the latest tidings 
from Gallatin. Yet, "I know nothing that can be relied upon 
as true. Tales in abundance . . . but which of the two is the 
blame I know not." 8 

Doctor Hume's visit to the Nashville Inn was by invitation. 
Sam Houston was not a member of a church. He was called a 
worldly man, but he believed that "in the aff airs of men . . . 
there must be a conducting Providence." Trouble inspires more 
reverent thoughts than preachers, but Sam Houston had 
expressed this belief in Providence when his fortunes' were on the 
rise. "I am more satisfied of this fact when I ... behold 
the changes that have taken place with myself. But this- ad- 
vancement is not by the consent of all parties or persons. . . * 
They smile at me, and seem kind, but like the rose there is a 
thorn under it." 7 The thorns were now tearing his flesh, and 
Sam Houston asked Doctor Hume to administer the rite of 

The clergyman promised to take the matter under advise- 
ment. He consulted Obadiah Jennings, pastor of the First 
Presbyterian Church, and together they surveyed the situation. 
"The respectable connections of the lady in Sumner County 
are much offended." So, taking it all in all, "Mr. Jennings and 


myself, to whom he applied to be baptised . . . declined on 
good grounds, as we think, to comply with his wishes in relation 
to that ordinance." 8 

However, there remained those who were loyal and who be- 
lieved in the integrity of the man from whom was- withheld the 
consolation of the church. To their entreaties for one word 
or sign upon which to erect a defense, Sam Houston answered 
as before: whatever the price of silence, he was prepared to 
pay it. The suffering man's friends protested that the public 
could not be satisfied with scruples of conscience. Houston 
must explain. 

"This is a painful, but it is a private affair," replied the 
ex-Governor. "I do not recognize the right of the public to 
interfere in it, and I shall treat the public just as if it had 
never happened." 

Houston's supporters pointed out that the "respectable 
connections" of Mrs. Houston were making the affair dis- 
tinctly a public matter* The growls of the mob in the square 
could be heard from the windows of the Nashville Inn. Houston 
was told that the most important moment in life was at hand* 

"Remember," said Sam Houston, "that whatever may be 
said by the lady or her friends, it is no part of the conduct of 
a gallant or a generous man to take up arms against a woman. 
If my character cannot stand the shock let me lose it." 10 

In the beginning the matter had worn an aspect of private 
retaliation directed by the Allen family against the man whcr 
had "wronged" their daughter. Particulars of the transgression 
were not forthcoming, but it was enough to understand that 
the Aliens 5 white anger was real : this- brilliant marriage, upon 
which a proud family had erected such hopes, a shambles after 
three months an Allen woman? pale and trembling at the 
door of her father's house, 

This feudal phase did not last long. The first stirrings of 


A cameo medallion of General Houston while President of the Texas Republic, 
made in Italy in. 1887 or 1838. Presented to Margaret Lea in 1839. 

(From, the original owned "by General Houston's granddaughter, Miss Marian Lea 
Williams, of Houston) 

,*' -^ 

' 4 1\ 

' . 1 J 

\ ' 





r i 

1 / 


. , **, 






M ' ; 


J/ : 


r ft 


Sam Houston as ambassador of the Cherokee Nation of Indians to the seat of 
the Great White Father. 

(A. miniature minted on silk at Brown's Indian Queen Hotel, Washington, 3foreft, 
1830. and presented by Houston to P/we&e Moore, "his niece. Reproduced from the 
original owned by General Houston's granddaughter, Mm Manan Lea Willwmil, of 



rumor had been a windfall to the political camp of William 
Carroll. With the quickness of thought, the "vindication'* of 
Eliza Allen assumed broader proportions, as twin swords in 
the hands of an enraged family and an embittered politician 
flashed and fell. Then came the effigy burning. No story was 
too base. Every fault, every weakness, Sam Houston had ever 
indulged was magnified into a grave crime, and the silence of 
the accused was proclaimed to confirm everything. 

The news was two weeks reaching Washington. While it 
was on the way the President decided that the time had come 
to insure the reelection of Sam Houston as governor of Tennes- 
see. He wrote a letter calculated to remove Carroll from the 
race and save his face with the offer of a diplomatic post in 
South America* "It is all that can be done for him," 11 Jack- 
son made the offer, 12 but at that moment Sam Houston was on 
his way to a place of banishment more remote politically than 
the Amazon, and his rival declined with thanks the opportunity 
to represent his country abroad. 13 The triumphant Carroll 
was feeling comparatively mellow. "That fate of Houston," 
he wrote to Jackson, "must have surprised you* . * . His con- 
duct, to say the least, was very strange and charity requires 
us to place it to the account of insunity. I have always looked 
upon him as a man of weak and unsettled mind . . . incap- 
able of manfully meeting a reverse of fortune.' 514 

After Doctor Hume had rendered his decision on the bap- 
tism, Sam Houston remained locked in his room. A letter 
phrased with the simplicity of despair indicates his thoughts. 
"I . . , do love Eliza. . . . That she is the only earthly 
object dear to me God will bear witness." 15 The Man of Des- 
tiny wished merely to be alone. In the public square outside 
the whipped-up tempest grew. It swept out of hands, and the 
mob cried out that Houston was afraid to show himself, Hous- 
ton ignored it, and after a custom of the day supposed to 
represent the ultimate insult, he wan "posted" as a coward. 

The dazed man walked into the square. A few of the 
steadfast rallied about him, but no owe approached to make 


the placarded denunciations good. If they had, Sam Houston* 
who was not a braggart, said that "the streets of Nashville 
would have flowed with blood." 10 

On the twenty-third of April, 1829, Sheriff Williams and 
Doctor Shelby emerged from the Nashville Inn. Between them 
walked a tall stranger who had spent the night burning letters 
in a room. A few others silently fell in behind. The procession 
descended the steep thoroughfare to the steamboat landing. 
With one companion the tall stranger boarded the packet, Red 
Rover. The name he gave his fellow voyagers has been for- 

"Sic transit gloria nmndi," Doctor Hume wrote on the 
following day. "Oh, what a fall for a major general, a mem- 
ber of Congress- and a Governor of so respectable a state as 
Tennessee !" ir 


Two men of the Allen family, 18 heavily armed and much 
excited, boarded the Red Rover at Clarksville. Houston met 
them and listened to their story that his unexplained departure 
had given rise to the rumor that he had been "goaded to mad- 
ness and exile by detecting our sister iiv crime." The shoe was 
now on the other foot. Houston was asked to give his written 
denial to this accusation or to return "and prove it." 

He declined to do either, but dropping his pretense of in- 
cognito, "in the presence of the captain and these well-known 
gentlemen," requested his callers to "publish in the Nashville 
papers that if any wretch ever dares to utter a word against 
the purity of Mrs. Houston I will come back and write the 
libel in his heart's blood." The Aliens departed, and had the 
good sense, for the present, to refrain from giving the news^ 
papers anything more to write about. 

That evening Sam Houston patrolled the deck of the Red 
Rover, "reflecting on the bitter disappointment I had caused 
General Jackson and all my friends, and especially the blight 
and ruin of a rmre and innocent woman who had entrusted he? 


whole happiness to me. I was in an agony of despair and 
strongly tempted to leap overboard and end my worthless life w 
At that moment, however, an eagle swooped down near my 
head, and then, soaring aloft with wildest screams, was lost 
in the rays of the setting sun." 

The incident caught the wonderfully sensitive imagination 
of Houston. "I knew then," he said simply, "that a great 
destiny waited for me in the West." 19 



"My son Gen 1 Houston or The 

Raven has walked straight. Hu 

path is not crooked. He is 

beloved by all my people." 

OO-LOO-TE-KA, Head Chief 

of the Western Cherokees 


THE ex-Governor and his- traveling companion left the Red 
Rover at Cairo. Houston had resumed his incognito and was 
growing a beard he vowed never to cut. The two bought a 
flatboat and employed a flatboatman who had two big bear 
dogs. The dogs would be "company," Houston said. The 
raft was stocked for a long trip, a young free negro engaged 
and the four men and two dogs shoved off down the Mississippi. 

The companion of Sam Houston's journey into exile is an 
indistinct figure. Nashville knew him as a roving Irishman 
with the dust of half Europe on his shoes, who had come tem- 
porarily to rest in Tennessee a few months back, charming his 
way into the select and convivial circle at the Nashville Inn 
bar. He signed himself H. Harals-on, and not until he had 
gone did Nashville reflect on its meager knowledge of the at- 
tractive stranger. En route Houston told his new retainer that 
he had changed his 1 mind about stopping among the Cherokees 
and was bound for the Rocky Mountains. This seemed to suit 
Mr. Haralson, to whom one destination was the same as an- 

The travelers took it easily, delaying to fish and hunt in 
the cane-brakes, as the mood struck the head of the expedition. 
They avoided towns until reaching Memphis, a scraggling 
hamlet on the Chickasaw Bluffs, where Houston went ashore. 
He was recognized, and Nashville received a bulletin on his 


progress. At Helena Sam Houston was introduced to James 
Bowie, of Texas. 

The flatboat ascended the Arkansas River to Little Rock, 
seat of the territorial government and westernmost of Ameri- 
can capitals. There Houston discharged the flatboatman and 
wrote several letters. "I will accept no situation under the 
Government, nor do I wish anything of you but a continuation 
of your friendship, and that arises from the proud conscious- 
ness that it is merited." 1 This to the President of the United 

Houston and his servant left Little Rock on horseback. 
Haralson stayed behind to bring the baggage to the head of 
navigation on the Arkansas. 

Twenty miles from Little Rock was a collection of log 
houses called Louisburgh where the traveler put up at the 
residence of John Linton. Like Houston, John Linton was a 
lawyer, a Virginian and a brooding exile. He spoke Latin like 
a priest and flattered illiterate frontier magistrates with classi- 
cal allusions. Whisky helped to blunt memories of a romance 
connected with his early life and a term in an easterr 

When Houston left Louis-burgh Mr. Linton, in the perform' 
ance of a simple courtesy of the frontier, mounted his horse 
Bucephalus, and escorted his guest one hundred and twenty 
miles to Fort Smith, the last outpost of civilized life and the 
principal base for whisky running in the Indian country. Sam 
and John had enjoyed each other's society and were reluctant 
to part. They camped in an abandoned hut on the edge of 
the settlement and stayed for a couple of days, to feast and 
roll the classics on their tongues. When it came time for 
John to go, Sam said the occasion should be made memorable. 
After an exchange of ideas, "a sacrifice to Bacchus" was agreed 
upon. The decision was to sacrifice the clothes th^y wore, and 
Sam's servant built a fine fire in the hut. 

Sam opened the ceremony by shying his hat into the flames. 
When it was consumed the celebrants were, under the rules; 


entitled to a drink. John shied his hat in, which made them 
eligible for another swig. Sam's coat went next, then John's 
coat, and so on until Sam had nothing more to sacrifice. John 
stripped off his- remaining garment an undershirt. He threw 
it in, but almost immediately snatched it back, beat out the 
fire and started to put it on again. A storm of denunciation 
from Houston stopped him. John had repudiated a vow. He 
had angered Bacchus. 

Tearing the undershirt from the astonished Linton, Hous- 
ton dashed it on the sacrificial pyre. Then he turned to his 
companion to announce that, thanks to his presence of mind, 
the god had been appeased, but Lawyer Linton was not listen 
ing. He was asleep. 

Whereupon, General Houston composed himself for a nap 
While he slept, the servant put a fresh outfit of clothing on 
his master and aroused him sufficiently to get him to mount his 
horse. The pair were miles beyond the Indian frontier before 
Houston appreciated what had happened. He declared it a 
great joke on Linton, a conclusion concurred in by nearly every 
one else, including Mrs. Linton, one helpmeet who understood 
a talented husband. 2 


A rough military road penetrated as far as Cantonment 
Gibson, but Houston took the old trail following the wild and 
winding Arkansas River Valley. This path M r as traveled 
mostly by Indians-. White men used the military road or the 
snorting little steam packets that made four or five trips a 
year. The packets towed supplies for Cantonment Gibson and 
its redoubtable sutler, John Nicks. They carried stocks- to 
the traders about the Thrfee Forks and returned laden with 
pelts from the "magazins" of the interesting Chouteau brothers 
who lived in a wilderness because they liked it, and were the 
chief props- in those parts of John Jacob Astor's American Fur 

A steamboat picked UD Houston and carried him to the 


clearing at Webber's Falls near where "Colonel" Walter, 01 
Watt, Webber, a wealthy half-breed trading-post proprietor 
and official of the Cherokee Nation, had one of his places of 
business. Cherokee runners outstripped the packet with 
news of the visitor's identity and a gathering of notables of 
the Nation was on hand at the Falls. 

A stately old Indian advanced and embraced the traveler. 
"My son," said Oo-loo-te-ka, "eleven winters have passed since 
we met. ... I have heard you were a great chief among your 
people. ... I have heard that a dark cloud has fallen on 
the white path you were walking. ... I am glad of it it 
was done by the Great Spirit. . . . We are in trouble and the 
Great Spirit has sent you to us to give us counsel. . . . My 
wigwam is yours my home is yours my people are yours 
rest with us." 3 

Oo-loo-te-ka conducted his son over a trail leading to the 
crest of a knoll that separated the Arkansas River from the 
Illinois. Here the Chief had built his wigwam in a grove of 
sycamores and cottonwoods. "Houston has often been heard 
to s-ay," he wrote in later years, "that when he laid himself 
down to sleep that night, he felt like a weary wanderer re- 
turned at last to his father's house."* 


Oo-loo-te-ka did not speak irreverently when he said that 
Providence had sent The Raven to help his adopted people. 
He-Puts-the-Drum-Away was an old man now, and a trifle 
stout. He felt the weight of his years and of his- responsibilities. 
His ablest counselor, the fiery old Ta-kah-to-kuh, had recently 
died, leaving him alone to grapple with problems that seemed 
beyond his powers. 

These difficulties had their origin in East Tennessee, the 
heart of the Cherokee homeland, where Oo-loo-te-ka was born. 
In his youth the Nation had been at peace. Cherokees were 
neither nomadic nor warlike, as Indians go, and perhaps tbej 


Were the most intelligent of all the North American tribes. 
Their formal relations with the white race began when they 
welcomed Oglethorpe and his respectable paupers to Georgia 
in 1733. With unaccustomed tact the British recognized the 
independence of the Cherokee Nation and received its ambas- 
sador at the Court of St. James's. This attention gained the 
Crown an American ally in 1775. 

Oo-loo-te-ka was a boy of ten when his older brother, Tah- 
Ihon-tusky, took the war-path on the British side of the Revo- 
lution. At the close of the war, the United States- negotiated 
separately with the Cherokees. The young white republic was 
in serious straits and needed peace on its frontier at almost 
any price. The price the Cherokees set was reasonable. They 
ceded a small amount of territory and their political status 
remained as before, the United States recognizing the sovereign 
character of the "Cherokee Nation of Indians." Boundaries 
were fixed to include most of what is now Middle and East 
Tennessee, the northeastern corner of Alabama, northern 
Georgia, a small bit of the western Carolinas and a pocket in 
south central Kentucky ; with the provision that "if any citizen 
of the United States . . * shall attempt to settle on any of 
the [Cherokee] lands ... or having already settled and 
will not remove from the same within six months after the 
ratification of this treaty, such person shall forfeit the pro- 
tection of the United States, and the Indians may punish him 
or not as they please." 

But when the white nation began to get on its feet, con- 
fident settlers overran the Cherokee border and usurped the 
Indians' lands. The Cherokees forebore exercising their right 
to punish whites "as they please," and conscientiously pro- 
tested the invasion. Washington negotiated again ; the Chero- 
kees yielded, and a new boundary was fixed farther back in 
the woods. 

Whites poured over the new boundary. A cry of protest 
again came from the wilderness, but all except the highest na- 
tional authorities winked at the violation. The Cherokee?. 


began to put white intruders to death. The whites retaliated 
by pushing their blockhouses farther into the invaded terri- 
tory. The Indians crossed the United States boundary and 
raided settlements. In 1788 Jim Houston's- Fort in East Ten- 
nessee repulsed a foray with the loss of one white man who 
imprudently exposed himself above the stockade. A few weeks 
later the Cherokees 1 killed Jim's son, Robert, along with seven- 
teen other settlers who had ventured outside the confines of 
the fort to pick apples. This was the Apple Orchard Defeat 
famed in East Tennessee frontier history. Sam Houston had 
heard the story of it many times from both sides. 

The Cherokees appealed to the United States to help them 
stop hostilities. Secretary of War Knox said that the In- 
dians were in the right and the whites in the wrong, but nothing 
was done. 


More treaties, "final" cessions- and "solemn" guarantees, 
joid the Cherokees lost by each negotiation. The time came 
when the Indians could no longer fight to establish their rights, 
the whites having become the stronger party, 

In 1809 Oo-loo-te-ka's brother, Tah-lhon-tusky, decided on 
a radical policy. With a few hundred followers, he crossed 
the Mississippi and, to be out of the white man's reach for 
ever, marched westward for thirty days through the unin- 
habited wilderness 1 and constructed his lodges on the banks of 
the Arkansas. There he enjoyed a few years of comparative 

But there was no tranquillity in the East. Settlers con- 
tinued to invade the Indian domain. Agents of the Federal 
Government appeared among the chiefs and headmen, bribing, 
intimidating and distributing whisky. The treaty of 1816, by 
which they relinquished extensive holdings in Tennessee, 
Georgia and Alabama, was- followed by the treaty of 1817, by 
which additional land in Tennessee was exchanged for territory 
in the West adjacent to that settled by Tah-lhon-tusky, 


There was more than the usual resentment over the cession of 
1817, and Lieutenant Sam Houston, First Infantry, played an 
important role in the program of duplicity that sent his foster- 
father on his way and temporarily mollified Tah-lhon-tusky, 
whose days of serenity in his self-sought western paradise were 
at an end. 

In the West Oo-loo-te-ka tussled with one difficulty after 
another. An impoverishing warfare was kept up with the 
Osages. The hunting-grounds to the westward were disputed 
by the savage Pawnees and Comanches. The government had 
failed to run lines that would settle these questions. Its 
agents grew rich at their wards' expense. The American Fur 
Company interpreted treaties as 1 it pleased. The Territory of 
Arkansas was organized, the Cherokee lands being included in 
the territorial domain and a white justice of the peace given 
authority over the sovereign tribesmen. 

Tah-lhon-tusky died, and Oo-loo-te-ka was elected principal 
chief of the western Cherokees. The local whites clamored 
for the eviction of the Indians from Arkansas. Government 
agents pressed Oo-loo-te-ka to consent to another treaty and 
remove still farther west. The old Chief pondered the matter. 
What use to remove or to make paper talks- when the white 
brother's word was never kept? Why not stay and settle the 
issue here? 

Oo-loo-te-ka was assured that this move would be the last. 
The Cherokees- would not be disturbed again. The United 
States would bind itself to give "the Cherokee Nation of In- 
dians . * . a permanent home, and which shall, under the 
most solemn guarantee of the United States be and remain 
theirs forever . . . never, in all future time . . . embar- 
rassed by having . . . placed over it the jurisdiction of a 
Territory or State." Oo-loo-te-ka's people were to get fifty 
thousand dollars indemnity cash down and two thousand 
dollars annually for three years. But still Oo-loo-te-ka hesi- 
tated. He sent The Black Fox to Washington tc negotiate 
for the fulfillment of past treaties, but the white diplomat* 


got around him and the Indian negotiator signed the removal 
treaty in May of 1828. 


However embarrassed by the unauthorized action of The 
Black Fox, Oo-loo-te-ka accepted the compact as binding and 
prepared to fit the new situation into a scheme which he had 
been cautiously maturing. 

The eastern Cherokees were in the throes of a controversy 
with the state of Georgia to prevent their deportation to the 
West. In the voluminous history of intercourse between the 
Indian and white races-, nothing reflects so little credit upon 
the latter as the case of the Georgia Cherokees. Indifferent 
as the sentiment of the day was to the rights of an Indian, 
there was a popular outcry of sympathy for the Cherokees. 
This, however, did not hinder the Georgia Legislature, which 
annulled federal treaties and, in effect, licensed the murder of 

Oo-loo-te-ka had lost much of his earlier naivete*. He ac- 
cepted bribes without compunction when by doing so he was 
that much ahead. He thought his eastern brethren unwise not 
to follow his example. The whites would have their way any- 
how. He s-ent James Rogers to the Old Nation with a message* 

"I am now advanced in years & ... have studied a great 
deal to find out a plan to save our people from wasting & 
destruction. . . . We are now to be settled beyond all the 
settlements of white people, and there is no reason to fear that 
the whites will ever penetrate beyond us in consequence of the 
grand prairie, unless they go beyond the Rocky Mountains. 
My plan is to have . . . our brothers of the old nation . . . 
remove to this country. ... If they wish to become inde- 
pendent . . . now is the time and the only time. . . . Let 
us unite & be one people and make a wall to the east which 
shall be no more trodden down or ever passed by whites. . . . 
Thus may we plan for our posterity for ages to come & for the 
scattered remnants of other tribes, . . . Instead of being 


remnants & scattered we should become the United Tribes of 
America . . . [and] preserve the sinking race of native 
Americans from extinction. 555 

This interesting appeal excited no enthusiasm among the 
idealistic easterners. The ambassador was coldly received. He 
was- informed that the Cherokees had a right to keep their 
Georgia homes and meant to keep them. Oo-loo-te-ka was 
denounced as a deserter of the fatherland. 

Envoy Rogers returned to the Arkansas Valley to find that 
his wife, Susy, had eloped with the hired man. 



WITH an Irishman's impulse to tell somebody something, 
Mr. Haralson reported the postponement of Houston's Rocky 
Mountain expedition to the Secretary of War, 1 thus innocently 
sharpening the concern that Jackson already felt over his old 
lieutenant's presence in the West. Washington had not 
been without intimations of the imperialistic notions of Qo-loo- 
te-ka. In view of the reckless state of Houston's mind and his 
known attachment for the plotting Chieftain, Jackson took 
steps to learn something more of the ex-Governor's activities. 
But whatever measures he might take to contravene~Sam Hous- 
ton, the suspected conspirator, the staunch heart of Jackson 
ached for his friend. "Oh, what a reverse of fortune," he wrote 
to him. l 0h, how unstable are human affairs !" 2 

The arrangements Sam Houston made for his sojourn in 
the Cherokee country did seem rather elaborate for the simple 
seasonal stop-over mentioned to Mr. Haralson. He had 
destroyed his civilized clothes, changed his name and renounced 
the English tongue. As- an instrument of the gods, The Raven, 
in breech clout and turkey feathers, was a more plausible figure 
than a general in broadcloth and a cravat. But irrespective 
of the political significance that might be read into the trans- 
formation of the man who six weeks before had been considered 
an aspirant for the presidency, it represented an essentially 
personal desire to shut another door against the past. 



Runners carried the news of The Raven's return to the re- 
motest creek within the bounds of the Cherokee Nation, West, 
as Oo-loo-te-ka called his domain. Barely had Sam Houstor 
time to correct the superficial details of his reincarnation be 
fore visitors began to ascend the trail and fill the cluster of log 
huts that comprised the residence of Oo-loo-te-ka. From each 
of the seven clans came distinguished men: Big Canoe and 
Black Coat, Watt Webber, Little Tarrapin, Young Elder, Old 
Swimmer and many others, some with their squaws' and children, 
perhaps recalling The Raven's popularity with such society. 

Oo-loo-te-ka's means were equal to costly house parties. 
"His wigwam was large and comfortable, and he lived in 
patriarchal simplicity and abundance. He had ten or twelve 
servants, a large plantation, and not less than five hundred 
head of cattle. The wigwam of this aged chieftain was always 
open to visitors, and his bountiful board was always surrounded 
by welcome guests. He never slaughtered less than one beef a 
week, throughout the year, for his table a tax on royalty, in 
a country, too, where no tithes are paid." 8 

During the week of the celebration of The Raven's home- 
coming many beeves were slaughtered not that this mattered 
to the host, who had other affairs on his mind. Oo-loo-te-ka 
was concerned with the impression The Raven should make 
upon the tribal leaders, and on this score the chief must have 
been pleased with his son. 

The Raven presented himself extravagantly arrayed in the 
raiment of the "blanket and rifle party" as old Ta-kah-to-kuh 
had christened the wing of the Nation that stood for the pres- 
ervation of the ancient traditions. He had shaved his face 
except for a mustache and goatee. His chestnut hair was 
plaited in a long queue. He wore a white doeskin shirt, bril- 
liantly worked with beads. Leggings of elaborately ornamented 
yellow leather extended to his thighs-. On his head was some- 
times a circlet of feathers, sometimes a turban of figured silk. 
Over his shoulders was negligently thrown a bright blanket* 
more decorative than needful in the soft June air* 4 


The tall and commanding figure of The Raven moved 
through a gallery of tall, commanding men, saluting the elders 
with deference, embracing the younger ones with whom he had 
hunted and played as a boy on Oo-loo-te-ka ? s island. He 
flattered his former sweethearts on their good looks, their 
pretty shawls and the aptitude of their children. The Chero- 
kees were a lively and warm-hearted race, fond of colors and 
dearly loving a fete such as this. Groups laughed and sang 
and strolled about the shady grove on the bluff, the vivid reds 
and, yellows of their garments flinging animated patterns 
against the foliage. An army of dogs bedeviled the negroes 
who did the cooking. Tethered horses switched flies and ate 

A note of gravity tempered the merrymaking The fiesta 
was to dissolve into a meeting of the General Council of the 
Nation, before which serious matters would come for consider- 
ation. Already, while the young ones frolicked, the headmen 
of the seven clans sat apart in a circle and passed the cere- 
monial pipe. The Raven sat with them and heard politics 
discussed with little reserve. He listened attentively and said 
very little. Not even to Oo-loo-te-ka did he confide all that 
was passing in his mind. 

There was much for The Raven to absorb and to reflect 
upon. If they were to stem the tide of adverse fortune which 
had run so perseveringly against them, the time had come 
for the Cherokees to formulate a national policy and to follow 
it. Oo-loo-te-ka*s daring proposal to unite the western Indian* 
and build a wall to the east was one suggestion* A dream of 
empire fetched from the resolute past made glorious by Pontiac 
and by Tecumseh! And why not? The Indian deserved to 
live. To preserve him by these means entailed a desperate 
hazard, but The Raven was in a desperate mood, with little to 
lose and forgetfulness to gain. 


The success of this plan, or of any plan, required a degree 
of harmony in the tribal councils which did not exist. The 
Cherokees were divided, first, on their Osage war policy, and 
second, on a general question of culture whether to study 
more carefully the white man's arts, or to discard them alto- 
gether in favor of a vigorous renaissance of the ways of the 

The two issues were interwoven. The primary migration to 
the West under Oo-loo-te-ka's brother, Tah-lhon-tusky, had 
been for the stated purpose of evading the influences of civiliza- 
tion. His minister of war, Ta-kah-to-kuh was the soul of this 
policy. This snorting old reactionary had kept the Osage 
war going for years, and Indians who favored missionaries, 
schools or civilization in any particular were targets for his 
delicious satire. 

When first Tah-lhon-tusky and then Ta-kah-to-kuh died, 
many Cherokees, freed from the influence of such strong 
personalities, began to reflect that the advantages of the Osage 
war were hard to discover. The war party, therefore, con- 
sidered abandoning the cause against the Osages, preferring to 
make allies of them and, with the Creeks, the Choctaws, Shaw- 
nees and Delawares, swoop upon the Comanches and Pawnees, 
the wild plains Indians to the westward. The prize in the new 
war program was a portion of the western prairie, an excellent 
hunting-ground, which the United States had promised but had 
not delivered to the Cherokees. Oo~loo-te-ka opposed this pro- 
jected tribal war as disastrous to his larger design of an Indian 

On the question of culture, the old Chief had weighed the 
gains derived from civilization against the losses. The gains 
were cloth, gunpowder and some notions of agriculture. The 
losses were whisky and a tendency to forget the weapons and 
the ways by which the Cherokees had become one of the proud- 
est of Indian peoples, to decline within living memory, depen- 
dent upon the white man, the author of all their woes*. Despite 
his cross affixed to the policy letter Y&itten in 1817 by 


Lieutenant Houston or some other white official connected with 
the diplomacy of the Cherokee exodus, Oo-loo-te-ka was n< 
evangelist of civilization. 

But the old gentleman possessed a great deal of tact. He 
had adopted the English name of John Jolly, which he used in 
his intercourse with white officials and with his pro-civilization 
brethren in Georgia. This concession worked two ways, how- 
ever. An old-time Cherokee regarded his name as a part of 
his person, as much as his eyes or his teeth consequently, the 
great respect for his pledged word or for treaties he had 
signed. His religion taught him that by calling maledictions 
upon his name, an enemy might injure him as surely as by 
shooting an arrow into his flesh. Indians got around this by 
giving themselves additional names that did not count with 
the gods. It may be for this reason that Powhatan and Poca- 
hontas are known in history by assumed names. 

He-Puts-the-Drum-Away was a shrewd old man, and his 
people profited by his shrewdness. He trimmed his sails on the 
civilization issue so as to satisfy the majority of his people 
and the United States Government as well. The Cherokees- no 
longer painted their faces or wore the scalp-lock, but the 
personal example of their western leader, their isolation and 
the revival of the fall hunt, had a tendency which all the good 
works of the missionaries failed to overcome. 

Yet there were gaps in the successes of Oo-loo-te-ka. Much 
had been staked on the treaty of 1828 wherein the United 
States had made such unambiguous pledges of fulfillment. The 
Cherokees had carried out their pledges and removed into the 
unorganized wilderness beyond the western border of Arkansas* 
But with the United States it was the old story of promises 
unredeemed : the indemnity had not been paid ; boundaries de- 
lineating the Cherokees lands had not been run ; rations to tide 
the people over until they could make a crop and organize their 
hunts had not been distributed. The United States agent was 
growing ricb^ and white settlers refused to vacate Indian lands. 

The Cherokees lilt baffled and bitter, and the dramatic ap- 


pearance of The Raven seemed to them genuinely an act of 
Providence. There was a disposition to forget family differ* 
ences and accept his leadership. 

As the celebration at Oo-loo-te-ka's progressed, word of the 
arrival of Houston, the protector of oppressed Indians, spread 
among the other tribes. This interested the Indian agents, 
the white traders and squatters, the Army officers at Canton- 
ment Gibson and the Governor of Arkansas. The trusted few 
who were in the secret endorsed the action of President Jack- 
son, who had ordered a surveillance of Sam Houston's 1 move- 

Consequently the session of the Grand Council that was to 
follow Oo-loo-te-ka's hospitality became a matter of more than 
local interest. Colonel Arbuckle, the Commandant at Canton- 
ment Gibson, accepted Oo-loo-te-ka's invitation to attend. But 
nothing happened for all this anticipation. When the council 
met, The Raven did not even appear. He was, indeed, many 
miles away. Possibly for this reason, Colonel Arbuckle re- 
mained away and sent Captain Bonneville and Lieutenant 
Phillips of the garrison. 

"My Young Friends," read the memorandum that Oo-loo- 
te-ka handed the officers, "I invited my son Governor Houston 
here to listen to what I had to say on this subject but my 
son had promised to attend a council of my Neighbors the 
Osages and could not come. I must do the best I can without 
him." 5 

For the rest, the council proved a tame aff air, being merely 
a recital of tribal suffering due to the non-fulfillment of the 
treaty of 1828. Two bored junior officers retraced their way 
toward the dreary palisades of Gibson. 

The Raven's withdrawal from the festival in his honor and 
his disappointing absence from the council had what one 
will recognize as the Houstonian touch. Much of the glamour 

104 THE RA vr N 

that followed Sam Houston through life arose from the simple 
fact that he seldom stayed too long in one place. 

What had happened now? To provide a suitable climax 
for Oo-loo-te-ka's entertainment was simply a matter of seizing 
an opportunity to do the right thing at the right moment, 

Into Oo-loo-te-ka's garden party had ridden an Osage 
scout. Mounted on a pony whose rawhide bridle was- 
innocent of the least decoration, he presented a striking con- 
trast with the volatile Cherokees in their fete attire. His head 
was close-cropped, save for a bristling ridge that stood up like 
the crest of a helmet and a scalp-lock hanging behind; arms 
bare and body bare to the waist; breech clout, leggings 
and moccasins- well-worn and without ornament. There were 
ladies present who had never seen an Osage scout before, but 
they had heard dark stories of what rakes they were they 
and their half-breed Creole squaws. 

With an economy of words the haughty newcomer identi- 
fied himself as a courier of Auguste Chouteau, who sent his re- 
spects to John Jolly and a message to General Houston. Be- 
fore the crowd could grasp it, The Raven and Mr. Haralson 
had ridden away with the arresting stranger. 

They followed him into the heart of the Osage country, 
more than one hundred miles- by horse-path up the wooded 
Arkansas and Six Bull River Valleys, where the hills left off, 
disclosing a "pleasant country looks- like park land." Here 
stood a large "white log house Piazza surrounded by trees," 
In front of the house ran a "beautiful clear river. Groups of 
Indian nymphs half naked on the banks." Visitors to the 
solitary estate were rare. "Old negro runs to open gate 
mouth from ear to ear Group of Indians round trees in court 
yard roasting venison Horses* tether [edl near negroes run 
to shake hand and take horses. Some have handkerchief 
around head Half breed squaws negro girls running & 
giggling. Horses, dogs of all kinds 1 hens flying and cackling, 
wild turkeys, tamed geese. Piazza with Buffalo skin thrown 
over railing. [Powder] Horns with guns rifles." 8 


Thus the discovery of the wilderness- abode of Monsieur 
Chouteau as penciled on the spot by Washington Irving, who 
made its acquaintance three years later. At the gate, or 
somewhere along the trail, General Houston was met by 
Monsieur Chouteau, a dark-skinned man in linen riding 
breeches who spoke the faultless English of a well-educated 

Twenty years in the wilderness and on the plains had not 
altered the salon manners of Auguste Pierre Chouteau, who 
was then only forty-three. His father was one of the founders 
of the French outpost of St. Louis. The subsequent rise of 
the house of Chouteau to the dominating position in southwest- 
ern trade illustrates the truism that the Indian regarded the 
French as his natural friend and the English as his natural 
enemy. Auguste became the most influential man, white or red, 
beyond the frontier south of the Missouri River and west to 
Spanish territory. His ascendency over the Osage Indians was 
complete, and his influence with the other tribes stronger than 
that of any white man until Sam Houston came. He was 
one of the founders- of the Santa Fe Trail. His alliance was 
sought and gained by John Jacob Astor. Monsieur Chouteau 
had one wife in St. Louis and two wives in the Osage country 
who presided over the domicile Mr. Irving dismissed as a 
Chouse formed of logs', a room at each end. An open hall with 
staircase in the center. Other rooms above. In the two rooms 
on ground floor two beds in each room, with curtains. White- 
washed log walls tables of various kinds, Indian ornaments 

Mr. Irving was too new to the frontier to be sufficiently im- 
press-ed. The residence of Auguste Chouteau was the most im- 
posing one between the Missouri border and Santa Fe\ Sana 
Houston enjoyed it there and returned often. 

"Supper, venison stakes roast beef, bread, cakes, coffee. 
Waited on by half breed sister of Mr. Chouteau's concu- 
bine Adjourn to another room, pass through open Hall 

in which Indians are seated on floor. They come into the 

106 THE RAVE!? 

room two bring chairs the other seats himself on the floor 
with knees to his chin another Indian glares in at the win- 
dow. . . , Dogs & cats of all kinds strolling about the Hall 
or sleeping among harness- at one end of the piazza. In these 
establishments the world is turned upside down the slave the 
master, the master the slave. The master has* the idea of 
property, the latter the reality. The former owns, the latter 
enjoys it. The former has to plan & scheme and guard & 
economize the latter . . . cares nothing how it comes or 
how it goes." 7 

Mr. Irving was s-omewhat right about that, for Augusts 
Chouteau had adopted a fashion of living that in ten years was 
to send him to his grave practically a penniless man. A career 
of profitable adventure had suddenly palled and Auguste had 
surrendered to a passion for ease. Preferring life beyond the 
frontier to other modes of living he had known, he built the 
comfortable house on the Six Bull River for his Osage help- 
meets-, Rosalie and Masina. He brought out a carriage from 
St. Louis. He built a race-track. He engaged a tutor for his 
half-breed children, gave them his name and had them received 
into the church by the Jesuit missionary to the tribe. 

Nominal leadership is a bright toy, the delights of which 
only the nurseries of civilization know. In three years the 
unique domain that Auguste Chouteau had gathered into his 
capable hands- had begun to fall away. There was still time 
to recoup by energetic action, but Monsieur Chouteau had no 
thought of deserting his country seat for fields of energetic 
action. He had seen enough of that for any ten men. He 
might, however, send a chosen successor on the highroad under 
a favored aegis. This fact seems to have given a practical cast 
to his hospitable invitation to Houston. 

Sam Houston spent several days at the big house by the 
Six Bull, and the conversation of his host brightened the hori- 
zon of possibilities open to an ambitious man in the Indian 


These pleasant discussions were interrupted, noted Mr. 
Haralson, by the arrival of "a parcel of the Osage Indians at 
Colonel Shouteau's." The Indians s-aid that their agent was 
stealing their annuities, another instalment of which was due. 
"They had concluded/' continued Haralson, "not to go to re- 
ceive their annuity but hearing that some strangers were in 
the country (which was us 1 ) they came to see us. They insisted 
that Genl Houston . . . and myself go with them to the 
agency. We told them we would go and see what passed be- 
tween them and their agent." 8 

The Osage Agency, in charge of John F. Hamtramck, was 
at the Three Forks, as they called the place where the Verdi- 
gris, Six Bull and Arkansas Rivers came together about fifty 
miles below Chouteau's establishment. The agency was a part 
of the nameless settlement that had grown up around the trad- 
ing-post of the Creole, Joseph Bogy, who came to the Three 
Forks in 1807. The importance of the place had grown 
steadily and Sam Houston saw perhaps thirty log houses 
strung along a clearing by the Verdigris opposite a waterfall. 

The settlement was important as- a station of the American 
Fur Company, whence the trappers worked westward, laying 
their snares along the creeks and bartering for skins among 
the Indians. An Indian thus drawn into business relations with 
Mr. Astor was advanced equipment and supplies on credit at a 
net profit to the fur company of about one hundred per cent. 
When he brought in his catch at the end of the season he dis- 
charged this obligation in pelt currency at something near half 
the figure the hides would bring in the market. If, as often 
happened, the catch was insufficient to liquidate the account 
for supplies, an Indian would begin his second season with a 
debt over his 1 head as an incentive to industry. 

Trappers came to the village to deliver their skins, square 
their accounts and cultivate the amenities. There were soldiers 
off duty from Cantonment Gibson and an occasional white dere- 
lict who drifted in and then drifted out ; also a few permanent 
residents who lived quietly respectable lives, like Nathaniel 


Pryor, an honest old soldier who had been to the Pacific Ocean 
with Lewis and Clark, and had taken a squaw and settled down 
to ignore a civilization that had used him shabbily. Captain 
Pryor had tried trading but could not make it pay, lacking 
the finesse of Hugh Glenn and Colonel Hugh Love, prominent 
among the Anglo-Saxon contingent of Arkansas River 
merchants who had their establishments at the Three Forks. 
The largest trading store in the place was still owned by 
Auguste Chouteau, and managed by his- half-brother, Paul, 
The Creek and the Osage tribal agencies contributed their 
personnel to the society of the community, which with its negro 
slaves, Indian mistresses and the mixed-breeds of various 
crossings, led a free-and-easy life facilitated by a patois of 
French, English, Osage, Creek and an occasional idiom from 
the Spanish. 

Into this 1 milieu rode Sam Houston, moved by a dis- 
position of inquiry. The austere Osages were present in large 
numbers. The friendly house of Chouteau had early won their 
loyalty, mainly by keeping their exploitation within bounds* 
The Creole influence upon them became such that when th>3 
United States purchased Louisiana the Osage chief, Big Track, 
refused to recognize the change of sovereignty until the Chou- 
teaus approved. 

After that changes were rapid. The Cherokees and other 
tribes were thrust westward. Agents were appointed to ad- 
minister the affairs of the Osages and to pay them for the 
lands they had relinquished. The Anglo-Saxons came and 
plundered, and the easy Creole regime developed a prevalence 
of murder, venereal disease, incest, drunkenness 1 and starvation. 
Or such was the observation of a Presbyterian missionary who 
visited the tribe shortly before Sam Houston.* 

Nevertheless, two generations of debauchery had failed to 
efface the singular native dignity of the race. With theii 
magnificent copper-colored bodies- two-thirds bare, the Osages 
sauntered about the agency with an air of impoverished noble- 
men in a world of affluent parvenus'. For all that, they looked 


to the elegantly tricked-out white counselor of the Cherokees 
for protection, which was a strange pass of affairs for an 
Osage who had fought the Cherokees for twenty years and de- 
ferred to no white man on earth save a Chouteau. 

The decline of the Creole leader's prestige was hastened by 
John Hamtramck, the agent, a strong-willed man who had been 
quick to take advantage of the retirement of Auguste. As Mi. 
Hamtramck controlled the tribal purse strings, his overtures 
proved more than some of the tribesmen could resisi. Lately 
he had captured the friendship of the first Chief, White Hair. 
The body of the tribe, however, stood with the inactive Chou- 
teau- and paid the penalty. Many were actually hungry when 
the appearance of Sam Houston gave them hope. 

The coming of Houston created a problem for Mr. Ham- 
tramck. He took counsel with his colleague, David Brearley, 
the agent of the Creeks, with Trader Hugh Love and others 
content with the status quo. 

"At the last annuity Genl Houston was there," Paul 
Chouteau wrote to a cousin in Washington, Colonel Charles 
Gratoit of the Army. "Mr. Brannin [the blacksmith at the 
Three Forks] and Garble all called upon him and beged him if 
he could render them any aid to do so for they had despaired 
of receiving any from Mr. Hamtramck." Prom them Houston 
heard tales of outrages by hungry Indians against the stock 
and property of the white residents. It was charged that the 
agent had encouraged this sort of thing by joining the Osages 
on their hunts and stimulating their "Savage Propensities." 
"But ..." continued Mr. Chouteau, "the Agent had a 
powerful inducement to this, he had become enamoured of a 
young woman, a relation to the principal chiefs and warriors." 
To advance his suit with this well-connected damsel Mr. 
Hamtramck had "lavished favors" upon her male relatives 
"and made offers of la[r]ge bounties but . , . failed of 

During a hunt Mr. Hamtramck "bribe [d] a Warrior called 
the Iron, a brother to Bel Oiseau (Fine Bird), one of thf 


principal chiefs of the Band, to accompany him to the lodge 
where the young woman slept. . . ." The writer's descrip- 
tion of what followed left little to his correspondent's imagina- 
tion. The young lady declined to be possessed in any such 
violent fashion, however, and after a furious scuffle she "re- 
pulsed" the ardent agent who "skulked from the lodge." 

But a faint heart "After that failure he commenced 

negociation with White Hair for one of His Wives Whom he had 
not taken to bed, obtained her, and now keeps her publicly at 
the Agency. . . . His squaw is displayed on all public oc- 
casions loaded with wampum and decorated with trinkets and 
a Green Mantle Set off with Silver Lace. This is a great cause 
why the indians are dissatisfied. . . . They are suspicious 
enough to believe that their annuity is appropriated in part to 
purchase the finery that drapes Mr. Hamtramck's squaw." 10 

Sam Houston was suspicious also, but for the present con- 
fined himself to the formality of signing a petition to Colonel 
Arbuckle suggesting that Hamtramck be superseded as agent 
by Paul Chouteau. 

From the Three Forks settlement Houston moved on to 
Cantonment Gibson, five or six miles away, where he remained 
for two weeks. By this time the curiosity of the whole region 
was excited. Officers' ladies stood guard at their cheerless 
windows for a glimpse of the romantic figure, envying, not for 
the first time in their lonely lives, plump and pleasing Sallie 
Nicks, the sutler's wife, who served the visitor with refresh- 
ments. Houston's actions were observed and his letters inter- 
cepted. Beyond the fact that he drank heavily, appeared to be 
getting on good terms with Colonel Arbuckle and seemed never 
to go to bed, little was learned. 

Matthew Arbuckle was a good-natured bachelor in his fifties 
who liked his dram. An old frontier campaigner, he ap- 
preciated the boon of a caller and welcomed Houston with the 


courtesies due e former officer of the Regular service and a 
friend of the President. 

The hospitality of Colonel Arbuckle was interrupted by 
another windfall for The Raven when the most "impressive*' 
delegation of Indians ever seen on the Arkansas appeared 
unannounced at the cantonment gate. The "full council" of 
the Creek Nation, with clerk and interpreter, had come to re- 
quest an audience with Colonel Arbuckle and General Hous- 
ton. The spokesman was Roly Mclntosh, a son of the late 
Chief William Mclntosh, of Georgia, who had kept his followers 
in hand during the War of 1812 and had joined Jackson in the 
campaign against the Alabama Creeks under the pro-British 
Weathersford. Roly Mclntosh handed Arbuckle and Houston 
a document of nine pages. 

"To General Andrew Jackson President of the United 
States Council Ground of the Western Creeks 22d June 1829 

"The Chiefs, Headmen & Warriors of the Creek Na- 
tion . . . cannot overlook the unhappy situation in which 
they are placed, and deeply impressed with their misfor- 
tunes . . . Complain to a Man whose ears have always been 
open. . . . 

"General Jackson knows the Circumstances under which 
we emigrated to this country; He heard the groans of the 
Mackintosh Party in the old Nation . . . and he told us to 
come to this country. In War and in Peace we have always 
taken his Counsel; In coming to this Country an agent was 
given us. ... That agent has not tried to make us- happy. 
He has done bad things toward us. ... We will state the 
causes of our Sorrows. 

"1st Col Brearly has failed to pay us the bounty promised 
us by the Treaty and we have reason to believe that the money 
was placed in his Hands. . . . 

"3d He has Connived at the introduction of spiritous 
liquors into Creek Nation. . . . 

"4th He has speculated on the Necessities of the Indians 
through his Clerk by permitting him to sell flour to the Indians 
at the enormous price of $10 the barrell. 

"5th Intoxication and disresDectful language to the 
Chiefs. . . . 


The complaints against Agent Brearley contained eleven 
specifications. Summing up, "the Chiefs feel Sensible that Col 
Brearly does not Regard them or their people in the light con- 
templated by the Government and that his Sole object is 
speculation." They asked the removal of Brearley, but did 
not want John Crowell, the eastern Creek agent, transferred 
west in Brearley's stead. They had heard that this was 
contemplated. But surely "Genl Jackson would not make us 
so unhappy. ... He has not forgotten the Murder of Mack- 
intosh. He knows that his blood yet lies on the ground un- 
buried. Mackintosh was a Warrior of Genl Jackson's. The 
Genl told him he would protect him, but Jackson was far off 
Col Crowell near at hand. He whispered to the enemies of 
Mackintosh he pointed at him and he perished. , . . We 
hope Genl Jackson will not make us miserable and that he will 
keep this man from amongst us." 11 

"He whispered to the enemies of Mackintosh he pointed 
at him and he perished" written by an unhappy tribal scribe 
fumbling through the great haystack of English for words to 
express his meaning, rather than to contrive an effect of style. 
The Indian was a natural stylist. A scholarly Jesuit once 
wrote to Paris that the first orators of France would not de- 
spise some of the addresses he had heard from the lips of 
savage chieftains. 

The apprehension of the western Creeks that Crowell might 
be foisted upon them had a basis. The eastern Creeks were 
doing their best to get Jackson to send Crowell away : "Father 
listen, we beseech you to hear us. Col Crowell has been the 
Agent for this nation a good many years . . . and there has 
been large sums of money appropriated to pay the Creek 
Nation [for ceded lands]. His Brother Thomas Crowell has 
been a Merchant during the whole time and from the various 
large sums of money we have received but a small propor- 
tion. . . . They have become immensely rich and we have be- 
come poor, although the agents accts. and vouchers may 
appear to the Genl Government to be fair and equitable. But 


Father listen, you know that we do not understand keeping 
accounts of such magnitude. . . . We cannot resist the belief 
that He has defrauded the Creek Nation of large sums of money 
and Father ... we have lost all confidence in the agent and 
his brother the Merchant and it can never be restored. , , . 
Father listen to Your red Children, we wish you to remove 
Coin. John Crowell from the office of L A. of this Nation 
and order Him and his brother from the confines of the Creek 
Country. 5 ' 12 

Having read the Mclntosh memorial and witnessed its 
signing, Houston cultivated the acquaintance of the distin- 
guished Creeks who were present. The following day Holy 
Mclntosh placed the memorial in Houston's hands to send to 
General Jackson, explaining that previous petitions entrusted 
to official channels had not reached their destination. Houston 
forwarded the document with a personal note saying that the 
complaints deserved investigation. The President could then 
determine what remedy would be necessary to restore the con- 
fidence of the Indians and quiet the angry feelings of the 
different tribes toward each other. 18 

The closing lines of Houston's letter broached a matter 
that disturbed Colonel Arbuckle. The question of peace was 
in delicate balance. Arkansas was mobilizing militia. Events 
seemed to move toward a general war, which the United States 
must avert at all hazards. Houston was willing to assist, 
writing to Secretary Eaton that the War Department's latest 
gesture of sending troops to guard the Santa Fe Trail would be 
a local and temporary remedy at best. The real trouble was a 
war that had been going on for years among the various plains 
tribes that were little known to white men. Houston suggested 
a mission to compose the differences among these savages 
which, he said, could "be easily affected by ... some man 
who understands the character of Indians. ... I beg leave 


to present the name of Colonel Augustus Chouteau. ... I 
would with great pleasure accompany hirix . . . but will not 
accept any compensation for my services as the duty would 
recreate my mind. 9 ' 14 

But the restless exile found recreation for his mind sooner 
than he anticipated and nearer to hand than the Santa Fe* 
Trail. The Cherokee war party was getting on with its scheme 
to make an alliance with neighboring tribes and fall upon the 
Pawnees and Comanches. A party of belligerent Creeks had 
been approached. The whole project was to be threshed out 
at a war-dance to take place on the Bayou Menard in the 
Cherokee country. So swiftly and secretly had the conspiring 
Cherokees worked that the news did not reach Cantonment 
Gibson until the braves were on their way to the rendezvous. 
Anything could happen. From Canada to the Gulf the frontier 
Indians were suspicious and discontented. On the plains war 
existed, and troops had been ordered thither. A spark ignited 
by a small combination of tribes on the Arkansas might envelop 
the whole frontier. Colonel Arbuckle ordered his horse, and 
calling Sam Houston, the two set out for the Bayou Menard. 

Surviving records of the next few moves are not clear, but 
it appears that Arbuckle decided to stake everything on Hous- 
ton's ability to stay the hand of the plotters. In any eventj 
Houston alone rode into the circle of astonished warriors, 
while Arbuckle turned back. The following day Houston sent 
the Colonel a lengthy report. 

"After you left me last evening I attended the Dance & 
Talk of the Cherokee [and the] Creeks and had the mortifica- 
tion to witness . . . the raising of the Tomahawk of War by 
several Cherokees. The Creeks did not join . . . tho' I am 
sensible that Smith [a Creek chief] will use every persuasive 
in his power with them to [join this] . . . impolitic war 
against the Pawnees & the Kimanchies. It is the project of a 
few restless- and turbulent young men who will not yield nor 
listen to the Talk of their Chiefs. The great body of Chiefs 
of the Cherokees are most positively opposed to the war: and 
I have pointed out to them the ruinous consequences which must 
result to them. . . . 

Houston, 1837. 

(From a contemporary print reproduced "by courtesy of Clarence 
Wharton, of Houston) 

Sam Houston in the role of a favorite character in Roman history. 

(Painted at Nashville in 1831., during a "brief excursion from the Indian country. 

Houston gave the original to Mrs, A, (7. Alien, widow of one of the "brothers who 

founded the city of Houston. - This reproduction from a copy in the Senate Chamber, 

State Capitol, Austin) 


"The Creeks assured me that they would not begin a war 
without Genl Jacksons consent, but ... I have some 
fears. ... I have been informed (but vaguely) that some 
Osage, Choctaw, Shawnee & Delewares are to join the Party, 
and in all make it some 250 or 300 warriors. I will not yet 
give up the project of stopping the Cherokees until all hope is 
lost, and there are yet fifteen days . . . before they will 
actually start for home. . . . 

"It is not difficult to perceive that the most turbulent among 
the Cherokees are very solicitous that Cantonment Gibson 
should be broken up and all troops removed without the I. 
T. . . . I will predict that in the event of a removal of the 
U. S. Troops . . . that in less than twelve months . , . 
there will be waged a war the most sanguinary and savage that 
has raged within my recollection." 15 

Sam Houston knew that his 1 report would go to Wash- 
ington without delay, thus enabling him to address the authori- 
ties without assuming to do so. The letter to Arbuckle would 
tend to allay the apprehensions of Jackson who had been dis- 
turbed by the word he had received of Sam Houston's secret 
intentions in the West. The Arbuckle letter would show 
Houston's conduct to be quite correct exercising his powers 
not to involve the Indians in war, but to avert such a thing. It 
would show him sympathetic with the Administration's desire 
to concentrate the remaining eastern Indians in the West. 

This on one hand. On the other, Sam Houston's reasons 
for favoring the migration differed from the reasons of the 
Administration which wished the East to be a white man's 
country. Houston cared nothing for that, but the more 
Indians in the West the more power in the hands of Houston, in 
return for which he was willing to labor to better the lot of a 
reduced people with all the energy of a boiling mind that 
craved f orgetf ulness , and nursed vague and bitter notions of 
revenge. Sam Houston's ultimate aim at this juncture is some- 
thing no one can say. It is doubtful if Houston himself knew 
whither he was heading or wished to head. But the ideas 
of Oo-loo-te-ka, the ablest Indian in the region and the exile's 
cJosest counselor, were clear and definite. 


The Raven had taken no step that did not comport with 
his foster-father's dream of empire. In six weeks he had estab- 
lished his influence with three of the four principal "agency" 
tribes in the Southwest. He enjoyed the confidence of the 
Commandant of all the United States troops in the country. 
He had stirred to temporary activity Auguste Chouteau 
through whom he proposed to extend his sway over the wild 
tribes of the plains, whose benevolent neutrality would be the 
least that Oo-loo-te-ka's project would require. Now he was 
engaged, with Oo-loo-te-ka, in trying to forestall a purposeless 
war that would imperil any possibility of such neutrality. 

Houston addressed the war-dance on July 7, 1829. Mobili 
zation of war parties was to be delayed for fifteen days. That 
much time remained in which to prevent the war. Houston, 
Arbuckle and every Indian leader who was for peace did their 
utmost. They succeeded, and the tomahawk was not raised. 

With war forestalled, Sam Houston took the road without 
a day's delay for Fort Smith, Arkansas, fourteen miles from 
the Choctaw Agency. The Choctaws were the remaining im- 
migrant tribe of importance to which Houston had not bound 
hims-elf by ties of obligation. In this business The Raven had 
been adroit. In no case, excepting the crisis on the Bayou 
Menard, had he approached an Indian uninvited. In every 
instance the Indians had solicited his counsel first the Chero- 
kees, then the Os-ages, then the Creeks. The Choctaws came to 
Houston, finding him, conveniently, at Fort Smith. 

The gullible Choctaws were in a plight worse than the other 
western emigres. Their agent, Captain William McClellan, 
was an honest man, but Washington had ignored his letters-. 
Houston hurried to the agency and wrote the Secretary of War 
a stiff account of the robbery of the Choctaws by white inter- 
lopers. He told Major Eaton that he had assured the chiefs 
that their treaties with General Jackson would be kept. Hous- 
ton might have done more had not illness 1 cut his visit short,' 
but he had won the lifelong friendship of the Choctaws. 

An important work was now complete. 


THE winged symbol of a "great destiny" had flown furiously 
and far. Sam Houston stood at the threshold of things of 
which destinies are made. His flagging forces whipped up by 
whisky. The Raven had thrust himself into a position of leader- 
ship over seven thousand Indians who controlled the country 
from Missouri to Texas and westward to the great plains. He 
had accomplished this in the space of eight weeks. Activity, 
activity anything to "recreate my mind" and turn it from 
the perils of introspection. 

Yet there was a limit to which a physique so remarkable as 
that of Sam Houston could be driven. At the end of the long 
ride from the Choctaw country The Raven reeled from his horse 
at Oo-loo-te-ka's wigwam with the stamp of a desperate illness 
upon him. 

It was August, a month of which white men stood in dread. 
Even transplanted Indians, particularly those accustomed to 
the salubrious air of the southern mountains, were stricken by 
the pestilential heat that fell like a dead damp weight upon the 
swampy lowlands of the Arkansas Valley. The garrison at 
Cantonment Gibson had buried men until there were more 
soldiers in the graveyard outside the stockade than on the 
muster-rolls within. 

At Oo-loo-te-ka's they helped The Raven inside a log hut 
and laid him on a mat of corn-shucks. His limbs trembled, his 
skin was yellow and hot to touch. He was burning with a 

118 THE RAVElx 

malarial fever, which had reached a stage that was usually 

Chief Oo-loo-te-ka's was not a Christian household. Al- 
though friendly to missionaries, he kept to the gods of his 
fathers and the punctilio of the ancient religion 3 with its medi- 
cine-men who regarded white physicians as their professional 
adversaries. To this habitation the stricken man had come in 
preference to Cantonment Gibson where there was a hospital 
(of a sort), or t<? a missionary station with its staff surgeon. 

The scene at the wigwam must have been a weird one. The 
Cherokee word for disease meany "the intruder." The intruder 
comes through the influence of ghosts and witches which only 
the intervention of certain gods can dispeL The treatment of 
the sick, therefore, was an office of the clergy the shamans 
or medicine-men who were also poets wonderfully learned i& th# 
forms of a worship as colorful and as complete as any of the 
ceremonial religions of the East. In the belief of the old 
Cherokee practitioners, fevers were the work of insects and 
worms in revenge for being trodden on. To confound their de- 
structive efforts the gods of the Great and the Little Whirl- 
wind must be summoned from their pantheons in the air 5 the 
mountains, the trees and the water. 

Every step was associated with the fantastic realm of 
mythology that encompassed the whole being of the Cherokee 
and touched and tinctured everything he knew, through the 
five senses, of the world about him. First the medicine-man 
beat up some bark of the wild cherry tree or tobacco leaves and 
heated the mixture in water over seven coals, representing the 
seven clans of the Cherokee people. Filling his mouth with this 
brew, he faced his patient toward the sunrise and intoned first 
to the gods in the air : 

"Listen! On high you dwell. On high you dvell you 
dwell, you dwell, for ever you dwell, for ever you dwell. Relief 
has come has come. Hayi!" 

With the interjection, "Hayi!" the medicine-man ceremo- 
niously blew the medicine from his mouth on symbolic parts of 


the patient's body, making four blowings in all four, like 
seven, being a sacred number. 

The shaman then addressed the gods on the mountain. Four 
more blowings and the gods in the trees were summoned. 
Drenching the patient again, the priest called upon the gods 
in the water and then recited in a whisper a long petition to th* 8 - 
Little Whirlwind to scatter the disease "as in play," that is, as 
the wind scatters the leaves. After this he blew his breath 
on the subject, chanted more ritual and enacted a pantomime. 
Lastly, he addressed the Great Whirlwind: 

"Listen! now again you have drawn near to hearken, 
O Whirlwind, surpassingly great. In the leafy shelter of the 
great mountain there you repose. Great Whirlwind arise 
quickly. A very small part [of the disease] remains'. You 
have come to sweep the intruder into the great swamp on the 
upland. You have laid down your paths to the great swamp. 
You shall scatter it as in play so that it shall utterly disappear,, 

"And now relief has come. All is done. Fw/" 1 

This rite was repeated at dawn and at dusk for four days. 
There was much more to the treatment, however, and the 
thirty-eight days that The Raven lay in his- foster-father's 
wigwam afforded to the devout of Oo-loo-te-ka's family op- 
portunity to reveal their familiarity with the rich repertoire of 
formulas and charms-. Through the burning nimbus of his 
delirium, sounds of the conjurer's rattle reached the ears of 
the sufferer. . . . Poetic imagery. . . Pagan nummery. . . * 
A vision of a yellow-haired girl bending among the flowers of 
an old-fashioned garden. 

John Thornton, the chief's youthful letter-writer, had 
learned something of the white man's 1 medicine from Doctor 
Weed, the mission physician at Dwight. It may be that John 
got Doctor Weed to visit the sick man, although no mention of 
it appears in the mission records. It may be that John him- 
self did some blood-letting or administered Peruvian bark and 
nitre to reinforce the simples of the shamans. The mission- 
aries prayed for Sam Houston OP other occasions ; possibly o 


this occasion they mingled their supplications with the en- 
treaties of the heathen Cherokees. In any event when Septem- 
ber brought a measure of relief from the heat, the glassy-eyed 
man on the pallet of corn-shucks began to improve, and he was 
able to read a letter that had been carried down from Canton- 
ment Gibson. As soon as he could hold a pen he answered it. 

"Cherokee Nation 
"19th Sept 1829 
"My dear Sir, 

"I am very feeble from a long spell of fever which . . . 
well nigh closed the scene of all my mortal cares, but I thank 
my God that I am again cheered by the hope of renewed health. 
I would not write this time but I cannot deny myself the 
pleasure of tendering you my heartfelt acknowledgement of 
your kind favor which reached me when I was barely able to 
peruse its contents. It was- a cordial to my spirits and cheered 
me in my sickness. . . . 

"The solicitude which you have so kindly manifested for 
my future welfare cannot fail to inspire me with a most proper 
sense of obligation. ..." However, "to become a missionary 
among the Indians is rendered impossible for want of that 
Evangelical change of heart so absolutely necessary to a man 
who assumes the all important character of proclaiming to a 
lost world the mediation of a blessed Savior. To meliorate the 
condition of the Indians to prevent fraud and peculation on 
the part of the Governments agents among them and to direct 
the feelings of the Indians in kindness to the Government and, 
inspire them with confidence in its justice and magnanimity 
towards the Red People have been the objects- of my con- 
stant solicitude and attention since I have been among 
them. . . . 

"I pray you to salute your family for me and be assured 
of piy sincere devotion. . . . 

"Truly your friend 

"Genl Jackson 
"President U. S." 

A postscript added: 

**rl hope to take and send you between this and Xmas some 


fine buffaloe meat for your Xmas dinner or at farthest the 
8th of Jany!" 2 


The President of the United States was not the first to 
whom Sam Houston had revealed a want of that evangelical 
state of the heart necessary to commend the God of Israel to 
the heathen. The missionaries had learned as much. The lines 
to Jackson were written while Houston was under the influence 
of a deep emotional experience, as it is impossible to believe that 
one so sensitive to such impressions could have remained un- 
touched by the aura of religious devotion which during his 
illness had enveloped the household of his foster-father. These 
unenlightened barbarians had unhesitatingly commended an 
unbeliever to the mercies of their gods. 3?ive months before 
two clergymen of Nashville had found "good grounds" for 
s-ending a penitent fellow-follower of Christ into exile unblessed. 

On his arrival in the Indian country, Sam Houston had been 
sought by the principal missionaries who desired the friendship 
of a personage so important. During all the years he lived 
with the Indians- the missionaries, though they never liked 
him, continued to approach Houston for favors of many kinds. 
He helped them more often than not, and never was hostile, 
He treated them with the respect that had been a part of his 
childhood training in religion, and saw that others did the 
same which was s-omething of an undertaking in that part of 
the world. 

The story is told of Sam Houston's meeting in Fort Smith 
with a white man of evil reputation when drunk. He was 
roaring about town declaring his intention of "licking" a mis- 
sionary named Williams. 

"I understand you are looking for Mr. Williams," Houstor 

The man said he was. 

"I am Mr. Williams," said Sam Houston. 

"That can't be," said the man. "I know Williams when I 
see him." 


"That is the same as calling me a liar," said Houston, 
drawing two bowie knives- from his belt. "Take your choice." 

The white man accepted an alternative of apologizing to 
Mr. Williams. 3 

Even Dr. Marcus Palmer, of the Fairfield Mission, for 
whom Houston formed a warm regard, failed to "convert" 
The Raven or to change his habits, which the local clergy 
found a fertile subject for criticism. 

Sam Houston's attitude toward the missionary idea more 
nearly resembled that of an intelligent Indian than a Chris- 
tian concerned even nominally with the spread of his creed. 
Houston admired the missionaries for the dangers they braved, 
and the hardships they met unflinchingly in the name of their 
faith. He appreciated the uprightness of their personal 
characters and their honesty with the Indians. They were 
living proofs that white men were not necessarily blackguards'. 
Oo-loo-te-ka, though he deplored the slight inroads they made 
on the tribal faith, felt that the good they did outweighed the 
harm, and permitted services in his wigwam. These friendly re- 
lations were the rule, but not the invariable rule. The Osages 
had trouble with Reverend Benton Pixley, and White Hair, 
the friend of Agent Hamtramck, wrote to Jackson: 

"Father, we moved our people towards the setting sun and 
left the Missionaries two days march toward the rising sun, 

"Father one of them followed us and has been living on 
our land though we gave them land enough. * . . 

"Father, He has quarrelled with our men and women and 
we hear he has also quarrelled with all the white men who our 
Great Father has s-ent here to do us good. , . . 

"Father we have enough of white people among us with- 
out him? even if he was good. . . . He forgets his black 
coat . , . disturbs our peace and many other things. . . . 

"Father, we hope you may live long and be happy." 4 

The missionaries als-o encountered difficulties in acquainting 
the untutored with the merits of civilization's economic sys- 
tem. Washington Irving scribbled an example on a fly-leaf of 


the journal he kept at the time he made Sam Houston's ac- 
quaintance in the West. "Old Father Vail addressed the In- 
dians on the necessity of industry as a means to happiness, 
^n Indian replied Father I dont understand this kind of 
happiness- you talk of. You tell me to cut down tree to lop 
it to make fences to plough this you call being happy I 
no like such happiness. When I go to St. Louis I go to see 
Chouteau or Clarke. He says hello and negro comes in 
with great plate with cake, wine & he say eat, drink. If you 
want anything else he say hello three four, five, six negro 
come and do what we want, that I call happy, he no plough. 
he no work, he no cut wood." 

But in his chosen field of religion the missionary found the 
hardest rows to hoe. This was particularly true of thos-e labor- 
ing among the Cherokees with an old-established and well-or- 
ganized "church" of their own. Cephas Washburn, head of 
the Dwight Mission, the most scholarly Protestant mission- 
ary in the region, learned that his interpreter had enlight- 
ened a congregation as follows: "Mr. Washburn tells me to 
say to you that in the sight of God there are but two people, 
the good people and the bad people. But I do not believe him. 
I believe there are three kinds ; the good people, the bad people, 
-and the middle kind, like myself." The interpreter who knew 
the Cherokee mind better than Mr. Washburn doubtless sought 
only to lead his countrymen from error by easy steps-. He 
was dismissed for his pains. 

Cherokees who ^ere troubled by witches were told that if 
they should accept Christianity the witches would be power- 
less to molest them. Some made the experiment only to dis- 
cover hell-fire and brimstone, after which they were glad tc 
return to the comparatively minor discomforts the witches 
might inflict. The case of Tah-neh was more involved, how- 
ever. Tah-neh was the wife of The Girth, son of Oo-loo-te-ka. 
She was a sister-in-law, therefore, of The Raven. Her struggles 
with the doctrinal subtleties of the Christian gospel were wit- 
nessed by him. 

In the Dwi#ht Mission records the account runs-- 


"Tah-neh is deeply distressed. Her mind is greatly per- 
plexed with some of the doctrines. . . . It is obvious that her 
heart is hostile, . . . When we told her that a condemned 
heathen in the world of retribution would be punished with 
less severity than a rejector of gospel grace she ... ex- 
pressed a wish that she had never heard of the gospel. She 
continued for several weeks . . . opposing her only De- 
liverer till she felt herself wholly lost ... & that she must 
have a Savior or perish. Now she [has] returned to the 
L. J. C. . . . we trust with tears of real repentance." 5 

But in the estimation of Mr. Washburn Tah-neh's return to 
the Lord Jesus Christ was belated. "Hope" was all that 
could be held out to her. She must, Mr. Washburn said, 
undergo a period of instruction and apprenticeship. This term 
of uncertainty lasted for two years, after which Tah-neh was 
conducted to the mission and given "a very particular'-' 
quizzing as to her "humility, meekness, deep penitence & 
humble trust in GOD." This time her proofs were acceptable; 
she was baptized and her heathen name exchanged for that of 
Naomi. A few weeks later Naomi became hopelessly insane. 6 

As far as can be learned no other member of Oo-loo-te-ka's 
household was* ever converted. Sam Houston was not converted. 
The covert hostility of the missionaries persisted as long as 
The Raven remained in the Indian country. In this matter, 
as in others, he gave no one his confidence. He explained 
nothing. Twenty-five years later, a spiritually broken man* 
grappling with a deep interior question of conscience, knelt 
with a woman to pray. Not until then can one understand the 
desolation sown by two Tennessee ministers whose view of their 
responsibilities had bereft Sam Houston of his faith. 


Houston's illness was followed by a long period of con* 
vales-cence, with much to do and little strength. His whirl- 
wind entry into the Indian melodrama had left a trail of loose 
ends. The Indian agents and traders were almost a unit 


against him, and while Houston lay helpless grass had not 
grown under their feet. Susceptible Indians were being stirred 
up. Unless Houston could consolidate his position much of 
the ground gained would be lost. In this situation The Raven 
decided to specialize on the two most important Indian 
groups the Cherokees and the Creeks which were also the 
nearest to hand. 

The first event of importance was the payment of the 
Cherokees' annuity. This took place at their agency in Oc- 
tober, about a month after Houston was up and about. An 
annuity disbursement was always a great occasion and this 
particular disbursement to the Cherokees promised to be an 
occasion without precedent. A fortune in gold was due to be 
paid over the fifty thousand dollars- lump indemnity due 
under the treaty of 1828, the two thousand dollars annuity 
due under that treaty and various sums due under earlier 
treaties. The tribesmen and their officials and the white and 
mixed-breed complement usual to such occasions, began to 
pitch camp on the prairie about the agency. Whisky runners, 
traders, speculators, soldiers and attaches of the Indian Bu- 
reau from Cantonment Gibson, the Three Forks-, Fort Smith 
and even distant Little Rock they came the rag-tag and 
bobtail of the frontier. Thus Major E. W. du Val, the Chero- 
kee agent, made his second visit to his charges in their new 
home. Thus a bevy of light though thrifty ladies from the 
Arkansas' capital made their first visit to await the shower of 
gold. Thither repaired also a tall man whose fashionable 
buckskins hung loosely upon his gigantic frame. 

Major du Val made an announcement to the Cherokee 
chiefs. There would be, it seemed, no shower of gold. A mur- 
mur of dismay must have swept the tents of the camp-followers, 
until they learned that the agent's words should not be taken 
in too narrow a sense. Literally there would be no shower of 
gold, but actually there would be something much better. In 
default of currency, certificates of indebtedness would be dis- 
tributed among the Indians. To get "hard 59 money from an 


Indian was never a difficult task. To paper money he attached 
no importance whatever. 

The result was a free-for-all. "Merchants," wrote Houston, 
"who had connections' with the agents, purchased up these 
certificates in a fraudulent manner for a mere song. ... A 
Mackinaw blanket, a flask of powder and even a bottle of 
whisky was often all these defrauded exiles ever got for the 
plighted faith of our Government." 7 Agent du Val himself 
opened a store to facilitate trade in certificates. The agent's 
brother opened a whisky running station, and in sis weeks 
^e had sold two hundred and fifty barrels of liquor. 8 

"In thisr manner," continued Houston in subsequent review, 
"whole tribes were preyed upon. . . . We cannot measure 
the desolating effects of intoxicating liquors among the In- 
dians by an analogy drawn from civilized life. With the Red 
man the consequences are a thousand times more frightful. . . . 
The President . . . only hears one side of the story, and 
that, too, told by his own creatures. . . . During the entire 
period he resided in that region [Houston speaks of himself, 
Indian fashion, in the third person], he was unceasing in his 
efforts to prevent the introduction of ardent spirits among the 
Indians; and . . . this-, too, was a period when he was far 
from being a practically temperate man himself." 9 

The swindlers' harvest was not what it might have been, 
however. Watt Webber, who was a Cherokee official, got his 
hands on a considerable amount of certificates. Ben Hawkins, 
n half-breed Creek of influence, got some. Houston seemed 
concerned with these transactions, which outraged the feelings 
of Agent du Val, but when Mr. du Val heard that Houston him- 
self had carried away certificates to the value of sixty-six 
thousand dollars-, official indignation knew no bounds. 

The Cherokees who had entrusted Houston with their 
paper felt differently about it, however, and the Nation in- 
vested him with a privilege not previously granted to a white 
man, by this means checkmating a scheme of Du Val to ciiv 
cumscribe The Raven's activities : 


"Whereas, an order has been published by the agent of the 
Cherokee Nation, requesting all white men who reside in the 
Nation ... to comply with certain rules. . . . Now, Be 
it known. . . . That Samuel Houston, late of the State of 
Tennessee, has- been residing in the Nation for sometime past 
and ... In consideration of his former acquaintance with; 
and services rendered the Indians, and . . . our confidence in 
his integrity, and talents . . . We do . . ^ irrevocably 
grant him forever, all the rights, privileges 1 and immunities, of 
a citizen of the Cherokee Nation ... as though he was a 
native born Cherokee. ... 

"In witness whereof we have this day set out hands this 
21st day of October, 1829. 


"WALTER -f- WEBBER Prest Commt 
"Cherokee Nation mark 

"Illinois his 

"AEON + PRICE vice President 


"Approved JOHN + JOIXY Principal Chief' 10 

The one-time congressman, governor, protege of Jacksou 
and aspirant to the presidency no longer considered himself a 
citizen of the United States. 

In the wigwam of Oo-loo-te-ka a pen scratched at the dicta- 
tion of the first Chief. 

"Great Father, 

"My son (Gen 1 Houston or) the Raven came to me last 
spring . . . and my heart embraced him. ... At my wig- 
wam he rested with me as my son. He has walked straight. . . . 
His path is not crooked. . . . He is now leaving me to meet 
his white Father, Gen 1 Jackson, and look upon him and I hope 
he will take him by the hand and keep him as near to his heart 
as- 1 have done. He is beloved bv all my people. . . . When 
you look upon this letter I wish you to feel, as though we 
smoked the pipe of peace together, and held each other by tik* 


hand, and felt, as one man. We are far a part but I send my 
heart to my friend Jackson, and the Father of my people ! 3511 

John Jolly affixed his X mark and the letter was directed 
to "Gen 1 Andrew Jackson President U. States." The letter- 
writer on this occasion was not young John Thornton, but The 
Raven himself. The new citizen of the Cherokee Nation was 
too useful a man to remain a private tribesman. He had been 
raised to the rank of ambassudor and was in readiness to de- 
part for the seat of the Great Father in Washington. 

The appointment had not been made according to regular 
form in open council. Secrecy surrounded The Raven's de- 
parture. But Jackson was advised through a mutual friend. 
"I am on my way to Washington and perhaps New York. . . . 
Many will be the conjectures as to the object of my trip, and 
it will be ... neither to solicit office or favors of ... 
the President. . . . My only study shall be to deport my- 
self ... as can no wise embarrass his feelings 1 , nor his cir- 
cumstances. . . . Write to Judge White's care [in Wash- 
ington]. If this were not done the curious would open my 
letters as they have done this summer." 12 

The Raven slipped away early in December, but weeks 
elapsed before it was learned whither he had gone or why. 
Some of the missionaries were much put out. They had 
counted on Houston to undertake to raise money for them in 
the East. Houston's boyhood friend, Captain John Rog- 
ers, Jr., was disturbed. Watt Webber had gone east with 
Houston, and Rogers did not like Webber. He wrote to 
Jackson, expressing his distrust of Webber, and by inference 
included Houston in his insinuations. 

Near Fort Smith, Houston and Webber encamped by the 
tide of the river near the residence of Major du Val, the 
Cherokee agent, who transacted his affairs from the civilized 
side of the Arkansas line. With them was John Brown, an 
eastern Cherokee recently come West, with whom Oo-loo-te-ka 
was dickering to bring about his cherished reunion of the 
tribe. Du Val rode down to invite General Houston and Ms 


friends to supper. At the house Du Val took Houston aside. 
They had had a few drinks together, when a clerk of Du Val's 
appeared bearing a letter which the agent opened and read. 
Then he handed it to Houston. The communication was to 
warn Major du Val that Houston was on his 1 way to Washing- 
ton to prefer charges against the agent. Du Val asked if 
this were true. 

"Substantially," said Houston. 

Du Val demanded that Houston put his charges- in writ- 
ing. Houston asked for pen and paper and did so, in dupli- 
cate. One copy he kept, the other he gave to the agent anc? 
took his written receipt for it. Major du Val renewed his 
invitation to dine but Houston and his Indian friends excused 
themselves and withdrew to prepare their own meal over a 
fire. 18 


On the day before Christmas, the palpitating little steamei 
Amazon trudged up the Mississippi. To the left lay the pine- 
dressed lowlands of Arkans-as. On the right a more conspicuous 
shore now and then attained the dignity of a bluff that gave an 
air of aspiration to the unpeopled scene. This was- Tennessee. 

Tennessee! A tall man in a blanket and turban surveyed 
the prospect from the deck, and in the course of the day re- 
corded certain Christmas Eve reflections : 

"Composed on Dec 24th 1829 

"There is a proud undying thought in man 

That bids his soul still upward look, 

To fames proud cliff ! And longing 

Look in hope to grace his name 

For after ages to admire, and wonder 

How he reached the dizzy, dangerous 

Hight, or where he stood, or how 

Or if admiring his proud station fell 

And left a name alone ! ! 

This is ambitions range, and while it seeks 

To reach * * , 


Beyond all earthy names. 
And stand where millions never 
Dared to look, it leaves content 

. . . the 
Companion of a virtuous heart ! . . . 

"There is a race of mortals wild . . , 

Who range the desert free 

And roam where floods 

Their onward currents pour 

In majesty., as free as Indian thoughts, 

Who feel that happiness and 

Content are theirs. 

They owe no homage to written rules 

... no allegiance to idle forms 

. . . which 
Virtue dare not own ! 
But proud of freedom, 
In their native words, they 
. . . pitch their hopes of endless joys 
In fields where game of never 
Dying sort . . . 
Delights the hunter's soul." 14 

Sam Houston never claimed to be a poet and later in life 
conceived a curious prejudice against that form of expression. 
But he could not forget Tennessee. Four days later he wrote 
to Judge John H. Overton, of Nashville: 

"Passing near to the borders of a land so dear to me as 
Tennessee, and reflecting upon . . . my life ... I should 
be wanting in justice to my feelings . . . were I to suppress 
the expression of my most grateful and friendly regard. In 
prosperity you regarded me well, and generously, but when 
the darkest, direst hour of human misery was passing by you 
called to sustain me by the lights of age, philosophy, and friend- 
ship. . . . The hour of anguish has passed by, and my soul 
feels all that tranquility conscious gratitude can bestow. And 
it is in this state of feeling that my heart . . . recurs, in 
gratitude, to the man, who dared . . . diminish the weight of 
misery, which I had been doomed to feel !" 15 



ON ST. PATRICK'S DAT of 1830 General Duff Green marched 
into the President's house exuding an air of importance. But 
DuiF Green invariably looked important. It became his posi- 
tion as proprietor of the great United States Telegraph, 
charter member of Jackson's "kitchen cabinet" and, allowing 
for a personal point of view. President-maker. 

In the President's private study. Duff Green saw three men 
about a littered desk, their heads together * r in earnest con-v 
versation." They were the President, the Secretary of War 
and the ambassador of the Cherokee Nation of Indians, When 
Editor Green entered a palpable silence fell a thing really 
difficult to avoid when time-tried associates who have privately 
begun to distrust each other unexpectedly meet under circum- 
stances not calculated to diminish suspicion. The old salutes 
have a hollow sound. What is one to say? 

Duff Green said nothing. 

The vindicators of Eliza Allen did not feel that they had 
bungled their work. Houston's reputation was gone and he 
was gone. Although the achievement had the appearance of 
permanence, a word from Jackson would insure this. There 
would be naught to fear from the man who, in banishment, re- 
tained the capacity to strike otherwise confident hearts with 
vague alarms of a return from Elba. 



Andrew Jackson was chivalry embodied. "I never wai 
against women and it is only the hase and cowardly that do." 
He sought the presidency to wipe the smirks from the shifty 
countenances of his wife's traducers. Alas, a broken-hearted 
widower had composed a brave epitaph for "Rachel Jack- 
son ... whom slander might wound but could not dishonor," 
end plunged himself into the quixotic championship of Peggy 
Eaton. Surely one so generous would not withhold the mantle 
of his gallantry from Eliza Allen. 

General Jackson had given patient audience to Sam Hous- 
ton's enemies. He had listened to their stories, but said 
nothing. From Houston's friends came a few pitifully vague 
letters, and the President was three months in making up his 
mind what to do. Then, Indian intrigues notwithstanding, he 
wrote Houston a letter, which the exile, in reply, called "a 
cordial to my spirits," continuing: 

"From the course which I had pursued in the relation to 
the cause of my abandonment of society my absolute refusal 
to gratify the enquiring world my entire silence because it 
comported with my notion of honor . ." 

"Because it comported with my notion of honor." This 
fcras putting it in rather general terms. The man who had 
conducted a prospective Cabinet officer to a shotgun wedding 
usually received more explicit answers to his inquiries. But 
Sam Houston told him no more, even in the exhilaration of 
feeling at the assurance that he retained the friendship of the 
great and loyal Jackson. 

"Had a sceptre," continued Houston, "been dashed at my 
feet it would not have afforded me the same pleasure which I 
derived from the proud consciousness not only that I deserved 
but that / possessed your confidence! The elevation of your 
station . . . contrasted with that of a man who had ceased 
to be all that he ever had been in the world's eye ; was such as 
would have justified you in any inferences, the most damning 
to his character and prejudicial to his integrity. You 


garded the standard calculations of mankind and acted from 
an impulse peculiar to yourself."* 

An inquiring world was not immediately informed of this 
understanding between Andrew Jackson and the broken exile. 
Houston's enemies continued to importune the President. This 
was the state of affairs when Sam Houston reached Washington 
on January 13, 1830. 

His arrival was the sensation of the week. It was one thing 
for Washington to receive a barbarian dignitary, and another 
to receive one who looked the part. Indians in claw-hammer 
coats were getting too common. With his fine eye for the 
proprieties, The Raven made no attempt to imitate the ex- 
ternals of a prosperous congressman. He presented himself in 
the costume of the wigwam. For every occasion there was a 
new blanket, and the metal ornaments on the ambassador's 
buckskin coat tinkled pleasantly as he walked. While flustered 
Washington was trying to determine what to do, the President 
made the decision. He invited The Raven to an entertainment 
at the Executive Mansion. The Tennessee avengers had their 
answer. Sam Houston's "notion of honor" satisfied Andrew 

The Aliens made no attempt to conceal their displeasure, 
but their political partners were more discreet. Nevertheless, 
reprisals were planned. From a congressman with a foot in the 
enemy camp, Houston learned that he was to be visited with 
"a fate most appalling to humanity" should he return to the 
West by way of Tennessee. Moreover, he knew Duff Green to 
be his secret enemy* 


The urbane Secretary of War spoke first. The President 
and General Houston, Major Eaton said, were discussing an 
important contract for supplying rations to the Indians newly 
emigrated or about to emigrate across the Mississippi. The 
present ration, costing twenty-one cents, was unsatisfactory. 


General Houston had volunteered to supply a superior ration 
for eighteen cents. A saving of twelve thousand dollars a day! 
Think of it. 

Duff Green did not share the Secretary's enthusiasm. 
Surely, he replied. General Houston had miscalculated. There 
was no saving to the government at eighteen cents a ration, 
but a great loss. Beef bought on the hoof in Illinois and 
Missouri could be distributed for much less than eighteen cents. 

Jackson and Houston changed the conversation, and pres- 
ently Duff Green took his departure, reflecting that if Eaton 
were after a puff in the Telegraph for Sam Houston's ration 
scheme, he was barking up the wrong tree. What with protect- 
ing the precious Peggy, the Telegraph had done enough for 
the Eaton family. 

The next day Green found the President alone. Jackson 
said Houston was practically certain to get the contract. Duff 
Green raised his eyebrows. Hadn't the President better look 
into the matter more closely? Duff Green said that he had 
been examining figures, and the ration could be provided for six 
cents. Jackson turned in his chair. "Will you take it at ten?" 
Green said he would not. "Will you take it at twelve cents ?" 
Green said he was not a bidder, and the President began to fuss 
with papers on his disorderly desk. 

Duff Green went home and wrote a letter to the Secretary 
of War. The eighteen-cent contract might "enrich a few who 
are concerned in it but will . . . impair the fair name of the 
President which it is your duty and mine to guard." 

While these high-minded words of caution were on their 
way, another letter was written at the Green residence by 
a house-guest of the publisher, John Shackford, of St. Louis, 
making a formal bid for the ration contract at seventeen cents. 

Affairs moved briskly, Shackford reduced his proposal to 
fifteen cents to meet competition. Houston countered with 
a bid of thirteen cents, submitted in the name of John Van 
Fossen, of New York. Other bids ran as low as eight cents, 
Shackford needed money, but the editor of the Telegraph had 


otlier motives for opposing the interests- of The Raven. Hous- 
ton had obtained the dismissal of five Indian agents, including 
du Val and Hamtramck. Green was a friend of Hamtramck 
and had opposed his removal. Moreover, the Peggy Eaton 
petticoat war was in full swing with Vice-President Calhoun, a 
relative of Green by marriage, getting the worst of it. Green 
saw the disguised hand of Sain Houston at work against Cal- 
houn, and the Tennessee vendetta received a powerful ally. 

Against this coalition Sam Houston stood alone. He de- 
clined to exploit Jackson's friendship, but otherwise he in- 
trigued with the nimblest. Yet, the only words of concern for 
the Indian discoverable in a voluminous record of this sordid 
episode were uttered with no thought of public effect by 
Sam Houston when he wrote to Van Fossen: " Justice to the 
Indians . . * a full ration, and of good quality . . . must 
be a 'sine qua non.* " 

The tempest whirled to a tame pause. The request for bids 
was withdrawn, and no one got the contract, 2 There the 
matter rested for two years, 


Sam Houston was not the only outcast sheltered by Andrew 
Jackson that winter in the white "Castle" on the Avenue. John 
Eaton had dutifully married Peggy. Washington has seen 
strange sights in its time and has acquiesced, but on this 
occasion the transformation from tavern belle to Cabinet lady 
stopped the wheels of the social machinery. Firstly and finally, 
Society would not accept the amiable Peg. 

Jackson canvassed the field for supporters. He appealed 
particularly to Calhoun and Van Buren, Mr. Van Buren re- 
sponded handsomely. He gave a party for Mrs. Eaton. He 
got two of his bachelor friends, the British and the Russian 
ministers, to be nice to her. Mr. Calhoun would have done as 
muchif he could. He understood what was going on, but 
unlike Van Buren, Mr. Calhoun had a wife whose cooperation 


was essential, Mrs. Calhoun refused to cooperate, and nothing 
could move her. 

Mr. Van Buren redoubled his attentions. Jackson began 
inviting the Secretary of State on horseback rides and 
calling him "Van." Mr. Calhoun bit his nails and made lame 
excuses ; he was in a desperate fix. In the fulness of time the 
President heard that not for the first time had a certain 
fastidious South Carolina gentleman declined to stand with 
forthright Andrew Jackson. Shade by shade, color was ap- 
plied to the dark picture that Sam Houston three years before 
had etched about the famous letter of 1818 on the Florida 

In the midst of this came Houston's dramatic reappearance 
in Washington a towering figure in a bright blanket, grand, 
gloomy and peculiar, that paced the worn carpet of the presi- 
dential smoking-room, brooding and drinking. The Raven did 
not scruple to impart fresh significance to his old accusation. 
The bright blanket he wore stirred no memories calculated to 
soften his resentment toward John C. Calhoun. 

Lewis, Eaton, Sam Swartwout and others of the original 
anti-Calhoun combination were on hand. The encirclement of 
Mr. Calhoun was complete. Duff Green could do little more 
than postpone the crash which obliged Mr. Calhoun to resign 
the vice-presidency. This came after Houston, taking his own 
good time, had departed for the Indian country. By the light 
of a dying fire in the Wigwam Neosho Sam Houston spent mor 
than one summer evening in contemplation of the sweets of 3 
subaltern's revenge. 


April in Tennessee. Azaleas flamed in a landscape where 
spring's work already was complete. The slender figure of a 
young woman in black moved along the paths of an old- 
fashioned garden beside a house that overlooked the Cumber- 
land. Her oval face wore an expression of infinite loneliness. 

Inside the house men were talking. The young woman in 


the garden had watched them arrive: Former Governor Hall, 
Squire Alexander, General Eastin Morris, Lawyer Guild, of 
Gallatin, Captain Douglass and so on. They were shut in a 
room with her father. ... A year this month, April And 
still the secretive meetings, the maddening talk, talk. 

As the men conversed they passed from hand to hand a 
letter that had never been answered. The woman in the garden 
knew every word of this letter. The signature at the bottom 
was a bold one with a rubric under it: SAM HOUSTON her 

But one thing, one overwhelming thing, known to the men 
in the room was as yet unknown to the girl in the garden. Sam 
Houston was in Nashville! He had defied them. 

This was the reason for the conference. Circumstances had 
changed within the year. The chivalrous championship of 
Eliza Allen now rested on strange premis-es. The champions 
trembled in the fear of exposure. They knew that Houston 
knew of their predicament. But they did not fear exposure by 
him. It was Eliza, the object of all their tender solicitation, 
who destroyed their peace of mind. She wanted her husband 
back. 3 

This cast of affairs had come about in a peculiar way. The 
proud Aliens had a valid grievance against the man with a 
brilliant future into whose eager arms they had persuaded an 
unwilling daughter of their house. Sam Houston had accused 
his bride of a terrible thing. Then on his knees he had begged 
her forgiveness and the pardon of her family; but by her code 
and theirs amnesty was not possible. 4 Houston seemed to 
understand. His humiliation was complete. Without criticism 
or comment he had set his feet upon the path of retribution 
suggested by his personal ideas of honor. He never expressed 
resentment toward the Aliens, and in later years they softened 
toward him. 5 As to Carroll, Houston hated him with a grim 
and abiding passion which the Tennesseean reciprocated. Forty 
years after the event, when Sam Houston and Eliza Allen were 
in their graves, a member of the old Carroll clique who had 


attained distinction in life, published a vituperative account of 
the marriage. 6 

The emotions of Eliza Allen had been the first to grow clear. 
Did she perceive the exploitation of herself and her family by a 
resourceful politician who had bound them all to the wheels of 
his chariot? 

Everything went back to the circumstances attending the 
marriage. The enchantment of the crowded autumn hour whei? 
Eliza made her promise had been of brief duration. WMU 
donning her bridal gown, she had wept. Her hands trembled 
during the exchange of wedding vows. She felt that she loved 
another, but of Sam Houston's love for her there was no doubt. 
That night was passed at Eliza's home. When they were alone 
Houston spoke of his bride's nervousness "which convinced him 
some secret had not been revealed. Before retiring he frankly 
told her of his suspicion, asked a frank confession and pledged 
her that he should work her no injury. His frankness and 
firmness led to the confession that her affections had been 
pledged to another . . . and that filial duty had prompted 
her acceptance of his offer." 7 They rested apart. 

The second night was spent at Locust Grove. In the 
morning Mrs. Robert Martin stood thoughtfully tapping a 
window of her mansion on the Pike. The chatelaine of Locust 
Grove had seen something of the world. Eight presidents and 
the Marquis de Lafayette skim through the pages of her un- 
published memoirs. She was pondering the sight she beheld 
from her window. A beautiful snow had fallen during the 
night, and on the blanketed lawn Governor Houston and the 
two lively brunette Martin girls were engaged in a hilarious 
snow battle. 

Mrs, Martin's reflections were interrupted by a step on the 
stairs. Eliza was coming down. "I said to her, 'It seems as if 
General Houston is getting the worst of the snow-balling ; you 
had better go out and help him. 9 Looking seriously at me Mrs. 
Houston said, 'I wish they would kill him.' I looked up aston- 
ished to hear such a remark from a bride of not yet forty-eight 


hours, when she repeated in the same voice, 'Yes, I wish from 
the bottom of my heart that they would kill him/ " 8 

Martha Martin was Sam Houston's friend. She kept well 
the secret of that morning, and the couple journeyed to Nash- 
ville to pass the days in comparative seclusion. As far as any 
one could learn they were happy. Houston was busy with 
preparations for the campaign against Carroll. He made a 
journey from home to Chickasaw Bluffs, one account says; 
to Columbia, in Maury County, according to another 5 but 
Cockrell's Spring seems to have been the place. The return 
was unannounced and unexpected. What the scene was no one 
can know. It has been said that Eliza was weeping over old 
love-letters. 9 It has been said that she was in a man's arms a 
supposition not favored by the evidence. 10 In any event, pro- 
vocation was such that Sam Houston accused his wife of 

The fearful indictment had scarcely fallen from his lips 
when doubts assailed him. It was the old story of jealous rage 
and terrible suspicions: a moment of wild accusation and a 
lifetime of regret. Naturally, Eliza desired to clear her name, 
By mutual consent the matter was laid before a third party 
and then, by means 1 unexplained, the news reached the Aliens, 
There was no repairing anything after that. 

Eliza went home. Houston wrote her father a letter saying 
he believed his wife "virtuous." He followed the letter to 
Gallatin, and begged an interview with Eliza. It was granted 
on condition that an aunt remain in the room. Many, many 
years after, when passions had cooled, this aunt's story was 
told. "He knelt before her and with tears streaming down his 
face implored forgiveness . . . and insisted with all his 
dramatic force that she return to Nashville with him. Had 
she yielded to these entreaties what the future may have 
brought to them none can tell. As it was there were many 
years of sadness to be endured." 11 

Ah, had she but yielded! It was Eliza's turn now to re- 
gret. But she was brave. She took counsel of the intuitions of 


her heart and did a womanly thing. Setting aside tne sacred 
code, she said she wanted her husband. 

At the same time Eliza was loyal to her men-folk. She hacj 
no wish to involve them in a painful repudiation of declarations 
they had made to preserve her fair name. And there was 
Carroll ; the security of his throne lay in keeping Sam Houston 
out of Tenness-ee. Lastly and least explicable was the position 
of Sam Houston himself. The ardor with which he declined 
the sympathy of the world suggests a compensating consola- 
tion that he had been able to afford himself. A whisky-whirled, 
romantic brain, brooding in forest solitudes, had turned in- 
ward. Houston had shouldered the blame and taken his punish- 
ment. He thought this enough. Yet the lash of a hundred 
untruths, of high names and low motives, pursued him in exile. 
Eliza's feelings- had veered a full cycle ; her husband's did the 
same. Again they were at opposite poles, Eliza entreating, 
Houston holding aloof. What caused this? Had Tiana 
Rogers taken the vacant place in his heart? And again, in 
the very fierceness with which Sam Houston, to the last day 
of his life, repelled the breath of scandal from Eliza Allen 
lurks a disturbing thought. . . . 

At whatever expense to their own pride, or peril to the 
political fortunes of Carroll, the Aliens had the courage and 
the tenderness to attempt a reconciliation. From a letter of 
Houston's it appears that they approached Houston on the 
subject and only when rebuffed by him "when they had lost 
all hopes of a reunion" 12 had they sought to justify before 
the world the uncomfortable plight in which Houston's changed 
attitude had thrust them. 

With Sam Houston in Nashville, a short thirty miles 
away, the family was alarmed lest she fly to him "and I would 
not receive her." 13 The decision of the conference, dominated, 
it appears, by the lieutenants of the equally anxious Carroll, 
was to take measures not only to avert this, but also to guarcj 


the dangerous secret that Eliza had forgiven her husband. To 
jnake matters properly secure "they sent Mrs. H. to Car- 
thage," 14 where her Uncle Robert, the ex-Congressman, lived. 

These maneuvers were screened by an energetic thrust aft 
Houston. On April twenty-sixth, five days after Houston's 
arrival in Nashville, a meeting of "citizens of Sumner County" 
assembled at the court-house in Gallatin. The gathering was 
very respectable. George S. Crockett presided, and Thomas 
Anderson, Esquire, was appointed secretary. Lawyer Guild 
explained the business before the body, which formally "Re- 
solved, that the following gentlemen be appointed a committee 
to consider and draw up a report expressive of the opinion 
entertained of the private virtues' of Mrs. Eliza H. Houston 
and whether her amiable character had received an injury 
among those acquainted with her, in consequence of the late 
unfortunate occurrence between her and her husband, General 
Samuel Houston, late Governor of Tennessee, towit : Gen. Wm 
Hall, Wm. L. Alexander, Esq., Gen. Eastin Morris, 
Col. J. C. Guild, Elijah Boddie, Esq., Col. Daniel Montgomery, 
Thomas Anderson, Esq., Capt, Alf. H. Douglass, Isaac Baker, 
Esq., Mr. Robt. M. Boyers, Maj. Charles Watkins and Joseph 
W. Baldridge, Esq., and that said committee meet at the Court 
House on Wednesday next and report.' 515 

This gave the committee forty-eight hours' in which to per- 
form its delicate mission. But the work was finished on time, 
and at a second meeting the committee's report was read and 
approved. Following this a motion was adopted requesting 
"the editors of the State of Tennessee who feel any interest in 
the character of the injured female ... to give the fore- 
going report and proceedings in their respective papers," 16 
But not until Sam Houston had left Tennessee were editors 
provided with copies- of the proper material 

A slight recurrence of his Indian fever detained Houston 
in Nashville until a fortnight after the meeting in Gallatin had 
adjourned sine die. He had some shadowy knowledge of what 
had taken place and was not impatient to know more, calling 


the affair an example of the political generalship of William 

On his tour of Tennessee Sam Houston had held his head 
high. He showed himself where it was not supposed to be s-af e 
to go. This boldness had its little victories. The threats pur- 
veyed in the nervous- effort to keep Sam Houston out of Ten- 
nessee died to a murmur in the path of his progress. Despite 
the formal frowns of the best people, throngs surrounded him 
wherever he appeared. 

The mother of a small hoy in Knoxville said, "Now, John, 
do you not go near him. The people have little to do to honor 
such a man." The flesh is weak. Not only did John go near 
the notorious traveler, but he shook his hand and then ran 
home to confess his crime. But mother became so engrossed 
in the recital of her son's adventure that she forgot to punish 
him. 17 A little girl in Nashville "was half afraid of Cousin 
Sam in his strange Indian garb, and yet so strongly did he at- 
tract me that I kept very close by my mother's side that I 
might lose nothing he should say." 18 

Houston's friends made their usual fine display of fidelity, 
but the result emphasized rather than disguised the fact that 
the ex-Governor was an outcast where a year before he had been 
an idol. Still, they urged him to remain in Tennessee. He 
would have only to explain, to tell his side of the story in order 
to overthrow Carroll and win back what he had lost. The 
proposal met the insurmountable obstacle that had defeated 
Houston's friends 1 the year before. Their man would explain 
nothing. Only God, he said could understand and "justify" 
his course. 18 

On the Mississippi below St. Louis Houston read in a news- 
paper the findings of the Sumner County citizens : 

"The Committee appointed to express 1 the sentiments of this 
meeting in relation to the character of Mrs, Eliza H Houston, 


and the causes which led her to separate from her husband, beg 
leave to present that . . . very shortly after the marriage 
Governor Houston became jealous of his wife, and mentioned 
the subject to one or two persons, apparently in confidence; yet 
the Committee are not informed that he made any specific 
charges, only that he believed she was incontinent and devoid 
of affection . - . [for] her husband. , . . He rendered his 
wife unhappy by his unfounded jealousies and his repeated 
suspicion of her coldness and want of attachment, and she was 
constrained by a sense of duty to herself and her family to 
separate from her infatuated husband . . . since which time 
she has remained in a state of dejection and despondency. 

"The Committee ... are informed that Governor Hous- 
ton had lately . . . returned to Nashville on his way to 
Arkansas where they understood he has located in the Chero- 
kee Nation, and it has been suggested that public sympathy 
has been much excited in his 1 favor, and thai a belief has 
obtained in many places abroad that he was married to an 
unworthy woman, and that she has been the cause of ... his 
downfall as a man and as a politician, whereas nothing is 
farther from the fact; and without charging him of ... 
bas-eness of purpose, the committee have no hesitation in say- 
ing he is a deluded man ; that his suspicions were groundless ; 
that his unfortunate wife is now and ever has been in the pos- 
session of a character unimpeachable, and that she is an in- 
nocent and injured woman. . . . 

"The Committee have had placed in their hands a letter 
from Governor Houston to his father-in-law written shortly 
after the separation. . . . 

""Dear Sir . . . Whatever had been my feelings or 
opinions in relation to Eliza at one period, I have been satis- 
fied . . . and believe her virtuous, [as] I had assured her 
last night and this morning ; this . . . should have prevented 
the facts from coming to your knowledge and that of your wife. 

" 6 I would not for millions that it had been known to you. 
But one human being knew anything of it from me, and that 
was by Eliza's consent and wish. I would have perished first ; 
and if mortal man had dared to charge my wife or say aught 
against her virtue, I would have slain him. 

" "That I have and do love Eliza none can doubt and that 
I have ever treated her with affection she will admit ; that she 
is the only earthly object dear to me God will bear witness* . . 


" 'Eliza stands acquitted by me. I have received her as a 
virtuous, chaste wife and as such I pray God I may ever regard 
her, and I trust I ever shall. She was cold to me, and I thought 
did not love me; she owns that such was one cause of my un- 
'lappiness. You can think how unhappy I was to think I was 
united to a woman who did not love me. That time is now past, 
and my future happiness- can only exist in the assurance that 
Eliza and myself can be more happy, and that your wife and 
yourself will forget the past, forget all and find lost peace 
and you may be assured that nothing on my part shall be want- 
ing to restore it, Let me know what is to be done. 

* 6 'Your most obedient 

Seven months later, when "my motives should have the char- 
acter of reflection," Houston spread that newspaper before him 
and wrote a long letter. In all the years of bitterness and 
farce that this blighted romance engendered, this letter repre- 
sents Sam Houston's solitary attempt to parry a blow: 

"Cherokee Nation, Wigwam Neosho, 7th Dec, 1830 
"To Genl Wm. Hall:- 

"Sir When I resigned into your hands, the office of chief 
magistrate of the State of Tennessee, I could not have sup- 
posed that any act of yours, or association of your name, 
would . , . render it necessary for me, in the vindication of 
my feelings and character to address 

Ex-Governor Hall was nox;, however, to take this as an 
"unkind" reflection, and the same applied to other members 
of the committee, though Houston could not forbear remarking 
the "imposing array of Titles as I presume to render the 
proceedings of the committee at a distance more weighty and 
Dignified. 5 ' Without naming him the writer indicated William 
Carroll as the "mover" of the proceedings in which innocent 
men had been misled. 

"The resolutions originating the committee declared in sub- 
stance that the object in view, was adverse to the character of 
no one, but for the purpose of offering respect, and confidence 


where it was due. But how far . . . the proceedings * . , 
accord, with this declaration, I shall take leave to examine. . . . 

"The committee say that 'they deem it unnecessary at this 
time to animadvert on my conduct and character, except so 
far as it may be inseparably connected with the investigation/ 
etc. Now sir, it is evident to me that this observation was not 
only intended as 1 a reflection upon my general character, but 
was designed to acquire for the committee a reputation 
for . . . magnanimity ; and thus decently dressed the Report 
and charges were to insinuate their way to the world. . . . 
It is then alleged by the committee 'that they are informed, that 
/ had returned to Nashville on my way to Arkansas, where 
they understood I had located myself in the Cherokee Nation. 5 
Now I readily admit the correctness- of this understand- 
ing . . . why was this really made a part of the re- 
port? . . . The reason obviously was that I ought to be 
proscribed in society, that others (than the party concerned) 
might be enabled to exult . . . over the memory of an exiled 
man. . . . 

"The report then proceeds to state 'And it has- been sug- 
gested that public sympathy has been excited in his favor ; and 
that a belief has obtained in many places abroad that he was 
married to an unworthy woman' etc. By whom were those 
suggestions made? . . . How were . . . these facts . . . 
ascertained? Or were they facts at all or rather were they 
only suggestions made for the purpose of furnishing a ground 
of accusation against me. ... I courted the sympathy of 
no one. ... I have acquies-ced to my destiny, and have 
been silent." 

Houston took up the letter to his father-in-law. "It seems 
to me to have been a favorite object with the mover who incited 
the call of the committee to give publicity" to that letter. 
"And however much I may regret its publication, and certainly 
can derive no pleasure from adverting to it," Houston begged 
to correct an "error." 

"The committee states 'that the letter was written shortly 
after the separation. 5 This is not the truth! It was written 
previous to the separation ; but as it failed in restoring har- 
mony, the separation occurred immediately. ... So far as 


the feelings of the heart are expressed in the letter I have 
nothing to regret. . . . 

"Now, Sir, a few general reflections. . . . Was it thro* 
me, or by my agency, or seeking that this private and domestic 
circumstance was ever extended beyond the family circle? . . . 
No, clearly not, as my letter published by the committee 
shows ! Yet all the consequences resulting from the affair are 
perseveringly visited upon me, even in exile in the wilderness. 
Had a moment of public excitement produced a committee . . . 
there might be some excuse . . . but when a twelvemonth had 
passed, it seemed to be uncalled for. . . . Had the committee 
not attacked my reputation as I deem, improperly; but had 
pursued their object, the reparation of an injured Lady, and 
the feelings of her family, I do most solemnly assure you, sir, I 
would never have addressed you . . . for it is impossible for 
me to cherish other than . . the sincerest wishes for their 

The communication closed by giving General Hall permis- 
sion "to publish this letter, that my protest may be judged as 
well as- the report of the committee." 21 


In the Sumner County resolutions the enemies of Sam 
Houston for the first time offered something more palpable 
than whispers to define their accusations. The emphasis is not 
on the fact that Sam Houston had uttered an accusation, how- 
ever serious, against his wife, but that he spread "abroad" his 
suspicions. A curious charge: uttered against a man whos-e 
attitude toward the whole question could be expressed by the 
one word "silence," it seemed to call for clarification. 

Before the world Sam Houston at last had challenged his 
accusers to prove what they said. He did not stop there. He 
charged them with the gravest duplicity. They had talked. 

Sam Houston's friends might have done much with the 
ktter from the Wigwam Neosho. It supplied the long-sought 
fuel ttay required for a back-fire against the conflagration of 

(JVom a rare 


s* published m the United States in 1537) 

Sam Houston in 1837 or 1838. 

(A miniature, reproduced from a photographic copy owned ~by General Houston^ 
grandson, Franklin Williams, of Houston) 


calumny which they had never helieved to arise from facts 
discreditable to their man. The letter was moderate. Had 
sensation been the writer's primary aim Houston could have 
achieved it in fuller measure by dis-closing Eliza's actual at- 
titude toward the chivalrous- championship of her cause. 

But Houston's friends could do nothing. They never 
saw the Wigwam Neosho letter. It had been entrusted to the 
wrong man. William Hall had tasted power from a ruined 
man's cup and had found it sweet. He was Carroll's man 
now, and he suppressed the letter, which if given to the world 
might have changed the course of a nation's history. 

Houston accepted the behavior of Hall as he accepted 
everything concerned with the tragic romance in silence. In 
the beginning he had said that if his character could not stand 
the shock let him lose it. He never publicly amplified that 
statement, except as there crept into his memoirs, published 
years later, an atmosphere of distrust of the white race. He 
had found the Caucasian's capacity for "coldness" and "treach- 
ery" superior to that of an Indian. Near the close of his 
stormy life, Sam Houston said he had yet to be wronged or 
deceived by an Indian, but that every wound he had known 
was the work of those of his own blood. Of the source of this 
disillusionment he never spoke, and the mystery of his perfect 
reticence cast a long shadow. 



MAY is the radiant month on the Arkansas. Sam Houston 
returned more tranquil in mind, despite the incidents of his 
journey, than he had been since the debacle. In Washington 
he had gained more than he had lost. In Tennessee the very 
lengths to which his enemies had gone, seemed, in a sense, reas- 
suring. At any rate The Raven appears to have recalled that 
in a previous existence he was a member of Andrew Jackson's 
literary bureau. He took up the quill again. 

"The Indian of other days stood on the shore of the 
Atlantic. . . . He was monarch of the wilds. . . . That 
age has gone by the aboriginal character is almost lost in the 
views of the white man, A succession of injuries has broken the 
proud spirit and taught him to kiss the hand which inflicts 
upon him stripes to cringe and ask favors of the wretch, who 
violates his oath by defrauding him out of his annuities, or 
refusing him money promised by treaties." 1 

These lines introduced a series of articles on the Creek 
Indians published by the Arkansas Gazette of Little Rock. 
They were signed "Tah-lhon-tusky" and appeared currently 
in the same newspaper with a series on the Cherokees over the 
signature of "Standing Bear." 

The writings of Tah-lhon-tusky and of Standing Bear are 
still useful to students of Indian annals. The style is more 
vigorous than is usual for a historian, but the substance is 



reliable. Not improbably was the author's form influenced bj 
the tenor of s-ome examples of the art of literary criticism 
as it was cultivated on that frontier. The editor of the Gazette 
adjudged one such item "of too personal a cast for admission 
into the columns of our newspaper." He printed it, therefore, 
in a supplement which was also reserved for dueling challenges. 
"The only objection . . . one can urge against this mode of 
publication is the expense of printing as the circulation of the 
Supplement is co-extensive with the circulation of our news- 

have seen ... a communication in the Arkansas Gazette . . . 
[calculated] to injure the private and public character of the 
late Agent of the Cherokees. . . . But, sir, you may rest 
assured that the mere ridiculous, feeble and contemptible as- 
servations of every vagabond and fugitive from the just indig- 
nation of an offended community . . . will neither be re- 
garded by his friends' nor credited by his enemies." And so on 
for a bristling column, after which, "without wishing, sir, to 
triumph over fallen greatness ... I will now bid your tur- 
band honor adieu, leaving you in the enjoyment you may find 
in your new matrimonial alliance, hoping your fair bride may 
induce you to make a prudent husbandry of whatever resources 
you may have left, awaken you to a sens-e of your own degrada- 
tion and in the belief e stat magni nominis umbra. 9 [signed] 


If such care-free use of language tried the patience of 
Standing Bear he gave little sign of it in his reply, which was 
rather temperate and convincing. 5 After answering a long 
train of counter-accusations, he observed that there had been 
no refutation of the original charges. The rejoinder is so 
thorough as to draw attention to the single point upon which 
Standing Bear had nothing to say, thus affording ground for 
the inference that he intended to treat his "new matrimonial 
alliance" as the private concern of himself and the fair bride 
in question. 


Tiana Rogers was a living link with Oo-loo-te-ka's island 
in Tennessee, where a runaway boy with a copy of the Iliad and 
a rifle had learned the meaning of love and much of the meaning 
of life. When life seemed without aim and without hope he had 
turned again to the people among whom he had experienced the 
greatest happiness he was ever to know. In a year he had 
managed to reconstruct some fragments of that earlier 
Elysium, which Tiana was to make the more complete. 

He remembered her as a half-naked sprite not more than 
ten years old, a part of the vague background of the halcyon 
interlude on the enchanted island. She was a half-sister of The 
Raven's chums, John and James Rogers, her mother being 
Jennie Due, whereas John's and James's mother was Elizabeth 
Due, Jennie's stepmother. Old Headman Rogers had confined 
his selections of wives to one wigwam. So had John and James, 
barring James's earlier misadventure with Susy. Their wives 
were the Goody sisters, Lizzie and Nannie. Indeed, nearlj 
every one The Raven had known in the old days the girls to 
whom he had made love, the boys with whom he had roamed - 
had married by now, some of them rather often. But Tiana 
was free. 

She had been married, it is true to David Gentry, a 
blacksmith, and consequently a man of affairs. She was David's 
second wife, his first having been Mary Buffington, Tiana's 
aunt. David was no longer a factor, however. What had be- 
come of him I do not know : whether he had fallen in battle with 
the Osages, or whether he and Tiana had simply "divided the 
blanket." Tiana, however, was more than a mere marriageable 
widow of thirty about whom crept the wraith of old desires. 
She was tall and slender and, on testimony from impartial 
white sources, she was beautiful. The whites sometimes called 
her Diana. 

Moreover, she was socially eligible to become the wife of an 
adopted son of the Supreme Chief. The Rogers' were of distinr 


guished tribal lineage, their name and their strain of Caucasian 
blood coming, by tradition, from a British officer of the 
Revolution. They were related to the Black Coats, the Bushy- 
heads, the Rattlingourds, the Little Terrapins and most of the 
principal families on the Arkansas, including that of Oo-loo- 
te-ka himself. Tiana's half-brother, Captain John, succeeded 
Oo-loo-te-ka as first chief, and his grandson, William Charles 
Rogers, was the last chief to rule the Cherokee Nation. The 
family is still important in eastern Oklahoma. Will Rogers, 
of Claremore, Oklahoma, and Beverly Hills, California, is 
Tiana's nephew, three generations removed. 

In the summer of 1830 The Raven left his foster-father's 
lodge for one of his own with Tiana to cheer the hearth. Where 
the marriage ceremony took place, or whether there was any 
ceremony, is not known. Tiana was a widow and custom did 
not require a great to-do over a lady's second mating, which is 
one of the things that raises the study of Cherokee genealogy 
above the commonplace. But the Cherokees considered Sam 
Houston and Tiana Rogers to be man and wife, and this under 
no inability to discriminate between a marriage and a liaison. 

This view, however, was not shared by the missionaries who 
were endeavoring to popularize "mission weddings." But the 
fact that Eliza Allen had declined to sanction a divorce would 
s-eem to have left the white clergy without alternative or 
Houston either, for that matter. The missionaries saw many al- 
liances on the Arkansas in an unfavorable light, and from this 
view the Rogers family was not exempt. Tiana's younger 
sister, Susannah, attended Mr. Washburn's school at Dwight. 
Her classroom record terminates with this notation: 

"In the summer of 1824 it seems that she had imbibed a 
strong attachment to a young native. . . . She tried by in- 
direct means . . . to excite a reciprocal regard. . . . Fail- 
ing in this she resorted to open and explicit means. She . . . 
proposed to abscond with him. . . . This proposition was re* 
jected but in a way not to expose her folly and indelicacy. She 
however was so much disappointed . . . that she left the 


school" and "married a white man of considerable enterprise 
and intelligence." 4 Eighteen twenty-four war, leap year. 

A great many young Rogers attended the Dwight School. 
Cynthia, a niece of Tiana, was "active" and "amiable," but "for 
want of parental . . . example she was vain, giddy, fond of 
dress and impatient of wholesome restraints. . , . She ab- 
sconded with a most worthless and abandoned white man who 
had another Cherokee wife." Eliza Rogers was "active in body 
and mind" and made "rapid improvement," which was neutral- 
ized,, however, by being "exposed to the wicked example of her 
father's house." The Rogers had not relinquished the native 
religion. Betsy Rogers, another niece, was an inattentive 
"scholar" and "excited more mischief than all the other pupils." 
At the age of fifteen "she was married to a profligate and 
abandoned white man who came to the nation as a mer- 
chant. . . . Peace and tranquility have long ago been 
banished from their dwelling." 5 

But there was peace and tranquillity at the Wigwam 
Neosho where The Raven established his bride. This dwelling- 
place was near the Neosho River, a little above Cantonment 
Gibson, and thirty miles from the lodge of Oo-loo-te-ka. Hous- 
ton bought or built a large log house and set out an apple 
orchard. There he lived in style, transacting his affairs and 
entertaining his friends. There was no concealment. Tiana 
was his wife, her barbaric beauty a part of the solace he had 
found, as he said, amid "the lights and shadows of forest life." 


To the boom of the morning gun, the Stars and Stripes slid 
to the top of a tall sapling pole at Cantonment Gibson, and the 
stout gate at the terminus of the military road from Fort Smith 
swung open for the day. A weather-beaten sergeant took his 
stand by the gate, serenely conscious of his role as symbol of 
the authority of the United States. Any one failing to meet the 
approval of this non-commissioned officer's scrutiny entered the, 


post under guard to explain himself at headquarters. The 
pathway to the squat log building that served as headquarters 
passed a pillory and a wooden horse, where minor culprits ex- 
piated their crimes under a blistering sun. At the doorway 
of headquarters a smart-looking orderly in a cavalry uniform 
inquired the business of callers. On the twenty-second day of 
July, 1830, the commandant was within. He was reading a 

"Colonel Arbuckle. Sir : I have the honor to inform you of 
the arrival of my Boat . . . with an assortment of goods 
which I will proceed to open and make sale of so soon as con- 
venient. ..." This was not news. Sam Houston had made 
no secret of his purpose to enter the trading business. All 
Three Forks had heard of that stock en route from Nashville, 
and of the owner's intention to sell it to the Indians at "honest" 

"You are the only public officer in this country to whom I 
will or could report, . . . Capt. Vashon [the new Cherokee 
agent] not having arrived. . . . My situation is peculiar 
and for that reason I will take pains to obviate any difficulty 
arising from supposed violation of the intercourse laws." Sup- 
posed violation! "I am a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and 
as such I do contend that the intercourse laws have no ... 
bearing upon me or my circumstances." Ah ! 

"I ordered to this point for my own use and the convenience 
of my establishment, five barrels of whisky (four of Mononga- 
hela and one of corn), one barrel of cognac brandy, one of 
gin> one of rum and one of wine. . . . The whiskey excepting 
one barrel will be stored with the sutler Gen'l Jno. Nicks, sub- 
ject to your orders . . . and not to be used . . . without 
your knowledge or consent nor shall one drop of whiskey be 
sold to either soldier or Indian. . . . [because] I entertain 
too much respect for the wishes of the Government second 
too much friendship for the Indians and third too much 
respect for myself. 

"So soon as my establishment is opened I will request of 
YOU that vou will (if you please) direct an officer or officers to 


examine and see that there is a perfect agreement between rty 
report and the stores on hand. ... I have the honor to 
be ... SAM HOUSTON."* 

The bland presumption of his correspondent might have 
ruffled a man of less poise than Matthew Arbuckle. There 
tfere, as Colonel Arbuckle doubtless knew, old treaties that gave 
the Cherokee Indians a peculiar national status. But the 
Colonel's instructions had nothing to do with these treaties. 
After sleeping on the matter, Arbuckle forwarded Sam Hous- 
ton's interesting communication to the War Department, with 

General Houston, he said, was jealous of his privileges as a 
Cherokee citizen, "and being rather impatient of restraint has 
on some occasions made remarks . . . which might be re- 
garded exceptionable." Colonel Arbuckle was not an alarmist, 
however. He was disposed to regard Houston's indiscreet talk 
as "the result of momentary excitement/' arising from the 
controversies over his Indian writings. Nevertheless the Colone 1 
had the honor to suggest "a decision . . . with respect to the 
Right of Genl Houston to absolve himself from his allegiance 
to the United States." 7 

The War Department viewed the case in a serious 1 light. 
"The right contended for by General Houston, as a citizen of 
the Cherokee Nation, to carry on trade with the Indians with- 
out being licensed ... as required by the laws of the United 
States, would, if admitted, tend to overthrow the whole sys- 
tem of Indian trade as established by Congress, under the 
power conferred by the General Government by the Constitu- 
tion to regulate trade and intercourse with the Indian 
Tribes. 5 . . . General Houston will therefore be required to 
give bond and obtain (as other traders have to do) a license 
from the Indian Agent." The government would make an 
important concession, however. "Indian traders are not al- 
jowed to take Spirits into the Indian Country, but . . . 
Eks! Houston . . . may be permitted ... to take [the 


joine barrels of liquor] ... to his own residence' 5 and keep 
them for his private use. 8 

Washington had spoken with firmness and courtesy. The 
Wigwam Neosho replied in like tone, as equal to equal. Wash- 
ington's demands, Sam Houston said, had not "materially 
changed" his situation. He had no intention of selling liquor 
to Indians. But this arose from moral compunctions of his own 
and not from a spirit of obedience to the intercourse laws or 
the Constitution of the United States, as "I consider them 
having no kind of bearing on my case." How could they? 
Houston was not a citizen of the United States and had "re- 
moved without the jurisdictional limits . . . beyond the 
bounds of all legal process" thereof. The power of Congress 
to regulate trade and intercourse with Indians was designed to 
exclude "the influence of foreign [European] nations from 
among the Indians" and not to curb the legitimate rights 1 of 
any tribesman. 

The government's invitation to apply for a trader's license 
was respectfully declined. Any other course would com- 
promise the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation. "It would 
be an acknowledgement that their act of naturalization 
was . . . void, and that as a nation they had no rights in com- 
munity, and by their boasted advantages acquired by 
treaty . . . had only contrived themselves in the hopeless 
position of vassalage. . . . With great respect I have the 
honor to be Your Obt. Servant." 9 

Bold words'. Suppose Washington should chance to com- 
pare them with the words that the chief, Oo-Ioo-te-ka, had sent 
a trusted envoy to speak to the Georgia Cherokees. "Make a 
wall to the east . . . preserve the sinking race of native 
Americans from extinction." Comparison was 1 possible, for 
by means unknown, Oo-loo-te-ka's remarkable letter had found 
its way into the files of the War Department. If The Haven 
did not propose to make a wall to the east, what did he propose? 

Washington pondered the case. Secretary Eaton asked 
Attorney-General Berrien for a ruling in the matter, indicat- 


ing the embarrassing consequences that would ensue if Houston 
were upheld. 10 In a lengthy opinion Mr. Berrien did as much 
for his Cabinet colleague as circumstances permitted. He 
"thought" Sam Houston's position untenable. The Cherokees 
enjoyed "peculiar privileges." They held their land by a 
title "different from the ordinary Indian title of occupancy." 
Nevertheless, "the grant to them is- a grant of soil and not of 
sovereignty." Therefore, Sam Houston could not "by estab- 
lishing himself within the limits of this tribe, and incorporating 
hims-elf with it ... withdraw himself from the operation of 
the laws of the United States." 11 

Mr. Berrien's opinion was not final, however. As he wrote, 
the Supreme Court of the United States was considering the 
identical question that Sam Houston had raised. The eastern 
Cherokees, fighting to retain their lands, had brought suit, as a 
foreign nation, against the state of Georgia. Georgia cor 
tended that the Cherokee Nation was not a foreign nation and 
therefore was ineligible to sue a state of the Federal Union. 
The decision of the Supreme Court was awaited in suspense. 
It was made public in January of 1831, a month after the rul- 
ing of Mr. Berrien. 

The court was divided. The opinion of Justices Thompson 
and Story recited that as treaties never suspended empowered 
the Cherokees to declare war and make peace, to regulate their 
internal affairs and to send to Washington a "delegate" whose 
rank was that of an ambassador, the Cherokee Nation of In- 
dians was sovereign and independent, and within the meaning 
of the Constitution, a foreign state. 

This 1 supported the logic behind the whisky maneuvers of 
Sam Houston. It was not, however, the prevailing opinion of 
the court. Chief Justice Marshall and the four remaining jus- 
tices held the Cherokees to be a "domestic" and "dependent" 
nation, which therefore had not the right to sue the state of 
Georgia. This overthrew the contentions' of Houston and 
answered the most delicate question that has been raised IB 
tJ e course of our Indian relations. 


*'The fruit of this world turns to ashes- and the charm of 
life is broken," wrote Sam Houston. 12 The days of tranquilliby 
at the woodland wigwam were at an end. The year of 1831 
saw the nadir of Houston's fortunes. The sustaining passion 
for activity that lifted him out of himself during his first 
months in the Indian country had failed. In his own words 
he "buried his- sorrows in the flowing bowl . . . gave himself 
up to the fatal enchantress" alcohol. 13 The eagle's wings 
had drooped. 

The Cherokees conferred a new name on their white coun- 
selor Oo-ts-e-tee Ar-dee-tah-skee, which means Big Drunk. 14 
When Big Drunk was in character a retinue of loyal Cherokees 
would follow him about to forestall complications, but not al- 
ways with success. A young white clerk at Houston's trading- 
post displeased his employer and was challenged to a duel. 
Friends- of Houston protested that the clerk's social station 
precluded him from participation in an affair of honor. 

"I've always treated him as a gentleman," roared Houston, 
"and I'll treat him as a gentleman now." 

This improved the morale of the clerk. He was ready to 

The meeting took place, and at the count both parties 
fired. Neither was hit, and seconds intervening persuaded 
challenger and challenged that honor had been vindicated. 
But Houston did not learn for some time afterward, if ever, 
that neither weapon was charged with ball ammunition. 

On another occasion Houston quarreled with his foster- 
father and struck the old man. Others who were near at- 
tempted to seize The Raven and succeeded only after they had 
pummeled him unconscious. The old Chief was- greatly dis- 
tressed over the necessity of this extremity and bathed his 
errant son's bruises. Overwhelmed by remorse The Raven 
made a formal apology before the National Council. 15 

Whether Sam Houston complied with the War Department 


order, the constitutionality of which the Supreme Court's fa 
cision upheld, to apply for a trader's license, is disclosed in no 
record discovered by this writer. The presumption is that he 
did not that it matters. When Sam Houston alluded, as he 
often did, to the government's special use of the waters of de- 
struction as an aid to negotiation with Indians, he spoke, in a 
measure, from close experience. Taking a base view of the 
matter, what better disposition could the Government have 
made of those nine barrels of liquor than to let Sam Houston 
take them home and drink them up? 

His Indian writings lost coherency in a purple haze of con- 
troversy in which the author was displayed as "a Greeneyed 
monster ... a slanderer of man and deceiver of woman" 
who "opposed the views of the United States" and fomented 
"discord" among the tribes "by speaking disrespectfully of 
their Agents." 16 Houston being on the unpopular side of the 
Indian question, eastern papers copied more of this sort of 
thing than of the embarrassing accusations they were designed 
to refute. His influence over the Indians wavered and somb 
practical jokers among the Cherokees led to his place in the 
council house at Tah-lon-tee-skee a grotesquely painted negro 
tricked out in exaggerated imitation of The Raven's style of 

The year was a blurred gyration from place to place, from 
Scheme to scheme. For some time Houston had been involved 
in a deal to purchase a salt works on the Neosho with the 
idea of making a million dollars. This blended into a reckless 
impulse to reclaim the reins of political power in Tennessee, 
entailing a foolhardy trip to Nashville, a ridiculous letter to 
the newspapers 17 and a painful time for Houston's friends. A 
permanent result of the visit was a portrait for which Houston 
posed as Marius amid the ruins of Carthage. This smashing 
Old Hickory of the Romans had always appealed to Houston, 
and I hope it is not too much to fancy the possible inspiration 
of the painting: Houston in the wilderness approached, like 
Marius by the lieutenant of Sextilius, and making answer, "Go 


tell that you have seen Caius Marius sitting in exile among the 
ruins of Carthage !" 

Leaving Tennessee, "through with civilization forever," the 
anhappy man paused at Fort Smith to dicker with a whisky 
runner in broken English and then to plunge dangerously into 
Indian politics. The National Council of the Cherokees rati- 
fied the grant of citizenship previously bestowed by a special 
committee. There was a new gesture toward the West smack- 
ing of Oo-loo-te-ka's earlier visions 1 of empire. Houston pro- 
jected a trip to the plains with Chouteau to cultivate friendly 
relations with the wild tribes. This proposal faded in favor 
of a private expedition to the Rocky Mountains. 

The Rocky Mountain project was something that recurred 
and recurred. Houston loved to talk about it. Two years 
before this talk had thrilled the Irish adventurer, Haralson. 
Half-breed Watt Webber was next to fall under the spell. He 
began accumulating capital for the trip. At present Houston 
had an appreciative listener in Captain Bonneville of the Can- 
tonment Gibson garrison. Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonne- 
<dlle was born in France during the Terror and had been pri- 
vate secretary to the Marquis de Lafayette during Ms second 
visit to the United States. A shelf of Latin and Greek, the 
plays of Racine and poems of Maitre Francois Villon lined a 
wall of his cabin in Officer's Row. Bonneville had long yearned 
to explore the Far West. Between the classics, the Rocky 
Mountain scheme and a bottle on the table, Houston and the 
vibrant baldheaded little Frenchman would talk all night. 18 

Schemes, dreams, fancies, phantoms. . . . There was 
another recurring vision about which Sam Houston dared not 
speak too much: Texas. The very necessity for discretion 
may explain the vitality of any fragment of rumor touching 
Texas. The thing was intangible, but it was there. It formed 
the most seductive part of the aura of romance and enigma 
that overhung the exile and kept people juggling with his name 
from the Back Bay of Boston to the camps by the Rio de los 
Brazos de Dios. 


Sam Houston's passion for justice turned as fiercely as 
ever. Few men did more to subvert his plans than Colonel 
Arbuckle and Captain Vashon, yet no criticism of either ever 
passed Houston's lips, because he knew them to be honorable 
men and honest public servants- The same passion inspired 
his impulsive efforts in behalf of proud old Nathaniel Pryor, of 
the Three Forks, a first cousin of the Governor of Virginia 
During the final stages of Houston's effort te force recog- 
nition of Cherokee sovereignty, he was urging at the same time 
the appointment of Captain Pryor to the Indian service when 
such an appointment would surely raise another obstacle to any 
attempt to diminish the government's authority among the 
Indians. But he knew Pryor to be a deserving man who would 
treat the Indians decently. 

"It is impossible for me," Houston wrote Secretary Eaton, 
"ever to wish, or solicit, any patronage from the Government 
for myself, or anyone connected with me but to see a brave, 
honest, honorable and faithful servant of that country, which 
I once claimed as my own in poverty with spirit half broken 
by neglect I must be permitted to ask something in his behalf 7 5>1I> 
He also wrote to Jackson setting forth Pryor's unique quali- 
fications, and induced Arbuckle to write. Pryor received a 
five-hundred-dollar-a-year place, but died shortly afterward, 

Sam Houston's enemies were never quite sure where they 
stood. The man was inconsistent: consider his refusal to 
drink with an Indian and his opposition to the Cherokee ball 
plays, which had become orgies of Roman proportions. Big 
Drunk went on his toots alone, or at Cantonment Gibson where 
he was always welcome at the bachelor officers' mess. Old ac- 
counts tell of casual strollers along the paths about the post 
stepping aside to avoid the buckskin-clad form of the squaw- 
man unconscious among tree-stumps. 

With his visible fortunes at their lowest ebb, friends re- 
mained who were loyal and enemies who were afraid of Sam 
Houston. Officers' wives still lingered at their calico-curtained 
windows for a glimpse of the solitary figure whose tremendous 


downfall had been encompassed by a love-affair, of which, in 
all his rambling talk, he never spoke. They saw him lost in th^ 
contemplation of a little buckskin sack that was* suspended by 
a thong about his neck. Mumbling to a Cherokee witch charm ! 
A natural error, perhaps ; but in reality the little sack con- 
tained Eliza Allen's engagement ring. The Raven avoided the 
society of the officers-* ladies, but eyes no less wistful on that 
account strained to follow the dimmed star of an unfortunate 


In August of the dark year a letter from Tennessee was 
delivered at the Wigwam Neosho. In September Sam Houston 
climbed the slope of Baker's Creek Valley in Blount County to 
the porticoed house on the hillside. There he wept at the bed- 
side of a "heroine," his mother. Elizabeth Houston pressed the 
hand that wore another ring, with a motto in it. And then she 

In October Sam Houston was back at the Wigwam. In 
November he sat with the National Council of the Cherokees. 
In December he was on his way east again. A change had come 
over The Raven. There are times when a man must stand up. 



BLACK COAT, the second Chief, was in charge of the Chero- 
kee delegation with which Sam Houston departed for Wash- 
ington in December of 1831. Although Houston was not 
officially a member of the mission, the delegates' instructions 
and the petition they carried "To Andrew Jackson, Great 
Father" were in his handwriting. The latter conveyed a re- 
cital of grievances, with a paragraph tucked in to regularize 
a considerable purchase of land Houston had made from 
"Chouteau's half-breed Indian bastard children," as Agent 
Vashon phrased it, disliking ambiguities. 1 

For the journey the venerable Creek Chief, Opoth-ley-ahola, 
gave Houston a handsome buckskin coat with a beaver collar 
and a hunting knife to adorn the belt. The travelers stopped 
off at Nashville and Houston showed them through the Her- 
mitage. While inspecting the grounds he used the new knife 
to cut a hickory sapling about as big around as a man's thumb 
and fashion himself a walking cane. The party reached Wash- 
ington in January of 1832 and accommodated themselves at 
Brown's Indian Queen Hotel in Pennsylvania Avenue. A few 
days later Houston gave the cane to a friend in Georgetown. 

There had been changes in Washington since Houston's 
last visit. Peggy Eaton was not in town and the place was 
duller for it. She was in Florida where her husband, by grace 
of Andrew Jackson, was governor. Echoes of the piquant 



Peg's political disturbances still resounded in the marble halls, 
however, as on March 31, 1832, when William Stanbery, Mem- 
ber of Congress from Ohio, in the course of a broad criticism 
of the Administration, inquired, "Was not the late Secretary of 
War removed because of his attempt fraudulently to give Gov- 
ernor Houston the contract for Indian rations?" 2 

The words of Mr. Stanbery brought Houston to the foyer 
of the House chamber determined to "settle" the matter there, 
but James K. Polk hustled him out into the fresh air. Houston 
then sent Representative Cave Johnson, of Tennessee, to Stan- 
bery with a note containing the formal inquiries that etiquette 
required to precede a challenge to a duel. Johnson was made 
to promise, however, that should Stanbery refuse to receive 
the note he would not assume the quarrel himself. Stanbery 
declined to reply to "a note signed Sam Houston.' 5 "I'll in- 
troduce myself to the damned rascal," said Houston. Mr. 
Stanbery armed himself with two pistols. Houston put away 
his evil-looking knife and asked his Georgetown friend if he 
could take back the cane for a few days. 

On the evening of April thirteenth Houston, Senator Buck- 
ner, of Missouri, and Representative Blair, of Tennessee, were 
chatting with Senator Felix Grundy in the latter's room. 
Houston took his leave, and Buckner and Blair joined him in 
a walk along the Avenue. The three had covered about half 
the distance to Brown's Hotel when Blair recognized Congress- 
man Stanbery crossing the street. Whereupon, Mr. Blair 
turned and walked "rapidly" away. 

It was dark, except for the dim street-lamps. Houston 
approached the man in the street. "Are you Mr. Stanbery?" 
he asked politely. 

"Yes, sir," replied the latter. 

"Then you are a damned rascal,' 5 exclaimed Houston 5 
slamming the Ohioan on the head with the hickory cane. 


Stanbery was almost as large a man as Houston. He 
threw up his hands. "Oh, don't!" he cried, but Hi/us ion con- 
tinued to rain blows and Stanbery turned, as Senator Buck- 
ner thought, to run. Houston leaped on his opponent's back 
and dragged him down. The two rolled on the pavement. 
Stanbery yelling for help. Houston could not hold and punch 
at the same time, his right arm having been useless in such 
emergencies since the battle of To-ho-pe-ka. Stanbery man- 
aged to draw one of his pistols. He pressed it against Hous- 
ton's chest. 

Buckner heard the gunlock snap, saw the flint strike fire. 
But the charge did not explode, and Houston tore the weapon 
from Stanbery's grasp. Houston then stood up, landed a 
few more licks with the cane and, as a finishing touch, lifted the 
Congressman's feet in the air and "struck him elsewhere," a,s 
Senator Buckner rendered it in his evidence at Houston's trial. 
ladies being present. 


was the head-line in General Duff Green's United States Tele- 
graph, followed by brutal details. But the article wound up 
with observations which Houston himself could hardly have 
improved upon. 

"What gives more importance to this transaction is the 
known relation that Houston bears to the President of the 
United States. . . . He was the individual who placed in 
the hands of General Jackson Mr. Monroe's letter to Mr. Cal- 
houn that made so important a part of 'the correspondence 5 
between the President and Vice President. Although he left 
Tennessee under circumstances that produced the greatest 
excitement, took up his residence among the Indians and 
adopted their costume and habits ; an ;1 although the proof that 
he contemplated a fraud upon the government is conclusive, 
yet . . . he is still received at the Executive Mansion and 
treated with the kindness and hospitality of an old favor* 
ite. . . . We have long seen, that tactics of the Nashville 
srhool were to be transferred to Washington and that the 


Toice of truth was to be silenced by the dread of the assassin 
But we have not yet taken fear as our counsellor." 3 

After this, further reference to a hickory cane cut at the 
Hermitage was labor of supererogation. General Green, with 
his powerful newspaper, had quit the Jackson entourage with 
Mr, Calhoun. Bursting to even the score, he raised the 
trouncing of Stanbery greatly above the altitude of a common 


From his bed Mr. Stanbery dispatched a note to Andrew 
Stevenson, the Speaker of the House, describing how he had 
been "waylaid in the street . . . attacked, knocked down by 
a bludgeon and severely bruised and wounded by Samuel Hous- 
ton, late of Tennessee, for words spoken in my place in the 
House of Representatives." This was read to the House, and 
a resolution was offered for the arrest of Houston. 

This parliamentary move brought to his feet James K. Polk, 
the President's voice in the House of Representatives. Mr, 
Polk would not admit that the House had the power to arrest 
Sam Houston in the matter involved, but the vote was one 
hundred and forty-five to twenty-five for arrest. 

On the following day the galleries were crowded and every 
member was in his seat when the prisoner, wearing his fur* 
collared buckskin coat and carrying his stick of Hermitage 
hickory, walked down the aisle of the House chamber beside 
the sergeant-of-arms. He halted before the Speaker's desk and 
bowed. Speaker Stevenson, a friend of the accused, read the 
formal arraignment. Houston asked for twenty-four hours 
in which to prepare his defense. He was granted forty-eight 

Houston reappeared with Francis Scott Key as his attor- 
ney, although the defendant virtually conducted his own case. 
Asked to plead to a charge of assaulting Representative Stan- 
bery for words spoken in debate, Houston said he had not 
molested Mr. Stanbery for words spoken in the House, but few 


remarks imputed to Mr. Stanbery by a newspaper. After 
vainly trying to get Mr. Stanbery to disavow or affirm the 
published statements, Houston added that on an "accidental" 
meeting he had given way to his- feelings and struck the Con- 
gressman with "a common walking cane." This was interpreted 
as a plea of not guilty and the trial of Sam Houston before the 
bar of the House of Representatives was set to begin on April 

It continued for a month, growing in public interest until 
everything else in the current news was eclipsed. Niles 9 
Register, of Baltimore, which prided itself on its reports of 
the proceedings of Congress, fell days behind on the regular 
doings of the Senate and the House, so great was the space 
required to report the Houston trial. The Register was moved 
to deprecate a public taste so thirsty for details of this raffish 


Mr. Stanbery was the first witness. The bumps on his 
countenance were Exhibit A. Houston conducted the cross- 
examination, opening with the statement that the witness had 
made an accusation of fraud. 

"Had you then or have you now," he asked, "any and what 
evidence of the correctness of such imputation?" 

Several of Stanbery ? s friends objected to the question. 
Mr. Polk demanded an answer. By a vote of one hundred and 
one to eighty-two the House ordered Mr. Stanbery to reply. 

"It was no part of my intention," he said, "to impute fraud 
to General Houston." 

Senator Buckner told of the encounter as he had witnessed 
it. Mr. Stanbery characterized the Senator's testimony as 
"destitute of truth and infamous," but withdrew the statement 
and apologized. The now celebrated cane was exhibited, hefted 
and passed from hand to hand. The defense showed that Mr. 
Stanberj had carried a pistol and had tried to shoot Houston, 


but the weapon was not introduced in evidence. The cane held 
the stage, unchallenged by any rival attraction. 

On April twenty-sixth Mr. Key made the opening address 
for the defense. There was little in it to suggest the author of 
The Star Spangled Banner. He undertook to establish that 
Houston had not struck Stanbery for words spoken in debate 
but for words printed in a newspaper. The weak spot in this 
contention was that the words printed in the paper were a 
verbatim report of the debate. When he concluded, his client's 
chances of escaping conviction appeared to be rather slim. 

This state of affairs distressed Andrew Jackson, and he 
sent for Houston. Speaking of it afterward, Sam Houston de- 
clared that he had never seen Jackson in such a temper. Hous- 
ton was wearing the buckskin coat. The President asked if 
he had any other clothes. Houston said he had not, and 
Jackson tossed a clinking silk purse to his caller with the 
advice to dress like a gentleman and buck up his defense. 4 
Houston went to a tailor and was measured for "a coat of the 
finest material, reaching to my knees, trousers in harmony 
of color and the latest style in cut, with a white satin vest to 
match." 5 

On the afternoon of May sixth Houston was notified that 
the defense would be required to close its case on the following 
day. That night a number of friends dropped into his room at 
Brown's Hotel. "Gentlemen," Houston is quoted as saying in 
a reminiscence of the occasion, "we sat late and you may judge 
how we drank when I tell you that Stevenson [the Speaker of 
the House, and presiding officer of the trial] at midnight was 
sleeping on the lounge. Bailey Peyton was out of commission 
and had gone to his room and Felix Grundy had ceased to be 
interesting. Polk rarely indulged and left us early." 6 

Houston awoke with a headache. "I took a cup of coffee 
but it refused to stick." A second cup behaved no better* 
"After something like an hour had passed I took another cup 
and it stuck, and I said, <I am all right' and proceeded to array 
in my splendid apparel.' 




Above the stately entrance to the chamber of the House 
stood a representation of History, a comely, though alert, 
young woman, by the hand of an Italian sculptor. Light 
draperies floated about her. On one knee she balanced a ledger, 
and gracefully exhibited a pen in perfect readiness to record 
whatever of interest that should take place within her view. 
A wheel of the chariot in which she rode served as the face of 
the clock of the House. 

The draped dais- of the Speaker faced the clock. At the 
hour of noon Mr. Stevenson called the House to order. The 
scene before him was notable. The hall was a noble adaptation 
of the Greek theater pattern. Shafts of sunlight descended 
from a glassed dome sixty feet, at its highest point, from the 
floor. Beneath a sweeping arch at the Speaker's back was a 
figure of Liberty at whose feet a marble eagle spread its winga 
for flight. On either side were flag-draped panels, one hung 
with a portrait of Washington, one with a likeness of 

Every seat on the floor was filled and chairs had been 
placed in the aisles to accommodate the privileged overflow. A 
solid bank of men pressed against the colonnaded semicircle of 
wall. For two hours there had been no room in the galleries, 
where the diplomatic corps, gay with ribbons, the Army, the 
Navy and Society were authentically represented. 

In front of the Speaker's dais the prisoner bowed to his 
guest of the evening before. 

"Mr. Speaker," he said. The tone was one of ordinary 
conversation, but Houston's rich warm voice reached every 
part of the chamber. "Mr, Speaker, arraigned for the first 
%ime of my life on a charge of violating the laws of my country 
I feel all that embarrassment which my peculiar situation is 
calculated to inspire." Houston's perfect composure made this 
a gracious beginning. 

"I disclaim, utterly every motive unworthy of an honor 


able man." The tone was suddenly infused with passionate 
earnestness. If, when "deeply wronged," he had on "impulse" 
violated the laws of his country or trespassed the prerogatives 
of the House, he was "willing to be held to my responsibility. 
All I demand is that my actions may be pursued to the motives 
which gave them birth." 

He stood before the House, he said, branded as "a man of 
broken fortune and blasted reputation." "I can never forget 
that reputation, however limited, is the high boon of 
heaven. . . . Though the plowshare of ruin has been driven 
over me and laid waste to my brightest hopes ... I have 
only to say . . . 

" 'I seek no sympathies, nor need ; 

The thorns which I have reaped are of the tree 

I planted ; they have torn me and I bleed.' " 

It was very effective. The galleries applauded, and as 
Houston awaited an opportunity to resume, a bouquet of 
flowers dropped at his feet. A woman's voice was heard above 
the hum: 

"I had rather be Sam Houston in a dungeon than Stanbery 
on a throne !" 8 

Amid perfect silence Houston picked up the flowers. He 
bowed over them but did not raise his eyes. 

Houston spoke for half an hour on the perils of legislative 
tyranny. He mentioned Greece and Home. The errors of 
Caesar, of Cromwell, of Bonaparte and of "the Autocrat of all 
the Russias" were displayed. Blackstone and the Apostle Paul 
vere shown to be on the speaker's side. A well-turned period 
i ras closed with a quotation nine lines in length, beginning: 

"There is a proud, undying thought in man 
That bids his soul still upward look. ..." 

From this premise the speaker moved dexterously to the 
Corollary that he had committed no offense for which the COB- 


gress could punish him without invading the private rights of a 

Houston paused. His glance met the glance of History, 
then shifted to the flag that draped the portrait of Lafayette. 

"So long as that proud emblem . . . shall wave in the 
Hall of American legislators, so long shall it cast its sacred 
protection over the personal rights of every American citizen. 
Sir, when you shall have destroyed the pride of American 
character, you will have destroyed the brightest jewel that 
heaven ever made. You will have drained the purest and holiest 
drop which visits the hearts of your sages in council and heroes 
in the field and . . . these massy columns, with yonder lofty 
dome will sink into one crumbling ruin. . . . But, Sir, so 
long as that flag shall bear aloft its glittering stars ... so 
long I trust,, shall the rights of American citizens be preserved 
safe and unimpaired till dis-cord shall wreck the spheres the 
grand march of time shall cease and not one fragment of all 
creation be left to chafe the bosom of eternity's waves." 

That was all. Whether Francis Scott Key, who sat in the 
front row, felt like disowning certain feeble lines of his own, 
inspired by the bombardment of Fort McHenry, is a detail 
Upon which history is remiss. But Junius Brutus Booth plowed 
through the crowd and embraced his old friend. 

"Houston, take my laurels !" 9 


As soon as Speaker Stevenson could restore order, Mr. 
Harper, of New Hampshire, was recognized. He made a 

"Resolved, that Samuel Houston now in custody of the 
Sergeant-of-Arms, should forthwith be discharged." 

Mr. Huntington, of Connecticut, was recognized. He de- 
sired to amend the motion of Mr. Harper by striking out all 
but the word "Resolved" and substituting the following: 

"That Samuel Houston has been guilty of a contempt ir? 
violation of the privileges of this House." 


The amendment was debated for four days. Mr. Polk 
contested every inch of the ground, but the House at length 
tired of the entertainment and voted one hundred and six to 
eighty-nine that Houston was guilty. He was sentenced to be 
reprimanded by the Speaker. The Stanbery wing sought to 
deprive Houston of the privilege of the floor of the House which 
he enjoyed as a former member of that body, but Polk struck 
back and defeated this, one hundred and one to ninety. 

The reprimand took place on May fourteenth. Again the 
galleries were thronged and the aisles packed. Again Houston, 
the picture of composure, bowed before the Speaker, who bowed 
back, and began his unwelcome duty. He opened by alluding 
to the "character and the intelligence" of the accused "who has 
himself been honored with a seat in this House." "I forbear to 
say more./' concluded Mr. Stevenson, "than to pronounce the 
judgement of the House, which is that you ... be repri- 
manded at this bar by the Speaker, and ... I do reprimand 
you accordingly." 

But Mr. Stanbery was now showing more fight than he had 
that evening on Pennsylvania Avenue. He had Houston ar- 
rested on a criminal warrant charging assault. Further, he 
obtained a House investigation of the rations contract 
maneuvers' of 1830. A jury convicted Houston of assault and 
he was fined five hundred dollars, but for some reason the trial 
attracted next to no attention. Duff Green seems to have been 
saving his thunder for the ration investigation which became 
another national spectacle. Green was so certain that Houston 
would be convicted of fraud that he announced his guilt in ad- 

That was an era of latitude for the press. When Duff 
Green broke with Jackson, the President needing an organ in 
Washington, had induced Francis P. Blair to start the Globe. 
Blair was a westerner of the Jackson-Houston stamp in the 
matter of personal loyalties. His big house near the Executive 
Mansion was a haven of refuge for an old soldier in ill health, 
very weary* and at times as near dejection as one of Jackson's 


unconquerable spirit could be. The President would escape to 
"Blaar's," as he said it, in the broad North-of-Ireland way. 
slump into a big chair and smoke his pipe in peace. The 
Globe leaped to Houston's defense in the ration issue, and 
Andrew Jackson, busy as he was, found time to inspire Frank 
Blair's blunt pen. 

The investigation was conducted by a committee of seven, 
of which Mr. Stanbery was the chairman. Houston conducted 
his own defense. The hearings were long drawn out. Stan- 
bery was not impartial. There were many witnesses, some like 
Auguste Chouteau, from great distances. Duff Green was a 
tame witness. Houston practically ruined his testimony by a 
cross-examination conducted with Chesterfieldian courtesy. 
The evidence showed that Houston was the favored bidder of 
Eaton and Jackson, and only a failure of plans had prevented 
his obtaining the ration contract by secretive means and at 
enormous profit perhaps aggregating a million dollars. Even 
so, the government would have saved money ^ and motives of 
envy, not patriotism, had kept the contract from Houston. 
After six weeks the committee reported by a divided vote that 
"John H. Eaton and Samuel Houston do stand entirely ac- 
quitted from all imputation of fraud." 10 

These triumphs were far-reaching. They stripped The 
Raven of his beads and blanket. They buried Big Drunk. They 
resurrected Sam Houston who passionately embraced as "my 
country" the land he had so bitterly repudiated only a few 
months before. Once more he was in the train of the eagle. 

Houston understood what had happened. Reviewing the 
Stanbery episode in after-life he said: "I was dying out and 
had they taken me before a justice of peace and fined me ten 
dollars it would have killed me; but they gave me a national 
tribunal for a theatre, and that set me up again." 11 

No one was more pleased to see Sam Houston set up again 


than Andrew Jackson. Houston was his friend. He was 
another good man to use, and what President ever had enough 
good men? The old intimacy was restored, it was like bygone 
times. We have the spiteful testimony of Duff Green that 
Houston practically lived at the Executive Mansion, 

Sam Houston was always giving presents. Poor Aunt 
Rachel must have had a drawerful of such remembrances. The 
mistress of the President's House at this period was Sarah 
York Jackson, wife of Andrew Jackson, Jr., the Executive's 
adopted son. Sam gave her Eliza Allen's- engagement ring. 12 
Prom his discarded Indian wardrobe, he presented the Presi- 
dent with an elaborate Cherokee ceremonial costume. Jackson 
had it among his trophies at the Hermitage when he died. 

Like old times, indeed: Sam Houston one of the family a 
renaissance of the days when this obedient servant traded 
horses, held offices and fought a duel for Andrew Jackson. His 
first thought, his constant thought, was to atone for the period 
of his delinquency. He would do something grand. He would 
capture an empire and lay it at his old Chieftain's feet Texas 5 
or the New Estremadura, as Houston used to say when his 
poetic fancy was on the wing. 



THE thought of delivering the New Estremadura was not 
new with General Houston. For more than four years 1 the 
refugee had been a factor in the complex Texas question, which 
one way or another had rippled the waters of our foreign policy 
since the Louisiana Purchase. One of the principal factors in 
keeping the question alive was Andrew Jackson, who felt a 
personal responsibility in the matter. 

Our claim to Texas assumed this vast and vague region to 
be a part of Louisiana, but the authority of the assertion had 
been impaired by Mr. Monroe who had disavowed it to placate 
Spain during the rumpus following Jackson's seizure of Florida. 
Jackson had concurred in the repudiation, only to regret it 
and regard Texas 1 as much the rightful prize of the United 
States as Florida. Before a year had elapsed after the re* 
nunciation, James Long, an ex-Army surgeon under Jackson, 
lost his life in an attempt to restore the province by means 
of a handful of armed adventurers. 

Mexico then won its- independence of Spain and inaugurated 
a new policy in Texas. Spain had prohibited immigration 
except by Spaniards. This kept Texas virtually depopulated, 
which Spain believed to be a protection to the northern 
frontier of Mexico. But that extraordinary rover, Moses 
Austin, by nerve and luck obtained permission to move into 
Texas with three hundred American families* Then Austin 



and Spain was overthrown in Mexico. Stephen F. Austin took 
over his father's work. The Mexican Republic validated the 
grant and invited other settlers on attractive terms. A tide of 
immigration followed and by 1832 the white population of 
Texas had grown to twenty thousand, frontier Americans pre- 
dominating. Austin had become a loyal citizen of his adopted 
country. This was not true of many others, however, who 
carried to Texas the definite idea of bringing it under United 
States sovereignty. 

The significance of this trend was not lost on Washington. 
Mr. Adams asked Andrew Jackson to be the first minister 
of the United States to the Mexican Republic. He declined, 
and Joel R. Poinsett went to Mexico City, shortly to receive 
instructions to ask Mexico to accept the Rio Grande as the 
frontier. The startled Mexicans refused. Poinsett was asked 
to restate the offer with a cash inducement of a million dollars, 
but, feeling that this would only further antagonize Mexico, he 
declined to do so. On the other hand, he concluded a treaty 
in which the Sabine River was declared to be the boundary. 
Jackson saw Texas slipping from our grasp, and his irritation 

Becoming president, Jackson shelved the Poinsett agree 
ment, which the Senate had not ratified, and reopened nego- 
tiations for the Rio Grande boundary. He was willing to pay 
five million dollars. Poinsett was replaced by a personal friend 
of Jackson, Anthony Butler. Butler tried to bribe the Mexi- 
can officials whose sanction was necessary to the relinquishment 
of Texas. His methods, lacking finesse, only served to throw 
Mexico into a state of alarm. The colonization laws were 
amended and eventually revoked to choke off emigration to 
Texas. Outcry against the acquisition of Texas also went 
up from free-soil New England which feared an increase of 
power to the slaveholding South, and Europe took notice: a& 
very annoying to Andrew Jackson. 

Into this darkening picture had plunged Sam Houston, 
trained in \he Jackson school* Texas was ours we were 


tiny-bound to bring it under the flag. When the spectacular 
ruin of his fortunes- sent the ex-Governor storming southwest- 
ward, Texas, and not the Indian country or the Rocky Moun- 
tains, was the goal Sam Houston had in his mind. It was 
Jackson who changed these plans. 

Houston had scarcely arrived in the Cherokee country 
when the President received word of his intentions. This came 
from Duff Green, moved by a sincere wish to discredit Houston. 
Green showed Jackson a letter from Congressman Marable, 
quoting Houston as saying that he intended to "conquer 
Mexico or Texas, and be worth two millions in two years." 
This came at a moment when Jackson was- anxious to preserve 
an appearance of respect for Mexican sovereignty. The 
President believed the story that Houston had told Marable to 
be "efusions of a distempered brain," but he took no chances. 
"As a precautionary measure I directed the Secretary of War 
to write and enclose Mr. Pope, Govr of Arkansas, the extract 
[of Marable's letter to Green] and instruct him if such illegal 
project should be discovered to exist to adopt prompt 
measures to put it down and give the government the earliest 
intelligence of such illegal enterprise with the names of all 
concerned therein." 1 

Sam Houston entered the Indian country under surveillance, 
and his mail was intercepted and read. But Jackson was frank 
enough to write him a long letter. "When I parted with 
you on the 18th of January last ... I then viewed you as 
on the brink of happiness and rejoiced. About to be united 
in marriage to a beautiful young lady, of accomplished manners, 
and respectable connections, & of your own selection you the 
Governor of the State and holding the affections of the peo- 
ple these were your prospects- when I shook you by the hand 
and bade you farewell. You may well judge my astonishment 
and grief in receiving a letter from you dated Little Rock, A. T. 


conveying the sad intellegence that you were then ... an 
exile from, your country." 

These lines were well calculated to soothe the torn heart 
of the fugitive, who surmised the sort of stories his enemies had 
carried to Jackson. Houston read on. "It has been communi- 
cated to me that you had the illegal enterprise in view of con- 
quering Texas ; that you had declared that you would, in less 
than two years, be emperor of that country by conquest, I 
must really have thought you deranged to have believed you 
had so wild a scheme in contemplation, and particularly when 
it was communicated that the physical force to be employed 
was the Cherokee Indians. Indeed, my dear Sir, I cannot be- 
lieve you have any such chimerical visionary scheme in view. 
Your pledge of honor to the contrary is a sufficient guarantee 
that you will never engage in any enterprise injurious to you* 
country that would tarnish your fame. 5 ' 2 

The pledge was- given, and honor was not a word that Sam 
Houston used lightly. 3 Consequently, letters like this, from 
John Wharton, of Nashville, could receive no satisfactory 
answer: "I have heard you intended an expedition against 
Texas. I suppose, if it is true, you will let your Nashville 
friends know of it." 4 Houston's silence seems to have puzzled 
Wharton, who went to Texas on his own account, writing again 
in October: "I ... request you once more to visit Texas'. 
It is a fine field for enterprise. You can get a grant of land, 
be surrounded by your friends, and what may not the coming 
of time bring about?" 5 

Sam Houston was as anxious as any one to know what 
time might bring about, but for the present he could *mly 
plan vaguely in the hope that time would induce Jackson to 
release him from his vow. Jacks-on appreciated Houston's dis- 
appointment and tried to divert his friend with the suggestion 
that he enter public life in Arkansas under the Jacksonian 
aegis. This Houston declined, but he considered, for a time, 
settling in Natchez, Mississippi, another good jumping-off 
place. Meantime, however, the web of Indian affairs caught 


bin., up And began to lead him along strange paths. But 
Texas was never long out of his thoughts. 

When Houston's first visit to Washington from the Indian- 
country precipitated the rations controversy, the Cherokee 
envoy unburdened himself concerning another matter to 
Dr. Robert Mayo, a Jackson admirer and fellow-lodger at 
Brown's Hotel. Some months later, while the Administration 
was wrestling with the whisky issue by which Sam Houston 
had raised the question of Cherokee sovereignty, Doctor Mayo 
unburdened himself to Jackson. The President requested 
Mayo to put his story in writing, which he did in a letter 
dated December 2, 1830. 

"Sometime in the month of February last . . . very 
shortly after General Samuel Houston arrived in this city, I 
was introduced to him at Brown's Hotel. Our rooms were on 
the s*ame floor and convenient for social intercourse; which, 
from the General's courteous manners, and my own desire 
to . . .do him justice in my own estimation relative to his 
abandoning his family and abdicating the government of Ten- 
nessee, readily became intimate. . . . He dis-canted on the 
immense fields for enterprise in the Indian settlement, in Texas ; 
and recommended me to direct my destinies that way. . . . 
I had a curiosity now on tiptoe, to hear his* romantic projec- 
tions, for his manner and his enthusiasm were at least enter- 
taining. ... I learnt these facts and speculations, viz : 

<c Tliat he was organizing an expedition against Texas ; to 
afford a cloak to which he had assumed the Indian costume, 
habits and associations, by settling among them in the neigh- 
borhood of Texas. That nothing was more easy to accomplish 
than the conquest and possession of that extensive and fertile 
country, [and] by the cooperation of the Indians in the Ar- 
kansas Territory and recruits among the citizens of the United 
States . . . [form] a separate and independent govern- 
ment. . . . That the event of success opened the most un- 
bounded prospects of wealth and that ... I should have s, 
surgeoncy in the expedition, and he recommended me in the 


Houston dictating to Hockley the order for Major Austin to go in search of artillery. 
(From "Sam Houston and Sis. Republic," 1846) 








meantime, to remove along with him and practice physic among 
the Indians. . . . 

"I declined . . . and . . . after this* our interviews fell 
into neglect. ... In the month of March [1830] Gen'l 
Houston visited Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, and 
did intend to have gone as far as Boston. . . . 

"Sometime in the month of June ... I met a young 
gentleman ... by the name of Murray, from Tennes- 
see ... [who] readily confirmed ... as a thing of com- 
mon rumor . . . that the general was organizing an expedi- 
tion to take possession of Texas. . . . 

"A few weeks ago a Mr. Hunter, lately dismissed from 
West Point, came to take lodgings in the house where I 
boarded. . . . Being in pecuniary embarrassments' and un- 
able to redeem his baggage ... he fell to boasting of the 
funds he was daily expecting by the mail. . . . But, says he, 
all that is nothing to the unbounded prospects- I have of wealth 
in the future. Indeed! I said, how is it that you can en- 
gender wealth? . . . Ah, says he, that is a secret. I will 
lay my life, said I, that it is a s-cheme upon Texas. He, hesi- 
tatingly, said, yes, something like it. And said I, General 
Houston is the projector and conductor of the enterprise? At 
this he was- . . . impressed with the conviction that I knew 
all ... and . . . set in to . . . writing my name on 
the table in cipher . . . and wrote the scheme [of the cipher] 
here enclosed." 

Mr. Hunter further claimed tc be "a bona fide agent of the 
recruiting service for this district ; and that there were agencies 
established in all the principal towns-, and various parts of the 
United States; and that occult code exhibited was the 
means of correspondence. That several thousand had already 
enlisted along the seaboard from New England to Georgia, in- 
clusive. That each man had paid thirty dollars to the com- 
mon fund, and took an oath of secrecy* . . . That they were 
to repair ... as travellers to different points on the banks 
of the Mississippi; where they had already chartered steam- 
boats." 6 

The credibility of Doctor Mayo has been assailed on tte 
ground that he was a tale-bearing busybody, hostile to Jackson, 


These criticisms are somewhat true, but the hostility came 
later, and has no bearing on his letter. Mayo may have been 
gullible and he may have stretched things a bit, but circum- 
stances impel the conclusion that he reported with fair ac- 
curacy what he had heard. He expected a sweeping official 
investigation of his story, and was chagrined because Jackson 
did not order one. Barring the cipher, the essential details of 
the plotting as pictured by Doctor Mayo are supported by 
other evidence, as well as by the facts of the Texas drama, 
as they presently were to unfold themselves. Jackson himself, 
knowing all that he did of the Texas question, was sufficiently 
impressed to pass the Mayo story on to the authorities in 
Arkansas with instructions to maintain with "utmost secrecy" 
a fresh lookout over Houston's movements. 


The discreet Houston did nothing to bring about an in- 
tervention of the spying officials. Rumors of his Texas con- 
spiracy did not die, however. They were much alive in the 
Indian country, in the United States and in Texas as well, 
where it was understood that the exile was in communication 
with a young lawyer named William Barret Travis, who had 
brought with him from Georgia some forward ideas touching 
the future of northeastern Mexico. 

Jackson pressed his 1 purchase negotiations as hard as he 
dared, and Houston kept his word not to disturb the deep 
waters of diplomacy. So far so good, except that Butler's 
efforts at purchase exhibited slight prospects of success and 
presently Sam Houston was off on another tangent. His 
seemingly sudden notions of the sanctity of Cherokee sover- 
eignty gave the Administration an amount of concern. In 
this instance also, Sam Houston took his medicine like a good 
Jackson subaltern, and there followed a period of comparative 
quiet on the Potomac, while on the Arkansas Houston was too 
greatly disconcerted by "the flowing bowl" for the critical ap- 


plication necessary to the execution of any settled plan. 
Shocked out of this hiatus by the death of his 1 mother, Sam 
Houston burst upon Washington and lost no time proving that 
his genius for the spotlight retained its fine edge. The 
pummeling of Stanbery reestablished Sara Houston as a na- 
tional figure and a trusted friend of the President. It was the 
springboard for his long-postponed leap to Texas. 

The purchase negotiations still dragged, and many people, 
including Jackson, were becoming impatient. Texas was filling 
up with Americans who made little secret of their revolutionary 
intentions. This situation, coupled with the effronteries of 
Butler, increased the suspicions of Mexico, which fumblingly 
began to take measures. 

But the laws forbidding American emigration could not 
be enforced. A law abolishing slavery met a similar fate. 
The Americans in Texas became bolder, and when Stephen F. 
Austin, their leader, showed himself too conservative, a head- 
strong minority began to take matters in its own hands. While 
the Stanbery affair was at its height the radicals discussed 
the possibility of inviting either Sam Houston or Billy Carroll, 
of Tennessee, to lead them. 7 

Jackson was getting in a corner, and he, too, took measures, 
Butler was prodded. Steps also were taken against the pos- 
sible collapse of the policy of purchase. Houston spent his 
days and nights with Jackson men who thought it time for a 
Florida coup in Texas. He pressed his advantage. The 
President yielded, and with either the expressed or implied 
consent of his- patron, Sam Houston made an excursion to 
New York to raise funds for a trip to Texas. The New 
Yorkers were sympathetic, but not so quick to part with their 
money. Eastern financiers had recently made heavy invest- 
ments in Texas- lands and a revolution was something that re- 
quired reflection. Samuel Swartwout, now President Jackson's 
collector of the Port of New York, would cheerfully acknowl- 
edge that. So would old Aaron Burr. 

Houston returned to Washington with the question of hia 

182 THE 

personal budget unsolved. Whereupon, according to Buell, a 
biographer jealous of Jackson's reputation, the President 
loaned Houston five hundred dollars to start on his adven- 
ture 8 a modest sum hut Jackson's cash reserve was low. The 
President also clothed Houston with official powers and con- 
cocted a confidential mission to Texas under a United States 
passport. Houston quietly left Washington, giving out that 
he was hound for his wigwam on the Arkansas. As usual he 
stopped over in Tennessee. 


The talk in Tennessee still revolved about Eliza Allen. 
Neither the Stanbery affair nor Texas had diminished interest 
in the parting of the lovers. But in three years sentiment had 
undergone a change. Houston's policy of silence had begun to 
tell. Whether blameless or blameworthy, who could criticize 
his conduct since the event? He had said nothing; he had 
done nothing except to withdraw. By the outward sign no 
detachment could be more complete, no oblivion more sincerelj 
sought. Fragmentary glimpses of a fugitive figure, to-day in 
the vortex of great events in the nation's capital, to-morrow 
on a dim frontier ruling the camps of reckless men : such was 
the likeness that Tennessee had contrived of Sam Houston. 
It appealed. The exile had endowed his cause with a certain 
dignity and his person with a modish flavor of romance. 

The Stanbery affair was "good theater," and although Car- 
roll was still in the saddle, Houston's return caused something 
resembling an ovation in Tennessee. "Wherever he went he 
was received with every demonstration of regard. . . . Rea- 
son had resumed its sway over the public mind, and a strong 
desire was manifested that he should again take up his abode 
in Tennessee." But in his- own words, Houston "could not be 
dissuaded from his purpose of returning once more to the 
forest. A sight of the spot where he had seen the bright hopes 
that had greeted his early manhood, crushed in a single hour f 


only awakened associations he wished to forget." Accordingly 
"he once more turned his face towards the distant wigwam 
of the old Indian chief" to seek "repose by the hearth-stone of 
a savage King a biting satire on civilized life." 9 

Although these protestations served to disguise the 
traveler's descent upon Texas, there can be no doubt of the 
sincerity of the allusion to Eliza. Yet, as Houston wrote Lewis, 
had she eluded surveillance and come to him on the occasion of 
the memorable visit to Nashville two years before "I would not 
[have] received her. 5510 The tragedy that kept those two apart 
formed the very soul of Sam Houston's secret. "Tho ? the world 
can never know my situation and may condemn me God will 
justify me!" 11 

But God's justification had been slow in easing the torments 
of Houston's mind. During the three and one-half years of his 
Indian life, Houston visited Tennessee four times. On two 
occasions he saw his wife if there is truth in stories that have 
been told and believed in Sumner County for nearly one hundred 
years. They rest upon ground a reviewer must tread with 
caution, but the body of legend that surrounds Sam Houston is 
a part of the saga of his life. The versions presented here seem 
the most agreeable with history. 

This is the story of a girlhood friend of Eliza who was a 
bridesmaid at her wedding. "One day while Eliza was in the 
garden of the manor house . . . the housemaid announced 
that a stranger, a tall man, was in the reception room asking to 
see her. On entering the room she saw at a glance that the 
stranger was the late Governor artfully disguised. He arose 
and made his old time courtly salutation. . . . He did not 
suspect that his disguise was detected. . . . He conversed 
about the weather and the condition of the river. Neither did 
she in any way hint that she knew him but all the time the 
visitor was gazing at her as if to fasten her features more 
surely in his memory. Then he arose, made another profound 
bow and passed out going down to the river. There he entered 
a canoe, paddled to the opposite bank and disappeared." 1 * 


The other account I select is accredited to one Dilsey, a 
servant of the Allen family. The incident is supposed to have 
taken place on Houston's last visit to Tennessee before his 
departure for Texas. Dilsey was busy about her cabin near 
the "big house" when Marse Sam suddenly appeared, frighten- 
ing the negress almost out of her wits. Winning her confidence 
with a present of silver, Houston persuaded Dilsey to call her 
mistress to the cabin. He concealed himself and thus harbored 
by a slave, is said to have gazed upon the face and heard the 
voice of his wife for the last time. 13 


The wisdom of Houston's impulse not to linger in the 
environs of Tennessee soon became apparent. Leaving Nash- 
ville, he stopped at Cincinnati. He had friends there who were 
interested in his Texas plans, and in any event the presence of 
one so notable was something to speak of on the wharf where 
the well-to-do promenaded and took their nip at the Orleans 
Coffee House that stood in a garden facing the steamboat 
landing. The theater bills announced that General Houston 
would attend the play on the evening of July twentieth. 

The guest of honor with a party of friends arrived and 
entered a box. Their appearance was saluted with hisses. 

"Turn him out!" "The damned scoundrel!" "Female 
purity I" 

The play was forgotten. The curtain descended and the 
theater manager came out to see what was the matter. They 
howled him down. One or two of Houston's friends rose and 
attempted to speak. They howled them down. Sam Houston 
rose. His towering form, his confident self-command and un- 
forgettable voice restored quiet to the theater. 

"He appealed as a stranger," said a newspaper account; 14 
"to the hospitality and patriotism of the audience." He re* 
called "having fought and bled in defense of his country, wher? 
his companions in arms were soldiers from Ohio." 

"Don't hear him!" "Out with him!" "Female purity!" 


The actors tried to sing the people into a good humor, but 
it was useless. The performance closed. "Houston and his 
friends succeeding in leaving the theatre without injury!" 

About six weeks later, that is, in early September, 1832. 
Sam Houston received at Cantonment Gibson his passport re- 
questing "all the Tribes of Indians, whether in amity with the 
United States, or as yet not allied to them by Treaties, to per- 
mit safely and freely to pass through their respective 
territories, General Samuel Houston, a Citizen of the United 
States, Thirty-eight years of age, Six feet, two inches in 
stature, brown hair and light complexion ; and in case of need 
to give him all lawful aid and protection." 15 

The name of Texas does not appear in the document. But 

{he same post, or very nearly the same, came a letter from 
Lu ^ston's old friend, John Van Fossen, who could speak with 
less reserve. Van Fossen was a Jackson political appointee and 
had been close to Houston during the Stanbery episode. He 
regretted to hear "that your friends in New York may fail to 
furnish the means of prosecuting your Texas enterprise." "I 
hope," he continued, "it will not prove true, for I had indulged 
the expectation of ... the most splendid results. I do not 
believe that that country will long continue its allegiance to 
the Mexican Government, and I would much rather see it de- 
tached through your agency . . . than . . . [by] pur- 
chase. ... It has been your fortune to engross more public 
attention than any other private individual in this nation, and 
I am daily asked a hundred questions about this extraordinary 
man, Gen. Houston, I most ardently hope that I may ere long 
be able to say that you have triumphed over every obstacle 
that interposed against . . . your wishes." 16 

Houston passed the next three months settling his affairs. 
He was at Cantonment Gibson often. Things were quiet, and 
old Colonel Arbuckle was courting the lately widowed Sallie 
Nicks, who still served out grog although she was worth twenty- 
five thousand dollars. In November Washington Irving arrived 
at the post on his tour of the wild West, and Houston joined 


the distinguished visitor's escort on its way to the hunting- 
grounds. "Gov. Houston," scribbled Mr. Irving in his pocket 
note-book, "tail, large, well formed, fascinating man low 
crowned large brimmed white beaver boots with brass [?] 
eagle [ ?] spurs given to grandiloquence. A large & military 

mode of expressing himself ; I encamped last night at , for, 

I slept last night. Old Genl Nix [Sallie's late lamented] used 
to say God made him two drinks- scant." 17 

Not long thereafter The Raven said farewell to Tiana and 
left her possessed of the Wigwam Neosho, its fields and two 
slaves. Andrew Jackson's emissary took with him only Jack, 
the pony he rode ; and Jack had no tail. Heading toward the 
Red River, Houston met Elias Rector, whom General Albert 
Pike has immortalized as the Fine Arkansas Gentleman who got 
drunk once a week on whisky and sobered himself on wine. The 
two rode together for a day and halted for a convivial hour 
before parting. Houston said it was humiliating to think of 
appearing so poorly mounted among a race of strangers who 
were connoisseurs of horse-flesh. It would be trying on the 
horse as well, for Jack, having no tail, would find the flies 
a pest in Texas. Saddles and bridles were changed, and Hous- 
ton took leave of Jack with words that touched Rector. 

"Houston," he said, "I wish to give you something be- 
fore we separate and I have nothing that will do as a gift 
except my razor." 

"Rector," said Houston, "I except your gift, and mark my 
words, if I have luck this razor will some day shave the chin 
of a president of a republic." 18 

On the first day of December, 1832, Houston was at Fort 
Towson on the American bank of the Red River, a sprawling, 
unfinished stream, normally more river-bed than river. On the 
other side billowed a vacant plain dressed in dirty red grass 
spotted with patches of jack-oak. This was Texas. On 
December second, while an eagle circled overhead, Sam Houston 
mounted the horse of the Fine Arkansas Gentleman and 
splashed into the muddier Rubicon. 



"Your name & fame will be en* 
rolled amongst the greatest 



THROUGH the rain and the red mud of el Camino Real 
sloshed a dripping horse and a dripping rider. The weight of 
silver trappings jingling on his martingale and the radiant 
poncho to shield his fringed buckskins from the slanting down- 
pour marked the unknown senor who fared the King's High 
Way as a personage of degree. Traveling eastward with 
Nacogdoches at his back, he had ridden more than a thousand 
miles in Texas, fording wild rivers, threading forests and 
crossing the featureless plain from San Antonio de Bexar. 
The gleaming stone and adobe town, drowsing through its 
second century of sunlight, had blessed the stranger with good 
weather and good company. The white contours of the out- 
lying Alamo Mis-sion, the plazas with their soft rugs of gray 
dust, shaded patios where guitars measured rich cadences and 
senoritas in flashing garments played with their fans: this 
seemed like a page from one of those idle novels the wayfarer 
had professed to deplore. 

But it was reality, and the stranger had felt his weariness 
steal away under the influence of the poetry of Spanish names 
and the beautiful indolence of Spanish manners. A chance ac- 
quaintance met on the route had proved capable of marvelous 
introductions. The newcomer was entertained at the residence 
of Don Juan Veramendi, the vice-governor, who presented his 
guest as Don Samuel Houston. 



With many expressions of regret, a few Spanish touches 
added to his costume and a few Spanish phrases to his vocabu- 
lary, Don Samuel had departed from Bexar. The breadth of 
Texas behind him, he crossed the turbulent Sabine and stood 
again on United States soil. At an inn in Natchitoches, 
Louisiana, he indited a letter under date of February 13, 1833 : 

"Gen. Jackson: 

"Dear Sir: Having been so far as Bexar, in the province 
of Texas ... I am in possession of some information 
that . . . may be calculated to forward your views, if you 
should entertain any, touching the acquisition of Texas by the 
United States. 

"That such a measure is desired by nineteen-twentieths of 
the population of the province, I can not doubt, . . . Mexico 
is involved in civil war. . . . The people of Texas are deter- 
mined to form a State Government, and to separate from Coa- 
huila, and unless Mexico is soon restored to order . . . 
Texas will remain separate from the Confederacy of Mexico. 
She has already beaten and repelled all the troops of Mexico 
from her soil. . . . She can defend herself against the whole 
power of Mexico, for really Mexico is powerless and penni- 
less. , . . Her want of money taken in connection with the 
course which Texas must and will adopt, will render a transfer 
of Texas to some power inevitable. . . . 

"Now is a very important crisis for Texas. . . . England 
is pressing her suit for it, but its citizens will resist if any 
transfer should be made of them to any power but the United 
States. . , . My opinion is that Texas, by her members in 
Convention, will, by 1st of April, declare all that country 
[north of the Rio Grande] as Texas proper, and form a State 
Constitution. I expect to be present at that Convention, and 
will apprise you of the course adopted. ... I may make 
Texas my abiding place . . . [but] I will never forget the 
country of my birth. I will notify from this point the Com- 
missioners of the Indians at Fort Gibson of my success, which 
will reach you through the War Department. . . 
"Your friend and obedient servant, 

Calculated as this casual-looking letter was to influence the? 


course of the President of the United States, the accuracy oi 
General Houston's survey forms a subject of interest. To 
whom had he applied for his information? What had been 
his observations ? 


From Fort Towson on the Bed River General Jackson's 
envoy had ridden south to Nacogdoches, a distance of one hun- 
dred and eighty miles, with only two cabins on the way. As 
mission settlement, military post and border town, Nacogdoches 
had behind it an intermittent history of one hundred and fifteen 
years. Here the traveler took a short rest and pushed south- 
westward one hundred and eighty miles farther to San Felipe 
de Austin, on the Brazos River, a settlement of about thirty 
thrifty families, with two little taverns where guests, if 
numerous, slept on the floor. San Felipe de Austin was not de- 
signed as- a resort for tourists. It was the capital of the 
famous colony where by virtue of attention to work, inattention 
to politics and the genius of Stephen F. Austin, several thou- 
sand emigrant Americans were attaining a sound prosperity. 
Already Austin and his work were widely known in the United 
States. Sam Houston went to San Felipe to consult this in- 
teresting man. 

The empresario was absent in the interior of his vast do- 
main. But in San Felipe Houston renewed the acquaintance of 
a Texan of scarcely less salient renown* Jim Bowie 2 was a 
sandy-haired giant from Georgia with an engaging smile and an 
adaptable way that made him equally eligible to the society of 
the old grandee families and the overnight camps of the 
frontier. He had stormed into Texas with the filibuster, Long, 
and ranged in and out of the place ever since, involving his 
name with legends of duels, Indian fights, slave smuggling, land 
speculations, and exploits with the celebrated knife that bears 
his name. He had married Ursula Veramendi, a daughter of 
the vice-governor, joined church and accumulated enough 
wealth to instal his family in a fine house in Saltillo. 


In Jim Bowie Houston found a personality flavored to his 
liking. The two ate Christmas dinner together at San Felipe 
and rode to San Antonio de Bexar where Don Samuel unfolded 
his official papers and gave everything an appearance of 
regularity by conducting pow-wows with the Indians. 

Houston never explained the nature of these interviews, 
except to say that their object was "confidential' 9 between 
Jackson and himself, and that the ends "contemplated" were 
"accomplished," 3 The Secretary of War, however, to whom 
Houston submitted the results of his Indian conferences, found 
the report worthless and declined to pay an expense account 
of thirty-five hundred dollars which Houston enclosed. 4 I 
think this may support Houston's assertion that the objects of 
the Indian mission, which wears the aspect of a subterfuge, 
were confidential between the President and himself. Had the 
Secretary of War been a party to the secret he would have 
passed the expense account. 

Before writing Jackson from Natchitoches- Houston had 
found Austin and talked with him at length. Yet the story 
Jackson received was not derived from anything Stephen F. 
Austin had said. Nor is it likely to have come from Bowie 
who, despite his personal acquaintance with many of the ad- 
vanced thinkers politically, was a Mexican citizen, connected 
by the strongest ties to the existing regime. 

It is not difficult, however, to surmise the source of the 
partizan story that Houston passed on to Jackson. It might 
have come, lock and stock, from the astute and energetic 
Wharton brothers, William and John, who long had had their 
eyes on Houston as a handy man for the Texas radicals. It 
might have come from Henry Smith of Brazoria, who hated 
everything Spanish and believed in the divine right of Nordics-, 
or from Sterling C. Robertson, a colony promoter from Ten- 
nessee, now engaged in a quarrel with Austin. 

Houston had seen these men and others of their stamp. 
Theii views had impressed him; Austin's had not. This was 
natural. Houston had known the Whartons in the old days 


in Tennessee. He had known Robertson there, and eleven years 
before had invested money in the bankrupt enterprise about 
which Robertson was disputing with Austin. From the coun- 
cils of these gentlemen Houston had emerged to agitate Jack- 
son with the sensational news of Texas twenty to one for an- 
nexation, and in virtual rebellion, having driven all Mexican 
troops from her soil. 

An imposing dress, this, for the actual events. 

In 1830 Mexican concern over American zeal to buy Texas, 
coupled with the imprudent declamations of Americans on both 
sides of the Sabine, had found expression in a law calculated 
to halt American colonization and encourage settlement bj 
native Mexicans and Europeans. Henceforth Americans could 
enter Texas only under passports issued by Mexican author- 
ities. This played havoc with the colonial empresarios, in- 
cluding Austin. But Austin had given such unfailing proof 
of his fidelity that he was able to obtain an exception in favor 
of his colony. The new statute also required the regarrisoning 
of the Texas military posts, long vacant, but the real grievances 
centered upon immigration and the collection of customs. 

It remained for a swashbuckling Kentucky soldier of for- 
tune named Bradburn, a colonel in the Mexican service, to 
make trouble between the troops and the inhabitants. He 
arrested William B. Travis and others on trivial charges, and 
one hundred and sixty armed colonists marched to their rescue. 
The prisoners were released, but this did not avert a brisk 
battle at Velasco where a small Mexican force surrendered 
and marched out of Texas on parole. 

The prevailing sentiment was that Travis's friends had 
gone too far and the apprehensive colonists hit upon Antonio 
Lopez de Santa Anna as the instrument to rescue them from 
a warm predicament. 

General Santa Anna was leading a Liberal revolt against 


the president, Bustamante. The colonists adopted resolutions 
representing their disturbances- as an extension of the Liberal 
battle-line against the hirelings of this convenient tyrant. The 
diplomacy succeeded and Texas began to speak well of General 
Santa Anna, who was a man born to lead soldiers. He needed 
troops 1 now, and one by one the garrisons in Texas packed their 
knapsacks and marched across the Rio Grande. Within a few 
weeks all were gone except the garrison at remote Nacogdoches, 
whose commander, opposed to Santa Anna, elected to remain. 
Nacogdoches made an armed demonstration, however, and 
after some casualties sent commander and command on their 
dusty way to the Rio Grande. 

Mexico was now thoroughly immersed in civil war. In Oc- 
tober of 1832 Texas held a convention in San Felipe which 
precipitated the first important show of strength between the 
party favoring American acquisition and those opposed. 
William JL Wharton led the acquisition party, but Austin, in 
his quiet way, decisively defeated Wharton for presiding officer. 
The Convention asked for a dissolution of the union with Coa- 
huila and a separate state government for Texas, with free im- 
migration and minor reforms. It denied any desire for in- 

A few weeks later Sam Houston arrived in Texas. The 
next news from Mexico City was that Bustamante had been 
driven from the presidency. Then Texas heard of the "elec- 
tion" of Santa Anna, who would take office April first. Texas 
decided to restate its case to the victorious Liberal leader and 
a call went out for the second Convention to which Houston 
had alluded in his- letter to Jackson. Impulsive Nacogdoches 
pressed Houston to be a delegate and he became a candidate of 
the Wharton wing. This was the situation when Houston 
wrote to Jackson. 

Don Samuel returned to Nacogdoches to find that he had 
been unanimously elected a delegate to the Convention. Where 


upon, Houston says he "took up his residence among his new 
constituents, who had extended him so generous a greeting." 5 

He did not remain with them long, however, because the 
Convention was- called to order at San Felipe on April 1, 
1833 the day that Santa Anna was sworn in at Mexico City. 
This time William H. Wharton defeated Austin for presiding 
officer, but Austin's moderating hand showed itself upon the 
work of the assembly which was practically a copy of that of 
1832. Among the innovations, however, was a resolution of 
Houston's against encroachments on Indian lands and a con- 
stitution for the proposed State of Texas upon its separation 
from Coahuila, which the Convention again solicited in respect- 
ful terms. Houston pronounced the new constitution "one of 
the best extant." He is entitled to an opinion because he wrote 
most of it. 

Austin was chosen to lay the Convention's requests before 
Santa Anna, and a week after the meeting dissolved he began 
the long journey to Mexico City. He expected to return in 
a few months, but Texas did not see Stephen F. Austin again* 
for more than two years. Meanwhile, there was opportunity 
for Don Samuel to cultivate the acquaintance of his cordial 


THE alcalde of La Villa de Nuestra Senora del Pilar de 
Nacogdoches was Don Adolfo Sterne, accomplished, among 
other things, as a linguist, speaking perfect German, good Eng- 
lish, passable French and Spanish well enough for the time 
he had been at it. On his arrival in the Village of Our Lady 
of the Pillar of Nacogdoches, Sam Houston must have been 
delighted to find so influential a magistracy graced by Adolfo 
Sterne otherwise Adolphus Sterne, a rosy little Rhineland 
Jew of many wanderings whom Houston had known as a 
transient member of the Monongahela toddy set at the Nash- 
ville Inn. 

Senor Sterne's constituency, now Seiior Houston's as well,* 
lay on the King's High Way. This wretched path spanned the 
face of Texas from west to east. Forty-seven miles before 
drowning its sorrows in the Sabine, it dipped from the red 
plain to cross a pair of creeks. On the pretty little knoll 
between the streams was a Spanish mission about which had 
crept the inevitable Spanish town to pass three generations in 
yomewhat troubled sleep, to die in its sleep, and in the fulness 
of time to be resuscitated by Yankee enterprise. 

To and fro across* the Sabine restless Yanks had swept 
with schemes in their heads and guns in their hands fleeing 
justice, fleecing Indians, gambling in land and promoting shoot- 
ing scrapes called revolutions-. By these means Nacogdoche* 



and a good share of the Redlands, as East Texas was called, 
repopulated themselves with the driftwood of various adven- 
tures-. There was at least one resident who had come southwest 
with Aaron Burr, Others had arrived before that with Nolan 
and with Magee, and afterward with Long and with Hayden 
Edwards, whom Austin had headed off by riding up from 
, San Felipe with his personal militia. There were men who 
had consorted with the pirate Lafitte, the founder of Galvestoa 
and Spam's sleepless enemy. But Captain Lafitte, being a 
mariner careful of his personal dignity, had declined to concern 
himself with any of these amateur theatricals. 

The law of 1830 closing the door on immigration, gave 
Nacogdoches a new importance as a smuggling center. This 
law slightly reduced the number of American immigrants, but 
materially changed their character. People who had any- 
thing to lose stayed at home. The Redlands and the un j 
authorized settlements about Galveston Bay entitled Texas 
to the picturesque fame acquired in those early days. "Hell 
and Texas !" took its place in the vocabulary of the 'thirties 
as* a mild cuss word; a loose expression or Texas would have 
been mentioned first. When a citizen disappeared from his 
home community under cloudy circumstances he was said to 
have G. T. T. Gone To Texas. Old Texas lawyers stiU tell 
of the newcomer who was 4 so disturbed in mind over the cir- 
cumstances of his coming that he went to an attorney for 
advice, "My friend," the lawyer said, "this is very serious. 
My counsel is that you leave this place before sundown." 
"Leave! Where'll I go? Ain't I in Texas now?" 

The great principality of Stephen F. Austin was an ex- 
ception to this rule. His colonists were selected for their 
industry and integrity, and his own labors seem incredible* 
He dealt with a central government at Mexico City and a state 
government at Saltillo, alike capricious, inexpert, often corrupt 
and always kaleidoscopic. He dealt with colonists whom hard- 
ships had disheartened and rendered distrustful. He was- their 
military and civilian .chief, their banker, broker, merchant and 


messenger. He led them against the Indians. He surveyed 
their lands, established jurisdictions, organized and admin- 
istered a state. In this work Austin submerged the best years 
of his life a starved anchorite who had pawned his watch, re- 
duced his wardrobe to homespun and worn himself down 
in body and in mind. 

He was not a man suited by temperament to a frontier 
life. His gentle instincts and quiet tastes, his love of order 
and of the amenities' of cultured society, should have found a 
more congenial atmosphere. He appreciated music and poetry. 
He liked to dress well, to dance and to dine in the company of 
cultivated men and women. His rare and business-burdened 
visits to the cities were little white islands of bliss. All these 
things had Stephen Austin foregone from a sense of duty. 
Duty, always duty. Duty had drawn him to Texas by the 
side of that tempestuous- visionary, his father. The old man 
died while still he dreamed, but he exacted from his dutiful 
son a promise to follow the rainbow a pursuit that the elder 
Austin, if one may judge by his past, would have thrown up 
long ago. 

But at length Texas began to prosper and Austin felt that 
a time might come when he should not be too harassed to 
marry. He picked a site on a hill, far up the Colorado, where 
one day he might retire and occupy himself with the creation 
of a great university to embellish the civilization that he had 
wrought in a wilderness. Stephen was dreaming as- his father 
had dreamed when a merciful death intervened before the 
awakening. A new cloud flecked the sky of Texas. 

At first this annexation talk did not disturb Stephen Austin. 
He was 1 a Mexican citizen and an officer of the Republic. He 
had held up his hand and sworn fidelity to Mexico. Austin op- 
posed annexation tactfully, noiselessly, and kept his colonists 
with him. The Whartons put themselves at the head of the 
disturbing movement. They were competent. Texas began to 
fill up with men of a type inclined to listen to them. Austin 
looked upon Nacogdoches as an abode of insurgents and upon 


Sam Houston as a dubious adventurer. This hurt Houston's 

At the close of the Convention of 1833 Austin had set out 
for Mexico City resolved to return as quickly as possible. The 
two-year delay was no fault of his. 


Sam Houston took up his residence in Nacogdoches in time 
to be counted in the census of 1833, to which Alcalde Sterne 
was* able to sign his name in certification of the luminous fact 
that the town had 1,272 inhabitants, as follows: bachelors, 
319, spinsters, 291, married couples, 122, widowers, 9, widows, 
34, minors under sixteen years of age, 375, of whom 183 were 
boys and 192 were girls. In which category Houston placed 
himself is not known, although a little later one encounters him 
officially herded with the bachelors and exceedingly attentive 
to Miss Anna Raguet. 

Miss- Anna was seventeen years old, a daughter of Colonel 
Henry Raguet, a Pennsylvanian of Swiss descent merchant, 
landowner and substantial citizen the sort of man Austin 
would have welcomed to San Felipe. He lived in the best house 
in town. He entertained generously, but as Anna was the 
apple of her father's eye, it was not every one he brought home 
to hear her play the French harp in the parlor. Miss Anna 
was a graceful translator of Spanish, and when this got out 
the provincial correspondence of s-ome of the bachelors in- 
creased enormously. 

Sam Houston became a permanent guest of Adolfo Sterne 
and won the affection of every member of the family. This as- 
sured his position socially as well as politically. In every 
way the hospitable Sterne home with its French-speaking 
Louisiana negro servants was more desirable than Brown's 
Tavern on the Plaza, where many another less fortunate 
bachelor made the best of it. The other hotel was the Cantina 
del Monte, Miguel Cortenoz, proprietor* Guests of the Monte 


were better off when they could arrange their affairs' so as to 
sleep in the daytime, since Senor Cortenoz conducted a dance- 
hall and gambling room in conjunction with his hotel. Dances 
were also occasionally held at Brown's by one or another of 
the various Anglo-Saxon social sets, but there was- entertain- 
ment at the Monte every night and a fandango once a week. 
These fandangos were supposed to be pretty tough affairs, 
despite the attendance of Americans attracted, as 1 a fellow 
countryman assures us, by "the novelty of the scene." 

Music at the Monte was furnished by an ancient Castillian 
in soiled linen who divided his attention between a violin and 
a long cigar. The principal entertainers were a Mexican 
dancing team. The girl was vivacious, with a mouth "pretty 
enough to kiss" from which drooped a cigarette in a fashion 
described as "very becoming." Her partner, a pasty-faced 
professional dancing man, s-eemed unworthy of association with 
such fresh beauty. Adjoining the ballroom was an airless 
chamber with smoke-blackened walls where a beak-nosed crone 
sat behind a tall table with a pot of black coffee at her side. 
She sipped the coffee and sold stiff er drinks to the perspiring 
dancers, sliding the glasses across a table-top that was slick 
from constant use. 

Senor Cortenoz also had a daughter. Her name has not 
come down in history, but she, also, was the apple of her 
father's eye. In January of 1836 this child died of measles. 
Death has a great prestige with the Spanish. Life may be ar- 
bitrary, forcing an inconspicuous role upon one des-erving of 
better things, but death makes one the central figure of a 
ceremonial as elaborate as the estate of the deceased can pro- 
vide. Miguel Cortenoz closed his gambling room and gave his 
dance-hall people a night off. The body of hisr little girl was 
borne to the Monte and laid out on a table in the center of the 
ballroom floor with candles at her head and at her feet. Un- 
fortunately the padre was absent from the parish, but the entire 
Spanish-speaking population of Nacogdoches left their mud 
and adobe domiciles, and were joined by a sprinkling of 


Americans. All night they mourned with Miguel Cortenoz and 
glasses slid on the smooth table in the dark back room. In the 
jnorning the procession threaded the narrow streets to the en- 
closed square of consecrated earth and saw la chiquita laid to 


Sam Houston was not present at these solemn rites, being 
in another part of Texas at the time. Nor is there direct 
evidence that he was ever a steady patron of the house of 
Cortenoz. The English-speaking and Spanish-speaking sets, 
who called themselves respectfully Americans and Mexicans, 
did not mix. The latter contained a small number of polished 
people. The American set was subdivided into classes, ranging 
from the select Sterne-Raguet milieu to the more numerous fol- 
lowing of an ex-Missourian known as the Ring Tailed Panther, 
reputed to have eaten raw the heart of an Indian. Houston 
was of the Sterne-Raguets, but he was also popular among the 
Mexicans. Probably no other American in the town could 
have adopted the radiant Mexican blanket as a part of his 
costume without giving offense to the Spanish element or losing 
cast with the Nordic gentility. 

The Mexicans were outnumbered by five to one, but stood as 
a man opposed to the separation of Texas from the mother 
country. Houston had reported to Jackson that the Ameri- 
cans were twenty to one in favor of separation. This may have 
been true of the Americans in Nacogdoches, but in Texas as a 
whole the annexationists formed the minority party. Generally 
speaking, the less an American had to lose the more pronounced 
were his views in favor of separation. Henry Raguet was for 
independence, but a step at a time. He was more conservative 
than the leader of his party, W. H. Wharton, 

But Houston was aggressive. Less than a year after his 
arrival in Texas, a party of newcomers was riding along the 
road between Nacogdoches and the new town of San Augustine 
Twice in one day they passed a splendidly mounted horseman 


whose polite bows attracted favorable comment, especially front 
the ladies. That evening the party inquired at a wayside ina 
who the civil stranger might be. "That," they were told, "i* 
Governor Houston, and he says there is going to be war h 
Texas before long and he means to figure in it." 1 

Governor Houston was often in San Augustine. On thes 
occasions he stayed at the residence of Phil Sublett one of the 
founders of the town, and a large speculator in land. Houston 
had read up on the Mexican land laws, and his legal training 
was useful to men like Sublett. One night in the autumn of 
1833, he arrived at his friend's house very late, and in such an 
eccentric state that he was unable to mount the stairs. More- 
over, he appeared inclined to talk. Sublett thought this might 
be a good opportunity to get some first-hand information. He 
asked Houston why he had left Eliza Allen. The question re- 
stored Sam Houston instantly. He stormed from the house 
and called for his horse. 2 

But the long shadow had crossed another frontier* 


Houston entered upon the practise of law in Nacogdoches 
and was admitted to appear before the Court of the First 
Instance presided over by Judge Juan Mora. This brought 
Bon Samuel into professional association with such barristers 
as Vicente Cordova, Miguel Saco and Francisco Garrero, whose 
Castillian names had no shadowy counterparts on the alien 
side of the Sabine. Houston had some good clients: Phil 
Sublett, Frost Thorn, Jose Durst and others of the local land 
clique. The new lawyer's best client, however, was the Galves- 
ton Bay and Texas Land Company, 

Organized on a mammoth scale in New York City, the 
Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company marked the entry of 
big business and politics into the unsettling affairs of Texas. 
Headed by Anthony Dey, a New York banker, and others whose 
relations- with the Jackson Administration conveyed a reassur- 


ing implication, the company had no trouble finding money to 
pay for helpful services. This money was raised by the sale of 
stock to the favored few and land script to the small fry. The 
land script was a fraud. 

These occupations linked Houston once more with his old 
friends, the Indians on the Arkansas. There is a tradition 
among the Cherokees that Houston sent word to Tiana to join 
him in Texas. This I do not believe, but half-breed Ben Haw- 
kins and the Creek Chief, Opoth-ley-ahola, who had given Hous- 
ton the fur-collared coat, did come to Nacogdoches on another 
matter. They agreed to settle their people on lands held by 
Houston's New York clients, and a part of the purchase price 
was advanced. In connection with this transaction it will be 
recalled that the earliest mention of Houston's designs upon 
Texas contemplated the use of Arkansas Indians as troops to 
help wrest the province from Mexico. 

It appears that Houston carried on these activities without 
becoming a Mexican citizen. But if the Mexican Government 
was slips-hod about the way foreigners exercised political 
privileges without becoming citizens, it diligently enforced the 
statutes withholding ownership of land from those not of the 
Catholic faith. Austin and his colonists, and other regularized 
settlers, had gone through the form, of affiliation with the 
Roman Church. 

Sam Houston joined the Catholic Church in the last hall 
of 1833 or the first half of 1834, perhaps the latter. It would 
be interesting to know to what extent he was swayed by ex- 
pediency and to what extent by Eva Rosine Sterne, the young 
Louisiana wife of the alcalde. 

Investigation of Houston's Catholicism discloses little that 
one can interpret without aid of conjecture. It is understood 
that he was a "Muldoon Catholic," implying that he had been 
inducted into the faith by the learned Padre Miguel Muldoon, 
a friend of Americans and a practical man whose converts 
frere numerous, and contributions to the ecclesiastical treasury 
correspondingly so. A Muldoon Catholic Sam Houston 


have been, although in his case the baptismal waters were 
dispensed by Eva Rosine's confessor, a certain Pere Cham- 
bondeau, of Louisiana. The church records in which Houston's 
baptism should appear have been destroyed by fire, but a 
daughter of Seiiora Sterne has left an account, based on her 
mother's recollections. The ceremony took place at the church 
in Nacogdoches, Mrs. Sterne acting as the convert's "god- 
mother, after which ... he always addressed her as 'Madr<? 
Mio. ? " 3 One hears from another source that after the church 
ritual the alcalde gave a party on the porch of his home and 
opened considerable wine. 

It is not unreasonable to suppose that the pageantry os 
the Catholic service appealed to Houston's color-loving soul, 
and that certain articles of the creed were a comfort to Hs 
buffeted spirit. At the same time, Houston did not remain a 
practising Catholic very long, if he was ever one. Later he 
joined his fellow Texas revolutionaries in protests against 
religious tyranny that looked well in manifestos but had slender 
basis in reality. 


Estevan Austin, as he subscribed himself when among his 
Spanish-speaking countrymen, arrived in Mexico City in mid- 
July of 1833, half sick after an eleven weeks' journey. He 
supported Texas's application for a separate state government 
with a plea vigorous to the point of bluntness. Austin asked 
that the matter be settled without delay. How could any one, 
least of all Austin with his reputation for tact and Job's 
patience, have made such a request of a Mexican official? A 
part of the answer may be found in a private letter. "I am so 
weary that life is hardly worth having." 

Delay followed delay. The behavior of Santa Anna had 
begun to disturb his Liberal supporters. The air was filled with 
uncertainty. Having obtained somewhat less than half of what 
he came for Austin finally turned his steps northward to be 
Seized, snatched back to Mexico City and harshly imprisoned. 


"I do not blame the government for arresting me," he wrote to 
the people of Texas, "and I particularly request that there be 
no excitement about it. * . . Keep quiet, discountenance all 
revolutionary measures or men . . . have no more conven- 

In Texas Sam Houston joined Austin in the counsel of 
calmness, inveighing against "unrestrained ebullitions of feel- 
ing," on the ground, as he afterward explained, that "they 
would be likely to plunge Texas into a bloody struggle with 
Mexico, before she was prepared -for it"* 

The barrister of Nacogdoches had changed his political 
views. He was now a moderate favoring independence, but 
by one prudent step at a time. "All new States," he later wrote, 
"are infested, more or less, by a class of noisy, second-rate 
men, who are always in favor of rash and extreme measures. 
But Texas was absolutely overrun by such men." What Texas 
needed was- a leader "brave enough for any trial, wise enough 
for any emergency, and cool enough for any crisis." 5 Houston 
had determined to be that man. 

Within a few months resentment over Austin's imprison- 
ment had died away so completely that the luckless man 
mistakenly believed political opponents in Texas to be con- 
spiring to keep him in jail. This- state of affairs suited the 
projects of Don Samuel, who quietly packed his bag for a 

Cincinnati and Tennessee obtained their customary glimpses 
of him. In the fall of 1834 he was in Washington. Jackson 
was still trying to purchase Texas and was still embarrassed 
by his envoy, Anthony Butler, who, failing to advance negotia- 
tions by bribery, was trying to stir Texas to rebellion over 
Austin's arrest* 

One evening Houston met Junius Brutus Booth on tlie 
Avenue. Adjourning to Brown's Indian Queen Hotel they ex- 
changed mutual accounts ^f themselves and 


"industriously circulated the bottle. Many a loud shout echoed 
through the hall, and startled watchmen in the street. As night 
wore on excitement increased until . , . [Booth's] com 
panion exclaimed 

" 'Now, Booth, let's have a speech to liberty one of those 
apostrophes to Old Roman freedom.' ... 

"The tragedian rehearsed . . . many of those electric 
passages in defense of liberty with which the English drama 
abounds. His friend . . . caught up the words, and with 
equal force, went through each speech in regular succes- 
sion. . . . [At length Houston] sprang ... to his feet, 
and in the tone of one amid battle's din ... exclaimed, 

" 'Now, Booth, once more for liberty P 

"The tragedian ran through ... a tale of Spanish con- 
quest. . . . 

"Before him stood at that lone t hour, listening with an 
intensity of thought and feeling which shown in his eyes . . . 
one who had ... the ambition of a Pizarro. Quick as 
thought he ... repeated the words uttered by Booth. . . , 
His spirit seemed to take fire; and with an air so strange, so 
determined, so frightful, that it seemed the voice of one inspired 
he exclaimed at the close of a masterly rhapsody. 

" c Yes I yes ! I am made to revel in the Halls of the 
Montezumas !' " 6 

On another evening in a crowded drawing-room, Narcissa 
Hamilton, a schoolgirl from Virginia, was presented to General 
Houston. She curtsied and asked her Cousin Sam if he remem- 
bered her. What a question did Sam Houston ever forget a 
pretty girl? Then, would he compose a little sentiment to that 
effect in Narcissa's album? Houston wrote rapidly while the 
girPs wonder grew that one should be able to concentrate amid 
such distractions. 

"Remember thee? 
Yes, lovely girl ; 

While faithful memory holds its seat, 
Till this warm heart in dust is laid, 

And this wild pulse shall cease to beat, 
No matter where my bark be tost 

On Life's tumultuous s stormy sea ; 


My anchor gone, my rudder lost. 

Still, cousin, I will think of thee." 7 

Narcissa treasured those lines as long as she lived. 

Houston visited Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. 
In New York he met stockholders in the Galveston Bay and 
Texas Land Company, and enjoyed himself socially. With one 
of these stockholders-, Jackson's close friend Samuel Swartwout, 
Houston had some interesting conversations before he departed 
for the West. 

Little Rock viewed the traveler homeward bound. 

"Gen. Houston was one of the most magnificent specimens 
of physical manhood I have ever seen. ... I first saw him 
on the public road a few miles out of town. He was riding a 
splendid bay horse, and his saddle and bridle were of the most 
exquisite Mexican workmanship and were elaborately orna- 
mented with solid silver plates and buckles in profusion. He 
was enveloped in a Mexican 'poncho' which was richly orna- 
mented with Mexican embroidery work. When again I saw him 
on the streets of Little Rock ... it was hard to realize that 
this elegantly appearing gentleman had voluntarily given up 
home and kindred and official preferment to join himself to a 
band of half-civilized Indians, and had adopted their 
dress . , . and habits of life. 5 ' 8 

In December of 1834 an Englishman arrived at Washing- 
ton, Arkansas 1 , an out-of-the-way log hamlet thirty miles from 
the Texas boundary. He wrote : 

"I was not desirous of remaining long at this place. General 
Houston was here, leading a mysterious sort of life, shut up in 
a small tavern, seeing nobody by day and sitting up all night. 
The world gave him credit for passing these waking hours in 
the study of trente et quarante and sept y a lever; but I had seen 
too much passing before my eyes, to be ignorant that this 
little place was the rendezvous where a much deeper game . . . 
was playing. There were many persons at this time in the 
village from the States lying adjacent to the Mississippi, under 
the pretence of purchasing government lands, but whose real 


object was to encourage the settlers in Texas to throw off their 
allegiance to the Mexican government. Many of these in- 
dividuals were personally acquainted with me ; they knew I was 
not with them, and would naturally conclude I was against 
them. Having nothing whatever in common with their plan, 
and no inclination to forward or oppose them, I perceived that 
the longer I staid the more they would find reason to suppose 
I were a spy. 559 

The stage was being set for the advance upon the halls of 
the Montezumas. The spear-carriers were jostling to their 
places in the wings. 



IN THE autumn of 1835 Houston offered for sale four thou- 
sand acres of Red River land for twenty-five hundred dollars, 
one thousand in cash. The money was needed to defray some 
extraordinary personal expenses, including the purchase, in 
New Orleans, of a uniform with a general's stars and a sword 
sash to adorn it. Houston possessed a sword the gift of ail 
American Army officer at Fort Jessup, Louisiana. These prep* 
arations followed an action of the Committee of Vigilance and 
Safety which had commissioned Sam Houston "Commander-in- 
Chief of the forces" of the Department of Nacogdoches "to sus- 
tain the principles of the Constitution of 1824." 

The new Commander scattered through the Redlands an 
appeal for recruits. "All that is sacred menaced by an arbi- 
trary power!" "War is our only alternative! . . . Volun- 
teers are invited to join our ranks with a good rifle and 100 
rounds of ammunition." "The morning of glory is dawn~ 
ing. . . . Patriotic millions will sympathise in our struggles." 

General Houston's first call upon the patriotic millions was 
published in New Orleans* "Volunteers from the United States 
will . . . receive liberal bounties of land. . . . Come with 
a good rifle, and come soon. . . . 'Liberty or Death! . . 
Down with the usurper !' " 1 

A skirmish took place at Gonzalez. 

The curtain had risen on the Texas Revolution. IB 
Houston's opinion it had risen prematurely, 



Eight months previous- General Houston had returned 
from his- American tour to find Texas still quiet. Although no 
longer the toast of Liberals, Santa Anna had confined his suspi- 
cious gestures to the country south of the Rio Grande. Austin 
was 1 out of prison, enjoying the gaiety of Mexico City. 

Houston resumed his law practise, the difficult courtship of 
Anna Raguet and his leisurely plotting. With Austin free 
factional disputes came to life. This was hastened by 
the blunder of a relative of Austin who published a private 
letter from the prisoner, intimating that W. H. Wharton was 
keeping him in jail. Houston shared Wharton's indignation 
at the unjust charge, for nominally Houston was still of the 
Wharton party. But actually he was his own man, and took 
no one into his confidence. A letter of his to John Wharton : 

"Last night, I had the pleasure of passing with your 
brother, and his company. ... I ... remained with them, 
until this morning ; when we parted, for various routs and 
pursuits I to my law business and they to the more animating 
pursuits of speculation. 

"From your brother I learned the news of the colony, and 
of its politicks, for really, I was ignorant of them. ... I 
heard with singular pleasure, that you were recovering the use 
of your arm! I had heard of the occurrence of the meeting, but 
never the particulars. . . . They gratified me much because- 
they were in perfect accordance, with my estimate of you. . . . 

"William shewed me his card in answer to Austins ridiculous* 
letter of last August from Mexico. I think he has left the 
little Gentleman very few crumbs of comfort I was provoked 
at his first letter of August, I must confess, that it awakened no 
other emotion in my breast, than pity mingled with contempt. 
He shewed the disposition of a viper without its fangs. . . . 
He aimed at me a few thrusts, but I will wait an interview with 
him before I make any public , expose of . - . his political 
inconsistencies. . . , 

"I am doing pretty well, and certainly, am one of the most 
steady men in Texas !" 2 


Houston permitted Nacogdoches to see him as lie described 
himself to Wharton: a busy lawyer, a steady man pursuing the 
uneventful tenor of his way. What a contrast with Wharton 
duelist, speculator and politician ! 

Radford Berry had succeeded Adolfo Sterne as alcalde. 
Houston filed with him the certificate of character required of 
aliens, "This is to certify that the foreigner Samuel Pablo 
[sic !] Houston is a man of good moral character and industri- 
ous, loving the constitution and the laws of the country, a 
bachelor without family and generally known as a good man. 
Nacogdoches 21 of April 1835. [signed] JUAN M. Don." 8 

In a jury trial before Judge Mora that lasted a month* 
Houston defended Jose Lorenzo Boden and Justo Lienda, ac- 
cused of inciting an Indian attack on white people, and ob- 
tained their acquittal. 4 While this case was in progress a 
young Georgian came to town with a plaintive story. He had 
put his fortune in a gold mine and the manager of the mine had 
vanished G. T. T. with his employer's investment. The 
fugitive was* overtaken on the outskirts of Nacogdoches, but he 
had lost the money in a card game. One way or another, those 
Georgia gold mines were invariably losing propositions. 

Lawyer Houston took the luckless proprietor before Al- 
calde Berry and witnessed the fact that "came and appeared 
the foreigner Thomas J, Rusk who deposed upon oath, stated 
and declared that he is a native of the United States of North 
America ... his age twenty-nine years' . . . that he de- 
sires to dwell under the wise and just government which offers 
the protection of its beneficent laws to honest and industrious 

men. 555 

The simple life. What, therefore, is one to apprehend from 
a paper like this ? 

"Sunday evening New York 10th May 1835 
"My dear Houston 

"Your very interesting letter . . , reminded me of old 
cimes and old scenes. ... It was like yourself and therefore 


But to business. There followed a long narration of how 
the writer had invested "$2750 Dollars" in Texas land and 
had nothing to show for it. He feared that one Cabrajal had 
gone south with the money and asked Houston to investigate. 
"Your description of Texas and the piece of land on Red 
River had made me too appy as poor old, Gen 1 . La fayette used 
to say. Why man, my 50,000 acres, if I should ever get them, 
will be a fortune. Try hard therefore to get them for me." 
Threaten Cabrajal with "exposure." Say that "a good repu- 
tation will bo worth more to him than a few thousands obtained 
by fraud." An engaging observation, since it came from the 
Collector of the Port of New York, whose sticky fingers were 
to contrive the great scandal of the Jacks-on Administration, 
enriching contemporary language with the verb "to swart- 
vout," meaning to pilfer, 

"Your letter has set everyone crazy. . . . Price is ready 
to abandon the District Attorneyship for ... the 'newly 
liscovered Paradise.' Ogden Grosveneur & Doct Cooper, yr old 

Jriends are all mad to go there, and d m me . . . if I 

would not like to pay you a visit in ducking season. By the 
bye, the 11 Leagues on Red River is due to me, for my suffer 
ings and trouble in that old Burr scrape of mine. You need 

not say anything to the Mexicans about it, but I'm d d . . * 

if I dent think they owe me a plantation for what I suffered in 
that expedition." 

Sam Houston to assume the obligations' of the defunct 
Aaron Burr spicy suggestion, to say the least. But not an 
impertinent one from Mr. Swartwout's point of view, especially 
since "If I mistake not Texas will be U States in 5 years, or au 
^dependent Empire, when you'l be King. . . > My wife & 
Daughter are well and desire to be remembered to you. Price 
will write you in a day or so, Ever Yours SAM 1 . SWARTWOUT.* 
And a postscript: "I am glad to hear that you think [manu- 
script torn] -ing sober for a while till you get my land, I hope, 
[ lone: to have a bottle of old Madeira with you." 6 


The five-year program was- ruthlessly clipped t.o five 
months. Santa Anna lashed out and fell upon the State of 
Zacatecas, which had refused to accept his dictatorship. He 
sent his brother-in-law, Martin Perfecto Cos, to attend to 
Texas. While one lawyer was poring over his briefs in Nacog- 
doches, another barrister named W. B. Travis with twenty-five 
men drove a Mexican garrison from Anahuac and proposed a 
march upon Bexar, the remaining garrison town, before Cos 
could reinforce it. There was no march to Bexar, however, 
and Travis was widely denounced in Texas. Only when Cos 
issued a stupidly phrased order for the military arrest of the 
offender did popular opinion rally to his side. 

On September first Stephen F. Austin arrived in Texas, and 
all eyes turned toward him. War or peace? Austin had been 
studying Santa Anna at close range for two years. "War," 
he said, "is our only recourse." Texas stood united and 


In response to Houston's call to arms, Thomas J. Rusk 
organized a company at Nacogdoches. New Orleans also re- 
sponded. "Americans to the Rescue !" shouted the Bee. There 
followed mass meetings, speeches, public subscriptions. Adol- 
phus Sterne thrilled an audience with an offer to buy rifles for 
the first fifty recruits. The New Orleans "Grays" formed 
themselves and claimed the rifles. Houston's appeal spread like 
fire in powder. Men formed up in Georgia, in Mississippi, in 
Tennessee, Kentucky, Cincinnati and New York, where Sam 
Swartwout unloosened the strings 1 of some heavy purses. 

Houston could not tarry in East Texas to contemplate this 
gratifying response amid which even Miss Anna had thawed. 
She tied his sword sash, snipped a lock of his hair and sent her 
soldier to fight for Texas. He was not, however, to fight on a 
battle-field as yet. His first stop was at Washington on the 
Brazos, where he fell in with a party of delegates bound for 
Ban Felipe to attend the meeting of a Consultation that had 


been summoned to coordinate the manifold activities. Houston 
also had been chosen a member of this body. He found his 
fellow delegates in a state of excitement and of many minds* 
A letter came from Austin, commanding the army, requesting 
the East Texas forces. Houston has stated that he gave the 
last five dollars he had "in the world" to a rider to carry the 
order that sent Rusk and the other Redlanders to the scene of 
war. Then the General and the other delegates took up the 
march to San Felipe. 

The main body of members- to the prospective Consultation 
seem to have been on the ground when Houston arrived, but 
were unorganized and had accomplished nothing. The most 
striking figure present was Lorenzo de Zavala, Governor* 
Senator, Cabinet officer and Minister to Trance under various 
Mexican Governments, and hero of the revolution that had won 
freedom from Spain. This- passionate friend of liberty had 
repudiated Santa Anna and fled to Texas, but he could do 
little with a band of distracted Americans. Neither could 
Houston. At length, however, he placed himself at the head 
of thirty of the members and set out for Austin's camp, a ride 
of one hundred and sixty miles. 

The army was then five miles from San Antonio de Bexar, 
whither Cos had arrived with reinforcements-. Invited to sur- 
render. General Cos had crisply declined, and Austin's camp 
was & spectacle of divided counsels. In desperation Austin 
is said to have offered the command of the army to Houston 
who refused it in the interest of harmony. A dispute arose 
as to whether the Consultation members should stay and 
fight or depart and legislate. The army thought they should 
fight, but Houston and Austin addressed the troops on the 
necessity of forming a government. They carried their point 
by a vote taken on the field. 

On November 3, 1835, the Consultation again sat down in 
San Felipe. Sam Houston appeared before it clothed not ia 
his new uniform, but in his old buckskins the garb of a citizen 
performing a citizen's duty of fruilding an Anglo-Saxon state 


"My impressions of the consultation unfavorable," noted a 
passer-by. "Some good men but I feel sick at the prospect. 
Introduced to Bowie he was dead drunk: to Houston hi* 
appearance anything but respectable. 55 

The man in buckskins dominated a delicate situation. A 
sincerely as any one, Sam Houston desired Texan independence, 
or annexation to the United States. He felt, however, that this 
result could be achieved only by a military victory over Santa 
Anna. To air such advanced views- now would only alienate the 
support of Liberal Mexicans like Zavala. Houston challenged 
the Whartons on the question of independence. A hot fight 
followed, but Houston won, and the Consultation adopted a 
provisional decree of independence under the Constitution of 

A constitution was written and a civil administration or- 
ganized with Henry Smith, of Brazoria, Governor 5 and James 
W. Robins-on, of Nacogdoches, Lieutenant-Governor. A legis- 
lative body called the General Council was created. Stephen F. 
Austin, W. H. Wharton and Dr. Branch T. Archer were 
authorized to borrow a million dollars in the United States. 
With one dissenting vote Sam Houston was elected commander- 
in-chief of the Armies. 


Confused reports came from the Army. Houston heard 
that Austin had been displaced by Jim Bowie. This was an 
error, but Austin was having his troubles, most of which came 
from his own side rather than from Cos who hesitated to show 
himself outside of the fortifications. A plague had swept 
Bowie's beautiful wife and two children into the grave, leaving 
the lion-hearted Jim almost insane with grief. Abandoning 
his property he had plunged into the Texas struggle, drinking 
to excess and quarrelsome, but still a leader and a fighter. 
Marching ninety men from Austin's camp, he whipped four 
hundred of Cos's cavalry at Mission Concepcion, and crowned 
the victory by throwing up his commission in a tiff* 


Houston established contact with the army by means of a 
confidential letter to James W. Fannin. Fannin was one of 
those personal mysteries not uncommon to early Texas. A 
Georgian about thirty-one years of age, educated at the United 
States Military Academy under the name of Walker, he had ap- 
peared in Texas as a slave-runner, in funds and a free spender. 
When the clouds began to gather in the summer of 1835, Fan- 
nin impetuously espoused the cause of the extremists and 
scattered his money liberally. At Concepcion he shared the 
command with Bowie. Perhaps it was his military training that 
attracted Houston, who offered Fannin appointment as in- 
spector-general of the army with rank of colonel. 

Houston did not think that Cos could be beaten without 
artillery. Therefore "wou'd it not be best to raise the nominal 
seige, fall back on Labehai [La Bahai, better known as 
Goliad] and Gonzales . . . furlough" most of "the army to 
Comfortable homes, and when the Artillery, is in readiness, 
march to the Combat with sufficient force, and at once reduce 
San Antonio! . . . Recommend the Safest course! . . . 
Remember our Maxim, it is better to do well, late: than never!" 7 

In reply Fannin dispatched two letters within a few hours 
of each other. "With regard to falling back ... I must 
admit it to be a safest course." On the other hand "I am full} 
convinced that with 250 men, well chosen & properly 
-drilled . . . that the place can be taken by storm." 8 

Upon his own future Fannin dwelt at greater length, ciest- 
f alien at the offer of a mere colonelcy. "I ... write . . . 
in haste and thank you for the tender ... of Quarter 
[master] Genl." In great haste, it would seem, since the tender 
was of inspector-general. "I have not had time to consult my 
friends- or the wishes of the Army. ... I would prefer a 
command in the line if I could be actively engaged. 9 ' Were 
not two brigadier-generals to be selected? "If so ... I 
respectfully request your influence for one . . . well satisfied 
that I can fill either of the posts, better than any officer, whc 
has yet been in command* Entertaining this opinion I will at 


least tender my services. . . . Others may succeed over me 
by intrigues . . . [but I shall] not quit camp to seek 
office ; . . . prefer the post of danger ; where I may seek the 
enemy & beat him." 9 "Liberty & Texas our wives & sweet 
hearts." 10 

With these communications before him Houston pressed 
the appointment of inspector-general upon Fannin, and sent 
him to take charge of the principal rendezvous for volunteers 
that were streaming in from the United States, 


The Commander-in-Chief paid little attention to the army 
before Bexar and pursued his better-late-than-never policy by 
sitting down at San Felipe to evolve a military establishment 
designed to withstand the wear and tear of protracted cam- 

Like any frontier community Texas had always been able 
to improvise a fighting force equal to brief emergencies. Our 
history teems with the exploits of such "armies" thrown to- 
gether in a week, to campaign for a month and go home. The 
turbulent troops before Bexar were all for having a battle at 
once or for going home. Houston, the old Regular, did not 
feel that such a force could win for Texas. With too strong 
a preference for formally drilled troops and too little confidence 
in raw volunteers, he continued his arrangements for a regular 
army and volunteer regiments, to be carefully equipped and 
trained before they took the field. He clung to the idea of 
Indian allies, ordering these stores from New Orleans: "1000 
Butcher knives 1000 Tomahawks well tempered with 
handles . . . 3000 Ib chewing tobacco (Kentucky)." 11 

Events outmarched the organizer. The day this requisi 
fton went forward the siege of Bexar was at an end. The army 
was in the town, fighting from street to street. 

On leaving for the United States, Austin had transferred 
the command to Edward Barleson, an old Indian fighter who. 


like Houston, feared to attack. But the army was tired of 
waiting. "Who'll go into Bexar with old Ben Mikm?" was the 
droll proposal of that veteran plainsman. Three hundred and 
one men volunteered and the town was- stormed in the face of 
artillery fire. Milam was killed, and the command passed to 
"Francis W. Johnson. On the fifth day of battle Cos with 
fourteen hundred men surrendered. They were permitted to 
march back to Mexico under parole not to bear arms against 
Texas, and once more there was not a Mexican soldier north of 
the Rio Grande. 

Texas went wild over the victory, and said that the war 
was over. Burleson, who had said that Bexar could not be 
taken without artillery, resigned and went home. Johnson was 
elected commander. Houston, who had said that Bexar could 
not be taken without artillery, published a call for troops in 
which he said that the war had just begun. "The 1st of March 
next, we must meet the enemy with an army worthy of our 
cause. . . . Our habitations must be defended, . . . Our 
countrymen in the field have presented an example worthy of 
imitation. . . . Let the brave rally to the standard." 12 

This proclamation failed of the effect intended. The re- 
cruits flocked to the leaders who had covered themselves with 
glory at San Antonio de Bexar. That victory had been a blow 
to Houston's prestige, and a movement to displace him as 
commander-in-chief took form. 

This had its beginning with James Grant, a Scotch surgeon 
vhose mines below the Rio Grande had been seized. He had 
taken advantage of Austin's caution to spread discontent 
among the troops, promising them wealth and glory in an in- 
vasion of Mexico. This talk so appealed to the troops that 
only the assault upon Bexar had forestalled a march on Mata- 
moras. Doctor Grant was wounded in that action, which 
tightened his- hold upon the soldiers. He won over the new Com- 
mander, Johnson, and the two concerted their efforts with 
members* of the General Council of the civil government. The 
project was painted in glittering tints Liberal Mexicans ris- 


ing to greet the invaders the rich spoils of the old cities of 
Tamaulipas and Neuvo Leon the fruitful country the 
salubrious- climate: a veritable souvenir hunt to the Halls of 
the Montezumas. The Council succumbed to the seductive 

Houston opposed the Matamoras campaign. He pointed 
out that irrespective of party, the Mexicans- invariably united 
to repel foreign invasions. He deprecated the idea of using the 
army to recover the confiscated estates of Doctor Grant. The 
real seat of his opposition was 1 deeper than either of these ob- 
jections, however. Houston knew that Mexican pride would 
attempt vengeance for Bexar. He wished to direct all effort*, 
to creating an army capable of meeting Santa Anna and smash 
ing Mexico*s power north of the Rio Grande. Governor Smith 
sdded with Houston, but Smith and the Council had never pulled 
together and the gap between them was growing daily. 

While the battle at Bexar was in progress, Jose Antonio 
Mexia had appeared in Texas and offered his sword in defense 
of liberty. General Mexia was an enemy of Santa Anna and 
had fled to New Orleans 1 . There he had won the confidence of a 
company of American filibusters awaiting a ship to join 
Houston in Texas. When six days at sea Mexia announced 
to these volunteers that their destination was Tampico, where 
General Mexia had decided to gather some laurels on his own 
account. Instead of welcoming Mexia, Tampico shouted 
"Death to Foreigners 1" The General escaped to a small boat, 
but most of his followers were captured and shot. 

Sam Houston saw excellent reasons for declining to avail 
himself of the services of this soldier. Mexia appealed to the 
General Council which voted him ten thousand dollars 1 and other 
assistance for an invasion of Mexico. Governor Smith vetoed 
the appropriation, denouncing Mexia as an unprincipled ad- 
venturer. The Council repassed the ordinance over Smith's 
veto, but with a modification that wounded the sensibilities of 
the General who declined to imperil his "military reputation^ 
?n the interest of Texas* and left the country. 


But Grant and Johnson remained at Bexar, the idols- of 
the Army, while enthusiasm for their Matamoras project swept 
the country. Members of the Council conspired with the Bexar 
leaders, and on December fifteenth made the first move looking 
to the elimination of Houston. His headquarters were trans- 
ferred from San Felipe to the out-of-the-way hamlet of Wash- 
ington. Houston, however, delayed his going, and with Gov- 
ernor Smith formed a counter-project to prevent the Army 
from eluding their influence. Houston directed Bowie to or- 
ganize an expedition and "proceed on the route to Matamoras," 
Bowie was also to keep open the near-by port of Copano. Word 
went to New Orleans for American volunteers to land &t 
Copano and concentrate under James W. Fannin at Refugio 
Mission and at Goliad. 

By these means Houston expected to place an effective 
body of troops under Bowie and Fannin, whom he trusted, and 
to steal a march on Grant by starting Bowie to Matamoras 
first. Should the feint appear promising of results, it was in 
Houston's mind to appear in person at the head of the army 
and avail himself of the glory. These dispositions also took 
account of the expected invasion by Santa Anna in the spring. 


So far, so good. On Christmas Day Houston removed his 
headquarters to Washington. Inspector-General Fannin was 
instructed to extend the Commander-in- Chief's "best saluta- 
tions to all volunteers," and to keep them quietly in camp. 
"The volunteers may rely on my presence at Copano at the 
earliest moment, that a campaign should be undertaken for 
the success of the army and the good of the country." This 
done, Fannin was to join Houston at Washington. 13 

In place of Colonel Fannin, Sam Houston's next caller of 
consequence was a courier from Bexar with news that Grant 
was on the way to Matamoras at the head of two hundred men. 
including the rvack New Orleans Grays with Adolphus Sterne's 


new rifles'. This upsetting intelligence was from Lieutenant- 
Colonel Jos-eph C. Neill, a Houston man left behind with eighty 
sick and wounded whom Grant had stripped of medicines. 

The Commander-in-Chief wrote Governor Smith an excited 
letter. "No language can express the anguish of my soul. Oh, 
save our poor country ! . . , What will the world think of 
the authorities 1 of Texas ?" Nothing remained but for Houston 
to buckle on his sword and pursue the miscreant who had stolen 
the army. "Within thirty hours I shall set out ... I pray 
that a confidential dispatch may meet me at Goliad. ... I 
do not fear, I will do my duty I" 1 * 

On the night of January 14, 1836, Houston overtook Grant 
at Goliad. Styling trims-elf "Acting Commander-in-Chief" 
Grant had gleaned Goliad of horses and provisions and his 
men were in high feather. Houston did not press the point of 
his authority, believing he would be in a better position to do 
s-o at Refugio Mission on the seacoast, whither Grant was 
bound. There Houston expected to meet a large concentra- 
tion of loyal troops under Fannin and to find a supply depot. 

The situation at Goliad would have been fraught with less 
anxiety had not Houston received from Neill the grave tidings 
that Texas was invaded. The Mexicans 1 were on the march to 
attack Bexar. Houston had not reckoned on an invasion be- 
fore another two months. Neither he nor any one else had 
credited Santa Anna with ability to move an army in the 
dead of winter over the storm-swept desert that lay between 
Saltillo and Bexar. Texan leaders one and all had been too 
busily spying on one another to inform themselves of the 
enemy's movements. 

Houston acted resolutely. Bowie was at Goliad. He had 
missed Houston's order to anticipate Grant with a gesture 
toward Matamoras, so that detail of the Houston-Smith coun- 
ter-strategy had miscarried also. Houston started a handful 
of men to Bexar under Bowie with instructions to "de- 
molish . . . the fortifications . . * remove all the canon . . . 
blow up the Alamo and abandon the place. I would myself have 


marched to Bexar ... but the Matamoras rage is so high, 

that I must see Col Ward's men." 15 

Ward commanded a well-equipped battalion that had just 
arrived from Georgia. Houston had entrusted its reception 
toFannin. But what was Tannin doing? Houston found posted 
in Goliad a proclamation signed with Fannin's name, calling 
for volunteers to march on Matamoras and promising that the 
"troops should be paid out of the first spoils taken from the 
enemy. 3516 At best this represented an act of grievous indis- 
cretion. A looting raid would not win over the Mexican 

Hence the importance of pressing on to Refugio and getting 
hold of Ward's men and the supplies. The invasion had 
changed everything. Grant must be forestalled at any cost. 

The "Acting Commander-in-Chief" took up his march for 
Ref ugio, and the regular Commander -in-Chief rode along wit! 
him, badgering the men in a good-natured way over the ob- 
stacles that lay in the path to Matamoras*. In real emergencies 
Houston usually was the master, and he could always make 
himself agreeable to soldiers. His persuasions had begun tc 
weigh with Grant's men when they rode into Refugio on the 
night of January twentieth. 

At Refugio Sam Houston found a disquieting situation. 
Ward was not there. Fannin was not there. Not a pound of 
supplies* was on the ground. 

The following morning Grant's partner in intrigue, John- 
sons galloped in with an explanation of these mysteries. The 
General Council had deposed Governor Smith. It had super- 
seded Sam Hous-ton as Commander-in- Chief, making James W. 
Fannin the actual head of the army. Fannin was in possession 
of Ward's battalion and of the supplies. Matamoras would be 
taken, Mexico smitten with fire and the sword. 

"I had but one course left to pursue," Houston wrote to 
Governor Smith- "By remaining with the army, the council. 


would have had the pleasure of ascribing to me the evils which 
their own acts, will, in all probability, produce. ... I re- 
gard the expedition, as now ordered, as ... [divested] of 
any character s-ave that of piratical . . war.' 517 

Houston washed his hands of the business and took his 
leave, but not until he had done two small things that are 
important to history. He harangued Grant's- and Johnson's 
men on the perils of a march to Matamoras and left them mur- 
muring. He announced his candidacy as delegate from Refugio 
to a new convention that was to meet in Washington on the 
first of March to reorganize the government. 

Houston left Refugio at night, accompanied by his personal 
aide, Major George W. Hockley. He rode in silence "troubled 
by the most painful suspense whether to withdraw once more 
from the treacheries and persecutions of the world, and bury 
himself deep in the solitude of nature, and pass a life in com- 
munion with the Great Spirit, and his beautiful creations'* 
or whether "to boldly mark out a track for himself" and 
"trample down all opposition." 18 For all the mauling that he 
had received at the hands of the world, Sam Houston retained 
the sensitive nature of his boyhood. He was not a happy war- 
rior, but a brooding man in the stormy quest of repose. 

The evening of the following day, Houston resolved upon a 
course. He told Hockley he would mark the new track. He 
would set Texas free. 

At San Felipe Houston talked over things with Governor 
Smith who still made some pretentious to authority. Smith 
went through the form of granting his military commander a 
furlough until March first, and Houston disappeared among 
the Indians, In his calculations for the subjugation of Texas, 
General Santa Anna had omitted little. On the west and the 
south he advanced with armies. On the north and east were In- 
. dians who had their own grudges against Texas. Santa Anna's 
agents were stirring the blood of the clans who numbered two 
thousand men at arms when Sam Houston took his place at 
the council fire of The Bowl, War Lord of the Texas Cherokees. 



ON THE twenty-seventh day of February, 1836, the urbane 
Colonel William F. Gray, of Virginia, rode into Washington 
on the Brazos. "Disgusting place," he wrote in his diary* 
"About a dozen cabins or shanties constitute the city ; not one 
decent house in it, and only one well defined street, which con- 
sists of an opening cut out of the woods. The stumps still 

In New Orleans Colonel Gray had met Austin and the other 
commissioners. The city was enthusiastic and the commis- 
sioners had borrowed two hundred thousand dollars. After 
this, Texas itself was disappointing. The visitor was in San 
Felipe during a brawl between Smith and the Council, which 
had left Texas without army or government. But San Felipe 
professed indifference ; if Santa Anna crossed the Rio Grande 
he should never return alive. A week later Santa Anna was 
well across the Rio Grande, and San Felipe was packing to 
go eastward. Colonel Gray made an early start. 

In Washington he had expected to find Houston. He bore 
a letter for him from Stephen F. Austin. Colonel Gray found 
many other people in Washington who were looking for 
Houston, who, as far as any one knew, was still among the 

Washington was a whirlpool of confusion. The vanguard 
of the flight before the invasion was arriving. Delegates- to 



the Convention that was to meet In three days had begun to 
appear. There were not roofs enough and many slept under the 
trees. Residents were joining the eastward march. Texas 
was beginning to perceive that Houston's elimination from the 
army had failed to produce the results anticipated. In any 
event where was he now? His name somehow inspired con- 
fidence. Colonel Gray thought the Convention must make quick 
shift of its business or starve, since Washington was down to a 
corn-bread and fat-pork ration. 

On February twenty-eighth a courier on a hard-ridden 
\orse galloped into town with what has been called the most 
heroic message in American history. 

"Commandancy of the Alamo 
"Bejar, F'by 24th 1836 

"To the People of Texas & all Americans in the world : . . . 
am beseiged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans' under 
Santa Anna. I have sustained a continual Bombardment & 
cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man. The enemy has 
demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are 
to be put to the sword ... if the fort is taken I have an- 
swered the demand with a cannon shot & our flag still waves 
proudly from the wall. I shall never surrender or retreat. 
Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, cf patriotism & & 
everything dear to the American character, to come to our 
aid with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements 
daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in 
four or five days. If this is- neglected, I am determined to sus- 
tain myself as long as possible. . . . VICTORY OR DEATH. 

"Lt. Col. Comdt." 1 

The crowd took up a collection for the courier and sped 
him on. 

"The Acting Governor, Robinson, with a fragment of the 
Council is here," noted Colonel Gray. "He is treated coldly 
and really s-eems of little consequence." Houston was the man 
of consequence now. Refugio had chosen him as a delegate to 
ii**d Convention, 


On February twenty-ninth it rained. The Convention 
would form on the morrow. To what purpose? Cheerless 
weather; leaderless confusion; a sense of helplessness in the 
face of impending danger. . . . A sudden shout in the stump- 
studded street snatched the throng from its- brooding. A rush 
of men converged about a figure on horseback. Houston had 

"Gen'l Houston's arrival has created more sensation than 
that of any other man. He is much broken in appearance, 
but has still a fine person and courtly manners; he will be 
forty-three years old on the 3rd [2nd] March looks older." 2 

Thus Colonel Gray who lost no time introducing himself. 

Next day a norther swept in and the temperature fell to 
thirty-three degrees. In a fireless shed the Convention worked 
through the night and, among other things, wrote a Declara 
tion of Independence which was adopted without a dissenting 
vote and immediately signed on March 2, 1836. Sam Houston 
was the John Hancock of the occasion, his flowing autograph 
as bold as ever. Eleven of the signers were natives of Vir- 
ginia, nine of Tennessee, nine of North Carolina, five of Ken- 
tucky, four of South Carolina, four of Georgia, three of 
Mexico (two of Texas and one of Yucatan), two of Pennsyl- 
vania, two of New York and one each of Massachusetts, New 
Jersey, Ireland, Scotland, England and Canada, The birth- 
places of three are not obtainable* 

The approval of the declaration took place on Sam Hous- 
ton's forty-third birthday. Only eleven of those who signed it 
were his seniors, the average age being just under thirty-eight. 
Delegate Houston sent his felicitations to Madre Mfo Citi- 
zeness Rosine Sterne of Nacogdoches enclosing a pair of 
beautiful earrings. She wore them each succeeding March 
second to the year of her death. 

On March fourth the Convention elected Sam Houston 


Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the Republic, and on 
Sunday, March sixth, while Washington was eating breakfast 
an express dashed in with tidings from the Alamo. The town 
hastened to the Convention Hall to hear the news, which 
proved to be the last lines Barret Travis was to give to the 

"The spirits of my men are still high, although they have 
had much to depress them. We have contended for ten days 
against an enemy whose number are variously estimated at from 
fifteen hundred to six thousand men. , . . Col. Fannin is said 
to be on the march to this place . . . but I fear it is 
not true, as I have repeatedly sent to him for aid without re- 
ceiving any. ... I hope your honorable body will hasten on 
reinforcements. . . . Our supply of ammunition is limited." 

Robert Potter of the honorable body moved that "the Con- 
vention do immediately adjourn, arm, and march to the relief 
of the Alamo." Sam Houston characterized Mr. Potter's mo- 
tion as "madness." The Convention must remain in session and 
create a government. Houston would leave for the front. He 
would find troops and interpose them between the enemy and 
the Convention. And "if mortal power could avail" he would 
"relieve the brave men in the Alamo." Houston did not men- 
tion that the brave men in the Alamo were there because his 
order to blow up that death-trap had been disregarded. 

When he finished speaking, the Commander-in-Chief strode 
from the hall and mounted his- horse a superb animal, richly 
caparisoned in the Mexican fashion. The fine uniform had 
succumbed to the recent tribulations, however. The General 
wore a Cherokee coat and vest of buckskin, but from his broad 
hat streamed a martial feather. The gift sword was at his side 
and in his belt a pistol. His high-heeled boots were adorned 
with silver spurs of Mexican workmanship, with three-inch 
rowels in the pattern of daisies. Followed by the faithful 
Hockley and three volunteers, one in a borrowed suit of clothes, 
fche protector of the Republic rode to meet General Santa Anna 
and his well-appointed army of seven thousand men. 


Houston started for Gonzales? a hundred odd miles west- 
ward and seventy-six miles from the Alamo sending a courier 
ahead to order Fannin to join him. The Commander-in-Chief 
did not doubt that this officer would be glad to abandon his 
pretensions to the supreme command. Poor Fannin! His 
eyes were open to the incredible folly in which the pursuit of 
ambition and the conspirators of the Council had enmeshed 
him. He sat at Goliad, miserable and repentant, writing pa- 
thetic letters, asking to be extricated from his predicament that 
he might redeem himself as an obedient "company officer." 

The departing gestures of Houston at Refugio had broken 
up the Matamoras expedition. Fannin had marched his com- 
mand to Goliad and thrown up what he characteristically 
christened Fort Defiance. Grant and Johnson, stouter of heart 
though less- troubled by the pricks of conscience, had started 
to Matamoras regardless, but when their followers dwindled 
to a hundred men they, too, were obliged to call a halt. 

A short distance from Washington, Houston separated 
himself from his companions, dismounted and held his ear to the 
prairie. He returned with the announcement that he feared 
the worst for the Alamo. The firing there had ceased, he said. 
Otherwise he could have detected it from the earth, an ac- 
complishment learned from the Indians. 

At four o'clock on the afternoon of March eleventh, the 
Commander-in-Chief reached Gonzales,. In a camp in the bend 
of the river on the edge of town were three hundred and seventy- 
four men under Moseley Baker, with whom Houston lately hac 1 
quarreled. They possessed two days 5 rations and two cannon 
that would shoot. A third piece of artillery was in John 
Sowell's blacksmith shop. There was 1 no news from the Alamo. 

Houston started to form the men into companies, but was 
interrupted by the sudden shrieks of women in the town. Two 
Mexicans had arrived with the story that the Alamo had fallen 
and that the defenders had been horribly slain. Houston de- 


nounced the report and arrested the Mexicans as spies. Ac- 
tually, he believed their story and dispatched fresh orders to 
Fannin, still rooted at Goliad, to blow up his fort and retreat. 

In two days the army grew to five hundred men. Houston 
organized them into a regiment under Burleson, the Indian 
fighter, and instituted a program of drill calculated to get the 
men in hand for a reception of the unnerving news Houston 
knew he could suppress little longer. Already he had written 
Henry Raguet a fairly correct account of the battle with 
particulars, as he had them, of the deaths of Travis and Bowie. 
"Col Fannin should have relieved our Brave men. . . . He 
had taken up the line of march . . . [but] owing to the 
breaking down of a wagon . . . returned to Goliad, and left 
our Spartans to their fate ! 

"We are now compelled to take post on the east side of 
the Guadeloupe, and . . . watch . . . the enemy. ... I 
[will] if possible prevent all future murders [of] our men in 
forts." The campaign was taking shape in the mind of Sam 
Houston. "We cannot fight the enemy ten to one, in their 
own country." Therefore retreat to East Texas and induce 
the enemy to divide his forces in pursuit. "I have no doubt as 
to the issue of the contest. I am in good spirits ! tho not 
Ardent!!!"* Miss Anna please note. 

This letter was- barely on its way when Deaf Smith, a 
famous plainsman and hunter, rode into camp with three 
actual survivors of the Alamo : Mrs. A. M. Dickinson, her fif- 
teen-months-old baby, Angelina, and Travis's* negro body-ser- 
vant, Joe. 

Mrs. Dickinson, who was young and attractive, had been 
taken to General Santa Anna's apartments after the battle. 
She held her head high. Her husband had perished on the 
walls 1 . Her clothing was soiled with the blood of a wounded 
boy from Nacogdoches whom she had tried to save from the 
bayonet. General Santa Anna received her with perfect 
courtesy, and petted little Angelina. Placing a horse and his 
personal servant. Ben, at her disposal, he asked Mrs. Dickinson 


to convey the compliments of General Santa Anna to Senoi 
Houston, and to assure him that the story of the Alamo would 
be the story of all who were found in arms' against Mexican 
authority. Santa Anna said the rebels would be spared only 
if they laid down their arms forthwith. 

Panic took the town and the army. The Mexican advance 
guard was declared to be in sight. Houston dashed among the 
soldiery, shouting to the assembly in his booming voice, and 
telling them to bring in the deserters who had fled. But twenty 
got away and their wild tales brought pandemonium to Texas. 

Houston quieted the little town where thirty women had 
learned that they were widows. The army's baggage wagons 
were reserved for their use. Sinking his artillery in the river, 
Houston burned what equipage the men could not carry on 
their backs. At eleven o'clock the army, followed by one am- 
munition wagon drawn by four oxen, began its retreat. 

"In the name of God, gentlemen," cried an old man, "you 
are not going to leave the families behind!" 

"Oh, yes," drawled a voice from the ranks, "we're looking 
out for number one." 

But Houston had left a mounted rear-guard under Deaf 
Smith to send the refugees in the wake of the army. 

The night was warm and pitch dark. A mile east of the 
town the trail entered a forest of post-oak. The men sank 
ankle-deep in the sandy soil and erpress-ed themselves freely on 
the General's order making them infantry. It was a serious 
compromise with dignity for a Texan to fight on f oot. An hour 
before daybreak there was a halt. The troops dropped in 
their tracks and slept. At dawn the refugee train came up, and 
the women helped the soldiers get breakfast. 

The meal was interrupted by a series of explosions. Santa 
Anna's artillery ! Houston calmed them. The rear-guard was 
blowing up the poisoned liquor citizens of Gonzales had left fo^ 
*5*anta Anna. 


Fifty recruits came during the halt, but seeing the refu- 
gees, twenty-five departed to look after their families. The 
army emerged from the wood on the prairi? ; "as green as 
emerald," wrote a boy in the ranks, "and the sun, which had 
been obs-cured by clouds, shone out . . . greatly exhilarat- 
ing our spirits." Houston rode alorgside the column, pointing 
his finger and counting. "We arc the rise of eight hundred 
strong," he said, "and with a good position can whip ten to 
one of the enemy." 4 This exaggeration of their numbers served 
to cheer the men. 

Houston felt them in need of cheering. A courier had 
brought a message from Fannin who refused to retreat. 8 
Houston surveyed the little column "which seemed but a speck 
on the vast prairie." "Hockley," he said, "there iff the last 
hope of Texas. We shall never see Fannin nor his men." 6 

At sundown the army bivouaced on La Baca River. Hous- 
ton found a man asleep on guard, ordered him shot and re- 
joined Hockley before the embers in the fireplace of a deserted 
cabin. The Commander-in-Chief whittled a stick and medi- 
tated. The only military force, properly speaking, in Texas 
was with Fannin. Grant and Johnson, had been wiped out by 
Urrea whose dragoons- would fall upon Fannin next. Houston 
tossed a handful of shavings on the fire. "Hockley," he said, 
"take an order," and dictated instructions- to Major William T. 
Austin to hasten to the coast, find some artillery and rejoin 
the army on the Colorado in twelve days' time. Houston meant 
to fight. 

On the next day the Commander-in-Chief heard that a blind 
woman with six children had been passed by. He sent a de- 
tachment back thirty miles to bring them in. From Houston 
the poor woman learned that her husband had perished at the 
Alamo. The widow and her brood tramped with the army to 
the Colorado, which was reached at Burnham's Crossing on 
March seventeenth. Terror-stricken settlers were strung for 
toiles up and down the river, frantic to get across. They had 
Abandoned their home at the words of alarm spread by the (Jon- 


zales deserters. Some had stopped to throw a few belongings 
in a wagon, others had left dinners in the pots-. Wives called 
out their husbands' names, mothers searched for their children. 
Houston rode among them saying that every civilian would be 
safely over the river before a single soldier crossed. 

The last of the troops were crossing when the Commander 
espied two women seated on a log. One was an Alama widow, 
and both were utterly destitute. Houston gave them fifty 
dollars and found them places in a wagon. These scenes af- 
fected the army and many volunteers left. There was nothing 
to restrain any one except the personality of Sam Houston. 

But losses- were more than made good, and with six hundred 
men, he went into camp on the east bank of the Colorado to 
await definite word as to Fannin, reinforcements and artillery. 
Discipline was maintained. The guard found asleep on La 
Baca had not been shot, but the army understood that 
his es-cape was a narrow one. This made pickets so vigilant 
that one detained the Commander-in-Chief for identification. 
Houston scattered couriers to the eastward to quell the panic 
that paralyzed his efforts to form an army capable of giving 
battle. He wrote the government that "if only three hundred 
men remain on this side of the Brazos, I will die with them or 

conquer." 7 


In assuming that Texas had a government Houston was, in 
a broad sense, correct. 

While he had been delaying his urgent march to rescue the 
blind widow, the Convention at Washington received its- first 
intimation of the fall of the Alamo in a guarded letter from the 
Commander himself. Next day Houston confirmed the disaster, 
and deserters from Gonzales embroidered the horror. Part of 
the Convention fled without ceremony. Other members got 
drunk. Chairman Ellis attempted to adjourn the sittings to 
Nacogdoches, but a well-knit delegate with a stubby beard 
stood on a bench and told the members to return to their work* 


The Constitution was slapped together at ten o'clock that 
night. At midnight the Convention elected the well-knit dele- 
gate provisional president of the Republic. 

His name was David G. Burnet. Thirty years before he 
had deserted a high stool in a New York counting house to 
see the world. He was with Miranda's romantic but rash de- 
scents upon Venezuela. He had roamed with the wild Indians 
in the little-explored West. One bulge in his close-fitting coat 
was made by a Bible, another by a pistol ; and he did not drink 
or swear. 

Lorenzo de Zavala was chosen vice-president, 

Burnet's Cabinet was elected on the spot. At four in the 
morning of March seventeenth the new Administration was 
sworn in, and the Convention took a recess for breakfast. 

After the meal a remnant of the members came together 
again. "An invaded, unarmed, unprovided country," wrote 
Colonel Gray, the useful diarist, "without an army to oppose 
invaders, and without money to raise one, now presents itself 
to their hitherto besotted and blinded minds and the awful cry 
has been heard from the midst of their Assembly, 'What shall 
we do to be saved?' " When a fugitive dashed into town shout- 
ing the groundless rumor that Santa Anna's cavalry had 
crossed the Colorado, the question of salvation became a matter 
too intimate for parliamentary procedure. "The members are 
now dispersing in all directions. A general panic seems to 
have seized them. Their families are exposed and defenseless, 
and thousands are moving off to the east. A constant stream 
of women and children and some men, with wagons, carts and 
pack mules are rushing across the Brazos night and day." 

Mr. Burnet called a Cabinet meeting, at which it was de- 
cided to transfer the capital of the Republic "to Harrisburg on 
the Buffalo Bayou, as a place of more safety than this." The 
removal began in the rain on the following day, Vice-President 
Zavala rode a small mule. At his side Johnathan Ikin, an 
English capitalist, slopped through the mud on foot, revolving 
in his mind some doubts concerning a proposed five-million- 


dollar loan. Mrs. Robinson, the wife of the late Lieutenant- 
Governor, also walked. Some one had stolen her horse. 

Mrs. Harris, widow of the founder of the new capital, enter- 
tained the dignitaries of the government. Secretary of Wai- 
Thomas J. Rusk and Colonel Gray dried themselves before 
her fire and rolled up in a blanket on the floor. The Secretary 
of Navy and the Attorney-General did the same. But the 
President, the Vice-President and the Secretary of State had 
a bed. Lorenzo de Zavala, Jr., embraced his father and, 
attended by a French valet, breasted the rainswept stream of 
fleeing humanity to join Sam Houston's Army. 

The flight of the government did not diminish the difficulties 
of the Commander-in-Chief. "It was a poor compliment to 
me," he wrote to Rusk, "to suppose that I would not advise the 
convention of any necessity that might arise for their re- 
moval. . . . You know I am not easily depressed but, before 
my God, since we parted I have found the darkest hours of my 
life! . . . For forty-eight hours I have not eaten an ounce^ 
nor have I slept." During the retreat "I was in constant 
apprehension of a rout . . . yet I managed as well, or such 
was my good luck," that the army was kept together. At 
Gonzales "if I could have had a moment to start an express in 
advance of the deserters ... all would have been well, and 
all at peace" east of the Colorado. But the deserters "went 
first, and, being panic-struck ... all who saw them breathed 
the poison and fled." 8 

Next day the outlook brightened. "My force will [soon] 
be highly respectable. . , . You will hear from us. ... I 
am writing in the open air. I have no tent. . . . Do devise 
some plan to send back the rascals who have gone from the 
army. . . . Oh, why did the cabinet leave Washington? . . 
Oh, curse the consternation that has seized the people." 9 

Matters continued to improve, Houston's determination to 


fight brought a tide of recruits, until ultimately he had perhaps 
fourteen hundred men poorly equipped, without artillery, but 
eager for battle. Houston maneuvered down the river, and the 
alert Deaf Smith captured a Mexican scout who revealed that 
General Sesma was approaching with seven hundred and twen- 
ty-five infantry and two field pieces. Sesma camped on the west 
side of the river two miles above the right wing of Houston's 
army, and sent for reinforcements. Lieutenant-Colonel Sidney 
Sherman, a dashing Kentucky volunteer with the best-looking 
uniform in camp, begged to cross and attack, but Houston 

For five days the armies faced each other in expectation 
of battle. There were a few brushes between patrols. On the 
evening of March twenty-fifth a Gonzales refugee named Peter 
err galloped into camp shouting that Fannin had surrendered 
after a bloody defeat. The cry went up to fall upon Sesma at 
once. Houston seized Kerr and denounced his story. Sesma 
would be taken care of in good time. The soldiery went to bed 
and during the night General Sesma was heavily reinforced. 

The only music in the Texan camp was tattoo 'and reveille 
beaten on a drum by the Commander-in-Chief himself, who had 
learned the art under Captain Cusack of the Mounted Gunmen 
in Tennessee. Each night between these calls, General Houston 
inspected the lines of sentinels, conferred with his staff, wrote 
dispatches and turned the pages' of the Commentaries of Caesar 
and Gulliver's Travels, which he had brought in his saddle-bags 
from Washington to read in his spare time. 

There was an occasional hour for a talk with George Hock- 
ley. A fast comradeship grew between the General and his 
aide. They were old acquaintances and had come near fighting 
a duel in Nashville ten years before. But these mellow midnight 
conversations while his army slept carried Sam Houston back 
to days more remote. He spoke of his mother, of the consola- 
tion her teachings had been to his troubled life and of his 
will to reestablish himself as a mark of respect for her memory* 

Reveille was beaten an hour before dawn, when the camp 


stood to arms until full day outlined the west bank of the river 
where Mexican patrols lurked in the brush. After breakfast 
the Commander-in-Chief would kick off his boots and sleep for 
three hours. By mid-forenoon he was on his round of inspec- 
tion, which carried him to every precinct of the camp. Since 
joining the troops at Gonzales the Commander had used liquor 
sparingly, if at all, but carried a small vial of salts of hartshorn 
which he periodically dabbed to his nostrils. 

The morning after the Fannin alarm Houston did not sleep. 
The soldiers saw their General sunning himself on a pile of 
saddles while he cut chews of tobacco with a clasp knife and 
studied a map. The rumor spread that the General was plan- 
ning a battle, and there was a great cleaning of rifles and 
clattering of accouterments. Noon came and Houston had not 
begun his inspections. Something was in the wind. By mid- 
afternoon the atmosphere was tense when an order came to 
break camp, load the wagons and be ready to retreat at sunset. 

The army was dumfounded. What did it mean? Detach- 
ment commanders went flying to headquarters to ascertain* 
They were told to return to their companies and carry out 
orders. The army would march at sunset as directed. 

Bewildered and complaining, the army left fires alight and 
picked its way eastward through the tall grass. Seventy-five 
families were encamped on the river, hoping for a battle. They 
fled. "Among these was my own," one s-oldier wrote. "I now 
left the army and with the families set out on the retreat." 10 
Many of Houston's soldiers did likewise. 

Six miles from the river the army bivouaced without fires 
and grumbled itself to sleep. The first light of morning saw 
the column pressing on. Staff officers rode up and down. 
"Close up, men. Close up." Major Ben Fort Smith of the 
staff asked Captain Moseley Baker what he thought of the 
movement. Captain Baker replied in a loud voice. He thought 
little enough of the movement, and unless reasons for the 
retreat acceptable to the Army were forthcoming, Sam Hous- 
ton would be deposed from command before the day was over. 


The march was so relentlessly pressed that Captain Baker 
did not find an opportunity to carry out his plan. That night, 
with thirty weary miles behind them, the men were too tired to 
care. They had covered the whole distance between the 
Colorado and the Rio de los Brazos de Dios and were bivouaced 
a mile from San Felipe de Austin. But sentiment against the 
retreat had grown, and after a few hurried interviews Captain 
Baker turned in. confident that the Army would throw off 
Houston's leadership in the morning. 11 


REVEILLE rolled in the darkness, and stiff men, casting 
grotesque shadows, fumbled about the breakfast fires. A bleak 
wind blew ashes in the coifee kettles. The Commander-in-Chief 
did not show himself, but after breakfast the punctual staff 
officers bounced through camp with brisk orders to form com- 
panies for the march. 

Soldiers grumble as a matter of form, but those ably led 
acquire a habit of obedience that overbears many weaknesses 
of the flesh. The companies fell in, and only Captains Moseley 
Baker and Wily Martin sustained the bold resolutions of the 
night before. Lieutenant-Colonel Sherman sent Houston an 
announcement of their refusal to march. This brought Hockley 
at a gallop, shouting to Sherman to put the column in motion. 
"If subordinates refuse to obey orders the sooner the fact is 
ascertained the better I" The column moved, but the companies 
of Baker and Martin stood fast. 

A furious rain caught the column toiling through a swamp 
up the west bank of the River of the Arms of God. Wagons 
stalled and men floundered in the mud. The sheer force of tke 
downpour broke the ranks. The exertions of all the staf 
officers and of Houston himself were unable to preserve an 
appearance of military order. Stragglers began to grope back 
toward Baker and Martin. Houston paused under a tree, 
penciling an order to Baker to take post in defense of the rive* 



Dressing at San Felipe, and Martin at Fort Bend. They com- 

For three terrible days Houston drove the stumbling column 
through the unrelenting rain, advancing only eighteen miles. 
On March 31, 1836, he halted in a "bottom" by the Brazos with 
nine hundred demoralized and mutinous men remaining of the 
thirteen hundred he had led from the Colorado five days before. 
Near by glowed the lights of Jared Groce's house, where in 
1829 took place the first discussion on Texas soil to solicit 
Sam Houston to assist the fortunes of the restless province. 

The country was in worse temper than the Army. Housv 
ton's abandonment of the Colorado gave fresh wings to the 
terror that had been calmed somewhat by his halt and the 
expectation of a battle. A fierce outcry broke from govern- 
ment and populace, which took little account of the strategic 
handicap Fannin's capitulation had imposed upon their 
General. Although students of the military science, viewing the 
campaign in retrospect, entertain divided opinions on the 
matter, Houston believed that a victory on the Colorado would 
have been indecisive and a reverse irreparable. General Santa 
Anna believed that the elimination of Fannin had made all 
Texas untenable for Houston, and arranged for an early re- 
turn to Mexico City. 

During the retreat came the paralyzing intelligence that 
Fannin and three hundred and ninety men had been executed in 
cold blood after surrendering, and of the massacre of a smaller 
band under Captain King. General Santa Anna was keeping 
his word. Texas shuddered and fled. Mr. Burnet's govern- 
ment lost its' grip and the flight of the population became a 
hysterical plunge toward the Sabine. 

Sam Houston's rain-soaked and rebellious mob was the 
Republic's solitary hope menaced by four Mexican columns 
sweeping forward to enclose its front, flanks and rear. The 
profound wisdom of hindsight suggests that had the Com- 
mander given some explanation of his retreat, Army and 
country might have fared better. But the inscrutable Indian 


brain of The Raven had divulged nothing and explained nothing, 
I consulted none ;" he wrote in the saddle, "held no councils 
of war. // / err, the llame is mine. 99 '' And he had taken no 
notice of criticism. 

The story grew that Houston meant to abandon Texas in 
a mad effort to induce United States troops on the Sabine to 
take up the war. That first wet night in the Brazos Bottoms, 
Houston wrote Secretary of War Rusk for news of the govern- 
ment's program, if any. "I must let the camp know some- 
thing ... [so that] I can keep them together." 2 

Sam Houston promised his mob a glorious victory and 
drove a parcel of beeves into camp for a barbecue. Then he 
began to remold the rabble into an army to receive the enemy, 
providentially delayed by the rains. 

The Bottoms quaked with activity, and no trick in the 
repertory of the professionally trained soldier was neglected. 
Drills, inspections, maneuvers; maneuvers, inspections, drills. 
Units were revamped, two new regiments created, a corps 
d'elite of Regulars formed, Anson Jones was so dizzily yanked 
from infantry private to regimental surgeon that he complained 
of "having to do duty in both capacities" for several days, 
Discipline and esprit de corps began to return. Recruits came 
in. Scouts watched the encroaching enemy. Patrols watched 
the camp. Jackals caught plundering refugees were assisted 
out of their troubles at the nearest tree. 

Encouraging reports from the United States were published 
to the Army. Wharton wrote to Houston from Nashville: 
"Your name * . . [will] raise 5000 volunteers in Tennessee 
alone. . . . Especially the Ladies are enthusiastic. . . . 
The Ladies have pledged themselves to arm equip & entirely 
outfit 200 volunteers now forming.* 53 The lovely Nashville 
ladies ! Miss Anna Hanna stitched a flag for her old beau. A 
woman in black on a river plantation flaunted, like a banner, 
her proud glance in the face of hostile family frowns. 


Houston's difficulties were staggering. Burnet was an 
enemy. He had a spy on Houston's staff. The Commander-in 
Chief intercepted one of this creature's letters, declaring that 
after abandoning the use of liquor Houston had taken up 
opium. A newly promoted major returned from Moseley 
Baker's outpost and began to sound out officers on a scheme to 
"beat for volunteers" to proclaim a successor to General 
Houston. Sidney Sherman a full colonel now, his uniform 
the brightest sight in camp was to be the man. 

An Indian uprising threatened the refugees. Mexican 
agents were undoing the peace-work Houston had accomplished 
after leaving Refugio. "My friend Col Bowl," Houston wrote 
the war lord of the Cherokees, "I am very busy, and will only 
say how da do, to you!" The salutation took the form of a 
reminder that Houston had been the red man's friend and that 
the red man would find it to his profit to reciprocate. "My 
best compliments to my sister, and tell her that I have not 
wore out the mockasins which she made me." 4 

On April seventh Santa Anna reached San Felipe. Hous- 
ton reinforced Baker, and for four days the Mexican artillery 
tried to force a crossing without success, although an American 
named Johnson, serving with the Mexicans, caused some dis- 
comfort by firing across the flooded river with a rifle. With 
this cannonade rumbling in his ears, Houston received a brief 
message from President Burnet. "Sir: The enemy are laugh- 
ing you to scorn. You must fight." 5 The camp was in a 
frenzy of excitement. Leaders of the contemplated mutiny 
believed their hour had struck, but changed their minds when 
Sam Houston had two graves dug and affixed to trees about 
camp a memorandum saying that the first man to beat for 
volunteers would be shot. 6 

Word that Santa Anna had abruptly abandoned his at- 
tempt to cross at San Felipe found Houston in a buoyant mood. 
He had just received his long awaited gun? two iron six- 


pounders, the gift of friends in Cincinnati. Clad in a worn 
leather jacket, he was watching the camp blacksmith cut up 
old horseshoes for artillery ammunition, when a young soldier 
said that the lock on his rifle would not work, "All right, son," 
said General Houston, "set her down and call around in an 
hour." The boy came back, stammering an apology. He was 
a recruit, he said, and did not know that the man pointed out 
to him as a blacksmith was the Commander-in-Chief. "My 
friend, he told you right. I am a very good blacksmith," re- 
plied Houston taking up the gun and snapping the lock. "She 
is in order now." 7 

The next two days Houston devoted to moving his army 
across the Brazos, while Santa Anna crossed near Fort Bend. 
The Texans encamped on the premises of a well-to-do settler 
named Donahoe, who demanded that Houston stop the men 
from cutting his timber for fire-wood. General Houston repri- 
manded the wood-gatherers. Under no circumstances, he said, 
should they lay ax to another of Citizen Donahoe's trees. 
Could they not see that Citizen Donahoe's rail fence woulcf 
afford the fuel required? That night the army gallants 
scraped up an acquaintance with some girls in a refugee camp, 
turned Mr. Donahoe out of house and held a dance. 8 

When the army left Donahoe's at dawn Moseley Baker de- 
manded to know whether Houston intended to intercept Santa 
Anna at Harrisburg or to retreat to the Sabine. The General 
declined to answer. Seventeen miles from Donahoe's the road 
forked, the left branch leading to Nacogdoches and the Sabine, 
the right branch to Harrisburg. If Houston should attempt to 
take the left road, Captain Baker proclaimed that he would 
"then and there be deposed from command." 9 Rain slowed the 
march, however, and only by borrowing draft oxen from Mrs* 
Mann of a refugee band that followed the army, did the troops 
by nightfall reach Sam McCurley's, a mile short of the cross- 

Next morning a torrential rain failed to extinguish the 
excitement in the ranks. Which road would Houston take? 


The menacing Baker thundered warnings, but the Sabine route 
frad its partisans among the troops. All of the refugees favored 
it. The Commander-in-Chief treated the commotion as if it did 
not exist and without comment sent the advance-guard over 
the Harrisburg Road. 

A wail arose from the refugees. There was a halt and a 
wrangle which Houston terminated by ordering Wily Martin 
to escort the refugees and watch for Indian hostilities to the 
eastward. The Commander-in-Chief thought this cleared the 
path for his pursuit of Santa Anna, but he had reckoned with- 
out Mrs. Mann. She demanded the return of her oxen. Wagon 
Master Rohrer, a giant in buckskin with a voice like a bull, 
brushed the protest aside as too trivial for the attention of a 
man of affairs, and cracking his long whip, addressed the oxen 
in the sparkling idiom of the trail. Whereupon, Mrs. Mann 
produced from beneath her apron a pistol, and, if rightly over^ 
heard, addressed Mr. Rohrer in terms equally exhilarating. 
General Houston arrived in time to compose the difficulty with 
his usual courtly deference to the wishes of a lady. 

Three or four hundred men followed Martin, or departed 
independently, leaving Houston with less than a thousand to 
follow Santa Anna who rode with a magnificent suite at the 
head of a picked force of veterans. But Santa Anna was now 
the pursued and Houston the pursuer. General Santa Anna 
commanded the center of three armies. The rains, however, 
had fought on Houston's side, and there was a chance that by 
fast marching he might catch the Mexican Commander-in-Chief 
out of reach of his cooperating columns. Another factor in 
Houston's favor was the Sabine retreat story. Houston had 
never intended to fall back to the Sabine, but the report was so 
persistently circulated and never denied that the Mexicans in- 
cluded it in their strategic calculations. 

Over the boggy prairie path, by courtesy the Harrisburg 
Road, Houston drove the little column fearfully. Nothing 
delayed the advance. Wagonsr were carried over quagmires on 
the backs- of the men. The greatest trial was the guns. ID 


camp the enthusiastic soldiers had christened them the "Twin 
Sisters," but now they thought of other names. 

On the morning of April eighteenth the army reached the 
Buffalo Bayou, opposite Harrisburg, having covered fifty- 
five miles in two and a half days-. Mounts and men were dead 
beat. Houston had never been in this part of the country be- 
fore. He spent his nights in constant touch with the scouts 
and in the study of a crude map, covered with cabalistic pencil- 
ings of his own. 

The army rested. Harrisburg was in ashes; Santa Anna 
had come and gone. Deaf 10 Smith swam the bayou and toward 
evening returned with two prisoners, a Mexican scout and a 
courier. The courier's saddle-bag bore the name of 
W. B. Travis souvenir of the Alamo. It contained useful 
information. Santa Anna had dashed upon Harrisburg with 
eight hundred troops- in an effort to capture President Burnet 
leaving Cos to follow. But the raid netted only three printers 
who had stuck to their cases in the office of Gail Borden's 
Texas Telegraph. Editor B or den and the government had fled 
to Galveston Island in the nick of time, with Santa Anna racing 
in futile pursuit to take them before they left the mainland. 
On his soiled map Houston traced the situation of his quarry, 
not ten miles away, groping among the unfamiliar marshes 
that indented Galveston Bay and the estuary of a certain 
nebulous Rio San Jacinto. 11 Sending his army to bed the 
Commander-in-Chief continued to pore over the chart. Two 
hours before dawn he slept a little. 

After the daybreak stand-to General Houston delivered a 
speech. The "ascending eloquence and earnestness" put one 
impressionable young soldier in mind of "the halo encircling 
the brow of our Savior." "Victory is certain!" Sam Houston 
said. "Trust in God and fear not ! And remember the Alamo ! 
Remember the Alamo !" 

Remember the Alamo !" the ranks roared back. They had 
a battle-cry. 

There was just time for &, short letter to Anna Raguet's 


father: "This morning we are in preparation to meet Santa 
Anna. . . . It is wisdom growing out of necessity." 12 

The pick of the army advanced, leaving the sick and the 
wagons with a rear-guard. After a swift march Houston made 
a perilous crossing of Buffalo Bayou, using the floor torn 
from a cabin as a raft. The column hid in a woods until 
dark, and then advanced warily, encircled by the scouts under 
Deaf Smith and Henry Karnes. At a narrow bridge over a 
stream Vince's bridge over Vince's Bayou, men who knew the 
country said the column trampled the cold ashes of Santa 
Anna's camp-fires. The night was black and the advance pain- 
fully slow. Equipment had been muffled so as to make no sound 
A low-spoken order passed from rank to rank to be ready on 
the instant to attack. Rifles were clutched a little closer. One 
mile, two miles beyond the bridge, down a steep ravine and 
stealthily up the other side crept the column. 

At two o'clock in the morning the word came to break ranks. 
In the damp grass the men dropped beside their arms. With the 
salt of the sea in their nostrils they slept for an hour; then 
formed up and stumbled on until daybreak, when their General 
concealed them in a patch of timber. 

Some of the Vince brothers' cows were grazing in this wood. 
The army had a commissary! Throats 1 were noiselessly cut 
and General Houston had given permission to build fires when 
a party of scouts dashed up. They had driven off a Mexican 
patrol and learned that Santa Anna was on the road to Lynch's 
Ferry. The butchers were called from their delectable task and 
the fires pulled apart. The men fell in to the banging of 
muskets and the clank of ramrods as- old charges were fired and 
fresh ones sent home. The breakfastless army headed for 
Lynch's Ferry, three miles eastward. Santa Anna approached 
the ferry from the south, with five miles to go. 

From the crest of a grass-grown slope Houston's army 
got its first view of Lynch's Ferry, lying at the tip of a point 
of lowland where Buffalo Bayou flowed into the San Jacinto 
River. On the farther side of the river was a scattering of 


unpainted houses the town of Lynchburg. Behind the town 
bulged a round hill, the side of which was covered with people 
who gazed for a moment at the column filing down the slope, 
and then melted away. They were Texas Tories waiting to 
pilot Santa Anna toward the Sabine. 

Having the choice of positions, Houston established him- 
self in a wood of great oak trees, curtained with Spanish moss, 
that skirted the bayou just above its junction with the San 
Jacinto. He posted the infantry and cavalry in order of 
battle within the thick shelter, and placed the Twin Sisters 1 on 
the edge of the trees so as to command the swelling savannah 
that lay in front of the woods, This semi-tropical prairie 
extended to the front for nearly a mile, thick with waving green 
grass, half as high as wheat. A woods bounded the prairie on 
the left, screening a treacherous swamp that bordered the San 
Jacinto. Swamp and river swung to the right, half enclosing 
the prairie and giving it a background of green a tone darker 
than the active young grass. Over this prairie Santa Anna 
must pass to gain the ferry. 

The Texans were prepared to fight, but the presence of 
cows' in the grass revealed the force of Napoleon's famous 
maxim. Again the fires crackled, and this time steaks were 
sizzling on the spits when the scouts came galloping across- the 
plain. They said that Santa Anna was advancing just beyond 
a rise. The Twin Sisters were wheeled out a little piece on the 
prairie. The infantry line crept to the edge of the woods. 

Santa Anna's bugles blared beyond the swell. A dotted line 
of skirmishers' bobbed into view, and behind it marched parallel 
columns of infantry and of cavalry with slender lances gleam- 
ing. Between the columns Santa Anna advanced a gun. The 
skirmishers parted to let the clattering artillerymen through. 

The Twin Sisters- were primed and loaded with broken 
horseshoes. General Houston, on a great white stallion, rode 
up and down the front of his infantry. Under partial cover of 
% clump of trees, three hundred yards from the Texan lines, the 
Mexican gun wheeled into position. 


Joe Neill, commanding the Twin Sisters, gave the word for 
one gun to fire. Crash went the first shot by Sam Houston's 
artillery in the war. There had been no powder for practise 
rounds. Through the ragged smoke the Texans could see 
Mexican horses down and men working frantically at their 
piece. Their Captain had been wounded and the gun carriage 

Crash! The second Twin cut loose, and the Mexican gu* 
replied. Its shot tore through the branches of the trees above 
the Texans 5 heads, causing a shower of twigs. 

Rat-tat! The Mexican skirmishers opened fire and plumes 
of black dirt jumped in front of the Texas infantry, A ball 
glanced from a metal trimming on General Houston's bridle. 
Colonel Neill dropped with a broken hip. 

The Texan infantrymen had held their beads on the dotted 
line for so long that their faces- ached. Every dot was covered 
by ten rifles, for no Texan had to be told that when he shot to 
shoot at something. A row of flaming orange jets rushed from 
the woods and expired in air ; the dotted gray line sagged into 
the grass and did not reappear. 

The Twin Sisters whanged away and the Mexican gun 
barked back, but the state of its carriage made accurate aim 
impossible. Santa Anna decided not to bring on a general 
engagement, and sent a detachment of dragoons to haul off 
the crippled gun. Dashing Sidney Sherman begged to take the 
cavalry and capture the Mexican field piece, and finally Hous- 
ton consented. Sherman lost two men and several horses', but 
failed to get the gun. General Houston gave him a dressing 
down that should have withered the leaves on the trees. A 
private by the conquering name of Mirabeau Buonaparte La- 
mar who had borne himself courageously was promoted to 
command the cavalry regiment, numbering fifty-three. 

Sherman was considerable of a camp hero just 'the same; 
he and Deaf Smith who had captured the ferry-boat loaded 
with Mexican flour. Dough, rolled on sticks and baked by the 
fire, made the postponed meal notable, after which the men 


spread blankets by the fires and talked themselves to sleep 
over the big fight that was to take place in the morning. Less 
than a mile away, under the watchful eyes of Houston's scouts, 
flickered the camp-fires of the enemy. 

On the twenty-first of April, 1836, reveille rolled at the 
usual hour of four, but a strange hand tapped the drum. The 
Commander-in-Chief was asleep, with a coil of rope under his 
head. He had left instructions not to be disturbed. It was 
evident that the anticipated dawn attack would not take place. 
The ranks silently stood to until daylight, precisely as they 
had done every other morning, except that the Commander-in- 
Chief slept through it all. Nor did the soldier hum of break- 
fast-time arouse him. It was full day when Sam Houston 
opened his eyes after his first sleep of more than three hours 
in six weeks-. He lay on his back, studying the sky. An eagle 
wheeled before the flawless blue. The Commander-in-Chief 
sprang to his feet. "The sun of Austerlitz," he said, "ha? 
risen again. 5518 

An eagle over the Cumberland on that awful April night ' 
an eagle over the muddier Rubicon an eagle above the plain 
of St. Hyacinth. Did these symbolic birds exist, or were they 
simply reflections of a mind drenched with Indian lore? The 
eagle was Sam Houston's medicine animal. When profoundly 
moved it was from the Indian part of his being and not the 
white-man part that unbidden prayers ascended, 


The camp was in a fidget to attack. It could not fathom 
a commander who s-auntered aimlessly under the trees in the 
sheer enjoyment, he said, of a good night's sleep. Deaf Smith 
rode up and dismounted. The lines of the old plainsman's 
leathery face were deep. His short square frame moved with 
a heavy tread. The scout was very weary. Night and day 
he and Henry Karnes had been the eyes of the army, and 
considering the tax of the other faculties that deafness imposed 


upon a scout, the achievements of Smith elude rational ex- 

"Santa Anna is getting reinforcements," he said in his 
high-pitched voice. And surely enough, a line of pack-mules 
was just visible beyond the swell in the prairie. "They've just 
come over our track. I'm going to tell the general he ought 
to burn Vince's bridge before any more come up." 

After a talk with Smith, Houston told his commissary 
general, John Forbes 1 , to find two sharp axes, and then strolled 
past a gathering of soldiers remarking that it wasn't often 
Deaf Smith could be fooled by a trick like that Santa Anna 
marching men around and around to make it look like a re- 
inforcement. Smith returned from another gallop on to the 
prairie. "The general was right," he announced loudly. "It's 
all a humbug." But privately he informed Houston that the 
reinforcement numbered five hundred and forty men under Cos, 
which raised Santa Anna's force to the neighborhood of 
thirteen hundred and fifty. Houston's strength was slightly 
above eight hundred. 14 

Houston later told Santa Anna that his reason for waiting 
for Cos was to avoid making "two bites of one cherry." But he 
did not care to see FiKsola, who might turn up at any time 
with two or three thousand Mexicans. Handing the axes' to 
Smith, Houston told him to destroy Vince's bridge. "And 
come back like eagles, or you will be too late for the day." 

Unaware of these preparations, the camp was working itself 
into a state. To all appearance the General was wasting good 
time, and jealous officers were only too eager to place this 
construction on the situation. At noon John A. Wharton, the 
Adjutant-General, with whom the Commander-in-Chief was 
not on the most cordial terms, went from mess to mess, stirring 
up the men. "Boys, there is no other word to-day, but fight, 
fight!" Moseley Baker harangued his company. They must 
neither give nor ask quarter, he said. Resting on his saddle 
horn, Houston narrowly observed the Baker proceedings. He 
rode on to a mess that Wharton had just addressed. Every 


one was boiling for a fight. "All right," observed the General 
"Fight and be damned." 15 

Houston called a council of war the first and last, but one, 
of his career. The question he proposed was, "Shall we attack 
the enemy or await his attack upon us?" There was- a sharp 
division of ideas. Houston expressed no opinion, and when 
the others had wrangled themselves into a thorough disagree- 
ment he dismissed the council. 

At three-thirty o'clock, the Commander-in-Chief abruptly 
formed his army for attack. At four o'clock he lifted his sword. 
A drum and fife raised the air of a love-song, Come to the 
$ower 9 and the last army of the Republic moved from the 
woods and slowly up the sloping plain of San Jacinto. The 
left of the line was covered by the swamp, the right by the 
Twin Sisters, Millard's forty-eight Regulars and Lamar's fifty 
cavflry. A company from Newport, Kentucky, displayed a 
white silk flag, embroidered with an amateurish figure of 
Liberty. (The Lone Star emblem was a later creation.) A 
glove of the First Lieutenant's sweetheart bobbed from the 
staff. On the big white stallion Sam Houston rode up and 
down the front. 

"Hold your fire, men. Hold your fire. Hold your fire.** 

The mastery of a continent was in contention between the 
champions of two civilizations racial rivals and hereditary 
enemies, so divergent in idea and method that suggeston of com- 
promise was an affront. On an obscure meadow of bright grass, 
nursed by a watercourse named on hardly any map, wet steel 
would decide which civilization should prevail on these shores 
and which submit in the clash of men and symbols' impending 
the conquistador and the frontiersman, the Inquisition and the 
Magna Charta, the rosary and the rifle. 

For ten of the longest minutes that a man ever lives, the 
single line poked through the grass. In front lay a barricade 


of Mexican pack-saddles and camp impedimenta, inert in the 
oblique rajs of the sun. 

"Hold your fire, men. Hold your fire." 

Behind the Mexican line a bugle rang. A sketchy string 
of orange dots glowed from the pack-saddles and a ragged 
rattle of musketry roused up a scolding swarm of birds from 
the trees on the Texans 5 left. A few Texans raised their rifles 
and let go at the dots. 

"Hold your fire ! God damn you, hold your fire P 16 Gen- 
eral Houston spurred the white stallion to a gallop. 

The orange dots continued to wink and die. The white 
stallion fell. Throwing himself upon a cavalryman's- pony, 
Houston resumed his patrol of the line. 

"Fight for your lives ! Vince's bridge has been cut down !" 
It was Deaf Smith on a lathered mustang. Rather inaccu- 
rately, the soldiers understood Vince's bridge to be their sole 
avenue of retreat. 

Twenty yards from the works, Houston made a signal with 
his hat. A blast of horseshoes from the Twin Sisters laid a 
section of the fragile breastwork flat. The infantrymen roared 
a volley and lunged forward drawing their hunting knives, 
"Remember the Alamo ! Remember the Alamo P 

They swept over the torn barricade as if it had not been 
there. Shouts and yells and the pounding of hoofs smote their 
ears. Through key-holes in a pungent wall of smoke they 
saw gray-clad little figures, with chin-straps awry, running 
back, kneeling and firing, and running back toward some 
tents where greater masses of men were veering this way and 
that. The Texans pursued them. The pungent wall melted ; the 
firing was not so heavy now as the Texans were using their 
knives and the bayonets of Mexican guns. The surprise lacked 
nothing. Santa Anna had thought Houston would not, could 
not, attack. In his carpeted marquee, he was enjoying a siesta 
when a drowsy sentinel on the barricade descried the Texan 
advance. Cos's men were sleeping off the fatigue of their 
night march. Cavalrymen were riding bareback to and froafi 


water. Others were cooking and cutting wood. Arms were 

When the barrier was overrun a general of brigade rallied 
a handful of men about a field piece ; all fell before the Texans' 
knives. An infantry colonel got together a following under 
cover of some trees ; a Texas sharpshooter killed him, and the 
following s-cattered. Almonte, the Chief-of-Staff, rounded up 
four hundred men and succeeded in retreating out of the panic 
zone. Santa Anna rushed from his tent commanding every 
one to lie down. A moment later he vaulted on a black horse 
and disappeared. 

General Houston rode among the wreckage of the Mexican 
camp. He was on his third horse, and his right boot was- full 
of blood. "A hundred steady men," he said, "could wipe us 
out." Except for a handful of Regulars, the army had es- 
caped control of its officers-, and was pursuing, clubbing, knif- 
ing, shooting Mexicans wherever they were found. Fugitives 
plunged into the swamp and scattered over the prairie. "Me 
no Alamo ! Me no Alamo !" Some cavalry bolted for bridge- 
less Vince's Bayou. The Texans rushed them down a vertical 
bank. A hundred men and a hundred horses, inextricably 
tangled, perished in the water. 

Houston glanced over the prairie. A gray-clad column, 
marching with the swing of veterans, bore toward the scene of 
battle. After a long look the General lowered his field-glass 
with a thankful sigh. Almonte and his four hundred were 
surrendering in a body. 

As the sun of Austerlitz set General Houston fainted in 
Hockley's arms. His right leg was shattered above the ankle. 
The other Texan casualties were six killed and twenty-four 
wounded. According to Texan figures the Mexicans lost 630 
killed, 208 wounded and 730 prisoners, making a total of 1568 
accounted for. This seems to be about 200 more men than 
Santa Anna had with him. 

The battle proper had lasted perhaps twenty minutes. The 
rest was in remembrance of the Alamo. This pursuit and 


slaughter continued into the night. The prisoners were herded 
in the center of a circle of bright fires. "Santa Anna? Santa 
Anna?" the Texans demanded until officers- began to pull off 
their shoulder-straps. But no Santa Anna was found. 

The Texans roystered all night, to the terror of the 
prisoners who designated their captors by the only English 
words their bewildered senses- were competent to grasp. A 
woman camp-follower threw herself before a Texan soldier. 
"Senor God Damn, do not kill me for the love of God and the 
life of your mother !" The soldier was 1 of the small company of 
Mexicans that had fought under young Zavala. He told his 
countrywoman not to fear. "Sisters, see here," the woman 
cried. "This Seiior God Damn speaks the Christian language 
like the rest of us*!" 


After a night of pain General Houston propped himself 
against a tree, and Surgeon Ewing redressed his wound which 
was more serious than had been suppos-ed. While the Surgeon 
probed fragments of bone from the mangled flesh, the patient 
fashioned a garland of leaves and tastefully inscribed a card 
"To Miss 1 Anna Raguet, Nacogdoches, Texas: These are 
laurels I send you from the battle field of San Jacinto. Thine. 

The Commander-in-Chief also penciled a note which was 
borne as fast as horseflesh could take it to the hands of one who 
deserved his- own share of the laurels Andrew Jackson. 

All day bands of scared prisoners were brought in. But 
no Santa Anna, no Cos. This was more than vexing. The 
Texans wished simply to kill Cos for violation of parole, but 
Santa Anna might escape to Filisola and return with thrice 
the army Houston had just defeated. With the President of 
Mexico in his hands, however, Houston could rest assured that 
He had won the war, not merely a battle. 

Toward evening a patrol of five men rode into camp. 
Mounted behind Joel Robison was a bedraggled little figure in 


a blue cotton smock and red felt slippers. The patrol had 
found him near the ruined Vince's Bayou bridge seated on a 
stump, the living picture of dejection. He said he had found 
his ridiculous clothes in a deserted house. He looked hardly 
^orth bothering to take five miles to camp and would have 
been dispatched on the spot but for Robison, who was a good- 
hearted boy, and spoke Spanish. Robison and his prisoner 
chatted on the ride. How many men did the Americans have? 
Robison said less than eight hundred, and the prisoner said 
that surely there were more than that. Robison asked the 
captive if he had left a family behind. "Si, s-enor." "Do you 
expect to see them again?" The little Mexican shrugged his 
shoulders. "Why did you come and fight us?" Robison 
wished to know. "A private soldier, senor, has little choice in 
such matters," 

Robison had taken a liking to the polite little fellow and 
was about to turn him loose without ceremony among the herd 
of prisoners-, when the captives began to raise their hats. 

"Z Presidente! El Presidente!" 

An officer of the guard ran up and with an air that left the 
Texan flat, the prisoner asked to be conducted to General 

Sam Houston was lying on a blanket under the oak tree 7 
his eyes closed and his face drawn with pain. The little man 
was brought up by Hockley and Ben Fort Smith. He stepped 
forward and bowed gracefully. 

"I am General Antonio L6pez de Santa Anna, President of 
Mexico, Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Operations. I 
place myself at the disposal of the brave General Houston." 

This much unexpected Spanish was almost too great a 
strain upon the pupil of Miss Anna Raguet. Raising himself 
on one elbow, Houston replied as words came to him. 

"General Santa Anna ! Ah, indeed! Take a seat, General. 
I am glad to see you, take a seat!" 

The host waved his arm toward a black box, and asked foi 
an interpreter. Zavala camf up. Santa Anna recognized him. 


"Oh ! My friend, the son of my early friend !" 

The young patrician bowed coldly. Santa Anna turned to 
General Houston. 

"That man may consider himself born to no common destiny 
who has conquered the Napoleon of the West; and it now re 
mains for him to be generous to the vanquished." 

"You should have remembered that at the Alamo," Houston 
replied. 17 

General Santa Anna made a bland Latin answer that 
loses much in translation. Houston pressed the point. What 
excuse for the massacre of Tannin's men? Another Latin 
answer. Another blunt interrogation, and for the first time 
in his amazing life Santa Anna's power of self-command de- 
serted him. He raised a nervous hand to his pale face and 
glanced behind him. A ring of savage Texans had pressed 
around, with ominous looks on their faces and ominous stains 
on their knives. Santa Anna murmured something about a pass- 
ing indisposition and requested a piece of opium. 

The drug restored the prisoner's poise, and formal negotia- 
tions were begun. Santa Anna was deft and shrewd, but Hous- 
ton declined to discuss terms of peace, saying that was a 
governmental matter not within the province of a military com- 
mander. Santa Anna proposed an armistice, which Houston 
accepted, dictating the terms which provided for the immediate 
evacuation of Texas- by the Mexican Armies. Santa Anna 
wrote marching orders for Filisola and the other generals. 
Houston beckoned to Deaf Smith, and the orders were on their 

Houston had Santa Anna's marquee erected within a few 
yards of the tree under which the Texas General lay, and 
restored the captive's personal baggage to him. Santa Anna 
retired to change his clothes, and General Houston produced 
an ear of corn from beneath his blanket and began to nibble it. 
A soldier picked up a kernel and said he was going to take it 
home and plant it A genius had opened his lips ! 

Houston's great voice summoned the men from their cordial 


discussion of the mode of General Santa Anna's execution, 
"My brave fellows," he said scattering corn by the handful, 
"take this along with you to your own fields, where I hope you 
may long cultivate the arts of peace as you have shown your- 
selves masters of the art of war." 

Irresistible. "We'll call it Houston corn!" they shouted. 

"Not Houston corn," their General said gravely, "but San 
Jacinto corn !" 18 

And thousands of tasseled Texas acres to-day boast pedi- 
grees that trace back to the San Jacinto ear. Three days after 
the corn incident, Houston had forgotten the name, however, 
and in his official report nearly wrote it the battle of Lynch-* 


When President Burnet arrived with as much of his travel- 
stained government as could be picked up on short notice, 
General Houston was receiving Mrs. McCormick who bore a 
verbal petition to remove "them stinking Mexicans" from her 

**Why, lady," protested General Houston, "your land will 
be famed in history as the spot where the glorious battle was 

"To the devil with your glorious history," the lady replied, 
"Take off your stinking Mexicans." 19 

Mr. Burnet also found much to deplore, including General 
Houston's reported use of profanity. He and his satellites 
swarmed over the camp, collecting souvenirs and giving orders 
without notice of the Commander-in-Chief. Sidney Sherman 
and the new Colonel Lamar were much in the company of 
these statesmen. Leaning on his crutches, Houston watched the 
government confiscate the fine stallion of Almonte, which, after 
the sale of some captured material at auction, had been pre- 
sented to the General by his soldiers. Had Sam Houston raised 
his hand those soldiers would have pushed Mr. Burnet into the 
San Jacinto. Even greater tact was required to preserve the 


life of Santa Anna, whose guards would have slain him except 
for Houston. 

The Commander's wound had become dangerous, and 
Doctor Ewing said he must go to New Orleans for an operation. 
When President Burnet and Cabinet boarded their vessel to 
return to Galveston Island, Houston was not asked to accom- 
pany them. When he applied for permission, it was refused. 
But the Captain of the boat declined to sail without the General, 
and Secretary of War Rusk and his brother carried him 
aboard. Mr. Rusk was still Houston's friend and had made 
the last part of the campaign with the Army. 

Passage on a Texas naval vessel sailing for New Orleans 
was likewise refused, and Surgeon Ewing, who had accompanied 
his chief to Galveston Island against President Burnet's order, 
WB.S dismissed from the service. Houston's condition was 
alarming. Doctor Ewing feared lockjaw would develop before 
he could reach New Orleans. While Houston was being lifted 
on board a dirty little trading schooner, Burnet regaled the 
vast refugee camp on the island with tales of the General's 
private life. When these reached the ears of a newly landed 
company of southern volunteers, a message written by a hand 
so stricken that it could hardly guide a pen was all that saved 
the official dignity of the Provisional President. 

"On board Schooner Flora 
"Galveston Island, llth May 1836 

"The Commander-in-Chief . . . has heard with regret that 
some dissatisfaction existed in the army. If it is connected with 
him, or his circumstances, he asks as a special favor, that it 
may no longer exist. . . , Obedience to the constituted 
authorities ... is the first duty of a soldier. . . . The 
General in taking leave of his companions in arms, assures them 
of his affectionate gratitude. 



FOB seven days the little Flora rolled in a storm before it 
beat into the churning Mississippi and at noon on Sunday, 
May 22, 1836, arrived at New Orleans. The levee was 
thronged with people. 

Not since Jackson's victory at Chalmette had America 
been so stirred by a piece of military news. The story of San 
Jacinto was not believed at first. After the Alamo and Goliad, 
the extermination of the bands of Grant and Johnson, the 
flight of the government and of the people, and the dismal 
dispatches that Houston was falling back, still falling back, 
the overwhelming intelligence of the capture of the President of 
Mexico and the annihilation of his army was incredible. When 
the confirmation came cannon boomed, men paraded, and in the 
Senate Thomas Hart Benton called Sam Houston another 
Mark Antony. 

General Houston lay in a stupor on the uncovered deck of 
the Flora. Captain Appleman believed his passenger to be a 
Jying man. When the Flora touched the wharf & crowd surged 
on board, and the Captain thought that his boat would be 
swamped. They started to lift Houston from the deck* With 
a cry of pain and a convulsive movement of his powerful left 
arm he flung them off. A man bent over the sufferer. The 
years rolled back and Sam Houston recognized the voice of 
William Christy, with whom he had served in the United States 
Army. A band struck up a march $ Houston told Christy T?% 


hold off the crowd and he would get up by himself. Leaning on 
his crutches he lurched against the gunwale. 

His wild appearance stunned the crowd. General Hous- 
ton's coat was tatters. He had no hat. His stained and stink- 
ing shirt was wound about the shattered ankle. The music 
stopped, the cheering stopped and a schoolgirl with big violet 
eyes began to cry. Her name was Margaret Lea, As he was 
lifted to a litter. General Houston fainted* 

At the Christy mansion in Girod Street, three surgeons re- 
moved twenty pieces of bone from the wound. Recovery seemed 
by no means certain, and crowds lingered in front of the house. 
On June second Houston received a few visitors, but fainted 
during their call. Ten days later bad news came from Texas. 
Sam Houston gave his host a saddle that had belonged to 
Santa Anna and, although his life was still in danger, set out 
by land for the Sabine. 

His strength failing on the journey, Houston was obligee] 
to lay over en route. On July fifth he reached San Augustine 
and found the town in a state that was a fair example of the 
confusion prevailing in the Republic. Burnet was impotent. 
Few could keep track of the Cabinet, it changed so fast. 
President Burnet had negotiated two treaties with Santa 
Anna one public, the other secret. The former provided for 
the cessation of hostilities and the return of Santa Anna to 
Vera Cruz. In the secret treaty Santa Anna promised to pre* 
pare the way for Mexican recognition of the independence of 
Texas. Two Cabinet members refused to sign the treaties, 
holding that Santa Anna had forfeited his life. One of these 
was Secretary of War Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar, the 
afflorescent stranger who had led the cavalry at San Jacinto. 

Nevertheless, Burnet hustled the prisoner aboard the Texas 
man-of-war Invincible which was spreading canvas to depart 
when the steamer Ocean entered Velasco harbor with two hun- 


dred and fifty adventurers under Thomas Jefferson Green, of 
North Carolina. Green boarded the Invincible and dragged 
Santa Anna ashore in manacles- while a mob on the beach howled 
its approval, Burnet's humiliation was complete. The Army, 
growing in numbers and in turbulence, scorned his authority. 
The civil population, huddled in refugee camps or trekking 
back to burned towns and desolated ranches, was a law unto 
itself. The Executive blamed Houston for his troubles, and in 
an effort to undermine the disabled leader's influence, shifted 
Lamar from the Cabinet back to the Army which was com- 
manded by Houston's friend Rusk. 

The first letter Houston received in San Augustine was 
from Rusk begging the Commander-in-Chief to hasten to the 
army. "First they mounted you & tried to destroy you [but] 
finding their efforts unavailing the[y] . , . have been ham- 
mering at mee and really trying to break up the army. . . 
A vast deal depends on you. You have the entire confidence 
of the army and the people." 1 Four days later he wrote again, 
communicating a rumor that was to sweep Texas. Mexico, he 
said, was contemplating a new invasion. Six thousand troops 
were at Vera Cruz, four thousand at Matamoras. The Texans 
were without supplies. "Confusion prevails in the Country. 
The Cabinette I fear as a former Government has done, have 
been engaged in trying to destroy the Army. . . . The Army 
And People are Exasperated/' 2 When, repeated Rusk, could 
Houston place himself at the head of the troops? A sinister 
idea had begun to lay hold of the grumbling soldiery. 

To Houston the gravest feature of the situation was the 
rumored invasion. Resting on his crutches, he appealed to a 
mass meeting in San Augustine to support the government, and 
one hundred and sixty men marched for the frontier. With 
East Texas denuded of troops, the Indians grew restive and 
once more terror took the hearts of the Administration. 

General Gaines and his Regulars were on the American side 
of the Sabine. Stephen F. Austin scrawled a note to Houston- 
"It is very desirable that Gen Gains should establish his head 


quarters at Nacagdoches. . * . Use your influence to get him 
to do so, and if he could visit this place [Columbia, the seat of 
government] & give the people here assurances of the good 
faith of Gen. Santa Anna in the offers and treaties he has made 
you & with this Govt" that also would be helpful. 

At Phil Sublett's house in San Augustine, Houston took 
Austin's note from the hand of the courier. He penciled an 
asterisk after the word "treaty" and wrote on the margin, "I 
made no treaty." So much for keeping the record straight. 
At the foot of the sheet Houston added these lines: "General 
I refer this letter to you and can only add that such a step 
will . . . SAVE TEXAS. Your Friend SAM: HOUSTON."* 

Gaines declined to concern himself with treaties, but he sent 
some dragoons to Nacogdoches, Jackson describing the inter- 
vention as a measure to safeguard our frontier against the 


No person in America had shown greater interest in thts 
progress of the war in Texas than Andrew Jacks-on. The note 
that Sam Houston wrote on the battle-field was thrust into the 
hands of General Gaines at the international boundary, and 
Lieutenant Hitchcock risked his life in a dash through hostile 
Indian territory to save a few hours on the way to Washington. 
Jackson was recovering from a severe illness. He saw Hitch- 
cock at once. 

"I never saw a man more delighted," the young officer wrote 
in his journal. "He read the dispatch . . . exclaiming over 
and over as though talking to himself, 'Yes, that is his writing, 
I know it well. That is Sam Houston's writing. 5 . . . The 
old man ordered a map . . . and tried to locate San Jacinto. 
He passed his fingers excitedly over the map. . . . *It must 
be here. . . . No, it is over there."* 

In the flush of his ardor Jackson dashed off a note of 
congratulation to his old subaltern. Houston had won a 


victory greater than New Orleans. Houston had attacked; 
Jackson had stood on the defense. And after that, a second 
letter. Success to Texas! Money was being raised in the 
United States and Jackson's contribution, "was as much as 
I could spare." 5 

The occupation of Nacogdoches by Gaines stimulated re- 
cruiting in the United States. 

"My brother Tom was just out of college and I was a 
freshman. Tom at once organized a Company of Volunteers in 
Washington, Pennsylvania. . . . We marched to Wheeling 
and took a little stern wheel boat named the 'Loyal Hannah' for 
Louisville. ... A boat arrived from below with word that . . 
another steamer bearing President Jackson . . . would soon 
be along. I was color bearer . . . and had received the flag 
from the hands of my sister Catherine. . . . When we met his 
[Jackson's] boat the flag was lowered in salute and three cheers 
given. . . Lemoyne, the great Abolitionist, was on that 
boat and demanded of the President why it was that armed 
bodies of men were allowed to recruit in the United States to 
make war on Mexico. To which General Jackson replied, 'That 
Americans had a lawful right to emigrate and to bear arms.' " 6 

Jackson considered that his official acts had been studiously 
correct. In response to protests from Mexico and murmurings 
in the chancellories of Europe, he had issued a solemn proclama- 
tion of the official disinterestedness of the United States. He 
had rebuked Commissioner Austin who during his tour of the 
States, had made so bold as to presume otherwise. He had 
directed his United States district attorneys to prevent viola- 
tions of our neutrality. Indeed, upon receipt of this instru- 
ment, District Attorney Grundy, of Nashville, Jackson's home, 
had paused in his occupatior of recruiting a company for Sam 
Houston to publish a stern warning. "I will prosecute any man 
in my command who takes up arms in Tennessee against Mexico 
and I will lead you to the border to see that our neutrality is 
not violated . . . on our soil. 997 

Jackson's confidant, Samuel Swartwout, wrote to Houston : 


"The old chief, encourages us to believe that you are not 
abandoned. . . . Genl Stewart left here the day before yes- 
terday for Pensacola. His real object we suppose to be the 
command of the West India fleet preparatory to the reception 
of the answer from Mexico, to some queries or questions that 
the old man has sent to her. . . . We think your Indepen- 
dence will soon be acknowledged. . . . We shall press hard 
for annexation. . . . My noble Gen. you have erected a 
monument, with your single hand & in a day that will outlive 
the proudest . . monarchies of the old world. . . . We 
have entertained your name in a proper manner . . . over 
the bottles by coupling your name and achievements with Wash- 
ington and Jackson. . . . P. S. Mrs. Swart wout, one of your 
greatest admirers, sends her kindest regards to you, and my 
Daughter, now quite grown, begs me to say the same." 8 

From Congressman Ben Currey, of the intimate Jackson 
circle : 

"You are by Genl Jackson Mr Van Buren Maj Lewis Colo 
Earle etc ranked among the great men of the earth. . . . 
I . . raised a company of fifty men to join you. . . . 
Colo Earl has a splendid snuff box which he intends to send you 
by the first safe conveyance. I gave Mrs Addison formerly 
Miss Ellin Smallwood ... a splendid entertainment on ac- 
count of expressions of friendship for you evidences of which 
she wears on her finger. ... I find in her album a poem in 
honor of you. . . . Hays is abusing you for not putting 
Santa Anna to death. . . . Genl Jackson says he is rejoiced 
at your prudence*" 9 

Discredited old Aaron Burr sighed ruefully. "I was thirty 
years too soon." 

When Houston heard of the kidnaping of Santa Anna, he 
stormed at the weakness of Burnet who managed, however, to 
retrieve the captive from Thomas Jefferson Green. Green re- 
joined the Army, which liked his style, and two colonels marched 
to overthrow the government and seize the Mexican President. 
Sam Houston halted them with a letter. "Texas^ to be r^ 


apected, must be considerate, politic . . . just. Santa Anna 
living . . . may be of incalculable advantage to Texas in 
her present crisis." Santa Anna dead would be just another 
dead Mexican. 10 

Burnet saw that his course was run. He called a general 
election to choose a new president and to ratify the constitution, 
but there was some embarrassment because the files of the 
Republic contained no copy of that document. In the exodus 
from Washington on the Brazos the Secretary of the Conven- 
tion, Mr. Kimble, had disappeared with the manuscript. He 
ended his retreat at Nashville, Tennessee, however, giving the 
constitution to an editor who published it, but lost the original. 
A Cincinnati paper copied it from the Nashville sheet, and ten 
days after the call for an election Gail Borden's serviceable 
Texas Telegraph made a reprint from its Ohio contemporary. 
Burnet put a copy of the Telegraph in his desk, and the 
archives were in order. 11 

Austin and ex-Governor Henry Smith offered their candi- 
dacies for president and Texas began to stir but not with 
enthusiasm for the election. The Mexican invasion scare had 
blown over, and the unoccupied army was out of hand again. 
General Thomas Jefferson Green was a big man now. He pro- 
posed an activity for the troops. "March immediately against 
the town of Matamoras . . carry & burn the town destroy 
the main people if they resist & retreat . . . before they can 
have time to recover from their panic/ 512 Rusk relayed word 
of the design to Houston but before anything happened useful 
George HocMey rode into camp with news that Sam Houston 
was on his- way to the army ! 

The men were thrilled. The absent Commander-in-Chief 
had become a legend with the ranks. Rusk dashed off a long 
happy letter, Matamoras was eclipsed and the election came 
into its own as an object worthy of the Army's* notice. 

Sam Houston did not go to the army. He sat in tranquil 
San Augustine with his bandaged leg on a pillow, one of Phil 
Sublett's negroes in attendance and a Miss Barker reading 


from a novel. Miss Barker had journeyed from Nacogdoches 
to cheer the wounded hero. He said (but not to Miss Barker) 
that her blue eyes reminded him of Anna Raguet, who stayed 
at home. 


Houston could have obliterated President Burnet and taken 
charge of Texas under any title that would have suited his 
whim, but he passed the warm July days in seclusion, bestirring 
himself only to save the life of Santa Anna and to keep Burnet 
on his uncomfortable seat. The approaching election found 
General Houston still uninterested, except to remark that Rusk 
was- a good man and might do for president. 

Rusk was flattered. He was popular with the army, and 
something like a boom began to agitate the ranks. Thomas 
Jefferson Green pondered in his tent and informed Houston that 
Rusk would be "satisfactory." But the paramount issue with 
General Green, was the execution of "Santo Ana." "Great God 
when will this childish play cease." 13 

General Santa Anna himself was not indifferent to the para- 
mount issue. He smuggled a letter to the hermit of San Augus- 
tine, undertaking a delicate task of instruction. "Muy Esti- 
mado Senor. . . . Your return has appeared to be very 
apropos . . . because it seems to me that your voice will 
be heard and properly respected." The difficulties that con- 
fronted Texas "and . . . embarrass my departure for 
Mexico . . . you can easily remove with your influence in 
order that Texas may owe you its complete happiness." The 
cause of Texas had been harmed by Houston's 1 "absence, which 
is to be deplored. Hurry yourself then to come among your 
friends. Take advantage of the favorable time that presents 
itself and believe me, in all circumstances your affectionate and 
very grateful servant, ANT.O LOPEZ BE SANTA ANNA." 14 

After a fortnight of meditation, the conscientious Rusk 
wrote Houston a fine letter of gratitude "that you should fee! 
me worthy of the Presidential Chair but my age precludes me 


from running/ 5 General Rusk was thirty years old and had 
much to learn about politics. He was perplexed. Houston wa' 
his idol, and like Santa Anna, Rusk failed to understand why 
he should remain aloof. "This is an important office. I would 
rather vote for you than any other man." 15 

Rusk wrote on the ninth day of August. Texas would votk 
on September fifth. During the week ending August twentieth 
destiny showed its hand. Sam Houston's name was presented 
for the presidency by spontaneous meetings in various parts of 
the Republic. On August twenty-fifth, eleven days before the 
election, Houston consented to run. His announcement was 
the soul of brevity. "The crisis requires it." Houston received 
5,119 votes to 743 for Smith and 587 for Austin. The con- 
stitution was- adopted, and a proposal of annexation to the 
United States was carried almost unanimously. Mirabeau B. 
Lamar was elected vice-president. 

Within certain limits Mr. Burnet could choose his own time 
for relinquishing office. He retired, however, with a degree of 
dispatch that moved his friend. General Lamar, to charge the 
President-Elect with unseemly precipitation in donning the 
toga. In any event on the morning of October 22, 1836, 
Burnet submitted his* resignation and Congress ordained tha 
inauguration to take place at four that afternoon. By chance 
or design Sam Houston was in Columbia, accessible to the 
committee of Congress which, in the execution of the time- 
saving program, conducted him to the big barn of a building 
that served as their meeting-place. Grumbling a little over the 
lack of preparation, General Houston advanced to a table 
covered with a blanket and took the oath. 

The President made a speech, and in conclusion disengaged 
the sword of San Jacinto. The quotation that follows 1 appears 
on page eighty-seven of the House Journal, First Session, First 
Congress of the Texas Republic, the words in brackets having 
been inserted by the official reporter, 

"It now. sir* becomes my duty to make a presentation of 


this sword this emblem of my past office, [The President 
was unable to proceed further; but having firmly clenched it 
with both hands, as if with a farewell grasp, a tide of varied 
associations rushed upon him ; . . . his countenance bespoke 
the . . . strongest emotions-; his soul seemed to have swerved 
from the hypostatic union of the body. . . . After a 
pause . . . the president proceeded:] I have worn it with 
some humble pretensions in defense of my country; and, 
should . . . my country call . . , I expect to resume it/ 9 

Not every orator is a hero to his stenographer. 



ALTHOUGH "the want of a Suitable pen" delayed the prepa- 
rations of some preliminary papers. President Houston took 
hold of his responsibilities with little loss of time or waste of 
motion. The old barn at Columbia vibrated with his energy. 
Appointments, commissions, instructions, approvals', rejections, 
streamed day and night from a gaunt room wherein the Execu- 
tive's labors kept three secretaries busy, Congress in a trance 
and the Cabinet in a state of prostration. 

Everything had to be done, everything provided instantly, 
it seemed. What was this? "In the name of the Republic of 
Texas, Free, Sovereign and Independent. . . . To All whom 
thes-e Presents Shall come or in any wise concern: I, Sam 
Houston, President thereof send Greetings." Sam signed his 
name. He enjoyed doing that, for his swelling autograph was 
a work of art. But the paper called also for the great seal of 
the Republic. The President altered the document to read, 
"signed and affixed my private Seal, there being no great Seal 
of office yet provided." Prom his shirt he stripped an engraved 
cuff link, the design of which he impressed in wax upon the 
official paper. 

The home-made heraldry on Sam Houston's cuff button 
served as the seal of the Texas Republic until Anna Raguet 
consented to assist in designing a permanent one. The button 
exhibited a dog's head, collared, encircled by an olive wreath, 



below which was a script capital H. Above the dog's head was 
a cock and above the cock the motto: THY ME. This picto- 
graph of the duel with White was a modification of the ancient 
coat of arms of the Scottish barons of Houston which repre- 
sented an incident in the life of an early soldier of the clan. 

Sam Houston believed in the influences of heredity. His 
imagination was impressed by symbols and signs. In his in- 
augural address he said that neither chance, design, nor desire, 
but "my destiny," had guided his steps to the chief magistracy 
of the new nation. The rooster and the pups that figured in 
the White duel bore sufficient kinship to the martlets and 
hounds whose images had safeguarded generations of Houstons 
to convince Sam that they might have something to do with 
his future. 

Houston chose a 
notable Cabinet, induc- 
ing his rivals for the 
presidency to accept 
portfolios 1 . Austin was 
made Secretary of State 
and Henry Smith Sec- 
retary of Treasury. 
Crushed by the stagger- 
ing proportions of his defeat, Stephen F. Austin would have 
gone to his grave an embittered man but for the magnanimity 
of the victor. Austin was 1 ill and had prepared to isolate him- 
self in a woodland cabin, but the impulse to duty remained; 
and he accepted the most responsible and burdensome post in 
the government. 

Rusk again became Secretary of War. Of the Army of 
San Jacinto few remained in s-ervice. Most of the early volun- 
teers and professional adventurers having been killed off before- 
hand, independence was won mainly by the old settlers with 
family responsibilities. They were now at home gathering the 
first crop of San Jacinto corn. Nevertheless, Texas had the 
largest military force of its history, fed by daily arrivals from 


the States. Their commander was Felix Huston, a forceful 
swashbuckler from Mississippi. The men wanted action, and 
Dn the lips of Felix was a dangerous word Matamoras. 

An obstreperous Army had upset one Texas Government 
and made another ridiculous. Secretary Rusk's attitude 
toward the Matamoras idea did not satisfy the President, and 
Mr. Rusk resigned after holding office a month. He was suc- 
ceeded by William S. Fisher, a military adventurer but a 
staunch man who had proved his fealty at Brazos Bottoms. 

The unrest of the Army increased. Felix Huston, wrote one 
of his men, "was as ambitious as Cortez. . . . It was his 
thoughts by day and his dream at night to march a conquering 
army into the 'Hall of the Montezumas. 5 During intervals at 
drill ... he would pour floods of burning eloquence and 
arouse . . . passions by illusions to ... the tropical 
beauties of the land far beyond the Rio Grande. . . . Had he 
chosen to do so he could have marched that army to Columbia 
with the avowed purpose of driving Sam Houston and the Con- 
gress into the Brazos River. . . . Felix Huston was a man of 
might but there was a mightier and far greater man in the 
executive cottage at Columbia. That man was Sam 
Houston. . . . Without a Herald and without parade he 
suddenly appeared [in camp]* His manner was 1 calm and 
solemn. . . . The few men who had fought by his side at 
San Jaeinto gathered around him as soldiers always cluster 
about a loved chief. . . . Houston's- first act was to visit the 
hospital and inquire into the condition of the sick. . . . He 
reviewed the little army and addressed the men as a kind father 
would his wayward children. He told them the eyes of the 
civilized world were on them and appealed to them to disprove 
the calumnies sown broadcast against Texas. . . . His 
sonorous voice like the tones of a mighty organ rolled over the 
column. For a time at least the army felt his influence and it 
seemed as though all danger had passed." 1 

The duties of the Secretary of Navy were nominal since 
the Navy was detained in Baltimore for non-payment of a 


repair bill. James Pinckney Henderson, the good-looking and 
gay young Attorney-General, and Robert Barr, the Postmaster 
General, organized their departments on credit. Although the 
Republic was unable to pay cash for feed for the post-riders 9 
horses-, mail service was established and within four months a 
supreme court, district courts and tribunals in each of the 
twenty-three counties were in operation. 

The administration of justice presented especial compli- 
cations. The white population, distributed over an area the 
size of France, numbered thirty thousund. Hitherto, the pro- 
cess- of atonement for crime in Texas had used up a good deal of 
rope, but with few objections on the whole. 

The district judge selected for the upper Brazos was 
Robert M. Williamson, who had killed his opponent in duel in 
Georgia. When the lady in the case married a disinterested 
third party, the disappointed marksman came to Texas to 
devote himself to ranching and the elixirs of forgetfulness. 
One of Judge Williamson's legs being useless below the knee, he 
strapped it up behind him and substituted a wooden leg to 
walk on. This gave him the nickname of Three-Legged Willie. 

On the first tour of his- jurisdiction Three-Legged Willie 
was welcomed with the information that the inhabitants desired 
none of Sam Houston's courts there. Judge Williamson un- 
packed his saddle-bags, and establishing himself behind a table, 
placed a rifle at one elbow and a pistol at the other. His Honor 
had a way of snorting when he spoke. "Hear ye, hear ye, court 
for the Third District is either now in session or by God some- 
body's going to get killed." 2 

Shortly before his inauguration Sam Houston complied 
with a request of General Santa Anna to visit him at his place 
of confinement on a plantation near Columbia. The Napoleon 
of the West embraced his Wellington. His head did not reach 
the Texan's shoulders. He wept and called Houston a mag- 


nanimous conqueror. He asked General Houston's influence 
to obtain his release in return for which Santa Anna guaranteed 
the acquiescence of Mexico to the annexation of Texas- by the 
United States. 

The idea of using Santa Anna to assist in a solution of the 
entangling diplomatic problems of the young Republic had 
previously occurred to Houston. He had written Jackson 
about it, but Jackson did not see how Santa Anna could 
help. The Mexican Minister at Washington had warned that 
no agreement made by Santa Anna while a prisoner would be 
considered binding. 

What to do with the distinguished captive was a puzzle. 
There was still a healthy sentiment for his execution, and 
General Santa Anna was eager to cooperate in relieving Texas 
of the embarrassment of his presence. After the inaugura- 
tion he addressed another letter to "Don Sam Houston : Muy 
Senor mio y de mi aprecio," setting forth the pleasing intelli- 
gence that the diplomatic issues confronting Texas were "very 
simple" of solution. Texas desired to be admitted to the 
American union. The American union desired it. Only Mexico 
remained to be consulted and Santa Anna would be pleased to 
go to Washington and "adjust that negotiation." 3 

Houston was skeptical of any pourparlers 1 that Santa Anna 
might undertake, but he did wish to get him out of Texas. 
"Restored to his own country," Houston said, Santa Anna 
"would keep Mexico in commotion for years, and Texas will 
be safe." Houston asked Congress for authority to release 
the prisoner. Congress declined, and passed an inflammatory 
resolution. Houston vetoed the resolution, gave Santa Anna 
a fine horse and sent him on his way under escort of Colonel 
Barnard E. Bee. Santa Anna borrowed two thousand dollars 
of Bee and improved his wardrobe. 

William H. Wharton had already started to Washington 
as minister plenipotentiary with instructions to obtain the 
recognition of Texan independence and annexation. But these 
were not the only strings to the bow of Houston's foreign 


policy. Should the attitude "of the United States toward 
Texas be indifferent or adverse," Mr. Wharton was to culti- 
vate "a close and intimate intercourse with the foreign ministers 
in Washington," particularly the British and French/ 

When Wharton had journeyed as far as Kentucky, he 
reported opposition to annexation by "both friends and foes" 
of Texas. "The leading prints of the North and East and the 
abolitionists . . . oppose it on the old grounds of ... 
extension of slavery and of fear of southern preponderance in 
the councils of the Nation," while "our friends'" proclaimed 
that "a brighter destiny awaits Texas." This bright destiny 
did not contemplate an independent Texas with strong friends 
in Europe, which was Sam Houston's: alternative to annexa- 
tion. It contemplated dismemberment of the Federal Union by 
the establishment of a slaveholding confederacy of which 
Texas should be a part. "Already has the war com- 
menced. . . . The Southern papers . . . are acting most 
imprudently. . . Language such as the following is uttered 
by the most respectable journals. . . . [ c ]The North must 
choose between the Union with Texas added or no Union. 
Texas will be added and then forever farewell to northern in- 
fluence. ['] Threats and denunciations like these will goad the 
North into a determined opposition and if Texas is annexed at 
all it will not be until it has convulsed this nation for several 
sessions of Congress." 5 

Wharton anticipated no difficulty in obtaining the recogni- 
tion of Texan independence, however, which was necessary to 
repair the desperate condition of the Republic's- finances. 
Wharton reached Washington in December of 1836, but was 
unable to see the President who was ill and working on his 
message to Congress. The message was expected to recommend 
recognition, and Congress was expected to grant it. 

Every straw bearing on the course of events at Washington 
ras watched with feverish interest in the barn by the Brazos. 
The enormous- detail work of the Texan foreign policy was 
handled by Austin who proved Houston*s ablest lieutenant. 


Thus two of the greatest figures an American frontier has 
produced forgot their mutual distrust in the clos-e association 
of unremitting labor. Despite frail health no task was too 
obscure for the conscientious Austin. "The prosperity of 
Texas," he wrote to a friend, "has assumed the character of 
a religion for the guidance of my thoughts. " 

On the night before Christmas Austin left his fireless room 
in the Capitol and retired with a chill. On the twenty-seventh 
he was delirious. "Texas is recognized. Did you see it in the 
papers?" With these words he ceased to speak, and Houston 
dictated this announcement: "The father of Texas is no more. 
The first pioneer of the wilderness has departed. General 
Stephen F. Austin, Secretary of State, expired this day." 

The dying words of the first pioneer were not prophetic. 
The minute guns announcing his passing had not ceased to 
boom when newspapers' from the United States arrived with 
Jackson's message to Congress, which contained these be- 
wildering lines: 

"Recognition at this time . . . would scarcely be re- 
garded as consistent with that prudent reserve with which we 
have heretofore held ourselves bound to treat all similar 

Wharton was- dumfounded. Could the man who spoke of 
"prudent reserve" be the same Jackson who had striven for 
fifteen years to annex Texas countenancing the seamy di- 
plomacy of Anthony Butler to that end, speeding. Americans 
with his blessing to Sam Houston's Army, contributing to 
Houston's war chest, and advising the victor of San Jacinto on 
the conduct of Texan affairs ? 

Wharton went to work upon Jackson and in a skilful inter- 
view was both blunt and subtle. He appealed to the Presi- 
dent's prejudices, his loyalties, his pride. Mexico, Wharton 
said, would print the message to Congress on satin. 

Meantime, General Santa Anna arrived in Washington, 


(A photograph of General Houston made in the early 'fifties. Reproduced 

fcy courtesy of the owner, Professor Hale Houston, of Washington and Lee 

University, Lexington, Virginia) 


Sam Houston at the moment of his greatest triumph when he redeemed his pledge 
to Andrew Jackson by bringing his Republic into the Union. 

(A pJtotogrO'pJi taken in Kentucky in June, 1845, immediately after the funeral of 

General Jacksoii, Reproduced from an original "by courtesy of the owner, General 

Houston's son, Colonel Andrew Jackson Houston, of Pasadena-, Texas) 


having charmed nearly every one he met during his leisurelv 
journey. The North, especially, was able to appreciate the 
pleasing personality of the victor of the Alamo. "SANTA- 
ANNA" announced the Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Patriot. 
"How can we style him a tyrant . . . who opposed the ef- 
forts of rebels and used them with deserved severity" and 
"fought and bled to contravene the efforts of those who wished 
to substantiate . . . the horrible system of slavery?" 

Jackson broached the subject of purchasing Mexico's as- 
sent to annexation. Santa Anna leaped at the idea. Wharton 
told Jackson that Texas would submit to no such indignity. 
The outcome of a long conversation, however, was that if 
Mexico could be quieted with a little "hush money," as 
Jackson expressed it, and the matter conducted with proper 
regard for the s-ensibilities of Texas, everything would be all 
right. 6 But the subject was dropped and Santa Anna departed 
for Vera Cruz after a round of ceremonial farewells in which 
the only amenity omitted was the repayment of Colonel Bee's 
two thousand dollars. 

Continuing to pull strings, Wharton obtained the inser- 
tion in the diplomatic appropriation bill of a line providing 
for the expenses of a minister to the "Independent Republic" of 
Texas. The line was promptly stricken out, but Wharton did 
not give up. On February twenty-eighth, with Jackson pack- 
ing to leave the Executive Mansion, a provision was inserted 
providing funds for such a minister "whenever the President 
may receive satisfactory evidence that Texas is an independent 
power." This seemed harmless and was allowed to remain. 

Wharton flew to Jackson. He repeated all of his old argu- 
ments and invented new ones. In the afternoon of the last 
day of his term Jackson yielded. With one stroke of the pen 
he sent to the Senate the nomination of Alcee La Branche, of 
Louisiana, "to be Charge d'Affairs to the Republic of Texas." 
With another stroke lie remitted the fine of five hundred dollars 
a federal court had assessed against Sam Houston for thrash- 
ing William Stanbery. Close to midnight the Senate confirmed 


the appointment of La Branehe, and Jackson and Wharton 
raised their glasses to Sam Houston's Republic. 

Jackson would have preferred a toast to annexation, but for 
the first time in his life the old grenadier had been swerved 
from a course upon which he had set his heart. Jackson's love 
for the Union surpassed everything. The man who had defied 
the world in the dragooning of Florida retreated before the 
gathering tempest over slavery. It was a strategic withdrawal, 
however. Jackson had not abandoned his hopes for Texas. 
In one of his last conversations with Wharton, he said: "Texas 
must claim the Californias in order to paralyze the opposition 
of the North and East to Annexation. The fishing interests 
of the North and East wish a harbour on the Pacific." 7 

Balboa carried the standard of Spain to the Pacific. Sam 
Houston would carry the Stars and Stripes. The Florida 
imagination was not dead. 

It was clear to Houston that his hopes, and Jacks-on's, 
must arise from the youthful soil of Texas rather than that of 
the District of Columbia. Texas must prepare to stand alone. 
At the outset, Houston had "determined to lay the foundations 
of the Texas Republic deep and strong . . . to be the ruler 
of the Nation and not of a party." 8 

The words have a regal ring, and it was this transfusioi 
of Sam Houston's- personality into the frail frame of th& 
Republic that staved off chaos. Yet the regal tone was a dis- 
guise, the masquerade of a depressed and overworked man who 
fived in a shack, fighting the habit of drink to appear worthy 
in the indifferent eyes of a girl, who, thus far, had deferred her 
acknowledgment of the card from the field of San Jacinto. 

The President participated little in the social life of his 
capital, and when he did flashes of the old warm-hearted con- 
viviality meant tales for the ears of Miss- Anna Raguet. To 
Or. Robert Irion, a knightly young gentleman and the Presi- 


dent's personal secretary, Sam Houston confided his troubles 
with a want of reserve uncommon for a man who had learned 
to obscure much. When Irion went home to Nacogdoches on a 
brief leave of absence, the President was very lonely. "Salute 
all my friends and dont forget the Fairest of the Fair!! I" 
"Write . . . and tell me how matters move on and how the 
Peerless Miss Anna is and does ! I have written her so often 
that I fear she has found me troublesome, and ... I pray 
you to make my apology and . . . salute her with my . . . 
very sincere respects." 9 

Since the peerless Anna was loath to correspond, the Presi- 
dent contrived to get word of her by other means. Nearly every 
report thus received had Anna at the steps of the altar, al- 
though no two agreed as to the identity of the fortunate 

In a vague region of the past, by a window that overlooked 
a river and an old-fashioned garden, sat another who awaited 
a letter. After San Jacinto, Eliza Allen's spirit had soared 
for a little on the wings of hope. Summer passed and flaming 
autumn approached to paint the woods by the curving Cum- 
berland with the colors they had worn eight autumns ago when 
an overpowering young Man of Destiny swept her into his 
arms. Eliza's heart sank, but hope that declines to die drove 
her also to undertake the makeshift of despair. 

"Washington City 6th October 1836 
"Dear Gen 1 . 

"I have now an opportunity of sending you a letter by a 
private conveyance . . . and . . know that the subjects 
I will touch on will be more than interesting to your feallings. 

"I passed through Tennessee on my way to this place ; and 
spent two or three weeks there part of the time at my Brother 
Davids ... in Lebennon. Mrs. Houston was there about 
the time the news that you had gained the victory over Santa 
4 nna . . . reached that place. . . . She showed great 


pleasure at your success and fairly exulted. ... No sub- 
ject . . . was so interesting to her as when you were the 
suhject of conversation; and she shew evident marks of dis- 
pleasure and mortification if some person was to say anything 
unfavorable of you. . . . Some of her friends wanted her 
to git a divorce; and she positively refused; and said she was 
not displeased with her present name ; therefore she would not 
change it on this earth ; but would take it to the grave with 

her. she has conducted herself with great surcumspiction and 

prudence and with great dignity of character so much that she 
has gained the universal respect of all that knows her She is 
certainly a most estimable woman; to have sustained herself 
as she has under all difficulties she has had to encounter. I 
have dwelt on this subject as I believed it to be one that would 
not try your patience. . . . 

"I am dear sir, very respectfully 
"And Sincerely your friend 


"His Excellency 

"Gen 1 . Samuel Houston 

"President of the Republic 
"of Texas" 10 

And so Eliza stretching her arms- toward the man who 
one day had loved her so much as to surrender all that one 
can relinquish, save life. From the isolation of the trampled 
garden of her spirit she had followed the struggle for regen- 
eration, perceiving in each singular achievement an extension 
of her regret. 

But the great passion that had all but consumed the breast, 
that held it was reduced to an ember, whose soft glow warmed 
a chamber of Sam Houston's heart merely for a mevaory. 
General Houston's answer to the letter of Eliza's distant 
cousin, Mr. Campbell, is not available. But when Sam's first 
cousin, Bob McEwen, to whose home in Nashville the Governor 
of Tennessee had brought Eliza as a bride, took up the theme 
of reconciliation, Houston told him it was impossible. Mr. 
McEwen conceded his cousin a right to the last word, but said 
that the door remained open. "Your wife desires- such an 


r?ent" and Houston's refusal notwithstanding, "many of your 
friends" persisted in the prediction that a restoration of the 
blighted romance would suitably crown Sam Houston's* triumph 
*n Texas. "You occupy the position of a second Washington," 
concluded Cousin Bob, and "I am gratified to learn that you 
have become a sober man." 11 

A fresh rumor that the Mexicans were massing for invasion 
sent the second Washington posting to Felix Huston's- camp, 
"In a few days," he wrote Miss Anna, "I will s-et out for the 
army . . . and ... if I win them you shall have more 
laurels." 12 The flurry blew over, and he wrote her a poem in- 
stead. "The greatest merit which it has is that it is intimately 
associated with you." 18 

The collapse of the Mexican threat was not an unalloyed 
blessing. Felix Huston became bolder in his plotting to alienate 
the Army. Sam Houston removed him from command and 
appointed Albert Sidney Johnston in his stead. Johnston 
was an honor graduate of West Point. Abandoning brilliant 
military prospects in the United States at the request of his 
young wife, upon her death, he had joined the Texan Army as 
a private soldier. When Johnston undertook to assume com- 
mand Huston challenged him to a duel. Five fires were ex- 
changed without effect, Johnston not aiming. On the sixtfi 
fire Johnston fell, seriously wounded. Huston rushed to his 
victim's side and acknowledged him the Commander of the 

Then came from Washington the great news of the third 
of March. Doctor Irion was again absent in Nacogdoches. 
"I have but a moment to say how do ye?" scribbled Houston. 
*TTou will have learned that we are Independent and recog- 
nized by the U. States . . . the last official act of GenT 
Jacksons life. This is a cause of joy. . . . My only wish is 
to see the country happy at peace and retire to the Red 


Lands, get a fair, sweet 'wee wifie 5 as Burns says, and pass 
the balance of my sinful life in ease and comfort (if I 
can). . . . My health, under you[r] Es-culapian auspices, I 
thank God, is restored and my habits good." 

Also his spirits. The writer proceeded to say that he 
would remove as soon as possible to the City of Houston, the 
prospective capital on Buffalo Bayou. The selection of this 
capital, named in the President's honor, had not pleased every 
one in Texas. Among those able to hold their enthusiasm in 
check was Anna Raguet. She had interrogated the President 
on the subject. Would not one of the established towns have 
done as well? 

So the bitter went with the sweet. "I am informed," the 
President went on to tell his- secretary, "that many ladies are 
coming to Houston and that society will be fine. We will not 
have the fair Miss Anna there for she has a great aversion 
to 'Houston 5 and I dare not invite her ... to a 'Levee* of 
the President. How sad the scene must be at my Levees, no 

Mrs. H there, and many who will attend can claim fair 

Dames as theirs ! ! ! You know the old adage, 'every dog, 5 etc., 
etc. My day may come 8 

"I pray you to salute all my friend [s], and ... to 
Miss A,, my adoration. . . Ever yr friend, truly HOUSTON. ** 

And a postscript : 

"Irion. Miss Anna wont write me. Oh, what a sinner she 
must be." 14 



IN JANUARY 01 1837 the steamer Laura, bound jfor the 
capital, puffed up Buffalo Bayou in the wake of a yawl 
whose duty was "to hunt the city." The yawl stuck in the 
brush, giving the crew an opportunity to discover that they 
had passed the seat of government* An examination of the 
landscape disclosed "a few tents" and "a saloon." 

When President Houston arrived in April., two taverns, 
"several" log cabins and "a few 55 saloons had been added. 
Timbers were being hauled for the new capital building and 
"all . . . was bustle and animation. Hammers and axes 
sounding . . . trees falling." 1 Sm Houston beamed with 
unblushing pride upon the busy scene. Forty-odd years be- 
fore, identical emotions had stirred another tall Virginian 
striding the forlorn marshes of the Potomac. 

The new place flourished. "Persons came pouring in un- 
til ... a floating population had collected of some four or 
five hundred people." "Houses could not be built as fast 
as required," and town lots sold for five thousand dollars 
apiece. Of the resident population of "six or seven hundred 
persons . . . but one-half were engaged in any regular busi- 
ness . . . unless drinking and gambling may be considered 
such." Drinking "was reduced to a system, and . . . the 
Texians being entirely a military people, not only fought but 
draak in platoons.** "Most of those who might be considered 



citizens, were mere adventurers, who had pitched their tents 
for a time upon the prairy, to see what advantages might be 
seized upon in the combinations which were forming from the 
new elements that were about to create a new nation; with a 
view to depart should fortune prove unkind." 2 

From tent to tent moved Felix Huston who did not intend 
that fortune should prove unkind. He conveyed as much to 
a man with a scar on his cheek and a faded cloak worn with 
a certain grace ; and Captain Alexandre Le Ray de Chaumont, 
whose sword had found employment in many lands, betook him- 
self to the Array. On his rounds General Huston paid 
particular attention to the members of Congress, assembling 
for their second session. His object was a campaign against 
Matamoras which, once authorized by Congress, could hardly 
be ignored. Should Sam Houston attempt to do so it would 
be proper for the Legislature to commission a new leader to 
crown the republican standard with glory and enrich its 
treasury with the wealth of the Montezumas. So argued Felix 

The President got wind of the plot, which was confirmed by 
reports from the Army, now twenty-five hundred strong. The 
soldiers were unpaid and in a mood for anything. Albert Sid- 
ney Johnston had nearly died of his duel wound, and was still 
unable to assume command. This left the restless rabble in the 
hands of Felix Huston who had disregarded his pledge of 
loyalty to the chivalrous Johnston. 

There was no immediate cause for alarm, however. Felix 
Huston had been precipitous. The Congress- would not con- 
vene until May first, and before that, on April twenty-first, 
would be the celebration of the anniversary of San Jacinto. 
The resources of the Republic had been taxed to make this 
occasion memorable. The prairie winked with the camp-fires 
of the gathering veterans, and the nights were lively with 
sounds of celebration. Their presence gave the President a 
feeling of security. These old-timers were, generally speaking, 
Sam Houston's friends. They had slight use for the battleless 


hosts whose conspiring chieftain continued to buttonhole con- 

On the evening of the twentieth all signs indicated a big 
time except for a shortage of girls for the ball. As Houston's 
population, floating and permanent, did not include more than 
eighty females, a committee had been named to find a sufficient 
number of dance partners. Invitations were scattered through- 
out the countryside, and the committeemen rode to neighbor- 
ing settlements to make personal appeals. Many ladies had 
responded and nearly every roof in Houston was at their 
disposal while the men slept out-of-doors, but a count of heads 
still revealed an embarrassing deficit. The sun was sinking 
when a shout from the ragged street in front of the unfinished 
Capitol greeted an ox-drawn caravan creaking through the 
dust. The girls from Oyster Creek had come ! Within an hour 
they were reinforced by the maidens from Brazos Bottoms*. 
By midnight the Caney Creek girls were in and valor basked 
in the smiles of beauty. 

Cannon proclaimed the dawn of the great day. The Presi- 
dent accepted a silk flag sent to him by the ladies of New 
Orleans. He ordered it displayed from the liberty pole as the 
signal for the procession to march to the scene of the exercises. 

When the parade formed Mr. Crawford of the British 
Consular Service stood at the head of the line beside President 
Houston. England rules one-fifth of the surface of the earth, 
and one reason for this is that her traveling representatives 
are usually on the ground ahead of competitors. It was time 
to march but the signal flag had not appeared. Fifteen minutes 
passed, and the column was getting impatient when finally the 
emblem of the Lone Star was broken out against the sky. 

The delay had been due to the fouling of the halyards. A 
seaman from a vessel in the bayou had risked his neck to climb 
the peeled sapling and hoist the gift ensign to its place of 
honor. After the ceremonies, Houston called the sailor aside 
and gave him a deed to a town lot. A speculator had recently 
given the lot to Houston. 


The ball was a tremendous success and lasted all night. 
"Dressed in a rich velvet suit," General Houston attended *ith 
Consul Crawford, "moving among the throng with a gallantry 
and grace which have always distinguished him ; and during the 
dancing he remained perfectly sober." 3 The President chose as 
his partner for the grand march the wife of Congressman 
Moseley Baker, which an observer mentioned as an example of 
Houston's tact. Had Mrs. Baker been a homely woman, this 
might have been entirely true. 

The date for the convening of Congress was May first. But 
as there was no roof on the Capitol it was impossible to assemble 
a quorum. A makeshift capable of keeping out the sun was 
patched up, and on May fifth Congress was opened with pomp. 
Consul Crawford occupied a seat of honor, and Sam Houston, 
wearing the velvet suit, made what was described as "a fregaJ 

He delivered an address, intended as much for the ears oi 
His Majesty's representative and for Washington, as for the 
republican legislators. "We now occupy the proud attitude 
of a sovereign and independent Republic, which will impose 
upon us the obligation of evincing to the world that we are 
worthy to be free." The President's recommendations were 
detailed. He faced the uncertain future with an impressive 
dignity, urging legislation not alone for present emergencies, 
but for the foundation of a permanent system of government 
adapted to the future growth of a great country. 

The favorable effect of the address was not of long dura- 
tion. Obstacles seemed overwhelming and Congress turned to 
the alchemy of the facile Felix. Why sweat and labor to create 
a financial system when the end could be obtained so much more 
attractively by conquest? While Felix Huston worked upon 
Congress his second-in-command, Colonel Rodgers, stirred the 
camp which threatened to march on Houston, "chastise the 
President" and "kick Congress out of doors." 


At two o'clock in the morning of May eighteenth, the Presi- 
dent rolled Secretary of War Fisher out of bed and started him 
to the Army with sealed orders. On reaching camp Mr. Fisher 
read his instructions, which directed him to "furlough" the 
Army by companies, with the exception of six hundred men. 
The first company was ordered to Dimitt's Landing, the second 
to the mouth of the Brazos, the third to Galveston, and so on 
along two hundred miles of seacoast. The furloughs were un- 
limited, but liable to revocation at any time. Those not re- 
sponding in thirty days would be tried for desertion. 

The reading of the order threw the camp into an uproar, 
but the Army's leader was absent and Fisher could handle 
men. He segregated the units and had them on the march 
before Rodgers fairly realized what had taken place. By the 
time the tidings reached Felix Huston, the pawns in his game 
were hopelessly scattered in a mad scramble to get out of 
Texas before Houston should recall them to service which was, 
of course, the last thing the President intended to do. Re- 
linquishing the stage to his remote kinsman, Felix sailed for 
New Orleans. Fortune had been unkind. 

The President's difficulties were not at an end, however. 
The question of finance had reached a point of crisis. The 
troops left in service threatened to mutiny unless they got more 
to eat. The public officers had received no salary and a stream 
of resignations threatened to wreck the civil administration. 
The Minister to the United States was behind with his board 
bill, and Houston had stripped the coat from his back to clothe 
a ragged veteran of San Jacinto. 

The Congress of the penniless Republic did what it could 
to reward valor. San Jacinto campaign men were given lands. 
Sleek speculators hovered like vultures. A jug of whisky or a 
sack of corn-meal and a few dollars in cash were all that many 
a poor soldier of the Revolution received for his bounty. 
"Erastus, usually called TDeaf* Smith," was additionally recom- 
pensed, being allowed to take his pick of "any [public] house 
and lot in the city of Bexar" excepting only "forts, court 


houses, calibooses, churches and public squares," and the Presi- 
dent ordered him to Houston to sit for a portrait to adorn some 
future Texas Hall of Fame. 4 

Congress had authorized the President to contract a 
five-million-dollar loan in the United States at ten per cent. 
But the panic of 1837 had tied up money in this country and 
the Republic scaled down its fiscal requirements. THe. President 
was empowered to borrow twenty thousand dollars at thirty 
per cent, interest, If he could not get it for less. A duty on 
imports was established ranging from one per cent, on bread 
to forty-five per cent, on liquor and fifty per cent, on silks, 
thus averting bankruptcy. 

When Sam Houston entered his new capital city the audited 
claims- against the Republic aggregated $606,945 with as many 
more waiting. Of this amount $1,569 had been paid, and an 
audited claim was worth fifteen cents on the dollar. Something 
had to be done. Congress passed a bill authorizing the issue of 
promissory notes to the amount of one million dollars. Hous- 
ton vetoed it, saying that half of this sum would satisfy the 
need for a circulating medium and would be all that could be 
kept at par. The amount was limited to five hundred thousand 
dollars. Thus Sam Houston had in prospect a currency for 
his country, the value of which would depend upon the con- 
fidence he should establish for Texas in the eyes of the world. 

In the sensitive field of foreign relations the first events 
were not favorable to the creation of a national prestige. The 
bright particular star of the Texan diplomatic corps, William 
H. Wharton, was in a Mexican jail. By dint of great effort 
the Texas Navy had been redeemed from pawn, and Mr. Wharv 
ton was coming home in triumph on a war-ship when the vessel 
was waylaid by two superior Mexican men-of-war and cap- 
tured after a severe fight. John A. Wharton went to Mata- 
moras Tinder a flag of truce with thirty Mexican prisoners t*s 


obtain his brother's release. They locked up John also, and the 
two principal vessels remaining of the Texan sea forces begais 
to sweep threateningly up and down the Gulf. The Whartons 
relieved the situation by effecting their escape, but the Texas 
war-ships were run aground by Mexican brigs, and once mor* 
the Texas Secretary of Navy was virtually a gentleman of 

Martin Van Buren did not, as Mr. Cambreleng had ex- 
pressed the wish, live a thous-and years, and it is doubtful if 
he had a thousand sweethearts. But he followed Andrew 
Jackson into the presidency, which was more than Cambreleng 
had anticipated when ruminating upon the likely consequences 
of Peg O'Neale's betrothal. At the same time Memucan Hunt 
succeeded William Wharton in charge of the Texan Legation 
at Washington with the instructions to plug with Mr, 
Van Buren for annexation. 

If old Jackson shrank from ugly visage of slavery what 
was one to expect of Martin Van Buren? No sooner had Hunt 
put out his feelers- than the American Anti-Slavery Society set 
itself to defeat annexation. General Santa Anna was ex- 
tolled as a friend of humanity and the pretensions of the Texas 
Republic were immortalized in Art: 

"Ho for the rescue! ye who part 
Parents from children heart from heart 
Up! patriarchs and gather round, 
Ye who sell infants- by the pound I" 

The poet went on to chide the North, which 

"Pours her choicest scoundrels forth 
To fight for Texas lands and slavery , r, 
Where proudly walk . . . 
The forger and the great unhung! 
Where Houston, chief of San Jacinto, 
Arrayed in Presidential dignity, 
. . . plunges into 
Crimes which old Nick would scarce begin to." fr 


John Quincy Adams declared the annexation of Texas to 
be the first step in the conquest of the remainder of Mexico and 
of the West Indies for the establishment of a slave monarchy 
for our southern planters. When a resolution for annexation 
came before the House of Representatives, Mr. Adams held 
the floor for three weeks in speech against it. This closed the 
session, and the measure was not voted upon. 

Minister Hunt's unpaid hotel bill had reached an uncom- 
fortable total. He came home, and Sam Houston withdrew his 
offer of annexation. Diplomatic exchanges between the Re- 
public of Texas and the United States on the boundary issue 
and other questions assumed a crisp tone. Pinckney Hender- 
son, who was able to afford the luxury of foreign travel, sailed 
with credentials' of introduction to the courts of St. James's 
and Versailles. Hunt was succeeded at Washington by 
Dr. Anson Jones, who established a line of credit at a different 
hotel. He also established himself in the confidence of a mem- 
ber of the American Diplomatic Service. Henderson had not 
as yet been received at court, but Jones's American friend 
stretched the proprieties sufficiently to place before the great. 
Palmer ston, British Secretary for Foreign Affairs, a letter 
calling attention to the growing importance of Texas. Did 
it not present a real opportunity for Great Eritain to make 
a friend on the American continent? Lord Palmerston ru- 
minated and wrote a memorandum. "The subject ... is 


Suddenly the sun came out. Brushing aside the cares of 
state, Sam Houston sat down at his disordered writing table to 
answer a letter from Anna Raguet. 

"My Excellent Friend: 

"Your delightful favor reached me on yesterday, and can 
assure you it was as grateful to me as the Oasis of the desert is 
to the weary pilgrim. . , . The Congress has gone on thus 


tar without much excitement [and so on for a page concern- 
ing the state of the nation], 

"Our friend Doct. Irion is well, and bids me present his 
much love to yourself. . . . Miss Ruth is married, and bids 
adieu to all her cares and coquetry. What a bless-ed exchange ! 
Don't you say so? The beauty of New York has reached this 
place, and has commenced the destruction of hearts and hap- 
piness 1 but as my time admits of no leisure, thus far I 
am . . . untouched by her soft, blue eyes ! . . . 

"I am delighted to know that you are charmed with 
Whalebone but I can't retake him, as I have now four very 
fine horses. . . . 

"I regret that my friends should be visited by the Indians-, 
or that any cause of alarm shou'd exist. Until our citizens 
learn prudence, we must be afflicted by such visitations. . . . 

"This letter was commenced last night. . . . This morn- 
ing I received an invitation to dine on tomorrow with the Fair 
New Yorker. . . . Should the gentlemen remain at wine, I 
withdraw to the parlor, and for the want of a competitor en- 
gross the smiles of the dear creatures. 

"Again good-bye." 

On the margin of page five General Houston wrote a few 
sentences, but since the paper is torn one can only discern : 

" and myself are reformed. Neither gets *tight.* I 

have but ology C I never drinks nothing.* " 6 

When John James Audubon visited Houston City, the Sec- 
retary of Navy acted as his escort. "We approached the 
President's- mansion," the great naturalist wrote in his jour- 
nal, "wading in water above our ankles. This abode . . . 
is a small log house, consisting of two rooms and a pas-sage 
through, after the Southern fashion. . . . We found ourselves 
ushered into what in other countries would be called the 
ante-chamber; the ground-floor, however, was muddy and 
filthy, a large fire was burning, and a small table, covered with 
paper and writing materials, was in the centre; camp-beds, 
trunks, and different materials were strewed around the room. 
We were at once presented to several members of the Cabinet, 


some of whom bore the stamp of intellectual ability," and "to 
Mr. Crawford, an agent of the British minister to Mexico, who 
has come here on some secret mission." 

The President being engaged in the opposite room, a stroll 
about the "city" was suggested. It was raining, and the party 
stepped into the Capitol, but the roof leaked, to the discom- 
fiture of Congress as well as the tourists. Something to dis- 
pel the chill was in order, and Mr. Audubon was surprised that 
his host offered "his name instead of cash to the bar-keeper," 

Returning to the Executive residence "we were presented to 
his Excellency," who wore the velvet suit and "a cravat some- 
what in the style of seventy-six." He asked his visitors- a few 
polite questions and led them into his* private chamber, "which 
was not much cleaner" than the anteroom. There were in- 
troductions to members of his staff and friends s-eated on stools 
and a couple of camp-beds. The President asked the visitors 
to drink with him, "which we did, wishing success to the Re- 
public. Our talk was short ; but the impression made . . . 
by himself, his officers and his place of abode can never be 
forgotten." 7 

One of the beds in the private room was Sam Houston's. 
The other belonged to Ashbel Smith, Surgeon General of 
the Army. The cots in the reception-room were for guests. 
A third room, a lean-to back of the private chamber, served as 
kitchen and servants' hall for the President's- two negro re- 
tainers, Esau and Tom Blue. 

The hands 1 of Esau were skilled at producing drinks. One 
afternoon the President was detained until late at the CapitoL 
Friends dropped in and aperitifs were served on the spot. One 
good story followed another until it was too late to go home. 
The company composed itself upon chairs, a table and thr 
floor. The President was the first to awake. 

"Esau! You, Esau!" 

"Yes, Marse Gen'L" 

"Water! Water!" 

Where to get water at this time of night? Esau inquired. 


At Aunt Lucy's, the President said. Aunt Lucy was an 
aged negress* who laundered the garments of statesmen at her 
shack on the bank of the bayou. Esau returned without the 
water, but with a lengthy excuse. The President stood at a 
window, looking first at the sky and then at his servant. 

"Esau," he s-aid, "can you believe that this is I, Sam 
Houston, protege of Andrew Jackson, ex-Governor of Tennes- 
see, the beloved of Coleto and his savage hosts, the hero of San 
Jacinto and the President of the Republic of Texas', standing at 
the dead hour of midnight in the heart of his own capital, with 
the myriad of twinkling stars shining down upon his unhappy 
forehead, begging for water at the door of an old nigger 
wench's shanty and can't get a drop ?" 

Esau reflected upon the words of his master. "Dat's jest 
right, Marse Gen'l. We sho 9 ain't got no wattah." 8 

Dr. Ashbel Smith was a wiry man of medium stature 
whose indifference to his wardrobe was redeemed by the care 
he bestowed upon a close-clipped professional-looking beard* 
He was thirty-two years old, a Connecticut blue-stocking, edu- 
cated at Yale and in Prance. He was rich and had come to 
Texas to forget a girl. 

The Surgeon General was a good conversationalist and 
the quiet charm of his personality contributed to the popular- 
ity of the menage of the bachelor President of the Republic. 
The Executive residence was a scene of Rabelaisian entertain* 
ments. Wonderful stories were told of these full-toned carou- 
sals. Should the gentlemen weary of their own society it was 
only a short walk in the bracing air to the salons of Mrs. 
Mann and Madame Raimon "ladies of some notoriety about 
the City of Houston," the virtuous Burnet recorded, represent- 
ing General Houston in the act of acquainting his guests with 
"a number of fawn-necked damsels, whose naive deportment 
put upon one the idea practically of the Mussulman's 
paradise !" 9 

The temperate habits of Doctor Smith had their influence 
on his roommate. At times the President presided at the revels, 


indulging in no more than an occasional sniff of the hartshorn 
vial, the custody of which was a special responsibility of the 
Surgeon General. On such occasions Houston usually drove 
his guests away early and, after a game of chess with Smith, 
would plant himself on the foot of the Doctor's bed and talk 
until daylight. 

When General Houston received Indian callers no liquor 
was served. Treaties with all of the tribes were made during 
that summer, delegations constantly coming and going. 
"Brother, I wish to see you. . . . Send word to Big 
Mush ... to the Kickapoos ... the Caddoes. . . . 
I have a Talk that you will like to hear. Bring in the Treaty 
that I last made with you. It has ribbons and a seal on 
it. ... Tell my sisters and brothers they live in my heart. 
SAM HotrsTON." 10 This to The Bowl. An Indian remaining 
overnight in Houston City invariably bivouaced in the Presi- 
dent's yard. Occasionally Sam Houston would honor their 
camp-fires and, seated on a bearskin, praise the flavor of the 

On other nights while the Surgeon General snored in his 
corner, the President would carry his candle to the littered 
table and write letters, pausing long between the paragraphs, 

"It is past midnight. The toils of the day have passed 
by, and . . . the kind remembrance of my excellent friend 
is the first which claims 1 my attention to the recollections of 
other days Sacred to Memory. 

"You have been to New Orleans, and bye the bye, I have 
heard much, and, as usual, admired everything. You were the 
Belle of the City, and this was so much Glory for Texas. You 
claimed half the glories of the Victory of San Jacinto. I con- 
ceded them to you! Will you in return share with me your 
triumphs in the City of New Orleans? . . . 

"You kindly say to me you were waited upon by c your beau- 
tiful Miss Barker,' and *I was much pleased with her.' I 
thank you for this, for ... I wrote to you while I supposed 
you in Philadelphia that if she shou'd arrive there I wou'd 
be glad that you wou'd see her. I did this because when I 


her she presented to me a beautiful image so much resem- 
bling Miss Raguet that really I ... was compelled to ad- 
mire and wish to see her. 

"Since then I have sent to her a trifling evidence of respect, 
which I dare not offer to Mis-s Anna, because she has not 
received from me the slightest token, and Miss B. had re- 
ceived a trifle from the spoils of San Jacinto when she was 
kind enough to dispense with Prudery and visit a soldier, 
prostrate and suffering under the influences of destiny. If 1 
admired Miss Barker, it was because I admired others- to whom 
she bore a striking resemblance ! . . . 

"It is half past two in the morning and this is Sunday. 
Should I remain longer from repose, I cou'd not look well at 
church. . . . Be so kind as to write to me no matter what 

you write. . . . 


"Miss A. Raguet." 11 

There was no church house in Houston, but services were 
Held in the Hall of Congress. A visiting divine, thinking he 
perceived in Texas a field for such gospel, announced a tem- 
perance lecture. The proposal was coldly received until Sam 
Houston asked permission to preside at the meeting. This 
brought half the town. The President delivered a moving ser- 
mon on the evil of drink, concluding with the advice to "follow 
my words and not my example." 

A veil of exaggerated official courtesy did not obscure from 
Sam Houston the fact that Vice-President Lamar was his 
enemy. The antipathy went back to the Burnet regime when 
the artful influence of Houston had prevented Lamar from ob- 
taining control of the Army and succeeding, possibly, to some- 
thing more to his taste than his present eminently restful 

Early in the summer of 1837 General Lamar returned to 
Georgia for a visit, but his friends in Houston remained on 


lookout. "I have with more vigilence than you are 
watched the general procession of political movements. I find 
the President extreanly courteous when he out for general in- 
spection, this seldom oftener than once in sunshine, between 
eleven & two, he ... dresses himself gaudily in self peculiar 
taste viz. black silk velvet gold lace crimson vest and silver 
spurs takes a graduating glass, stops a moment before the 
miror . . . and adjusts his shappo . . . and lastly the 
requisite inibriating sip that makes himself again Hector upon 
his feet and no longe[r] the wounded Achilise of San Ja- 
cinto . . . and with a tread of dominion in his aroganic 
step strides . , - across his own nominated metropolis . , . 
to the bar keeper. 5 ' 12 

This sympathetic portrait was followed by a lengthy ac- 
count of the President's perfidy. To Lamar's friends he 
"laments much indeed" the Vice-President's absence, but to 
others he spoke "in an entire different stile." But General 
Lamar could be of good cheer. He was the popular choice 
for the president at the next election, and he might not have 
to wait that long. "Since Col Teals murder their has been 
much dicention in the army Johnson is- here [in Houston] and 
in all probability will not return" to his command. 

The murder of Houston's friend, Teal, had stirred Texas. 
Major Western, commanding the cavalry at Bexar, became 
almost too broad in his innuendoes about upsetting the "one- 
horse" government at Houston. Senator Everitt could not wait 
to leave his seat in the chamber to hasten a note to the absent 
Lamar. "Your presence is needed. . . . Higher duties in all 
probability will require Your presence E're . . this Scrawl 
can Reach You. Houston worn-down by ... Debauchery, 
is fast sinking under its Effects." 13 

Houston's health was not good, and his habits did not im- 
prove it, but fear of an assassin's bullet gave his friends their 
greatest concern for his safety. 14 In this situation Sam Hous- 
ton called one of Lamar's spies to his residence and asked him 
to request the Vice-President to return to Texas, if he could 


do so without inconvenience, and assist in guiding the ship of 
State. Houston's advis-ers thought this madness, at which thr 
old fox of San Jacinto must have smiled. General Lamar an- 
swered politely, but found excuses for prolonging his visit. 

But there remained Major Western. By chance the loqua- 
cious- William H. Patton, one of Houston's aides at San Jacinto, 
was 1 departing for Bexar on private business. In wishing him 
Godspeed, Houston remarked that his own thoughts had been 
much on Bexar of late. Major Western was there. An ex- 
ceptional man, Major Western, whose polished manners and 
diplomatic ability reminded one of Martin Van Buren. Now, 
the President was about to send an ambassador to England. 
The thing was to find the best fitted man. In strict confidence, 
what did Patton think of the qualifications of Major Western? 
Of course, not a word to any one ; nothing was determined as 

When the President heard of Patton's arrival at Bexar 
orders were sent for Major Western to report at the seat of 
government, Houston received the Major cordially, but Eng- 
land was not mentioned. Time passed. Major Western ap- 
proached Ashbel Smith. Had the Surgeon General heard the 
President mention the matter of a mission to England? The 
Surgeon General could not say that he had. 

Pinckney Henderson's appointment was announced, but 
Major Western declined to believe it. The President was e 
better judge of men. When the truth came out, the Major 
was "disgusted." He returned to Bxar with ominous 1 haste, 
where he found another officer in command of the cavalry and 
orders transferring him to an outpost. 15 

"The news 1 of this country is not very interesting," the 
President wrote to Anna Raguet, enclosing a poem for criticism. 
"The frontier all quiet. . . . Dr. Irion is very well. , . . 
Miss Eberly & Miss Harris are both married and doubtless 
both happy. People will marry on the Brasos! I saw on yes- 
terday your schoolmate, Mrs Harrell. * . Her husband is 
very kind to her. ... I have heard of a grand conclave of 


Ladles in Nacogdoches to settle your destiny and mine! 
Farewell." 16 

The ladies of Nacogdoches were not alone in the endeavor 
to influence destinies in Texas. For the one hundredth time 
a rumor of Mexican invasion ran through the country. Hous- 
ton fell ill, and the Senate adopted a secret resolution "request- 
ing & enjoining" the return of General Lamar. 

But the news leaked and passions flamed in Texas. From 
Georgia Lamar posted westward. At Mobile he tarried to 
hold mysterious conferences about which hovered an old sweet- 
heart, torn between aspirations for her adored and the peril 
of his undertaking. Missing a vessel at New Orleans', Lamar 
pressed on by the overland route along which desperados em- 
ployed by Houston were supposed to lurk. "Come back to us 
instantly come back. . . . Your death is talked of ... 
[until] I have lost the powers to think and can only repeat 
come back. OLiviA." 17 

The man on horseback did not heed her. Never lacking 
personal courage, Lamar plunged into the Redlands and his 
apprehensive followers recovered their composure sufficiently 
to give him a banquet at San Augustine. On November ninth 
the Vice-President reached Houston. The town was in a fer- 
ment. General Lamar addressed the Senate. Peace, my 
friends, was his counsel. Let none fear for the security of 

The triumphal entry was the work of talented amateurs 
splendid as to external details, but otherwise fatally miscon- 
ceived. The Old Fox extinguished the last spark of hope by an 
attitude of humilating indifference. 

The fact is that the time was inopportune. Imperceptibly 
Sam Houston had installed a nation at his back. The Con- 
stitution was in operation; customs were collected; salaries 
were paid ; immigration had increased. Henderson was writing 
Commercial treaties with England and France. The currency - 


called "star money" from the design on the notes' was a suc- 
cess. Beating down the opposition of Congress and of his own 
Secretary of Treasury, Houston had made this money receiv- 
able for customs on par with gold. This created confidence and 
star money rose to par for all purposes. The Capitol was 
finished a handsome structure with a graceful colonnade of 
tall square pillars. 

The Republic was a going concern commerce reviving, 
mails- delivered, courts respected. A drunken lawyer was argu- 
ing a case before Three-Legged Willie. 

"Where is the law to support your contention?" interrupted 
the judge. 

The lawyer whipped out a dirk. 

"There's the law," he said. 

Judge Williamson dropped the muzzle of a pistol over the 

"Yes, and there's the Constitution." 18 

A national character had been established an embodiment 
of the character of the Republic's Chief Magistrate, who taught 
men to discriminate between the democracy of his habits, and 
the aristocracy of his ideals. The Navy was being rebuilt ; the 
Indians were quiet ; Mexican threats- had ceased to intimidate. 
The civil administration was no longer clover for broken-down 
politicians, or the military service the apple of every out-at- 
elbows ruffler trailing a sword as Captain de Chaumont had 
learned to his sorrow. 

Sam Houston had built this' out of chaos in little more 
than a year. 

Of course Texas was still frontier, Jacob Snively went to 
Nacogdoches on official business. "I cannot find a suitable 
companion with whom to spend my evenings'," he wrote the 
President. "The young men of this place are so singular . . . 
and the ladies" respond to nothing except "flattery. You, 
Yourself are aware of that. Last Sunday morning Mr. Michael 
Cossby was 1 killed by Mr. Speight. At San Augustine Saturday 
evening Mr. Pinkney Lout [no flatterer, apparently] was also 


killed ... by Mrs. Wright. . . . Miss Ana is well. She 
has many admirers, Messrs Kaufman, Hart & Hotchkiss. * . . 
I wish you were here. 5 ' 19 

Houston promised to come for Thanksgiving, promised 
again for Christmas, but stayed away. His letters to Miss 
Anna were briefer. "Business" was his apology. "Our foreign 
relations- . . Lord Palmerston . . . state of the army . . 
internal problems," engrossed his attention. "A recent report 
that ere this your hand and faith were both plighted," however, 
was received with a "thorn in the heart and hope with resigna- 
tion for the best!!!" "The Cabinet, all being batchelors or 
widowers but one, have been somewhat deranged by the arrival 
of a rick and pretty widow from Alabama young, too." 
"Christmas passed without much fuss. One Ball, quite decent. 93 

Another letter from Nacogdoches: 

"We have been looking for you every day since Christmas 
and none with more apparent anxiety than Miss Anna. The 
other day it was believed you were but a few miles from town 
and all was joy and gladness- but we were again doomed to 
disappointment. . . . We will celebrate the second of 
March . . . and conclude ... by a splendid Ball, May 
you be with us on that day Sic fata $inant." 2Q 

This from the dashing Congressman Kaufman, apparently 
foremost among the corps of rivals. But whatever fate signi- 
fied, Sam Houston remained in his capital on Independence 
Day, which was also his forty-fifth birthday. 

On Washington's birthday there was a splendid ball in 
Houston at which Miss Dilrue Rose, of Bray's Bayou, made 
her debut. "Mrs Dr. Gazley was dancing with the president. 
She, not feeling well, asked me to take her place." Alas ! As 
little Miss Rose advanced to claim the vacant place "a pretty 
young widow, Mrs. Archer Boyd," pushed in ahead of her. 
"But I had the honor of dancing in the same set ... [and] 
as there was to be a wedding in June and I was to be the first 
bridesmaid and General Houston best man, I didn't care." 21 


San Jacinto Day came first and was observed with a grand 
celebration and ball. "As Miss Mary Jane Harris, the belle 
of Buffalo Bayou was married" Miss Rose recorded the simple 
truth that "I came in for considerable attention." Alas once 
more General Houston did not dance only "promenaded." 
Presently, however, he "was talking with Mother and some other 
ladies when Father presented Sister and me to the president. 
He kissed both of us. 'Dr. Rose, you have two pretty little 
girls.' I felt rather crestfallen as I considered myself a young 
lady." 22 

But neither widows nor pretty little girls were much in the 
President's thoughts. It was- Miss Anna. Houston was now 
free. Tiana was dead and Cherokee roses bloomed on her 
grave. 28 Eliza Allen had been divorced on the President's 
petition, presented by his attorneys before District Judge- 
Shelby Corzine, of San Augustine. Mrs. Houston was repre- 
sented by counsel, but there was no contest of the charge of 
abandonment. Everything was- done as quietly as possible, but 
the news got out and there was a deal of whispered concern. 
While accompanying the President to an Indian conference, 
John H. Reagan, afterward Postmaster General of the Con- 
federacy, adroitly asked the familiar question. Why had 
Houston left his wife? 

"That is an abs-olute secret," Sam Houston said, "and will 
remain so." 24 

Anna Raguet received a version of the divorce story that 
shocked her. It is a simple matter to surmise what this version 
was-. Under the Republic divorces were granted by Act of 
Congress, but for purposes of secrecy President Houston had 
empowered Judge Corzine to hear the case in chambers. This 
procedure seemed a little too regal for such a good friend of 
Houston as Barnard E. Bee who expressed to Ashbel Smith 
the opinion that the decree was "a fraud." 25 

"Miss Anna," wrote Houston. "Having learned by some 
agency that you were induced to believe that I had presumed 


to address you at a time when I must have been satisfied in my 
own mind that legal impediments lay in the way of my union 
with any lady . . . but one thing would remain for me to 
reflect upon. . . . Had I sought to win your love when 1 was 
aware that the same must have taken place at the expense of 
your happiness and pride and peace and honor in life, I must 
have acknowledged myself a lily liver'd' wretch!!! . . . 

"Of this, enough. The enclosed letters contain the opinions 
of Gentlemen eminent in the profession of the law obtained on 
the abstract question as to the legality of my divorce ! The 
question was solemnly argued in court for the adverse party, 
and the judge on calm reflection rendered his decision to be 
recorded which was done. . . 

"This much I have felt bound to say to you on the score 
of old friendship and a desire to evince to you that I have 
merited (at least in part) the esteem with which you have 
honored me in by gone days-." 26 

Houston followed this letter to Nacogdoches. But the 
girl who held half of San Jacinto's laurels was lost to him. 

Sam Houston returned to his capital in the rain alone. 
Cannon boomed across the prairie at his- approach and an 
escort of the Milam Guards, the flower of the Army (possessing 
uniforms), galloped to meet the President. An epoch-making 
evening would now be complete. 

The occasion was the Republic's salutation to the beaux 
arts in the form of the first professional theatrical performance 
under the Lone Star. The President was a few minutes late, 
but still in time for the state dinner to the cast. He ate in 
his wet clothes and a little doll actress from Baltimore confessed 
a difficulty in keeping her eyes on her plate. 

Meantime the hall where the performance was to be held 
was filling up. The young ladies of Mrs. Robertson's fashion- 
able boarding school were to have front seats, but when they 
arrived these places were occupied. The girls were marshaled 
into other chairs and from this point of vantage Dilrue Rose 


witnessed the entrance of the President and staff to the strains 
of Hail the Chief. But all of the seats were taken. 

"The stage manager, Mr. Curry, requested the men in 
front who were gamblers and their friends to give up the 
seats-. This they refused to do. Then the manager called for 
the police to put them out." This "enraged" the gamblers 
who drew "weapons and threatened to shoot. The sheriff 
called the soldiers. ... It looked as if there would be 
bloodshed, gamblers on one side, soldiers on the other, women 
and children between, everybody talking. . . . The president 
got on a seat, commanded peace, asked those in front to be 
s-eated, ordered the soldiers to stack arms and said that he and 
the ladies would take back seats. This appeared to shame the 
gamblers. . . . [Their] spokesman said that if their money 
was returned they would leave the house as they had no desire 
to discommode the ladies." 27 

So the curtain rose upon "Sheridan Knowles Comedy The 
Hunchback," the performance concluding "with a farce entitled 
a Dumb Belle, or Fm Perfection." 

After the show a player named Mr. Barker took a dose of 
laudanum for his- nerves. It killed him, thus terminating the 
engagement. Tears blurred the borrowed bloom on the cheeks 
of the little trouper from Baltimore, who declared herself a 
widow, with two fatherless babies at home. The consolation of 
Mrs. Barker became a national matter. Her husband was 
given a fine funeral. The gamblers rais-ed a purse of gold for 
the orphans, and General Houston placed the Executive Man- 
sion at the bereaved artist's disposal until a vessel sailed for 
New Orleans. 

Three days later came the June wedding that Dilrue Rose 
Tas counting on. "It was grand. . . . General Houston and 
i were to be the first attendants, Dr. Ashbel Smith and Miss 
Voate second and, Dr. Ewing and Mrs*. Holliday, a pretty 
^idow, third. At the last moment . . . Mrs. Holliday sug- 
gested that I was too young and timid, and that she would tak* 
my place. General Houston offered her his arm and Dr 


Ewing escorted me. As soon as the congratulations were 
over, General Houston who was the personification of elegance 
and Mildness, excused himself and retired. Mrs. Holliday then 
took possession of Dr. Ewing and left me without an escort 
till Mr. Hunt introduced Mr. Ira A. Harris." 28 No widow in- 
tervening, Dilrue married Ira Harris. 


Six months of presidency remained to Sam Houston who, 
under the Constitution, was ineligible to succeed himself. 
Things- went awry. The contractor for the new Navy found 
the President "nearly all the time drunk," 29 Congress passed 
some foolish financial legislation over a veto, and star money 
dropped to ninety cents. A Mexican-inspired Indian out- 
break terrorized the Nacogdoches' country, and Houston's neg- 
lect of defensive measures brought a tide of denunciation. Star 
money fell to eighty cents. During an exchange of amenities, 
ex-President Burnet called Houston a half -Indian, the Presi- 
dent retorting that his predecessor was a hog thief. Mr. Bur- 
net challenged Houston to a duel, and Dr. Branch T. Archer, 
himself handy with the pistols, delivered the note. Houston 
brushed it aside, telling Archer to inform Burnet that "the 
people are equally disgusted with both of us." 30 Houston had 
a violent quarrel with his friend, W, H. Wharton. Wharton's 
hand dropped to his bowie knife. Houston raised his armsv 
above his head. "Draw draw if you dare I" Wharton did not 
draw. 31 

Samuel Colt, whose own career may explain his admira- 
tion for Houston, sought to smooth the pathway of the 
burdened Executive with a gift of a pair of handsome dueling 
irons. After trying them out on marks pinned to trees General 
Houston pronounced the new weapons to be superior to the 
run of pistols then in use. A local vogue for Coifs' pistols 
resulted which enabled the Yankee inventor to sell as many 
guns in Texas during the next four years as he sold in the rest 


of the world. With this testimonial of approval the future of 
the Colt product was assured, notwithstanding an untimely 
bankruptcy due to a temporary abs-ence of appreciation among 
the less discriminating. 

Yet the reign of "Judge Colt" fell short of the President's 
ideal. By his personal example and otherwise General Hous- 
ton had striven to discourage dueling in his powder-stained 
Republic. These efforts, however, received little support ex- 
cept in the case of Willis Alston, whom tradition identifies 
(but not to the exclusion of two or three other candidates) as 
the rival for Eliza Allen's- hand over whom Sam Houston pre- 
vailed in 1829. Alston was a member of the celebrated North 
Carolina family and had made Houston's acquaintance when 
the two were in the United States Congress. After his father 
and two brothers had fallen in duels Alston killed a Georgia 
politician and came to Texas 1 , where he killed a Doctor Steward 
and was executed by a mob in Brazoria. The fault of Mr. 
Alston involved the purity of the Code ; he had used a sawed- 
off shotgun on Doctor Stewart. 

Amid these events General Lamar's candidacy for president 
and that of Burnet for vice-president gained impetus. The be- 
fuddled opposition divided the field between two tickets which 
seemed to insure Lamar's election until one of the presidential 
aspirants, Chief Justice Collingsworth of the Supreme Court, a 
brilliant man who had wrecked his mind with drink, leaped from 
a steamer and drowned himself in Galveston Bay. This 
cleared the way for Peter W. Grayson, a lawyer of considerable 
ability and exemplary personal life. The Houston opposition 
took heart. Grayson was in the United States. While hasten- 
ing home to press his campaign he was seized by a fit of mental 
depression, a malady against which he had waged a solitary 
struggle since the days of his youth. At a wayside tavern in 
Tennessee the sufferer penned a polite note asking the pardon 
rf his landlord and blew out his brains. 

Sam Houston attended the inaugural of Lamar and Bur- 

wearing a powdered wig and a costume of Washington^ 


time. He delivered an oration not unworthy of association with 
another Farewell Address. Tears were in his eyes, and in the 
eyes of some who had come to sneer, when Sam Houston ex- 
tended his great arms in an attitude of benediction and re- 
linquished his Republic to the keeping of Mirabeau B. Lamar. 
"The day will come," said the Telegraph and Texas Register, 
which was not a partizan of General Houston, "when his name 
shall appear in the pages of the Texian story, unsullied by a 
single stain his faults 1 . . . forgotten, his vices buried in 
the tomb; the hero of San Jacinto . . . the nursling of 



MIRABEATJ BUONAPARTE LAMAR had stepped into Texas 
with a sword in his hand and inquired the way to Sam Houston's 
Army when most people were headed in other directions-. 
After the first skirmish at San Jacinto, General Houston raised 
the private of cavalry with the conquering name and air to 
command the mounted troops. His report of the battle men- 
tioned the personal gallantry of Colonel Lamar. 

As vice-president, Lamar's opposition and abortive coup 
d'etat of 1837 followed the promptings of a nature that had 
derived ideas of grandeur from a doting uncle in Georgia who 
had christened him. Mirabeau Lamar regarded Sam Houston 
as a preposterous vulgarian who had humiliated Texas by 
his familiarity with Indians and rowdy whites. 

In a polished inaugural address President Lamar fore- 
shadowed a departure from the policies of his predecessor. 
Negotiations for annexation to the United States would not be 
resumed. A loftier destiny awaited Texas as an independent 
power, adorned by the graces as well as the sturdier virtues 
of Anglo-Saxon democracy. As a personal patron of the arts, 
General Lamar felt himself eligible to sponsor this extension 
of culture. He deprecated the fact that his achievements in 
the fields of war and statecraft had eclipsed his mastery of the 
violin and the merit of his lyrical verses. The inaugural cere- 
monies closed with a ball in the Capitol. "The elite of the 



land its beauty and worth were collected there," wrote Ashbel 
Smith, ". . .a large and overflowing assembly of noble and 
accomplished dames, of soldiers scholars and chivalrous 1 gentle- 

Sam Houston accepted the altered order of the times. One 
of the final acts of his Administration had been a house-cleaning 
of the Executive Mansion. Curtains were hung at the windows 
and carpets laid on the floors though not until new planks 
were found to replace those lately pulled up for fire-wood by 
General Houston who had been unwilling to bring a pleasant 
evening to an untimely end. Houston closed his regime with a 
levee in which a suspicious mind might discover a trace of irony. 
"The rooms of the White Hous-e," noted the sprightly Smith, 
White House being a very uew and smart expression, "were 
full to overflowing ... a lar less promiscuous assemblage 
than is- commonly seen on such occasions. . . . The crowds 
promenaded to the movement of soft music . . . and . . . 
it was worth while to behold the elegant form and manly 
proportions of General Houston, to listen to the promptness 
and variety of his colloquial powers his facility and great tact 
to appropriate compliments 1 as ... he received the greetings 
of beauty and of talent." 1 

Moving into the refurbished establishment, General Lamar 
declared war on Indians, sent the Navy to help the rebellious 
province of Yucatan, recruited an army to frown across the 
Rio Grande, projected a national system of education, and 
began to lay out a new capital city. The money to defray 
these expenditures' was printed while the President sunned him* 
self in the contemplation of larger triumphs* 

The site of the new capital was on the upper Colorado^ 
beyond the remotest settlements, but with the maturity of the 
President's projects destined to be the hub of the greater 
Republic. The location was an inspiring one amid a collection 
of hills crowned by a violet haze, which long years before 
Stephen Austin had picked for his dream university. Although 
they named the new town Austin, the founders did not know of 


Sam Houston at the beginning of his long and bold fight against 


(A photograph made in Washington between 1848 and 1850. The only 

authentic likeness that I have found of Houston wearing a full beard, 

which was one of his eccentricities during periods of depression. From 

General Houston's grandson, Franklin Williams, of Houston) 


Stephen's dream, but they were aware of the enthusiasm of 
General Lamar who had camped on the site during a hunting 

Sam Houston devoted the early months of the Lamar Ad- 
ministration to his personal affairs, which were prosperous, and 
then took a trip to the United States. 

That nations make history is another fact that Mirabeau 
Lamar did not overlook. He began segregating material for 
the express purpose of assisting a future chronicler of the 
Texan story. By his industry were preserved thousands of 
documents, including this letter from Memucan Hunt, former 
Minister to the United States, dated at Jackson, Mississippi, 
July 13, 1839: 

"General Houston was received with considerable attention 
at Columbus in this State, and on my reaching there, I was 
surprised to find how favorable an impression he had made. I 
do not think, however, when I left that place that my acquain- 
tances continued to entertain . . . favorable views- of 
him* . , . Only think how contemptible he acted, when I 
assure you that he mentioned the circumstances of the quarrel 
between him and myself, giving an unjust version of it, to a 
young lady, who he knew I would shortly visit. . . . This 
is almost as ridiculous-, as his having burned off his coat tail, 
while in a state of intoxication, immediately after making 
Temperance speeches." 2 

The maiden of Columbus had not been the first young lady 
to share the confidences of the distinguished traveler. Before 
coming to Mississippi, Houston was in Alabama buying blooded 
horses and seeking capital for his Texas enterprises. The quest 
for capital took him to Mobile to interview William Bledsoe, 
who invited the General to his stately country home, Spring 
HilL It was a radiant afternoon in May, and Mrs-. Bledsoe 
was giving a strawberry festival on her lawn. 


Emily Antoinette Bledsoe was eighteen years old. Her 
Parisian ancestry spoke in lustrous dark eyes, a vivacious 
manner and love for pretty clothes. In the presence of such 
a hostess Sam Houston was at his best. They were strolling 
in the rose garden when a girl came by carrying a dish of 

"General Houston, my sister, Miss Margaret Lea, 55 said 

Emily Antoinette. 

General Houston bowed very low. 

"I am charmed." And he really was. 

Sam Houston thought he had never seen anything so beau- 
tiful as the girl who regarded him with placid violet eyes. She 
was taller than Antoinette, and two years older. She was 
dressed less extravagantly. Her features were fairer and 
more tranquil. Her hair was dark brown, except for a gay 
band of golden ringlets circling her temples like a halo. 

A young woman of less poise might have betrayed herself. 
Margaret's thoughts swept back to the unforgettable Sunday 
when New Orleans- had received the victor of San Jacinto. The 
wild image of him, swaying against the gunwale, was burned 
in her mind. She had been incapable of dispelling the pre- 
monition that some time she would meet this romantic man, 
and the meeting would shape her destiny. 

Emily Antoinette saw little more of General Houston that 
afternoon. At night a candle burned late in a room at Spring 
Hill. Margaret was writing a poem. 3 

General Houston visited Andrew Jackson at the Hermitage, 
and moved on to East Tennessee where he sojourned with a 
cousin, Judge Wallace, of Maryville. One evening a roomful 
of relatives- was discussing Eliza Allen, who to every one s s sur- 
prise had married a wealthy widower. Houston was lying on 
a couch, apparently not listening, when some one made an 
unnecessary remark. "Houston got up with eyes flashing, 1 * 


said Judge Wallace. " 'Whoever dares say a word against 
Eliza shall pay for it !' "* 

In midsummer General Houston was in Alabama again, 
where he saw the Bledsoes, Margaret, and Mrs. Lea, her mother. 
He interested Mr. Bledsoe and Mrs-. Lea, who was a widow 
and a keen business woman, in the money -making possibilities 
of Texas. They agreed to make a visit of inspection. 

When the General departed Margaret wept. She had 
promised to be Sam Houston's wife. Many years later Marga- 
ret's pastor asked her how a girl of her environment could have 
risked her life's happiness in face of the warnings she received 
of General Houston's history and habits* Margaret's answer 
covered everything. 

"He had won my heart." 5 


Houston reached Texas in a rage against Lamar's Indian 
war. The bleeding remnants of the Cherokees had been driven 
across the Red River to nurse their wounds in Oo-loo-te-ka's 
wigwams. In his eighty-fourth year The Bowl had led his 
braves in their last stand on Texan soil. When he saw that 
the day was lost, the venerable leader gave the signal to retreat, 
saying, "I stay. I am an old man. I die here." He fell, and 
a sword Sam Houston had given was pried from the red war- 
rior's cold hand. 

Houston reviewed the campaign in a savage speech at Na- 
cogdoches. The Bowl was "a better man" than his "mur- 
derers." Houston's life was threatened as he left the hall and 
the speech estranged some of his oldest supporters in Texas, 
including Rusk, Adolphus Sterne and Henry Raguet. Never- 
theless, Houston stood for representative in Congress for the 
Nacogdoches district and was elected. He journeyed to Austin 
where Anna Raguet wrote him a few letters and received 
pleasant, though not always prompt, replies. 

Congress Avenue, the principal thoroughfare of the 


capital, was so wide and imposing that in wet weather communv 
cation between the rows of cabins on the opposite side was a 
serious undertaking. Inasmuch as some of the government 
departments were located on one side of the avenue and some 
on the other, this had a tendency to decentralize the Adminis- 
tration. Vehicles carried fence rails 1 to pry the wheels out of 
the mud. 

The one-story Hall of Congress stood on a little knoll just 
off the avenue. More "pretentious" was the two-story resi- 
dence of President Lamar whose entourage Sam Houston 
disrespectfully dubbed "The Court of King Witumpka." Hous- 
ton lodged on Congress Avenue in a shanty with a dirt floor. 
Here he held court of his own and, according to tradition, clad 
in moccasins and an Indian blanket, received the Count 
Alphonse de Saligny, the French Charge d 5 Affaires. Saligny 
was a strutting little fellow with a patch of orders on his coat. 
The ex-President threw back his blanket and, striking his naked 
breast, indicated the scars of his battle wounds. 

"Monsieur le Comte, an humble republican soldier, who 
Wears his decorations here, salutes you." 

The outcome of General Lamar's soaring schemes had be- 
gun to trouble Texans not blinded by partizanship. Paper 
money had fallen rapidly and coin was disappearing from cir- 
culation. In mid-summer, 1839, ex-Minister Anson Jones 
wrote in his private note-book more than he would have ad- 
mitted in public. "Gen. Lamar may mean well . . . but his 
mind is altogether of a dreamy, poetic order, a sort of political 
Troubadour and Crusader and wholly unfit for . . . the 
every day realities of his present station." 6 

In November Doctor Jones arrived in Austin, a member of 
the Senate. Although friendly with Lamar the sly little Sen- 
ator did not overlook the pits in the President's path. Sam 
Houston, holding court in his shack, satirizing and ridiculing, 
made matters no easier. Senator Jones believed Lamar to fo 
doomed and wished to see him doomed, but not at the hands 
of Sam Houston. "Gen. H^' the Senator confided to his diary* 


**is not so strong in what he does himself, as in what his enemies 
do: it is not his strength, but their weakness not his 
wisdom but their folly. Cunning, Indian cunning. . . . Old 
Bowles . . . learned him all he knows." 7 

As the Senator wrote he was fixing to out-cunning Houston. 
He was organizing a banquet, at which Sam Houston would be 
guest of honor and Anson Jones the toastmaster. In addition 
to members of the Houston group, Lamar men were to be 
invited, which might benefit an impartial chairman with a foot 
in both camps. 

Although roads and weather kept many away, two hundred 
were present at the dinner which was "handsomely served." 
Forty-three toasts were drunk, eight of them to Sam Houston, 
whose name was received with nine cheers. When glasses were 
raised to "The President of the Republic," there was silence. 
Doctor Jones was rewarded for his trouble with a mention for 
the vice-presidency on a ticket headed by Houston. The editor 
of the Austin City Gazette thought Houston made "one of the 
most eloquent speeches we ever remember to have heard; and 
impressed us with a more favorable impression of his powerful 
intellect." 8 Alone in his room Toastmaster Jones penned a 
concise story of disappointed hopes. "No man is more com- 
pletely master of the art of appropriating to himself the merit 
of others' good acts . . . than General Houston." 9 

The good acts of Doctor Jones emphasized Houston's 
leadership of the opposition which, except for a little informal 
sniping, permitted Lamar to run his course unchallenged. "I 
fear," wrote Jones on Christmas Eve, "that Gen. Houston does 

not care how completely L r ruins the country, so that he 

can . . . say, 'I told you so; there is nobody but old Sam 
after all.' " 

On New Year's Day, 1840, the Senator saw the country 

"going to the as fast as General H. can possibly wish." 

On February fourth Saligny was presented to the Senate with 
ceremony. That night the town was raided by Indians, and ifr* 
cries of two inhabitants under the scalping knife brought Cabi- 


net members from their beds. The incident affected the poise 
of Monsieur de Saligny, and this at a critical juncture in the 
negotiations for a million-dollar loan in Paris. Lamar quieted 
the French diplomat's fears, however, and all was well until one 
of Innkeeper Bullock's pigs broke into the Count's stable and 
ttte his corn. Saligny's servant killed the pig. Bullock 
thrashed the servant and put the Count out of his hoteL 
Saligny appealed to the Secretary of State for redress and, 
failing to get it, departed for New Orleans. The loan fell 
through, and Texas money continued to decline, 


Sam Houston found diversion from these events by flooding 
the mails with impassioned letters to Margaret Lea. He 
begged her to come to Texas and marry him when her mother 
and William Bledsoe should make their proposed trip. Mar- 
garet said she would come and named the vessel. Sam Houston 
repaired to Galveston, from whence Lamar was informed that 
"The Great Ex . . . awaits the arrival of his bride to be." 10 

There had lately disembarked at Galveston another trav- 
eler from Mobile who had come to Texas on a sentimental 
journey. It was Olivia. From Houston City she sent wistful 
messages "Dinna forget me" but the flushed dreamer at 
Austin was very tardy with his replies. The cares of state had 
begun to harry Mirabeau, but he plunged buoyantly on, screen- 
ing each failure with the mask of a grander scheme. A variety 
of matters were afoot some, perhaps, without the President's 
assent, since he had lost control of the country. A revolution 
supported by Texas filibusters was under way in northern 
Mexico, with the eventual object, in Texan minds, of annexing 
that territory to the Republic. At the same time General 
Lamar was striving for a peaceable rapprochement with 
Mexico. A detail of the plan, as alleged by Houston and 
others, contemplated a matrimonial alliance with an old 
grandee family. 


The vessel that was to bring Sam Houston's bride-to-be 
anchored in the roads to the boom of the cannon fired by the 
ex-President's friends in the garrison. Touched by this tribute, 
which he took as a happy augury, General Houston set out in 
a dory to greet his intended. Mr. Bledsoe and Mrs. Lea were 
on the deck. But Miss Margaret? Not indisposed by the 
voyage, General Houston hoped. 

"General Houston," said Nancy Lea, "my daughter is in 
Alabama. She goes forth in the world to marry no man. The 
one who receives her hand will receive it in my home and not 
elsewhere." 11 


Strong-minded and plain-spoken Nancy Lea, a Baptist min- 
ister's widow, had opposed her daughter's romance with Sam 
Houston, but despite herself she liked the man. There were 
kindred chords in their natures. After making investments in 
East Texas lands, Mrs. Lea and her son-in-law returned to 
Alabama and, with the rest of the family, renewed their per< 
suasions upon Margaret. 

In Texas those who could speak of such matters, argued 
with Houston. Ashbel Smith and Barnard Bee in particular 
sought to convince the ex-President that his "temperament" 
was unsuited to the quiet of the cottage. In view of "his ter- 
rific habits," wrote Bee, "I implored him ... to resort to 
any expedient rather than marry "^ 

A month after her departure Sam Houston followed Nancy 
Lea to Alabama. Margaret had held out loyally, and the 
wedding was set for May 9, 1840, at the Lea residence in 
Marion. The guests arrived, the minister arrived and the 
musicians were ready to play when one of the men of the Lea 
family took General Houston aside. He said that unless Hous- 
ton gave a satisfactory explanation of his separation from 
Eliza Allen the ceremony could not take place. 

Sam Houston's tone was courteous, but it did not disguise 
the feeling that the manner of this ultimatum seemed calcu* 


lated to place him in a trap. He told his questioner that there 
was nothing to add to what he had already said. The cause 
of that estrangement was something he had never told. If the 
wedding depended upon his telling now, Margaret's kinsman 
might "call his fiddlers off." 18 

The violinists swung their bows a victory over the 
long shadow. As quickly as possible General Houston and his 
bride sailed for Galveston where the guns proclaimed that the 
Texas melodrama had acquired its bright-eyed ingenue. 

"I see with great pain the marriage of Genl Houston tc 
Miss Lea!" wrote Colonel Bee to Doctor Smith. "In all my 
acquaintance with life I have never met with an Individual mor< 
totally disqualified for domestic happiness he will not live with 
her 6 months." 1 * 

Margaret conceived herself to be the instrument of General 
Houston's regeneration, and the beginning was auspicious. 
When three of Colonel Bee's six months had elapsed, Smith 
feplied that Houston was a "model of propriety" and intensely 
devoted to his wife. He took her on his travels, but eventually 
this proved too fatiguing for Margaret, and five and a half 
months after the marriage they were separated for the first 
time, Mrs. Houston abandoning a tour midway while her hus- 
band hastened on to East Texas to attend court. He wrote to 
her from San Augustine: 

"It is not that I expect to interest you much, for I have 
little, or no news, but My Love, I am so unhappy. . . . The 
world to me would be a sorry world, were it not, that I am 
willing, and even happy to endure it on your account. Every 
hour that we are apart, only resolves me, more firmly, not 
again to be separated from you. . . . 

"Today is drisling and damp, and I am depressed and 
melancholy. I can not be happy, but where you are! . . . 
This morning while the chill was upon me, I felt as tho* I would 
yield every thing, & fly to you. . . 


"My love ! I do sincerely hope that you will hear no more 
slanders of me. It is the malice of the world to abuse me, & 
really were not that they reach My Beloved Margaret, I would 
not care one picayune but that you should be distressed, is 
inexpressible wretchedness to me. 

"My dear ! do be satisfied, and now in your feeble health, bi, 
cheerful, for that is all important to you, and my dear if you 
hear the truth, you never shall hear of my being in a 
*spree ? . . . . 

"My heart embraces you. . . . 

"Thine ever truly 


"P. S. 'Tis late in the day, & I will ride to pass the night 
with an old Batchelor friend. He is very old, and one of my 
first friends in Texas. He is the only Revolutionary soldier 
that I know in the Republic. Thine HousTON." 15 

Nine weeks later he left her again and journeyed to the out- 
post capital to attend the Fifth Congress. 


In a shabby French boarding house a tall man with a 
weather-beaten look was writing a letter. A sword hung on the 
wall, and over it a tattered hat. The communication was ad- 
dressed to Felix Huston: 

"New Orleans Jany 28, 1841. 
"Dear General 

"Since I last had the pleasure of seeing you I have 
been . . . consoling myself with the hope that a big war 
would soon break out with England and furnish a broad field 
for enterprise for the myriads of Ardent & discontented spirits 
who are in the same threadbare condition as myself, but this 
hope grows daily less and less : for in this age of refined diplo- 
macy a National injury ... is frittered away in negotia- 
tion. ... As every other means of subsistence is closed 
against me in this happy and prosperous community ... I 
have come to the conclusion that . . . [Mexico] presents the 
favorist field to a military asperant that has offered itself 
within a Century. . , . Mexico is rushing upon her fate; her 


rulers have pledged themselves to the priesthood for a Consid- 
eration of a Million and a half dollars to Commence a Crusade 
against the heretics of Texas. . . . They will invade Texas 
with a force of 20,000 men which are already rendevousing at 
San Louis Potosi what is to be the result? why Texas 
helpless and . . . possessing by the shadow of a shade of 
Government will accept with avidity (and upon his own terms) 
the services of any individual who can bring into the field any 
force of Armed men. The consequence will be [the conquest 
of] . . . Mexico. . . . Thousands of ... adventurous 
spirits will at once flock to the standard of him who can unite 
the heterogeneous mass which will necessarily compose the arnry 
of invaders. The part which I have laid out for myself is 
humble. I have determined to go immediately to Texas and 
among my old associates and the disbanded soldiery to raise a 
force of from 5 to 600 men with which force I will take up a 
position which will , . , Command the valley of the Rio 
Grande . . . and strike . . . whenever the opportunity 
presents. ... I will receive no Commission or authority 
from the Government of Texas and will be governed alone by 
the fixed principle of , . . rewarding those who serve under 
me with the riches of the land and the fatness Thereof and in 
conclusion will have a potential voice in the disposition of the 
Conquered Country You are the person named by every 
one as the leader who . . . must necessarily conquer Mex- 
ico* . . . The force of Guerillas which it is my intention to 
raise will ... be ... at your disposition. I ... 
[write] for the purpose of ascertaining your views. . . . My 
threadbare condition prevents my calling upon you. 


"Yr Friend and Obdt Svt 


Thus the Texas Republic after two years of Lamar 
scorned by a coatless adventurer. It had been different in other 
days when as Sam Houston's Secretary of War the fortunes 
of Mr. Fisher and those of the Republic prospered together, 
The writer's 1 remarks on the intentions of Santa Anna are 
worthy of notice. Mr. Fisher was lately returned from be- 
low the Rio Grande where he had found unstable employment 
as a colonel in the Mexican service. 


The Fifth Congress saw the Lamar regime with its back to 
the wall. Worn out by anxiety the President had virtually 
abdicated the functions of his office to Vice-President Burnet 
who thumbed his Bible and thundered against Sam Houston. 
All of Lamar's schemes had failed. Texas money was worth 
twenty cents on the dollar, millions had been added to the public 
debt and credit was gone. The end seemed near. 

The Administration met this situation as it had met 
others with new plans. The first of these found expression in 
the Franco-Texienne Land Bill which proposed a territorial 
grant of astronomical proportions to a French company. The 
scheme was susceptible of glittering exploitation and for 
months it convulsed the country. Houston opposed it despite 
pressure and alluring inducements from Sam Swartwout and 
other easterners who had helped the Revolution. The bill was 
eventually laid to rest by Congress. 

Lamar then staked everything on the capture of the rich 
revenues of the Santa Fe Trail. With the energy of despair 
the Administration leaders in Congress launched the program 
in stirring speeches about planting the Lone Star on the gray 
towers of el Palacio Real. Santa Fe and most of New Mexico 
lay within the boundaries of Texas as drawn in 1836, but the 
Republic had not attempted to assert its dominion there. Sam 
Houston said that to attempt it now would be foolhardy. He 
whittled sticks during the speaking and crushed the orators 
with ridicule. 

Lamar was In no position to sustain this defeat. When 
Congress declined to sanction the expedition the President or- 
dered a half million dollars from a New Orleans printer and 
proceeded on his own responsibility. Horses were purchased 
for a thousand dollars apiece Texas currency and the 
troops newly uniformed to make a brave showing. The venture 
was widely advertised and favorably noticed in the United 
States. The conquest was to be one of good will. Force was 
to be used only to repel attack. In June of 1841 the cavalcade 
darched. Soldiers* merchants with rich stores, financiers, 


diplomats and an editor of the New Orleans Picayune & gal- 
lant fafade contrived with the attractive incompetence that was 
the signature of Mirabeau Lamar. But the fine show and the 
respectable caliber of the cast created an impression which no 
amount of ridicule was able entirely to dispel. 


The Lamar people said it was unfortunate that a presi- 
dential election must intervene before the results of the Santa 
Fe expedition should be apparent. 

Another who regretted the approaching campaign was 
Margaret. General Houston had hastened from Austin as soon 
as his work was done and carried Margaret away to a summer 
home he had built alack, for Anna on a lovely spot by the 
sea called Cedar Point. They were very happy, and Margaret 
had every reason to acquire faith in herself as an instrument 
of regeneration. Margaret was as beautiful as any woman in 
Texas. She was more intelligent and had been much more care- 
fully educated than the average of women there or elsewhere. 
She was an excellent musician and sang sweetly. At Cedar 
Point Margaret had only her guitar, but the population of 
Houston City was divided into two classes : those who had and 
those who had not seen the Houston piano ! While not shun- 
ning society, Margaret cared little for it, or for the stir that 
went with being the wife of a famous public man. She was* a 

Sam Houston was enjoying a life that had filled his heart 
with longing for many years. Delighted with his friend's hap- 
piness, Ashbel Smith proclaimed that Houston invariably set 
the fashion in Texas. Irion, Henderson, Hockley and "all the 
bachelors" were getting married. One fair match-maker had 
even "promised to marry me off"; and the doctor intimated 
that stranger things had already come to pass. Doctor Irion 
married Anna Raguet. This devoted friend had carried Sam 
Houston's love messages to Nacogdoches as long as hope re- 
mained. Anna named her first boy Sam Houston 


When the campaign took Sam Houston away from Cedar 
Point, Margaret was oppressed by fears which the papers sup- 
porting the candidacy of Judge Burnet did Httle to allay. 

"A hero was travelling his labors were o'er, 

But sad was the smile his countenance wore, 

For . . . 

. . . he'd sworn before God 'gainst taking strong drink. 

'Now what will I do when my spirits are low, 

Shall I take to friend opium? Ah! it is a worse foe 

By th ? Eternal, I have it. To think more would be idle, 

The Book that I swore on why, it was not the Bible ! . . . 

So give me some whisky 'tis the cheer of Gods ! . . . * " ir 

The traveler went his way with an assurance that irritated 
his adversaries. "It seems the big Mingo has been showing 
himself to his humble servants in San Augustine, who . . . 
seem sufficiently beatified if they can only touch the hem of his 
garment or be permitted to converse with Esau. He, the 
Mingo . . . says Lamar is a Mussell man and Burnett a hog 
thief; then Esau convives and guests disturb the neighborhood 
with bursts of cachination. . . . Send us the Journals of the 
two last Sessions of Congress I want them to operate with, 
against the Big Mingo." 18 

The operations were futile. With its currency as low as 
three cents and Santa Anna making gestures that looked like 
business, Texas voted overwhelmingly to restore the presidency 
to Sam Houston. 



ON THE wind-swept thirteenth day of December, 1841, Sam 
Houston marched to the drafty frame tabernacle in Austin 
called the Hall of Congress, and with a grim curtailment of 
formality assumed receivership of the affairs of the Republic. 

He burrowed into the Treasury records but failed to ascer- 
tain the amount of the public debt. One set of figures indicated 
something like twelve million dollars, while another ledger 
showed little more than half that sum. Aside from this- con- 
fusion the state of the Treasury was* simplicity itself. There 
was not the wherewithal to provide fire-wood for the presi- 
dential residence. (Fortunately, Margaret had remained in 
Houston City.) The debt was owed in gold. Revenues were 
received in paper from ninety-seven to seventy per cent, under 
par. The face value of the receipts was $33,550 a month, 
normal expenditures three times that. Commerce in the Re- 
public had ceased to exist. The commander of a visiting 
French man-of-war reported the only market to be for hard 

"It seems that we have arrived at a crisis," the President 
said to Congress. And in a personal memorandum: "Our 
situation is worse than it was on the 22nd of April 1836." 

Houston reduced his own salary from ten thousand dollars 
to five thousand dollars a year, and many others in proportion. 
He suppressed an entire category of offices that had bloomed 



under Lamar, consolidated the War and Navy and the State 
and Post-Office Departments, and cut the pay-roll from 
$174,000 a year to $32,800. The Navy was recalled from 
Yucatan, peace emissaries sent among the Indians', and the 
horizon of foreign policy scrutinized with exceeding care. The 
President reposed his hope for the restoration of Texas in 
annexation to the United States- or a European alliance. 
Since these policies were diametrically opposed, their manage- 
ment required tact. Anson Jones, who had brought Texas 
to the notice of Lord Palmerston, was appointed Secretary of 
State. He began to cultivate England and France the latter 
being still rather cool over the pig indignity. Houston himself 
felt out the situation in Washington, where Tyler favored an- 
nexation rightly enough, but Congress could not be depended 

A new form of paper money was introduced which Houston 
made heroic efforts to maintain at a respectable rate of ex- 
change. So sparingly was it issued that after three months 
the amount in circulation did not exceed forty thousand 
dollars. As fast as Lamar notes fell into government hands 
they were burned. Under these circumstances the new 
money called "exchequers-" passed at par for several weeks, 
when, involved in a fresh whirlwind of troubles, it declined. 

When Houston took office the country was in suspense over 
the Santa Fe expedition, which had not been heard of for 
months. Four weeks later the President got word that the 
entire command had been made prisoners and was being 
marched, with excessive brutality, to Mexico City. 

The tidings inflamed Texas as nothing had done since the 
Alamo. Forgetting bankruptcy, forgetting everything, Con- 
gress adopted a resolution annexing the two Californias and 
all or part of seven other Mexican provinces an area larger 
than the United States. In vetoing the measure Houston 


pointed out that the moment for a "legislative jest" was ill- 
chosen. Congress repas-sed the resolution over the veto and 
adjourned, the President having no wish to detain it for con* 
sideration of the graver consequences now at hand. 

Some Mexican women of San Antonio de Bexar had brought 
the news that Santa Anna was gathering his forces' for thq 
attempted reconquest foreshadowed by Colonel Fisher. Hous< 
ton left Austin in haste and placed Margaret aboard a vessel 
at Galveston bound for Mobile. An express from his private: 
secretary followed the President. "It is impossible to know 
what may be the results of the reported invasion, if it should 
be true. I have, therefore, forwarded you both your public 
and private papers, in order that you may provide for their 
security." 1 

Twenty-four hours- later this message came: "The truth 
at last. . . . San Antonio and Goliad have fallen! The 
enemy . . . will doubtless advance upon this place." 2 

The President reached for a pen. 

"Galveston, March 10th, 1842. To Col. Alden A. M. Jack- 
son, Sir. . . . [Place] the fort at the east end of the 
Island ... in an efficient state of defense, in case of -a 
descent of the enemy by sea." 3 

"To Brigadier General Morehouse, Sir, You will hold the 
troops in readiness to march at a moment's warning." 4 

"To Brigadier General A. Somervell, Sir. . . . Repair 
to ... the army take command of the same, and . . . 
maintain the strictest discipline. ... If a man is taken 
asleep at his post ... let him be shot. . . . Prudence will 
be of more importance than enthusiasm." 5 

"To P. Edmunds, Esq., Consul at New Orleans, Sir, . . , 
[Each] volunteer . . . will be required . . . to bring with 
him a good rifle or musJtet with cart ouch booc, or powder horn, 
with at least one hundred rounds of ammunition . . . and 
six months 5 clothing, . . . None other , . * will be re- 
ceived." 6 


The army marched and the enemy retreated, harried by 
the Texans until he passed the Rio Grande. Without a day's 
delay Sam Houston ordered all farmers released from service 
to "return to the cultivation of their fields." Scouts patrolled 
the border to warn of enemy movements. 

A flamboyant letter came from Santa Anna ? in reply to an 
unauthorized proposal by James Hamilton and Barnard E. 
Bee who suggested that Mexico acknowledge the independence 
of Texas in exchange for the payment of five million dollars 
exclusive of handsome bribes. General Santa Anna called the 
proposal an affront to his honor and declared that Mexico 
would plant "her eagle standard on the banks of the Sabine. 5 * 

"Most Excellent Sir," replied Sam Houston. "Ere the 
banner of Mexico shall . . . float on the banks of the Sa- 
bine, the Texan standard of the single star, borne by the Anglo- 
Saxon race, shall display its' bright folds in liberty's triumph 
on the Isthmus of Darien. 

"With the most appropriate consideration, I have the honor 
to present you my salutation." 7 

This gave General Santa Anna food for reflection and 
doubled recruiting in the United States. 

"Your favor under date of Parkersburg, Virginia, [re- 
ceived]. ... If you raise a company ... it must con- 
sist of at least fifty-six men, rank and file, completely armed, 
clothed, and provisioned for six months. . . . The re- 
muneration for your expenses and services must come from 
the enemy. They have provoked the war and must abide by 
the consequences. The rules of honorable warfare will, how- 
ever, be invariably observed. The field for chivalrous- and 
eminently useful enterprise is now open. . . . The harvest is 
rich and inviting. . . . Come." 8 

Such letters streamed from Houston's pen nigM and day. 

Correspondence was not the whole of the President's burden, 
however. "Two hundred and fifty (250) dollars worth of 
fiugar and coffee ... for the troops- at Corpus Christ!" 


could be obtained only when Sam Houston personally guaran- 
teed payment of the bill. 9 The President praised Colone* 
Franks for his work as peacemaker among the Indians, re- 
gretting that it was "utterly impossible to furnish you ... 
any pecuniary assistance. There is not one dollar in the 
Treasury." 10 The Navy again was in the hands of creditors. 
Mail service had been suspended. 

Ashbel Smith sailed as minister to England and France, 
paying his own way, which was a boon to Texas but a blow to 
George S. Mclntosh, the Lamar appointee whom Doctor Smith 
was to replace. "With unfeigned reluctance" this disturbed 
diplomat wrote to Houston to say "that I am at this moment in 
Paris entirely destitute . , . and nearly $4000 in debt. . . . 
I have been forced to pawn my watches," and having 
nothing more to pawn only his diplomatic status fended off 
the fate that had overtaken the Navy. "Mr. Smith my suc- 
cessor is in London and will be here in a fortnight. His ar- 
rival will remove the only bar between me and imprisonment." 
Mr. Mclntosh asked for five thousand dollars, 11 but Housto? 
did not have it. Ashbel Smith came to the rescue of hi* 
predecessor, however. 

The President reestablished himself at Houston, and 
Margaret joined him there. Congress was called to an extra 
session to make financial provision for the war. 


General Santa Anna drummed his fingers over Houston's 
letter and withheld marching orders for the Sabine. In some 
respects this meant additional trouble for Houston, with an 
idle Army on his hands-. Tempestuous volunteers swarmed 
from the United States, utterly unprovided for. Starvation?- 
insubordination and looting ensued. Albert Sidney Johnston 
sent the President a challenge to a duel. Houston handed 
it to his secretary, Miller, "File this. Angry gentlemen must 
wait their turn." 


Adjutant-General Davis- reported that he could restrain 
the men no longer, Texas must attack. The President re- 
plied in a fatherly fashion. 

"My dear Sir, you have no idea of the pain you inflict on 
me, when you suggest to me the anxiety of the men to advance 
upon the enemy. . . . They will find that they are very 
young in service, and I fear greatly fear that we have again 
to see reenacted the scenes of Grant, Johnson and others', be- 
fore our people will reflect. My heart is truly sick when I 
hear that men think seriously of doing so-and-so. Travis 
thought so-and-so, and so did Fannin. . . . When I want a 
movement made, I will order it. ... How can men with 
naked feet talk of Matamoras, Monterey, and other places? 
This is all done by 'thinking.' Colonel Washington, and agents 
on whom I relied for obedience to orders, 'thought' that if they 
could get men here, all was right; and Colonel Gillespie is 
commended for assuming the generous responsibility of taking 
upon himself to send them contrary to orders. . . . This is 
generosity this is what comes of the assumption of 'respon- 
sibility' in the face of orders reiterated by every boat. ; . 
The consequence will be that Texas will 'whip herself without 
the assistance of Mexico. ... Do the best you can. Truly 
thy friend, SAM HotJSTON," 12 

Another outbreak, and four days later the President ad- 
dressed his Adjutant-General in a different tone. "I positively 
require the name of every deserter. I require the execution of 
every order. . . . You know what constitutes the offense ol 
des-ertion. You know the penalty. ... I expect it to be 
executed." 13 

The Army behaved for a while, and on June twenty-seventh 
Congress assembled. It declared a war of invasion, and passed 
a bill placing the President at the head of the Army with 
dictatorial authority. He could conscript one-third of the 
population able to bear arms and s-ell ten million acres of land. 
Army and populace applauded the sweeping provisions and 
when the President received the bill in silence there was general 
surprise. When it was rumored that he might return it with 


a veto, threats were heard of consequences the more patriotic 
opponents of Houston hoped to forestall. Memucan Hunt 
made a personal appeal to the Executive. 

"The Bill presented for your consideration and signature 
opens to yourself a field for glory which has had no parallel 
since Napoleon crossed the Alps. . . . Call upon the choicest 
spirits of the land to rally to your banner. Challenge to the 
field your leading personal and political adversaries , . . 
and . . . you will find yourself at the head of an army which 
no Mexican force can withstand . . . the idol of both camp 
and country. . . . 

"The opposite course the veto of the bill whilst it brings 
despair and desperation to a large and gallant portion of the 
country will disarm . . . your friends and sharpen the 
weapons of your enemies. . . . You stand before the world 
committed to an offensive war *to the knife.' . . . Indeed I 
conscientiously believe that if you veto this bill there will be 
another assemblage of congress in sufficient numbers to form a 
quorum and legislate under the present constitution,' 514 

Sam Houston scribbled at the foot of the letter, "Genl Hunt 
is on the highway to Mexico I" and passed it to Miller to file. 

The tempest grew. Sam Houston was up to his Indian 
tricks. He had urged war. He had advised with congressional 
leaders on details of the bill in his hands'. And for what pur- 
pose? To veto it and receive credit for lofty statesmanship 
at the expense of Congress? They said he did not dare. 

Hard-looking strangers from the Army camps gathered in 
knots on the streets. Talk of assassination was in the air. 
Cabinet officers spoke of resigning to avert civil war. A guard 
was suggested for the President's house. Sam Houston scorned 
it, and Margaret stepped bravely into her role. Long after 
the lights in the town were extinguished the Executive Mansion 
was aglow. The windows were open. Forms crouching in the 
shadows beheld the stately figure of the President passing to 
and fro and heard the notes of the celebrated piano. 

The President ^eturned the measure to Congress with a 


closely reasoned veto mes-sage. Having blown itself out before- 
hand, the opposition received the rejection without disturbance. 

Houston's action concealed more than it disclosed. Like 
most hasty legislation the bill was faulty, but the mo- 
tive behind it had been high and fine : a levee en mass, a fight 
f;o the last man and the last dollar. In refusing the crown the 
Texan Cassar obviously had other plans. 

And he kept them to hams-elf . 

In September of 1842 Santa Anna again raided San An- 
tonio with a strong force under Woll who carried off a number 
of citizens, including the personnel of the District Court which 
was in session. Houston had to do something. He paraded 
twelve hundred men, made a warlike speech and sent them to 
invade Mexico, The force was not equipped for a campaign, 
but its departure stilled the popular outcry, and Houston 
gained time to improvise an issue in the arena of diplomacy, 
where he had made up his mind to risk everything. 

In Washington the outlook was 1 adverse. Once more an- 
nexation had been howled down by the abolitionists, William 
Lloyd Garrison putting the case succinctly: "All who would 
sympathize with that pseudo-Republic hate liberty, and would 
dethrone God," But this din diverted attention from Dr. Ash- 
bel Smith who was treading softly the carpets of Whitehall 
and the tall corridors of Versailles. 

As the Republic possessed few diplomatic assets, General 
Houston capitalized its liabilities. To the governments of 
Great Britain, France and the United States', he addressed a 
remonstrance against the San Antonio raid. It was an appeal 
for help, but its tone made an impression on the not essentially 
sentimental chancellories of Europe. 

Three days after his message was on its way, the President 
indited another paper of state: 


"To the Red Bear and Chiefs in Council: 

"My brothers: The path between us ... has become 
white . . . and . . . the sun gives light to our foot- 
steps. ... I send councillors- with my talk. . . . Hear it, 
and remember ... I have never opened my lips to tell a 
red brother a lie. , . . Let the war-whoop be no more heard 
in our prairie let songs of joy be heard upon our hills. In 
our valleys let there be laughter and in our wigwams let the 
voices of our women and children be heard . . . and when 
our warriors meet together, let them smoke the pipe of peace 
and be happy. Your brother, SAM HousTON." 15 

The Red Bear believed his brother. There was peace. "The 
great rains, like our sorrows, I hope have passed away. . . . 
The tomahawk shall no more be raised in war. Nor shall the 
dog howl for his- master who has been slain in battle." 16 

The twelve hundred Texans marched to the Rio Grande, 
quarreled with their officers and marched home again, with the 
exception of three hundred men under ex-Secretary of War 
William S. Fisher, now captain of infantry. Placing a con- 
veniently literal construction upon the expressed wishes of his 
Commander-in-Chief, this soldier of fortune crossed the Rio 
Grande in pursuit of the private plans of conquest. General 
Houston was much dismayed. To the war party at home he 
deplored the miscarriage of invasion. To England and 
France he disavowed the conduct of Captain Fisher, 

Domestic troubles multiplied. Houston had seized the first 
opportunity to discredit Austin as a suitable place for the 
capital. During the spring and summer of 1842, he maintained 
the seat of government at Houston, but made no attempt to 
remove the archives, although the safety of the diplomatic file 
in particular was cause for concern. In the fall the capital 
was transferred to Washington-on-the-Brazos as a compro- 
mise, and Buck Pettis went to Austin for the archives. The 
citizens sheared the mane and tail of Captain Pettis's horse and 
sent the rider back without the papers. 

The President dispatched Captain Thomas Smith to remove 
the records secretly. At midnight on December thirtieth Mrs. 


Angelina Ebberly, a boarding-house mistress whose table had 
been depleted by the turn of affairs, saw a wagon being loaded 
in an alley back of the land office. She repaired to Congress 
Avenue where a six-pound gun had been kept loaded with grape 
since the days of the Lamar Indian wars. Turning the muzzle 
toward the land office, she blazed away. The shot perforated 
the land office and aroused the town. Captain Smith departed 
with what records he had, but these were captured at daylight 
and brought back. All records were then sealed in tin boxes 
and stored at Mrs. Ebberly's under day-and-night guard. An 
attempt to take them by force would have precipitated a civil 
war. Citizens of Austin offered to swap the archives for the 
President. When the proposal was declined they buried the tin 

Houston's policy infused new life in Washington-on-the- 
Brazos. The President's proposal to commandeer Hatfield's 
saloon for the meeting-place of the House of Representatives 
encountered objections, however, in which a majority of the 
House appeared to concur. The sacrifice, they said, was 
disproportionate to the emergency. General Houston com' 
promised by persuading a gambling establishment which occu- 
pied rooms above the saloon to surrender its quarters. One 
entered the legislative chamber by means of a stairway from 
the barroom. The Speaker experienced such difficulty in main- 
taining a quorum, however, that General Houston removed the 
steps to the outside of the building. The planks over the open- 
ing in the floor were not nailed down, and during a ball one of 
them slipped from the joists and a stout lady would have fallen 
through into the bar except for the presence of mind of Con- 
gressman Holland with whom she was dancing. 

The Senate, smaller in numbers but not in dignity, met in a 
loft over a grocery whose principle staple was spirits. The 
rental of this chamber was three dollars a week. This and other 
drains upon the Treasury caused embarrassing delays in the 
remittance of public salaries, mitigated, however, by a sena- 
torial prerogative permitting members to carry their blanket? 


to the hall and sleep on the floor. The Department of War and 
Marine occupied a log cabin with one window. The sword, how- 
ever, had had its day in Texas, An era of enlightened diplo- 
macy had dawned. To this end Secretary of State Ansou 
Jones was installed in a well-ventilated clapboard edifice in 
which the circulation of air was regulated by a system of rags 
in the chinks in the walls. 

One must understand, of course, that these arrangements 
were impermanent. Sam Houston joked about his bivouac cap- 
ital and solicited travelers not to leave Texas without viewing 
the handsome Government House now temporarily a hotel 
in Houston City. 

The Department of War and Marine confessing an inability 
to lay hands on a conveyance of sufficient caliber, Wagon Mas- 
ter Rohrer moved the celebrated piano from Houston City bj 
borrowed transport. This feat of engineering provided Texan 
diplomacy with an asset. The instrument was installed in the 
most pretentious edifice available for residential uses, and 
made the focal point of a scheme of appointment surpassed in 
splendor only by the grandee manors of Bexar. There were rugs 
on the floors, silver candelabra, and soft chairs tastefully cov- 
ered with figured calico, concerning the choice of which the 
General had charged his purchasing agent "to select none such 
as will exhibit Turkey Gobblers, Peacocks, Bears, Elaphants, 
wild Boars or Stud Horses ! ! ! Vines, Flowers or any figure of 
taste you may select. . . . Present Mrs. Houston & myself 
to Colo. Madam Christy." 17 

Captain Elliot, the British Charge d'Affaires, and his wife 
vrere charmed by the hospitality of Margaret who dispensed 
from a silver service the best tea the New Orleans market sup- 
plied. The agreeable English couple found a pleasant social 
companion in the Captain's diplomatic adversary. Judge 
Joseph M. Eve, the United States Minister. Later the corps 
was increased by the arrival of the French representative and 
suite, the Vicomte de Cramayel, whom Ashbel Smith had sent to 
Texas in an optimistic frame of mind. The President and his 


lady did Texas no disservice when they were able to divert this 
circle from the discomforts to the picturesqueness of life on a 
frontier. On rainy days the Houston barouche, with Tom Blue 
on the box, was worth its weight in exchequers which after 
sinking to twenty-five, were now worth fifty cents. 

The President was missed by the congenial company at 
Hatfield's, where he rarely tarried longer than for a glass of 
bitters, flavored with orange peel. "I don't drink hard, but 
what I do take, I wish to be palatable," he wrote, telling a 
friend to save his orange peels. 18 Nor was this any new thing. 
A year before a correspondent had recorded that "On last 
Friday the Old Chief met a large collection of Ladies and Gen- 
tlemen, made them a Big Speech amid the shouts & welcome 
plaudits of the whole assembly. . , . We partook of 13 bar- 
becued hogs & 2 thundering big beeves were roasted, with lots of 
honey, taters, chickens & goodies m general. But strange to sav 
it was a cold water doins. The old Chief did not touch, taste or 
handle the smallest drop of the ardent." 19 

There was some muttering about Old Sam putting on airs, 
but a rite that Washington accepted as a part of its day 
largely redeemed the airs. Each morning before breakfast the 
General appeared on his back porch with a basin of water and 
proceeded to shave, like all old soldiers, without a mirror. (One 
hopes the news got back to Elias Rector.) An interview with 
the President was a simpler matter at this time of day than 
during office hours ; therefore every morning a delegation would 
gather about the back porch, to the annoyance of the colored 
cook. The current pride of the General's toilet was a pair of 
burnsides whose chestnut radiance compensated for the declin- 
ing splendors of the once glorteus head of hair, now visibly 
gray and scant on top. Still, in the shadow of his fifty-first 
year, General Houston presented as stirring a picture of man- 
hood as one would be likely to encounter in capitals more 
populous than Washington-on-the-Brazos. 

But the pride that was in his heart went deeper than that* 
deeper than the anticipation of any triumph he foresaw in the 


diplomatic picture-puzzle by which he was presently to agitate 
a large part of the world. A consignment of linens and flannels 
had arrived at the Executive Mansion. Margaret had begun 
to sew in her room and to exchange mysterious confidences with 
Eliza, the young negress who had followed her mistress from 
Alabama. This secrecy availed little. All Texas knew, Ver- 
sailles knew, Whitehall knew and Washington knew that Sam 
Houston was to have a son. That it could be other than a son 
the President did not pause to consider. The name William 
Christy Houston, after the General's old friend in New 
Orleans had been tentatively decided. 

General Houston was recalled from these contemplations by 
one who had lost a son. Old Flaco, a noted Lipan Indian war- 
rior, sent the message accompanied by a mustang stallion as a 
present to his friend. His son, Young Flaco, a scout in the 
Texas Army, had been killed on the unfortunate Rio Grande 
expedition. "So I wish my name altered & call me Seinor 
STawney I dislike to hear the name of Flaco." 20 The General 
sent eleven shawls to the bereaved mother and an expression of 
condolence to Sefior Yawney: 

"My heart is sad! A dark cloud. rests upon your nation. 
Grief has sounded in your camp. The voice of Flaco is 
silent. . . . His life has fled to the Great Spirit. . . . Your 
warriors weep. . . . The song of birds is silent. . . . Grass 
shall not grow in the path between us. ... Thy brother 


Captain Fisher, who had fought in northern Mexico as a 
regimental commander in the Mexican service, knew the country 
and many of the officers of the forces opposed to him. With 
his three hundred he struck resolutely and took the town 
of Mier by storm. The Mexicans counter-attacked with 
twenty-seven hundred men, and after sustaining a battle, 
which included a cavalry charge, for eighteen hours, Fisher 
negotiated a surrender to an old companion-in-arms. The 


terms of the capitulation were immediately violated, and bound 
two and two, Fisher and his men started on the long march to 
Mexico City. The main body of men rose on their guards and 
escaped, but were recaptured. Santa Anna ordered them shot, 
but ok the intercession of his officers the sentence was com- 
muted to a "diezmo" one in ten. The prisoners drew beans 
from a jar and the drawers of black beans were forthwith exe- 
cuted. Having taken no part in the attempted escape, Captain 
Fisher was not required to participate in the death lottery. 

The Mier news was a blow to the diplomatic structure 
Houston was contriving. To calm Texas some gestures were 
necessary. Houston marched troops from A to B and pub- 
lished an announcement that Her British Majesty had been 
asked to intercede for the release of Fisher's men. 

It was perfectly true. The request was embodied in a long 
and apparently guileless communication to Captain Elliot. 
After presenting the case of the prisoners, the President 
allowed himself to drift into another topic. "There is a sub* 
ject now mooting in Texas which, it seems to me, will appeal 
directly to Her Majesty's Government: I mean the subject of 
^annexation to the United States. 5 ... I find from the incer- 
titude of our position, that nine-tenths of those who converse 
with me, are in favor of the measure upon the ground that 
it will give us peace. . . , 

"At this time the measure has an advocacy in the United 
States which has at no former period existed." The Captain 
knew what his correspondent meant by that. President Tyler 
had become its advocate. "From the most authentic sources, 
I have received an appeal" soliciting "my cooperation" to bring 
about "annexation." Interesting. The source of this appeal 
was something Captain Elliot must discover. The discovery 
Was not reassuring. The appeal had come from John Tyler. 
But the Captain did not suspect that this had been managed 
by Houston himself the President by the Brazos manipulating 
ttie President by the Potomac. Captain Elliot read on : 

"The probabilities of the measure succeeding in the United 


States are greater than they have been at any former 
period. . . . The South is in favor of it for various reasons. 
The West and North because of a monopoly of the trade of 
Santa Fe and the Californias . . . [and] the bay of San 
Francisco." A menacing hint of the Stars and Stripes on the 
Pacific ! The whispered words of old Jackson were serving his 
pupil well. 

But how simple for England "to defeat this policy 9 * and 
insure the "national existence" of the Texas Republic. "It is 
only necessary for Lord Aberdeen to say to Santa Anna: 'Sir, 
Mexico must recognize the independence of Texas.' Santa 
Anna would be glad of such a pretext. He could then say to 
the Mexicans : 'You see how I am situated; and I cannot go to 
war with England. 5 . . . This state of things would . . . 
leave him free to establish his power and dynasty. 3322 

Before it was seen whether this seed would sprout tares or 
flowers, another strain threatened the thin strands by which 
Texan diplomatic hopes were moored. The Navy of the Re- 
public, consisting of three vessels, was at New Orleans where its 
commanding officer, Post Captain Moore, treated the Presi- 
dent's communications with an imposing indifference. Money 
had been sent to release the vessels from the hands of creditors, 
but they were not released, and Captain Moore troubled himself 
with no explanations. Earmarks of an understanding between 
the Post Captain and the creditors were rather distinct. Hous- 
ton made a secret arrangement to sell the Navy, and dispatched 
two commissioners to convey this surprise to Captain Moore. 

But the Commander of the Texas sea forces was not the 
man to be thus despoiled. Post Captain Moore was no Paul 
Jones, but he had sailed more than one Borihomme Richard 
under the Texas flag, and had maintained it independently oi 
a national treasury, frequently innocent of the price of a coil 
of rope. If, as alleged, some of the Captain's financial methods 
savored of the offense of piracy, it would be well to remember 
that seamen must live. Captain Moore had had his tiffs with 
officialdom before. On one occasion a discussion over authority 


took place on his own deck. The dangling of a few malcontents 
from the yards composed this difference of opinion. 

The commissioners did not discharge their mission. Cap- 
tain Moore showed them brighter prospects. Certain gentlemen 
of New Orleans among them the President's friend, William 
Christy were financing a freebooting cruise for the Navy. 
The estimated profit would be eight hundred thousand dollars 
of which Captain Moore offered to turn over four hundred 
thousand dollars to the Texas Treasury. Sam Houston's 
answer was an order for the fleet to proceed to Galveston. 
Accompanying the order was a document rumbling with 
whereases that proclaimed Captain Moore a pirate and called 
upon all nations in amity with Texas to secure his person. 
Houston said the proclamation would be invoked unless Moore 
brought the vessels to Galveston. 

Moore started on the raiding expedition, and Houston pub- 
lished the proclamation. Moore's backers shook the earth with 
righteous rage, and the stout mariner was himself somewhat 
distrait. But nothing could move Houston. Moore turned up 
at Galveston and challenged Houston to a duel. The President 
ignored it. The mighty Post Captain was broken and executive 
authority spared a critical loss of prestige* 


Lord Aberdeen, the successor of Palmerston in the Foreign 
Office, consented to intercede for the Texan prisoners, and 
scarcely had he done so when a curious thing happened. James 
W. Robinson, former lieutenant-governor and a leader of the 
conspiracy that overthrew Houston as leader of the Armies in 
January, 1836, was one of the captives General Woll had car- 
ried off from San Antonio. Robinson suddenly turned up in 
Texas with an offer from Santa Anna to end hostilities on con- 
dition that Texas acknowledge the sovereignty of Mexico, 
retaining autonomous powers. Robinson would have been 
harshly dealt with but for Houston, who construed Santa 


Anna's proposal as confirming the assurance to Elliot that 
what the Mexican ruler wished was a face-saving excuse tc 
conclude peace. 

Houston dispatched a reply in Robinson's name. The 
writer deplored the ill-success of his mission. The situation 
had been misjudged. The only discoverable notice Houston 
had taken of Santa Anna's letter was an idle inquiry concerning 
the accuracy of the translation. With that the President had 
gone quietly about his business of forming a huge army for the 
invasion of Mexico. Still, the writer believed "that Houston 
would prefer peace" on honorable terms. To this end Robinson 
suggested that Santa Anna release all Texan prisoners and 
declare an armistice. 

Santa Anna was encircled by pressure for peace. The 
United States acted through jealousy of England. England 
raised her commanding voice lest the United States gain an 
advantage. France sided with England. 

The ostensible victory was England's. Her Majesty's 
sloop, Scylla, raced into Galveston harbor with word that the 
British Charge at Mexico City had induced General Santa Anna 
to request an armistice pending a meeting of peace commis- 
sioners. A truce was agreed to, and Lieutenant Galan, of the 
Mexican Army, arrived in Washington with proposals for a 
peace conference at Laredo. Houston appointed George 
Hockley and another as delegates. 

There was rejoicing on the Brazos. In London and at Ver- 
sailles men who moved the destinies of Christendom com- 
placently traced lines on unfamiliar maps. Sam Houston's 
name was on the lips of kings. "I was at the Palace of St. 
Cloud a few days since where the Royal Family are spending 
the autumn," wrote Ashbel Smith. "Louis Philippe ... is 
a careful observer of events in Texas. I also had a somewhat 
long conversation . , . with Leopold, King of the Belgians, 
now on a visit to France." 23 A biographical dictionary of 
world figures was to be published in Paris. "Allow me accord- 
ingly to suggest my dear General that Mr. Miller . . * 


draw up a sketch of your life and forward the same to 
me. , . . Such a history would be read here with great 
avidity, and illustrate one of their maxims that 'truth is stran- 
ger than fiction.* . . . The triumph of your peace policy 
amid such and so great annoyances ... at home is scarcely 
less signal * . . than is your victories over foreign armies in 
the field. . . . With many most respectful compliments to 
Mrs. Houston I trust I may at this time congratulate. 5 ' 24 

The congratulations were in order. Sam Houston, Jr., 
was ten weeks old, and William Christy, in addition to a presi- 
dential rebuke for his role in the Navy episode, was without a 
namesake in Texas. 

The grain harvest of 1843 was the most bountiful in the 
Republic's history. Trade expanded and exchequers mounted 
to par passed par and sold at a gold premium over United 
States currency. His enemies confounded, his friends never 
more ardent, Sam Houston trod the borders of the Brazos with 
a buoyant step, "looking better than I ever saw him in my life. 
He has a garment of fine Broadcloth, in the style of a Mexican 
blanket, lined with yellow Satin, with gold lace all around it." 25 
Not since the heyday of Jackson had a public man commanded 
such devotion of his followers. He was their "Old Chief." 

The Potomac looked upon a different scene. The spirits of 
Mr. Tyler were low. And in a strangely still house on the Leb- 
anon Pike out of Nashville, shuffled the Old Chief of another 
decade, weak and ill and the prey of vague alarms. 



MIBABEATT LAMAB, continued his labors to light 
the steps of a future historian of the Republic, which he yet 
hoped to reclaim from Sam Houston. There is a hearsay ac- 
count to the effect that no suitable chronicler appearing, the 
ex-President himself eventually refined this- material into a 
narrative and carried the manuscript to New York for publi- 
cation. There, so the story goes, the manuscript was lost 
under circumstances more entertaining, though not less dis- 
maying, than in the classical case of Carlyle. 

In any event only the Notes have come down to us. The 
compiler called the era of negotiation which his adversary's 
second Administration conveyed into being a "climax of 
audacity . . . [which] shames the talents of Taleyrand." 
General Lamar's choice of a verb implies dissatisfaction, but 
no flagrant impropriety can be discerned in a comparison of 
Sam Houston's diplomacy with that of the luminous French 
exemplar of the art. 

In this affair Sam Houston's principal instrument was his 
Secretary of State, Anson Jones, who had begun life as a 
country surgeon in western Massachusetts. The President 
instructed him carefully. The foreign policy of the Republic 
must "be as sharp-sighted as lynxes and as wary as foxes." 1 
Doctor Jones could understand this language. While no 
Talleyrand, the Secretary's talents' for a lynx-fox game were 



not contemptible. He had proved this as minister to the 
United States when he brought the harassed Republic to the 
sympathetic notice of Lord Palmerston, He had proved it 
during the Lamar regime, when he ran with the hare and hunted 
with the hounds so successfully as to recommend himself to the 
choice of Houston for the important portfolio he now held. 

And he was proving it at the present time. "December 
31st The close of the year 1843, the conclusion of Gen. H.'s 
second year of his* second term of office and of the second year 
of my term of Secretary of State. Affairs in the main have 
been managed agreeably to my wishes and advice, and the 
country has recovered from its extreme depression." But 
"Gen. H. and myself are drifting away from each other 
hourly. ... I may have to play the part of 'Curtius,* and if 
so, am prepared to make a sacrifice like his 1 ." He was "con- 
tent," however, "to let Gen. H. be 'Caesar,' for it is only by 
yielding to his vanity that we can get on together." 2 

These reflections were for the Secretary's diary and nothing 
appeared on the surface to mar the harmonious official relations 
between the Cabinet officer and his- Chief. The Secretary felt 
himself drawn away from his Chief by a force that not un- 
commonly complicates the lives of public men, namely, the 
pursuit of ambition. Doctor Jones desired that Texas remain 
an independent nation, greatly extend its boundaries, and 
become the dominant power of the Western World. He saw 
for himself a place in history as the architect of this greater 
Republic. The thought was not new, and since Doctor Jones 
was not a constructive genius, one wonders from whom he 
imbibed the essentials of the grand program. It is impossible 
to evade the presumption that he imbibed them, leastwise in 
part, from Houston. 

Aside from Anson Jones the man at this time most inti- 
mately associated with Sam Houston's lynx-fox game was 
Elliot, the British Charge* d' Affaires. Captain Charles Elliot, 
Royal Navy, was an honorable servant of his Queen a self- 
contained, courteous gentleman whose blue eyes reflected the 


solitudes of remote lands and remote peoples. He wore a big, 
flopping white hat and smoked a pipe continuously. More- 
over, the Captain was- familiar with the forces of the Oriental 
mind, in many respects similar to those of the Cherokee Indian. 
He had come to Texas from the Opium Wars in China where he 
had served his Queen too conscientiously to suit the London 
merchants' who obtained his transfer. China to Texas : all in 
Ihe day's work for Captain Elliot, one of that indispensable 
brigade of homeless Englishmen, trooping hither and yon over 
the face of the world, in the end to leave some bundles of yellow- 
ing dispatches in Chancery Lane, a foot-note in history, a 
forgotten grave in an alien clime and an Empire. 

The Captain's 1 arrival in the Republic had been unpromis- 
ing. "A Blanket on a Plank" was the best bed he could find 
on Galveston Island, until his American colleague, Judge Eve, 
offered half of his own cot. On the way to Houston City his 
steamer stuck on a sand-bar, and the emissary stepped through 
a hatch in the dark, dislocating a rib. Although practised to 
"hard rubs of all kinds," the Captain in one of his early inter- 
views with Houston confessed an inability to "digest the modi- 
fication of saw-dust, which they call 'Corn bread.' " The Presi- 
dent admitted that life at Washington-on-the-Brazos* was 
"rather raw." "And He," observed Captain Elliot, in his 
punctual dispatch, "has been accustomed to the elaborate com- 
forts of an Indian wigwam." But General Houston held out 
hope for better things. Margaret arrived, the piano was 
brought up and the Captain himself was joined by his wife. 

At a moment when Captain Elliot's opinion of Texas was 
least favorable, he gave his government this picture of the 
Chief Executive. "The President is General Houston of your 
acquaintance." The note was addressed to H. U. Addington, 
Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who, as a young attache 
at the Washington legation, had explored night life with Con- 
gressman Houston, of Tennessee. "His career during too 
large an interval between that time and this, has been strange 
and wild. ... A domestic tempest of desperate violence, and 


calamitous consequences ; habitual drunkenness ; a residence of 
several years amongst the Cherokee Indians ; residing amongst 
them as a Chieftain, and begetting sons and daughters ; a 
sudden reappearance on this stage with better hopes and pur- 
poses, and commensurate success, but still with unreclaimed 
habits. Finally, however, a new connexion with a young and 
gentle woman brought up in fear of God, conquered no doubt 
as women have been from the beginning and will be to the end 
by a glowing tongue, but in good revenge making conquest of 
his habits of tremendous cursing, and passionate love of drink." 
Nevertheless, "whatever General Houston has been, it is 
plain that He is the fittest man in this Country for his present 
station. His education has been imperfect, but He possesses 
great sagacity and penetration, surprising tact in the manage- 
ment of men trained as men are in thes-e parts, is perfectly 
pure handed and moved in the main by the inspiring motive of 
desiring to connect his name with a nation's rise/ 33 And a 
month later: "General Houston has two sides to his under- 
standing, one very clear indeed, and the other impenetrably 
dark. Let him speak of men, or public affairs, or the tone 
and temper of other Governments, and no one can see farther, 
or more clearly. The moment he turns to financial arrange- 
ments you find that He has been groping on the dark side of 
his mind." 4 Since Sam Houston's brilliant administration of 
his country's finances suggests that in these matters he saw 
clearly enough, one suspects the existence of a dark side to 
the mind of the confident and experienced Captain. The British 
diplomat had underestimated his man. 

England had long had an eye on Texas. In 1830 one of 
her statesmen declared that American domination of the Gulf 
coast must end at the Sabine. When the Republic was pro- 
claimed, England's first query was-: Will it be permanent? 
A month after San Jacinto, the British Minister at Mexico 


City wrote his government that Mexico would never reconquer 
Texas, and for three years continued to insist that England 
secure the friendship of the young Republic. 

Still, Pinckney Henderson had cooled his heels in London 
without obtaining recognition, although France acknowledged 
Texas in 1839, and Belgium and Holland in 1840. For the 
time being England resisted even the pressure of her own 
commercial interests for a trade treaty. England had not 
abated her resolution to keep Texas out of American hands, 
but the United States had simplified this by rebuffing Texan 
overtures for annexation until Houston, to avoid humiliation, 
withdrew the offer. 

England had every reason to oppose the expansion of the 
United States, with its consistent anti-British policy. Slavery 
was an international question. England had emancipated the 
blacks of her West Indies, momentarily placing those colonies 
at a disadvantage in trade with the Southern States. Self- 
interest reinforced the moral motives prompting the Empire 
to crus-ade for the liberation of American negroes. Should 
Texas, as the gateway to further conquests of territory, become 
American it was believed by many, notably the slave exten- 
sionists of the South, that the "peculiar institution" of negro 
bondage would be guaranteed a future safe from embarrassment 
by the hostility of the North, of England, or of any one. 
Forward thinkers in the South already foresaw a union of the 
Slave States with Texas- under separate government. 

If England could perpetuate the independence of Texas, 
and at the same time induce it to free its slaves, she would 
achieve at one stroke the crowning triumph of isolating and 
eventually destroying slavery in the United States, and of 
sponsoring a rival North American nation that might outshine 
its older sister. Emancipation of slaves was the price England 
desired Texas to pay for recognition. As Texas began its 
astonishing recovery from the disasters of Lamar this* became 
the "darling wish of England," as Ashbel Smith reported from 
London. England had been informed by observers on the spot 


that if any conquering were done, it would be the conquest of 
Mexico by Texas. With this in view England changed her 
mind about recognition, and in June of 1842 received the Re- 
public into the family of nations, shuttling Captain Elliot 
with uncomfortable haste on the long arc from China. 

Sam Houston at the moment was pounding the tocsin to 
rouse up American adventurers for an invasion of Mexico. He 
had proclaimed war to the hilt and the members of Congress 
were gathering in Houston City for their memorable special 
session. While the famous bill conferring dictatorial powers 
upon Houston was being written, word of English recognition 
came, almost unobs-erved in the general commotion. It was 
then Houston staggered his country by dropping the war. 

Prance played England's tune on a scratchy second fiddle. 
To promote the welfare of royalty, Louis Phillipe wished to 
substitute for American expansion a new nation under obliga- 
tion to heads that wore crowns. The affable and ornamental 
Cramayel was replaced at Washington-on-the-Brazos by the 
Comte de Saligny, of the pig incident at Austin. But Saligny, 
who had been told that he resembled Napoleon, seldom intruded 
nearer to the s-cenes of action than his wine cellar in New 

The designs of Europe had the effect of rekindling senti- 
ment for annexation in the United States. The great person- 
age of this sentiment was Jackson, who had lain low for several 
years, awaiting a propitious time to renew the campaign. He, 
too, had envisaged the acquisition of the Pacific Coast and 
northern Mexico by Texas, believing this dowry would remove 
the objections of the industrial North. But the concept had 
changed. This conquest now seemed possible under trans- 
Atlantic auspices. Although he had a personal pride in the 
matter, Andrew Jackson viewed the annexation of Texas from 
the high ground of national interest. Obviously, Mexico was 
not to hold this vast region much longer. Should it fall to a 
power obligated to Europe by any ties, the consequences to 
tta United States would be very serious. 

344, THE 

The partizans of annexation who made the biggest splash, 
however, were the slave expansionists. In 1833 Jackson had 
stamped down the disunion activities of their leader, Calhoun, 
but without exterminating the s-eed. The imprudence of this 
group had done much to defeat annexation in 1837 and to 
assist the rise of the American Anti-Slavery Society. The 
abolitionists also behaved arrogantly and beat up a racket out 
of proportion to their importance. They served notice that 
on no terms could Texas- enter the Union. But given a chance, 
there existed in the North the germs of an influential sentiment 
for annexation arising from the national policy of Jackson and 
from prospect of commercial advantage. 

To this pivotal point in the destiny of a hemisphere had 
Sam Houston guided the fortunes of his nation which two 
years before was without credit for fire-wood to warm the 
quarters of its Chief Executive. 

What was Houston's aim? He was accused of everything 
under the sun, being in the pay of Santa Anna included. 
Diplomacy of the Talleyrand school is not a frank subject, and 
while spots 1 of the record are susceptible of clarification, this 
much withstands scrutiny. Jackson wanted Texas, and Hous- 
ton went there to get it for him. Left in the lurch in 1837, 
Houston varied his tactics and prepared the Republic to stand 
alone. This- had some effect on American sentiment but the 
change came so slowly that Houston and others doubted that it 
would ever be of any use. He made a skilful play for it, how- 
ever. During the negotiations resulting in the truce with 
Mexico, he magnified the British assistance to Texas. This 
spurred to fresh activity old Jackson, who was not long for 
this world, but was determined to see Texas free of the paws 
of the British lion before he died. It was the lynx-fox game, 
but Elliot did not perceive it, nor did Jackson or John Tyler. 
Had either party smelled a rat the result might have been 
different. Certainly, Houston, who must secure the future of 
Texas one way or another, could afford no chances on the side 
of candor. 


Twice during the autumn of 1843 Mr. Tyler had intimated 
that the United States would be happy to reopen the question 
of annexation. It was now Houston's turn to be indifferent, 
and he was bruskly so. "Were Texas to agree to annexation 
the good offices of the [European] powers would, it is believed, 
be immediately withdrawn, and were the treaty to fail of rati- 
fication by the Senate of the United States, Texas would be 
placed in a worse position than she is at present . . . without 
a friend and her difficulties' with Mexico unsettled." Better to 
trust in the proved good offices of England and France than 
the doubtful promises of the United States, which "might again 
return the apathy and indifference towards us which has al- 
ways until now characterized that government." But Tyler 
did not retreat. His Secretary of State, Judge Upshur, re- 
plied with Jacksonian bluntness. After insisting that an- 
nexation would not fail in the Senate, he threw the sword upon 
the council table. The United States would not forbear to see 
A rival power built up on her flank. Should it be attempted 
"war will follow." 

Old Jackson himself wrote to Houston. "You know, my 
dear General, that I have been, & still am your friend." "I 
have put down every where I heard them" the "slanders" of 
British intrigue "circulated against you." "You never could 
have become the dupe to England, and all the gold of 
Santana . . . could not s-educe you from a just sense of 
duty & of patriotism. . . . My strength is exhausted and I 
must close. Please write to ... your friend sincerely 
ANDEEW JACKSON. " s But the slander did not stay down. 
Jackson's- faithful shadow of other days. Major Lewis, was at 
Tyler's side in Washington. His reports to the Hermitage 
were so alarming that Jackson wrote again. 

The long letter, scrawled amid such apparent bodily and 
mental anguish causes one to hesitate to turn a page for fear 
the pen had been shaken from the enfeebled fingers before the 


task was done. "My dear Genl I tell you in sincerity & friend- 
ship, if you will achieve this annexation your name & fame will 
be enrolled amongst the greatest chieftains of the age. . . . 
Now is- the time to act & that with promptness & secrecy & 
have the treaty of annexation laid before the United States 
Senate where I am assured it will be ratified. Let the threats of 
Great Britain and Mexico then be hurled at us, if war the[yj 
wish our fleet and army will freely fight them. ... I am 
scarcely able to write, . . . The Theme only inspires me 
with the strength. . . . Let me hear from you if only three 
lines." 6 

So the Old Chief, defiant and dying, yet entreating the one- 
time subaltern he had threatened with arrest for too great 
precipitation in the matter of bringing Texas under the flag. 
The well-informed Elliot trembled over the effect of this ii> 
tervention. His fear passed off, however, and he prompted his 
government that Jackson had availed nothing with Houston. 

The difficulties that confronted Houston in composing a 
reply to the Hermitage were of no simple order. "So far as I 
am concerned, or my hearty co-operation required, I am de- 
termined upon immediate annexation to the U States/' The 
words did not stand alone, however. The General wrote a 
hundred times three lines. "Our situation has been pe- 
culiar"; "internal difficulties," "external dangers" a great 
responsibility rested upon Houston. He was duty bound to 
keep himself free "to take any action . . . the future wel- 
fare" of his country might require. Moreover, the situations 
of Texas and of the United States were not identical. 
"Texas . . . could exist without the U States, but the U 
States can not, without great hazard . . exist without 
Texas." "Now, my venerated friend, you will perceive that 
Texas is presented to the United States, as a bride adorned 
for her espousal. But if, so confident of the union, she should 
be rejected, her mortification would be indescribable. She has 
been sought by the United States, and this is the third time she 
has consented. Were she now to be spurned, it \rould forever 


terminate" the possibility of annexation. "Mrs. H. and my- 
self . . . unite in our prayers for your happiness. ... It 
is our ardent desire to see the day when you can lay your hand 
on our little boy's head, and bestow upon him your 
benediction." 7 

This was carried to Tennessee by Miller, trusted private 
secretary of Houston, with instructions to add verbal as- 
surances to lighten the blow. The anxieties of the old fighter 
were little abated, however. Continuing his persuasions upon 
Houston, he dispatched as better became his style orders to 
Washington, where a treaty was being drafted in secret by the 
Texan representatives and the State Dapartment. 

But Houston, who had examined the situation with some 
care, had no confidence that this treaty could muster the two- 
thirds majority required for its acceptance by the United 
States Senate. He parried the curt note of Upshur with 
audacious counter-proposals and continued his mystifying 
course. On April 12, 1844, the treaty was signed, and ten 
days later Mr. Tyler laid it before the Senate. Had he turned 
loose a wildcat amid that decorous company the result would 
have been much the same. 

Before Texas was aware of the Senate's reception, how* 
ever, a copy of the treaty was received at Washington-on-the- 
Brazos. Elderly and urbane General Murphy, who had suc- 
ceeded Judge Eve as American charge*, laid it before President 
Houston with as much dignity as he could summon to adorn a 
private audience. Murphy then exposed Tyler's trump card 
in the form of a communication guaranteeing Texas the pro- 
tection of the United States during the pendency of the treaty. 
The result, General Murphy reported to his government, was 
gratifying. Houston scanned the treaty, and expressed "his 
hearty approbation of every part" of it. Then, reading the 
guarantee, the President "rose to his feet and gave utterance 
to his feelings of gratitude . . . for this distinguished mani- 
festation of the generous and noble policy, which ruled the 
Councils" of the United States. 


HI health had sent Captain Elliot to Hot Springs, Virginia, 
followed by comforting personal and official assurances- from 
"Thine truly, Sam Houston." But to Anson Jones fell the 
courtesy of informing the British diplomat of the signing of 
the treaty. It was, he said, "a source of great mortification 
to General Houston" and himself. 

It became apparent that the friends of the treaty could 
not command all of the votes that General Jackson had in- 
effectually tried to convince Houston would be cast for rati- 
fication. The old grenadier took a new tack. Working to 
shunt the issue into the presidential campaign, he manipulated 
affairs with a deftness that would have brightened the shield of 
a politician in the prime of his powers. The original plan had 
been to keep Texas out of the campaign, and to conduct an 
orderly contest between Whigs and Democrats' on the time- 
honored issues. The Whigs nominated Mr. Clay with this in 
view, and although they formed the anti-Texas party, the 
platform scrupulously avoided the dreadful question. But 
Jackson still ruled his Democracy. Thrusting the astonished 
Van Buren aside he nominated his personal spokesman and 
lieutenant, James K. Polk, on a bald platform of "Oregon and 

Sam Houston had moved from Washingion-on-the-Brazos 
to Houston City in order that he might more promptly re- 
ceive tidings- from the theater of war. Texas was prospering. 
Its white population had grown from thirty to more than one 
hundred thousand. Travelers came from afar to view the 
much talked-of country. The popular Captain Marryatt 8 
wrote a book about the adventures of the Comte de Norbonne, 
an engaging young scamp from France who borrowed his way 
through the Republic, victimizing, in a small way, the President 

Another visitor, Mrs. Matilda C. Houstoun, a Scotch 


woman of some literary pretensions, was touring the world on 
her yacht. Her especial desire was to see the President. She 
found him "wan and worn-looking" from his long watches at 
the helm of the Republic. But the tired countenance wore a 
"shrewd and kindly expression," and also, Mrs. Houstoun 
thought, some traces of the life that she had heard he had lived, 
a detail in which the traveler displayed a lively historical inter- 
est. They had a pleasant visit together. Mrs. Houstoun had 
married into the baronial family in Lanarkshire from which the 
President also was descended. She was struck by his singular 
attire and by "his courtesy to all classes." Although "a Tory 
at heart . . . General Houston's greeting to the free citi- 
zens carters, or blacksmiths, as the case may be is always 
kind and polite. It is 'How-d'ye-do, Colonel? How's Madam? 
Bad weather for the ladies ! J . , . Never have I seen a man, 
especially one who had done not only the State, but the caus 
of humanity, such good service in his day, who was so un 
obtrusive in manner, and who seemed to think so little of him- 
self." 9 

There was much to engross the thoughts of General Hous- 
ton to the exclusion of his personal self. In the Senate th 
treaty was slipping and Jackson had not as yet succeeded in 
precipitating the issue into the campaign. In this situation 
the President wrote a lengthy letter, marked "Private," to 
Minister Murphy. It began with some mention of Mrs. Hous- 
ton and Master Sam, and of a trip they proposed to make to 
Alabama. Otherwise, all quiet in Houston City "no news of 
interest here" to report. 

The letter-writer seemed driven afield where, fortunately, 
circumstances came to his aid. Indeed, "the times are big with 
events of coming circumstances, to Texas, and the world." 
Much depended upon the settlement of the question of annex- 
ation. Failure would work no embarrassment to Texas, 
however, and the writer covered five glowing pages with an 
enumeration of the advantages that would flow to the Republic 
the measure be rejected. "No time has ever been so 


propitious for the upbuilding of a nation ... as that which 
Texas at this moment enjoys, in the event that the measure 
of annexation should fail. Its failure can only result, from 
the selfishness on the part of the Govt, or Congress of the U 
States," But should it fail "the Glory of the United States 
has already culminated. A rival power will be built up," the 
dimensions of which Sam Houston proceeded to sketch for the 
American diplomat. 

"The Pacific as well as the Atlantic, will be component 
parts of Texas," i. e. 9 the South would secede. Westward, 
Texas would reach out and take the mountain region, the Cali- 
fornias, and effect a friendly division of Oregon with England 
m the line of the Columbia River. Swinging south, Chihuahua 
and Sonora would fall under the sway of the Lone Star. 

This prophecy "you will see by reference to the map, is no 
bugbear," no "fanciful" dream. It was cold logic applied to the 
future of the Anglo-Saxon race upon this continent, guided by 
political factors all too apparent. "Nothing" would prevent 
English-speaking people from becoming the masters of this 
illimitable domain. It was "destiny." Thus a new nation, 
sweeping from the Potomac to California, from the cool sum- 
mits of Oregon veritably to the Halls of the Montezumas : such, 
said Sam Houston, would be the Texas Republic "in thirty 
years from this date." 

Would the United States reject Texas again, or accept he^ 
and her fabulous heritage? "If the Treaty is not ratified I will 
require, all future negotiations to be transferred to Texas. I 
have written much more than what I expected, and it seems to 
me, that I have run into a prosaic strain." 10 

The purpose of this prosaic letter? Was it calculated to 
bolster the crumbling ramparts of the treaty party in the 
Senate? Hardly consciously so, for this issue more than likely 
would be decided before Murphy could forward the letter to 
Washington. Was it calculated to further Jackson's strategy 
involving the presidential campaign? This is possible: "future 
negotiations" Houston did hold out hope beyond a rejection 


of the Treaty, which hitherto he had declared should end every- 
thing between him and the United States. But the letter read 
two ways. There was nothing in it that could not be inter- 
preted to representatives of England and France as a tactful 
adieu to the United States. The old master of trente-et- 
quarante was still in a position to win if not on the red, on the 

Then came the nominations. How well Sam Houston knew 
James Knox Polk. When Houston became governor of Ten- 
nessee it was his friend Polk who moved up to fill the peculiar 
niche in the Jacksonian scheme thus vacated at Washington* 
Mrs. Polk was the most successful hostess in Nashville. Sam 
Houston had been a favorite at her board, and when the long 
shadow fell, her home and her friendship remained one of not 
many sanctuaries that civilized life afforded the exile. 

Twelve days after Folk's nomination the Senate rejected 
the treaty. The same month Mexico ended the truce and re- 
newed the old threat of invasion. A revulsion of feeling against 
the United States swept Texas, stimulated by the Admin- 
istration press, which was under suspicion of British subsidy. 
Mr. Calhoun, now Secretary of State, sent Duff Green to do 
some countermining against the "pro-English" Houston, but 
General Green succeeded no better than he had succeeded in 
some previous undertakings against Sam Houston. Tyler sent 
Jackson's nephew, Andrew Jackson Donelson, to be charge* 
d'affaires. Donelson was the ablest of the United States envoys 
to Texas. He emerged from an interview with Houston, be- 
fuddled, disappointed, distrustful. 

It was also campaign time in Texas. Under the Consti- 
tution Houston could never be president again. He quietly 
maneuvered the election of Anson Jones, and Captain Elliot 
professed his satisfaction. 

The contest in the United States was spirited. "Polk 
Slavery and Texas." "Clay Union and Liberty." "James K, 
Polk and George M. Dallas One for the devil and the other 
for the gallows." Polk won narrowly. His concealed influence 


having made two presidents within forty days, Sam Houston 
relinquished office with an air of resignation. Texas having 
beefc "spurned" again must now "work out her own political 
salvation." Flawless ! 

Yet the busy man could find time for lesser things. The 
past few months had been enlivened by an explosive exchange 
of compliments with Santa Anna. Before leaving Washington- 
on-the-Brazos, General Houston wrote to him again. 

"The satisfaction with which on yesterday I laid down the 
cares and responsibilities of Government, was greatly height- 
ened by the reflection that your Excellency had recently 
released from confinement all, save on[e], of the Texans who 
had been retained in prison. This act . . . did not dis- 
appoint me ; and the only regret . . . arises from the knowl- 
edge that your Excellency has thought proper to withhold the 
same kindness from the unhappy Jose Antonio Navarro. . . . 
I approach your Excellency as a Private citizen * . . and 
nsk as a personal favor . . . [the liberation of Navarro]. 

"I cannot close this note without tendering to your Excel- 
lency, my unaffected condolence in the bereavement which you 
have had the misfortune to sustain the loss of your late most 
excellent spouse." 11 

Navarro's escape relieved General Santa Anna of the obli- 
gation. Nevertheless, it was a curious ascendency that Sam 
Houston had over this attractive scoundrel. When he came to 
compose his grotesque autobiography, Santa Anna inserted a 
little tribute to Houston that blemishes the record of an other- 
wise almost irreproachable rascal. 


Carrying his family to Huntsville, where the hills are remi- 
niscent of Virginia, the General occupied himself with drawings 
for a plantation home on a large holding of land fourteen miles 
from town. He named the place "Raven Hill." . . . Raven 

Margaret was as happy as a bride. 


"December, 1844* on Retirement -from the Presidency 

"Dearest, the cloud hath left thy brow, 
"The shade of thoughtfulness, of care 

"And deep anxiety ; and now 

"The sunshine of content is there." 12 

There were nine other verses. The home life for which she 
had prayed seemed assured to her and only one thing remained 
to make joy complete. Margaret had been wise and patient. 
A degree of success that others found incredible had prospered 
her forbearance. The time had come to shape the final goal. 
She asked her husband to join the Baptist Church. 


Distractions of an earthly nature Intervened. A stream of 
letters and visitors flooded Huntsville, and Andrew Jackson 
Donelson complained of the state of the road to General Hous- 
ton's retreat. 

The election of Polk had stirred the foreign offices of Eng- 
land and France. Ministers of the two nations hurriedly con- 
ferred. France balked at war, but England declared herself 
ready to go to any lengths to keep Texas out of American 

The United States- was no longer indifferent to her peril. 
The Lone Star glowed ominously in the heavens a concern 
more vital than slavery. National interests were prevailing 
over sectional interests. Northern opposition began to wane. 
Time was precious, and it was decided not to wait until the 
inauguration of Polk. A resolution for annexation was 
plumped before Congress, and Mr. Polk hastened to Wash- 
ington to help Tyler force it through. Bedridden Jackson 
drummed out the last reserves of his strength. "The pressure 
of two Presidents and an ex-President is too much for us," an 
opposition Senator exclaimed. The resolution was adopted, 


and Tyler signed it on March 1, 1845, three days before leav 
ing office. 

On the twentieth of March a steamer arrived at Galveston 
with news of the action of the American Congress, Elliot and 
Saligny were there, but under the serious handicap of new 
instructions from their governments, for England who should 
now or never have taken a bold stand, had hedged. Never- 
theless, the two set out for Washington-on-the-Brazos, in the 
hope of reaching there before Donelson should arrive, by 
another route, with the fateful tidings from the Potomac. 

The European representatives outstripped Donelson and 
shut themselves up with Jones and Ashbel Smith who had been 
recalled from London to be Secretary of State. They went to 
the utmost limits allowed by their instructions, written four 
thousand miles from the scene of action. Feverish conferences 
lasted for several days and nights, with Elliot and Saligny be- 
side themselves with anxiety lest Donelson arrive. Not with- 
Dut misgivings, Jones signed an agreement (1) authorizing 
England and France to negotiate at Mexico City for Mexican 
acknowledgment of the independence of Texas, (2) Texas con- 
senting to annex itself to no country. Elliot was 1 to fly to 
Mexico in disguise and bring this matter to pass, while Ashbel 
Smith sped back to Europe to take care of arrangements at 
that end. As a further safeguard Doctor Jones pledged him- 
self not to call the pro-annexation Texas Congress for ninety 

It looked like a good day's work for Queen Victoria, and 
for Louis of Orleans. As Captain Elliot and the Comte de 
Saligny rode out of town they met a horseman covered with 
dust. It was 4 Donelson. Elliot and Saligny saluted. Donel- 
son asked whether Congress had been convoked. Captain 
Elliot was sure he did not know; he supposed, however, that 
His Excellency the President awaited the advices of Major 
Donelson in the matter. Where, Donelson asked bluntly, was 
Sam Houston? Captain Elliot regretted that he could not 
say, "exactly." A vague menace about the earnestness of 


Donelson prompted Saligny to send Jones a note to "be cheer- 
ful and firm . . . and, my word on it, everything will soon 
come out right." 

There was a dash of the talented amateur in Dr. Anson 
Jones. Subtleties of the lynx-fox game that in more skilful 
hands shine as a commendable gift, by his manipulations wear 
the regrettable aspect of vice. Donelson got a rather formal 
reception at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The American pro- 
posal was taken under advisement and Jones declined to call 
Congress. The worried envoy hastened to Huntsville. Scant 
comfort from that source. Houston found fault with the 
American terms on the far-fetched ground that they were un- 
just in their disposition of public property and the matter of 
boundary arrangements. 

But the competent Minister had not approached the Brazos 
Talleyrand with empty hands. He carried a letter from Jack- 
son, who cordially chose to assume that opposition by Houston 
to the American terms was unthinkable. "I congratulate you, 
I congratulate Texas and the United States. ... I now be- 
hold the great American eagle, with her stars and stripes 
hovering over the lone star of Texas , . , and proclaiming 
to Mexico and all foreign governments, c You must not attempt 
to tread upon Texas!' . . . Glorious result! in which you, 
General, have acted a noble part." 13 

Nor was this all. Frank Blair had written in Jackson's old 
organ, the Washington Globe, that with the admission of 
Texas it would not be too much to expect a Chief Magistrate 
of the United States from beyond the Sabine. The Baltimore 
American mentioned Houston by name, with the remark that 
Jackson and now lately! had demonstrated that his ability 
to elect presidents remained unimpaired. . The American Secre- 
tary of State, Jackson's friend Buchanan, gave an official cast 
to the seductive speculation. "Some of the high officers of 
Texas, supposing that their importance and their emoluments 
oiight be lessened by annexation, may prove hostile . . . but 
smrely the hero of San Jacinto cannot fear that his brilliant 


star will become less bright by extending the sphere of its influ* 
ence over all the twenty-nine States of our Federal Union." 14 

Ashbel Smith was on the ocean, fearful that the double game 
had been carried too far for comfort. But Smith was a man 
of stout fiber. Just before embarking he wrote to Houston. 
"My visit to Europe at this time will expose me to much cen- 
sure, perhaps to obloquy ; I am willing to risk it for the sake 
of my country. As to annexation the pinch of the matter will 
in my opinion be on the other side of the Sabine if any where, 
when the American Congress shall take ^ 'final action' on the 
.same." For as the program stood the matter would go back 
to the American Congress, following any form of approval 
Texas should give to the resolution now before it. Yet, added 
Smith, regardles-s of personal hazard, Texas must play out its 
hand, for "nothing can bring" the United States "to a prompt 
decision, but the conviction that we can do without them." So 
fared Smith on his delicate errand, expecting annexation to be 
consummated and hoping, in that event, to be able to convince 
the "foreign Governments . . . that we have not been play- 
ing a deep game of hypocrisy." 15 But if, at the eleventh hour, 
annexation should slip Texas must have a port to steer fori 
"Sentiment," Sam Houston had written in his "prosaic" letter 
to Murphy, "tells well in love matters . . . but . . . the 
affairs of nations . . . have no soul, and recognize no 
mentor but interest." 

Ere Ashbel Smith set foot on the soil of Albion the game 
was as good as up. Jones had surrendered, summoning Con- 
gress to consider the American resolution. Sam Houston was 
on his way to Tennessee. 

The Master of the Hermitage was sinking. A godson of 
his, Edward George Washington Butler, who, one may faintly 
recall, once served Sam Houston in the important matter of 
buying a beaver hat in Washington, D. C., had gone to receive 
a final blessing. The hand of death was on the warrior's shoul- 
der, but Texas filled his mind. 

""Edward, what will Houston do?" 


Edward referred the question to Huntsville. "Can it be 
possible that a native of Virginia and a citizen of Tennessee 
can so far have forgotten what is due to himself and his country 
as to lend himself for an instant to the representatives of Eng- 
land and France?" 16 What was that Sam Houston had said 
about sentiment? In any event, gathering up Margaret and 
Master Sam, he started for the Hermitage. Donelson dis- 
patched in advance a letter to say that the fight was won. 
"Gen H. . . . has 1 redeemed his pledge to restore Texas to 
the Union." 17 

This letter it must have been this letter was placed in 
the dying man's hand on June 6, 1845. On that day Jackson 
rallied from the brink of the grave, and spoke for hours of 
Texas and of Houston. "All is safe at last." His "old friend 
and companion-in-arms" had been true to his trust. 18 

On the following day the General sank again. Sunday, June 
eighth, dawned still and hot. The doctors said it would be a 
matter of hours. Major Lewis sat by his old Chiefs side, anc? 
received from him three messages : one for Thomas Hart Ben- 
ton, one for Frank Blair, one for Sam Houston. The family and 
the servants came in weeping. Propped against pillows, Jack- 
son took his leave of each one. "I want to meet you all, white 
and black, in heaven." At six in the evening the head fell for- 
ward. The old soldier had laid down his arms. 

At nine o'clock a coach driven at a gallop whirled through 
the gate. Mrs. John H. Eaton Peggy opened the door, and 
admitted General Houston and his family. For several min- 
utes the towering, travel-stained figure stood perfectly motion- 
less before the candle-lit couch of death. Then Sam Houston 
fell on his knees, and sobbing, buried his head upon the breast 
of his friend. 

He drew little Sam to his side. "My son, try to remember 
that you have looked upon the face of Andrew Jackson." 10 

During General Houston's absence Captain Elliot stepped 


ashore at Galveston from a French brig-of-war, with the Mexi- 
can agreement in his pocket. In a few hours he knew how the 
land lay, and raced toward Washington-on-the-Brazos 5 revolv- 
ing desperate courses in his mind. They came to naught. 
England recoiled from the extremity of war. 

Formal procedure incident to the absorption of Texas into 
the Union consumed nine months. Polk kept his eye on things 
in one theater and Houston in the other, too engrossed, alas, 
for much thought of theology. A state government was cre- 
ated. Sam Houston decided to take Thomas J. Rusk with him 
to the United States Senate. On the sixteenth day of February, 
1846, the state officials-elect and citizens from far and near 
stood before the weather-stained tabernacle built in Austin by 
Lamar, At the close of an address that stirred tender emo- 
tions, Anson Jones, with his own hands, struck the tricolor of 
the Lone Star. 

Sara Houston's arms reached to receive the folds lest they 
brush the ground. His Republic was the peculiar property of 
the ages. 



THOUGH still young in years- it had been the fate of Olivet 
Dyer to see and hear enough of the great and near-great td 
dispense with commonplace illusions. Mr. Dyer was on the 
shorthand staff of the United States Senate. Yet his heart 
leaped when he read in the papers that Sam Houston was to 
be one of the new senators of Texas. The name swept Oliver 
back to his schoolboy days in Lockport, New York, when he 
had joined a company to fight Santa Anna in 1836. Like 
many such companies it never reached Texas, but Oliver's ad- 
miration for the hero of San Jacinto remained intact, and 
"not without apprehension'* did he first lay eyes on the man 

"I was not disappointed. ... It was easy to believe in 
his heroism. He was fifty-five years 1 old ... a magnificent 
barbarian, somewhat tempered by civilization. He was of large 
frame, of stately carriage and dignified demeanor and had a 
lion-like countenance capable of expressing fiercest passions. 
His dress was peculiar, but it was becoming to his style. The 
conspicuous features of it were a military cap, and a short mili- 
tary cloak of fine blue broadcloth, with a blood-red lining. 
Afterward, I occasionally met him when he wore a vast and 
picturesque sombrero and a Mexican blanket."* 

More critical appraisers than Mr. Dyer felt the drama of 
It when Sam Houston stood in the patrician Chamber and tool? 



the oath, by that means resuming a place in American public 
life abandoned in heart-break and in mystery seventeen years 
"before. The journey from the Brazos to the Potomac had 
been a sort of triumphal progress. At Nashville the Senator- 
Elect was entertained at the home of his old comrade, Dr. John 
Shelby. William Carroll was dead, and a blowout at the 
Nashville Inn assumed the quality of a hatchet-burying. Judge 
Jo C, Guild, of the reception committee, seemed a trifle nervous. 
Guild was the author of the famous Sumner County resolutions 
and probably had a hand in the suppression of the letter from 
the Wigwam Neosho. Houston led him aside and eased his 
mind. "Guild, you did a noble thing in vindicating the charac- 
ter of Eliza. I thank you and the citizens of Sumner County. 9 ' 
At any rate so reads the Judge's memoirs. 

General Houston had not emerged from his chromatic 
background empty-handed. He had brought with him Texas 
a large parcel in itself, and larger still the heritage of terri- 
tory that every one understood to be an eventual part of the 
Texas acquisition. A highly vocal minority in the United 
States was for immediate assertion of America's claim to this 
legacy. Mexico, also, was provocative. War seemed certain, 
and Senator Houston was made a member of the Committee orj 
Military Affairs. 

Houston was opposed to a Mexican war. While preparing 
for the ceremonial lowering of the Lone Star, he had counseled 
Polk on peace, believing that California and other territory 
could be obtained by the old Jacksonian plan of purchase. To 
this end Mr. Polk had instituted negotiations, but with slight 
success. Mexico severed diplomatic relations with the United 
States, notified the world at large that she was going to 
fight and prepared armies for the field. Polk's only answer in 
kind was to send Zachary Taylor, an officer of no great re- 
nown, to Corpus Christi, in Texas, with fifteen hundred poorly 


turned out Regulars. Houston again wrote to Polk, reiterating 
that there would be no war, but making a perfunctory "tender 
of my services if they can be useful to Texas or the U States." 2 

All winter Taylor sat on the sands of Corpus Christi ac- 
quiring a wide-spread reputation for military unfitness. His 
force was increased to thirty-nine hundred, but was managed 
so miserably that it degenerated into a carousing rabble. In 
January Taylor was ordered to the Rio Grande, two hundred 
miles away. He did not even know the road, and it was the 
eighth day of March, 1846, before he started. Three weeks 
later Houston took his place in the Senate. 

A fortnight thereafter he made his first speech. Ignoring 
the Mexican question in which he was regarded as so important 
a factor, the Senator sought to turn the course of American 
foreign policy toward Oregon. The address was a long dis- 
cursive improvisation, below the average of Houston's public 
utterances. The Senator was on unfamiliar ground. Never- 
theless he took a strong stand and, shaking out the campaign 
banner of Fifty-Four Forty or Fight, supported the abroga- 
tion of the agreement with England for joint occupation of the 
disputed region. Some of the senators thought this would 
lead to war with Britain. What of it? countered Houston. 

Much more was suid on both sides, and the Mexican question 
moved into eclipse behind the Oregon dispute. England came 
down from her high horse and suggested that we renew our 
offer to compromise on the parallel of 49. Polk stood firm. 

Just when it seemed promising of lively possibilities, the 
Oregon issue was blotted out by the rattle of musketry on the 
Rio Grande. In two brisk little battles Taylor drove the 
Mexicans' back to their own side of the river. The General's 
droll indifference to bullets won him a name with the troops, 
But the West-Pointers present could not understand how one 
could succeed by tactics that violated nearly every rule of the 

Mr. Polk asked for fifty thousand volunteers, ten million 
dollars and, summoning Senator Houston to the White House, 


offered him a major-general's commission and the command 
of an army. Not without criticism, the President got his 
volunteers' and his money, but he did not get Houston. 

Although the embittered Lamar among the first in Texas 
to fly to arms and to distinguish himself in battle believed 
Houston to be "running" Polk, the intimate association of 
former days had not been renewed, and with the refusal of the 
commis-sion their relations became rather formal. Houston 
supported the war in the Senate, however. His support was 
helpful and sometimes it was aggressive as when he advocated 
a protectorate over Yucatan. At Raven Hill Margaret made 
a flag that Wood's Texas cavalry followed up the heights of 

But the war was foredoomed to unpopularity. The se- 
quence of events on the Rio Grande was misunderstood. Taylor 
was assumed to be the aggressor, which he was not. Whatever 
his shortcomings, Mr. Polk did not provoke this war. He tried 
to avoid it, persevering even after these preliminary skirmishes 
and the call for troops. To this end his diplomacy was rather 
shady a fact which, however, being little known is little urged 
against him. 


General Houston's friends- entertained high hopes for their 
man. Five months after he had taken his seat in the Senate, 
Ashbel Smith addressed his diary in a happy frame of mind. 
"Gen Rusk said Houston has behaved very well, and if he 
continues as he has done he will 'rent the White House. 3 " 3 

The suggestion long urged by Smith that Houston publish 
a Life of himself was carried out. A fluent hack named Charles 
Edwards Lester, a cousin of Aaron Burr, was installed in the 
General's apartments in the splendid National Hotel. There 
he toiled early and late, Houston himself editing, amending 
and dictating. Smith prepared reviews 1 for the press. The 
completed product bore the title Sam Houston and His Re* 
public* but even more arresting was a prefatory 



"Before he begins this book or throws it down. 

"I have lived to see unmeasured calumny poured on the 
head of an heroic man who struck the fetters from his- bleeding 
country on the field and preserved her by his counsels in the 
cabinet. And I have lived to do justice to that man and that 
People by assisting the truth. 

"This Book will lose me some friends. But if it lost me 
all and gained me none, in God's name, as I am a free man I 
would publish it. ..." 

After this, the book falls short of expectations. Although 
revealing something of what Monsieur de Talleyrand might 
have called that marvelous tact of omission, it is temperate 
and far more accurate than the run of campaign biographies 
of the period. It was widely read. In Texas old Burnet wrote 
to Lamar, a colonel in the field under Taylor, who replied: 
"Houston and Tiis republic. His republic! That is true; 
for ... I can regard Texas as little more than Big Drunk's 
big ranch." 4 

In this illustrious era of the Senate Texas was indeed 
proud to send a man who had taken his place alongside the 
mighty. Yet, Houston's reputation did not swell as his friends 
had hoped. 


The Senator was lonely in Washington. Circumstances had 
changed since a buoyant youngster from the West, with the 
world before him, patrolled the Avenue intent upon the 
acquisition of a beaver hat in the proper mode. True, the re- 
turn of Sam Houston made possible an interesting reunion, 
Daniel Webster being a member of the Senate and old Junius 
Brutus Booth a frequent caller from his farm in Maryland. 
But no foregathering of these mellow spirits is of record. The 
occupations Booth and Webster found to brighten their leisure 
had been foregone by General Houston. 

Oh, there was a slip now and then, but the self -perpetuating 


aura of good-fellowship that for thirty years drew men to 
Sam Houston had paled. He moved in a circumspect world 
in which he had not found himself. After Texas, the heavy 
decorum of the Senate was irksome. After Texas, where Sam 
Houston had strode like some Gargantuan, the stage at Wash- 
ington seemed close and crowded a clamor of tongues, a press 
of figures, too many of which towered as- high or higher than 
the Brazos titan trammeled by the support of a dubious war. 
Sam Houston was not used to such things. He was no longer 
young, and on every hand change, baffling change. The 
National Hotel with its' private bathtubs, at which invading 
tourists- came to gape, must have seemed positively indelicate. 
Everything altered and unfamiliar. 

His temperament always a curious composition of opposites 
shifting with the mood between sociability and solitude, General 
Houston fell to taking long walks alone, often in the dead of 
night. Turning to the right from the pillared doorway of the 
National, near Sixth Street, one hundred paces 1 along the 
Avenue would have brought the Senator abreast a ghost of 
bygone days the swinging sign, displaying a gaudy Poca- 
hontas, that saluted patrons of Brown's Indian Queen, last of 
Washington's old-time taverns. But white-aproned Jess 
Brown no longer stood on the threshold to welcome the coming 
or Godspeed the departing guest. This good man, who main- 
tained his office in the barroom, so as to see more of his patrons, 
had pas-sed to his reward. The accolade of progress had 
touched his sons. They apologized for the old-fashioned place, 
and pulled it down to erect the magnificent Metropolitan 
which, with its five-story marble front, for years was the 
National's nearest rival. I find no record of General Houston's 
having stopped at the Metropolitan. He was at the grand 
opening at Willard's, however, and lived there during the clos- 
ing scenes of his senatorship. 

The decline of the drama in the capital was, in itself, almost 
enough to have driven old Booth to drink. The Washington, 
on Louisiana Avenue, of which Congressman Houston had been 


a faTored patron, had been made into a hall for balls and as- 
semblies. Another playhouse that had been on the popular 
Tennesseean's regular rounds about town was now the post- 
office. The remaining theater, the new National, was poorly 
supported. "The great diminution in numbers that were wont 
to attend the theatre," wrote George Watterson in his New 
Guide to Washington, for the year 1847, "has . . . risen . . . 
from causes which would seem to be antipodes, religion and 
fashion." Balls, assemblies and church were the thing. 

The Senator wrote long letters to Margaret, and received 
long replies, filled with testimony of his wife's affection, the 
affairs of the plantations, and the doings of the children for 
now there were two, Sam and Nannie. But Margaret's re- 
curring theme was theology. Her husband had only to ac- 
quire the consolations of faith to dispel the melancholy that 
was the badge of a soul unreclaimed. 

On a Sabbath morning in the spring of 1846 General 
Houston threw his poncho across his 1 shoulders and took up his 
gold-headed cane for a stroll in the sunshine. A few squares 
from the hotel he entered the E Street Baptist Church, the most 
fashionable of its demomination in the capital. From a pew 
near the pulpit he listened with rapt attention to the discourse 
of Reverend Doctor Samson. At the close of the service, the 
pastor shook hands with his flock. General Houston said he 
had come through respect for his wife, "One of the best Chris- 
tians on earth." 

On the next Sunday morning he returned to Doctor Sam- 
son's church, and on the next and the next. He whittled dur- 
ing the preaching, but his mind absorbed the s-ermons to an 
extent that astonished the pastor, who was also surprised by 
General Houston's knowledge of the Bible. The congregation 
cultivated the distinguished parishioner, who after every 
service would reward the piety of some little girl or boy with 
a toy that had taken shape under the magical strokes of the 
big ivory-handled clasp knife. 

George W. Samson was a man of sound s-cholarship and a 


master of the evangelical branch of his calling. In him 
Margaret discovered a wonderful ally. He prepared a sermon 
from the text in Proverbs, "Better is he that ruleth his spirit 
than he that taketh a city." This- was followed by a series deal- 
ing with Israel's origin as a nation. The patriarch, Abraham, 
Moses, the law-giver, Joshua, the military founder of the 
Hebrew state, and the reign of the Judges were each made 
the theme of a discourse. It was the story of the settlement of 
a new land, of the conquest of heathen tribes, of fratricidal 
strife among jealous states not yet consolidated into nation- 
ality. The analogy struck home. Houston asked the pastor 
for a book to help him to beat down the doubts in his mind, and 
Doctor Samson placed in his hands a copy of Nelson's Cause 
and Cure of Infidelity* 


Two years went by* General Houston's Sunday routine 
was 1 to attend church in the morning and in the afternoon 
write his wife a resume of the sermon. Sometimes the Senator 
would miss a service, for the old instinct for motion remained 
and he traveled a great deal about the East. Newport and 
Saratoga beheld him in full sartorial glory. Once the General 
attended a church of the Unitarian faith and heard a learned 
advocate of its doctrines. There was- an alarm over this, but 
nothing came of it. The arid intellectuality of that creed was 
not for the warm imagination of Sam Houston. The Baptists 5 
chances were better. 

In 1846 and in 1847 when General Houston was in Texas 
between sittings- of Congress, Margaret and two local clergy- 
men brought their persuasions and prayers to bear at point- 
blank range. But Houston would make no profession of faith, 
nor would he partake of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper > 
on the ground that he was spiritually unprepared. 

It was a difficult time. As a young man whose follies were 
those of his day, Sam Houston had written to a friend about 


to depart among the Indians: "Solitude is the situation in 
which we can best ascertain our own hearts. There we derive 
no reflection from others, but are taught to make enquiry 
of our selves. . . . We can read the Scriptures, and pursue 
their preceps. 556 When the crisis came that swept Sam Houston 
clean of everything, including faith, he had sought the s-eclusion 
of the forests, and there examined his heart. Childhood be- 
liefs, manhood convictions were gone. Deprived of the supports 
that ordinarily propitiate adversity, life seemed without hope. 
He caught at straws an eagle on the wing a "notion of 
honor." Upon them he had reestablished his life, with a pro- 
tective coloring of skepticism to guard the sensitive soul under- 
neath. This assailed, the vast arc of vacant sky loomed dis- 

The eventful spring of 1848 found Senator Houston back 
in Washington. It was a presidential year, and the General's 
absences from the E Street church were more frequent. This 
grieved Margaret who was- approaching her third confinement. 

"Huntsville April 12th 1848 
^Dearest Love 

"Another mail and no letter from you! I am distrest at 
it, but feel that in a few days, if I live, and nothing serious 
has befallen you, I shall get a great package from you. I can 
only write you a few lines, but I must write a w 

[The sentence is- incomplete.] 
"Saturday 22d 

"There is no doubt about it, my dearest Love, she Is one 
of the loveliest little creatures you ever beheld. I mean our 
second daughter, for we are now the parents of three chil- 
dren. . . . You must look upon the unfinished paragraph of 
this- letter as a great proof of my devotion to you, for I had 
endured much suffering, for a day and night, and in about 8 
hours, the little one was added to our circle, but I thought 
I would make out a letter, as the mail was to go the next 
day. . , . 

"What shall we call the little one? All I have to say is that 
it must be a family or fancy name, as we have too many friends 
to exercise partiality in that way. I enclose a lock of her 


hair [and] ... a little white rose which she held in he: 
hand, the first nap she ever took. 

"Thy fond and devoted wife 


A fortnight later General Houston was assured that "our 
precious baby enjoys fine health and is beginning to look like 
her father. . . . She can stand on her feet, with as much 
strength, as most children three months old. She has the 
prettiest little hands and feet . . . and from the descriptions 
you have given me of your mother's I think they must be like 
hers." What shall they call her? Her father must suggest 
something. "She is becoming quite a young lady, to have 
no name. . . . 

"Mrs Davis and Caroline have joined the church and 
Mr Creath expects to go down the first week in June to baptise 
them. . . . Your friend Mose Evans 'the wild man of Texas 5 
has become a baptist and a very pious man. Sister Creatb 
wrote to you about Albert's conversion. . . . My dear Love, 
I fear that you are suffering your mind to be drawn off from 
the subject of religion, by the political excitement of the 
day. , . . Oh when I think of the allurements that surround 
you, I tremble lest they should steal your heart from God. . . 
There is something so bewitching in the voice of fame." 

A postscript just before mailing told of a visit by 
Mr. Smith, a neighbor. "He told me two good jokes about 
you (to use his language), the affair of the shirt button and 
something about a fire not being kindled in your room, being 
the contents of a letter from his brother. My dear Love, you 
must quiet these things! I ... pray with all my heart 
that you may be kept from the evil of this world and fitted for 
the joys of the next." 8 

General Houston received this letter at Barnum 5 s Hotel 
In New York, whither he had gone on a political errand for 


his party. But beyond a contemplation of the evils of this 
^orld and the joys of the next, 1848 afforded small balm to 
any Democrat. The Mexican War was essentially the affair 
of the southern wing of the Democratic party. Having borne 
the burden of the criticism concerning it, the party managers 
felt entitled to any offsetting advantages. In the beginning 
a disconcerting situation had arisen, however. Houston, a 
southern Democrat, had refused a field command, and Zachary 
Taylor had gone on winning battles. Though a Louisianiaia 
and the owner of three hundred slaves, Taylor belonged, 
nominally, to the old southern Whig aristocracy. The Whigs 
needed a candidate who could poll southern votes. Party 
managers began toasting Old Rough and Ready. Mr. Polk 
took note and prepared to shelve General Taylor by handing 
over the principal theater of war to Scott at Vera Cruz, 

Taylor was stripped of his best troops- and in this situation 
Santa Anna confronted him with fifteen thousand men at 
Buena Vista. The Americans were barely five thousand, 
mostly volunteers. The presence of Santa Anna at Buena 
Vista represented a breach of trust that shook Polk's declin* 
ing faith in human nature. When the war started the General 
was serving a term of banishment in Cuba, Desirous of avoid- 
ing further bloodshed, Mr. Polk dispatched Slidell McKenzie, 
of the Navy, to Havana with drawing privileges on a secret 
fund, to communicate the humane idea to Santa Anna. The 
Napoleon of the West departed for Mexico under protection 
of the United States- gunboats but after seizing the government 
he announced a modification of the joint plan. Instead of 
surrendering the Army, he prepared to fight. 

The battle of Buena Vista was terrific, but Taylor won 
and came home the unalterable hero of the hour. The Whigs 
passed up Webster and all of the other immortals for this un- 
schooled soldier who had not cast a vote in forty years. The 
Democrats nominated Lewis Cass, a Cabinet officer under Jack- 
son and a good man. Houston played a prominent part in the 
campaign, which from the outset looked like any one's victory* 


The Whigs won as a result of a Democratic division in the 
state of New York. The fact that but for Sam Houston and 
Texas Zachary Taylor would have died an unknown frontier 
colonel was, however, a s-ource of no satisfaction to either the 
Senator or his constituents. 

The close of the war saw us in the possession of a new 
domain greater than the area of the original thirteen colonies. 
This realization of the expansionists' dream of heaven disturbed 
moderate thinkers. Many wondered whether so vast a realm 
could be held together under one central government. Taylor^ 
who had a world of common sense, shrank before the sobering 
problem, and favored letting the Pacific coast. go. 

But this was the tremor of a moment. The territory was 
under the flag and there was little deep-seated disposition to 
relinquish any of it. The great problem was slavery. Would 
the new territory be slave or would it be free? The negro 
question had been pressing at the gates for ten years. With 
the great annexations under Polk the hinges parted and it 
burst tumultuously through. 

The impact was first felt upon the discussions- concerning 
the organization of the Oregon country. Senator Houston 
introduced an amendment to let the citizens of the territory 
decide the question of slavery. Mr. Calhoun inquired sarcasti 
cally the object of the amendment "whether or not it was- to 
give protection to Southern gentlemen." Houston replied 
that its object was to give protection to the citizens of Oregon. 
The discussion grew warmer, and a threat of disunion wa 
made. The Senator of Texas arose in his- place. 

"I remember the cry of disunion," he said referring to Cal* 
houn's abortive effort of 1832. "That cry reached me in the 
wilderness, an exile from kindred and friends . . . and 
wounded my heart. But I am now in the midst of such a 
cry . . . [and] have no fear. * . . It could not be to the 
interest of the North to destroy the South, notwithstanding 
the papers signed by old men and women and pretty girls, pray- 
ing for abolition." 9 


Sam Houston at the time of his last triumph and the beginning of his 
battle against secession. 

(Reproduced from the original daffucrreotj/pe owned "by General Houston's 
yrandson, Franklin Williams, of Houston) 



-*n7W9h<>Wi^pl<|wUhtteeWUTitoo*? ;}, , ' ,_ > ' '.-'J^ 
'a*!TOaeF^w^ij{r^w^ - \ i* ;,")' -.^tU'f*!,^! 

i> tk jtmlet Iwwh : m <i I'tfMlwn, ' .* s-, ' *.?*" -\ ! 'r';ll" t s 


Fair" New York) 


Oregon Territory was organized as free soil. The slave 
asiensionists, led by feeble but fiery Calhoun, uttered ominous 
Darnings 1 . They said the North was bent upon the ruin of the 
South, which must concede nothing. Houston refused to sign 
the bitter "Southern Address" of 1849. "It would excite the 
Southern people and drive them further on the road to separa- 
tion from their Northern friends." Southern hotspurs were 
violent in their denunciation of the "traitor" to his section. It 
was not for the South to propitiate the North, they said, but 
to safeguard its political power. 

Sam Houston answered this argument in a moving speech, 
"actuated," he said, "by as patriotic motives' as any gentle- 
man, North or South." He knew "neither North nor South 5 ' 
but "only the Union." He was a southern man, and he would 
contend for the rights of the South, but just as "ardently" 
would he "defend the North," when he believed its view to be 
right. He believed that "on this floor" he was a "representative 
of the whole American people." "On all occasions" he would 
maintain that position, believing the people of Texas would 
sustain him "for they are true to the Union." 10 

The gauntlet lay at the feet of the southern disunionists 
and northern agitators alike. On the fourteenth day of 
August, 1848, Senator Houston took his courageous stand, 
from which no form of entreaty, personal or political threat, 
or enticement of fame could bring him to recede. The national 
skies were black with clouds that presaged the storm-clutched 
chaos of the 'fifties. North and South, public men glided 
hither and thither, peering from this window and that, to know 
what to make of it and what to do. From conviction or con- 
venience most of them prepared to sail with the winds of their 
particular section, whither they might blow. Sam Houston was 
a mariner of mature experience in troubled waters. He could 
tack with the best of them. But this time, in advance of all 
the rest and practically alone, he gave out his course, close- 
hauled his bark and whipped into the gathering gale. 



IK 1793, when Sam Houston was born and carried about 
the comfortable house on Timber Ridge by the black nurse 
Peggy, slavery was a declining institution whose painless ex- 
tinction was taken as a matter of course by persons of fore- 
thought. The country was in the hands of the men who had 
waged the Revolution, with its emphasis upon the Rights of 
Man. A slave owner, Mr. Jefferson, had written an unfriendly 
reference to the institution in his Declaration of Independence, 
but the passage was stricken out, representatives of the mari- 
time interests of New England who had a good thing in the 
slave-carrying trade protesting as stoutly as any. Never- 
theless, the lofty views of human rights expressed by the fight 
for national liberty were definitely impregnated with a coolness 
toward slavery. This gained ground the more readily because it 
inveighed against a custom that had become demonstrably 
unsound economically. George Washington found it cheaper 
to hire a hand than own a slave and foresaw in the end of 
bondage the elimination of a wasteful factor in plantation 

But in this same year of 1793, Eli Whitney, of Massa- 
chusetts, marketed his cotton-gin that made the cultivation of 
this staple an occupation in which slaves could be employed with 
profit. One new state followed another in the rearing of the 
cotton kingdom that issued from the generous soil of the South, 



Industrial New England, which wove cotton into cloth, had less 
use for slave labor than before. By 1804s every Northern State 
excepting hybrid Delaware had either freed its slaves or ar- 
ranged for gradual emancipation, usually providing that chil- 
dren born of slave parents should be free upon reaching the 
age of twenty-five. A similar proposal in Virginia attracted 
a large and influential following. 

In this geographical reallo cation of socially and econom- 
ically distinct cultures, the moral issue was not stressed at 
first. Opposed interests were separated primarily by economic 
barriers. The South preferred to buy abroad, where most of 
its cotton went, because Europe sold more cheaply than New 
England. New England, naturally, wished to protect its indus- 
tries with a tariff. The time came when slavery was denounced 
in the halls of Congress as a "crime," and the South began seri- 
ously to gird itself for defense of its "peculiar institution" 
defense meaning expansion to maintain the political equilibrium, 

In 1820 Clay's Missouri Compromise cooled passions on 
both sides and deferred the crisis, but by 1830 the struggle had 
been renewed. 

The third decade saw the dawn of the gilded age of slavery 
times. Romantic, rich and reckless, a new South bloomed like 
an astonishing tropical flower. Fortunes were made and man- 
sions built by men who had been poor a few years before. New 
plantations were known to pay for themselves with a second 
crop. Ice transported from Maine chilled the mint juleps that 
planter barons sipped in their magnolia-scented gardens. The 
conservative aristocracy of Virginia and the Old South else- 
where except South Carolina where Calhoun led the radi- 
cals was overborne by these sudden ascendants to wealth and 
power. The equivocal manners of the parvenu, insinuating 
themselves into the counsels of the South, matched the harsh 
behavior of the northern radicals, threat for threat, hard name 
for hard name. 

In 1807 when Elizabeth Houston and her nine children 
moved to Tennessee, responsible southern thought regarded 


slavery as an evil, for which, however, a solution seemed no 
longer quite apparent. Northern meddling tended to solidify 
the South. This was furthered in 1831 when Nat Turner's 
ghastly slave rebellion in Virginia took sixty white lives. Tur- 
ner was said to have read abolition literature. A resolution to 
abolish slavery failed in the Virginia Legislature because the 
people did not wish the free blacks on their hands. For better 
or worse the negroes were a fixed part of the; population, and 
the South believed they could only be controlled as slaves. A 
slave's lot was not what abolitionists represented it to be, how- 
ever, and with all its defects, the charm of southern life was 
preferred by most European visitors to the United States. 

One southern white family in five owned slaves. The white 
population of the South in 1860 was 9,000,000. The number 
of slave-holders was 384,000, the number of slaves, 3,950,000. 
The great nobles of the cotton kingdom owning fifty slaves or 
more did not exceed 8,000 heads of families. 

Many features of this oligarchy were molded, to a degree, 
by the necessity of opposition to northern extremists. To 
say that Garrison, the father of the American Anti-Slavery 
Society, which had such a hand in the molding, failed to appre- 
ciate the South' s problems is hardly enough. His advocacy of 
"the immediate enfranchisement of our slave population" was 
savage and lawless. But his society grew slowly. In 1840 it 
was short of 200,000 members which, distributed among a free 
state population of 9,729,000, is not impressive. 

The northern threat was very real, nevertheless. The North 
had grown less colorfully but more soundly than the South. By 
1850 it had nearly twice the white population. Wealth and 
political influence were more broadly distributed. The trend 
was to hem the South about with an inflexible ring of free states 
and strip it piecemeal of its disproportionate political power. 
The South saw this as slow destruction, and resisted. But the 
North was firm and only the British menace wrung its consent 
to the admission of Texas. 

Sam Houston had observed these portentous changes with 


peculiar penetration. The annexation of Texas brought its 
problems to the United States, but it was our best way out. 
Texas came in as a Slave State, but the status of the great 
-domain beyond the mountains which formed its dowry was to be 
determined. North and South buckled on their armor, and the 
session of Congress that was to convene in December of 1849 
was anticipated with a sense of apprehension. 

The preceding summer heard open threats of secession, 
General Houston declined to be drawn into controversies, ex- 
cept to say that while standing for southern rights, he stood 
also for national rights. He had a way of changing the sub- 
ject to his new place in Huntsville, to which the family repaired 
on leaving Cedar Point, the summer residence on Galveston 
Bay. Margaret disliked the isolation of Raven Hill, and the 
General had provided her with a third home and a great yellow 
coach in which to travel from one to another. ' 

The new Huntsville house bore some resemblance to Sam 
Houston's birthplace in Virginia. It stood on spacious grounds 
at the edge of the village, which prided itself on being a 
replica of an old-fashioned southern community. In the side 
yard General Houston erected of squared logs his particular 
sanctum, where he could whittle and scatter papers and pipe 
ashes to his heart's content. What tidying he permitted was 
entrusted to Joshua, the plantation blacksmith at Raven Hill 
and out-of-doors factotum about the Houston estates. The 
principal furniture consisted of a pine table and the great oak 
chair with a rawhide bottom that had served General Houston 
as President of the Republic. The walls were lined with 
books a law library, the old favorites of classical and stand- 
ard literature and Nelson's Cause and Cure of Infidelity, 
Here the General spent many hours each day and took his 

In mid-November he set out for Washington. His first 
letter en route was from East Texas. 


"18th Nov 1850 

"I am here, and as I have time to write I am happy to do 
so. ... 

"The day has passed quietly for me, for I had no company 
in the stage. ... I can tell you no news of this section only 
that my friend Hogg has been acquitted for killing Chan- 
dler. . . . 

"If God wills I shall press on my journey so as to have as 
much time as possible to spend with our relations in Alabama. 
I have no expectation that any thing important will transpire 
until after Holy Days. 

"I do pray that you may be cheerful in my absence and not 
repine at what is unavoidable. . . . 

"As it is Sunday night I will not write to you on any mat- 
ters of business. 

"My love to all 

"Ever thine 



"P S Tell Sam, Nannie, & Maggy, that I have preserved all tht* 

roses and chrysanthemums which they gave me." 1 

"Maggy" was the baby, named for her mother. 

The early weeks of Congress saw a confusion of suggestions 
to which no great attention was paid. The nation awaited the 
Voice of Henry Clay. The return of Clay to public life ap- 
pealed to the imagination. For six years the Great Com- 
promiser had lived in retirement with his blooded horses and 
his blue-grass. In 1820 and again in 1833 this moderate south- 
ern statesman had calmed the seas of national politics troubled 
by slavery. 

In January of 1850 he laid before the Senate an expertly 
balanced program to which Sam Houston had contributed some 
important ideas. Mr. Clay made a two-day speech in support 
of his proposals. He spoke as an old man whose remaining 
ambition was to give his country peace. He portrayed the 
glories of the Union, which he and every other old man present 


had seen born and grow. He said these could be preserved if 
each side would pursue a reasonable course of give and take. 

The speech was answered by Calhoun who championed dis- 
union in a dramatic utterance. Mr. Calhoun also was an old 
man and his sands were almost run. Too weak to deliver his 
reply to Clay, he was conducted to his place in the Senate 
while his words were declaimed by a friend. Nothing would 
satisfy this uncompromising patriarch but a constitutional 
amendment, perpetuating the balance of power between the sec- 
tions. Furthermore the North must cease its propaganda 
against slavery. Otherwise, "let the states . . . part in 

As the author of this defiance tottered from the Chamber he 
accidentally confronted Mr. Clay. Old Calhoun jerked his 
head erect and met the glance of his adversary in the partizan 
battles of more than thirty years. For a few seconds neither 
spoke. Then they fell into each other's arms. The Senate 
never saw the venerable firebrand again. He was dead in four 

Daniel Webster eulogized the memory of his southern col- 
league in the Chamber, but by this time he, too, had brought 
his long public career to a remarkable close. In a powerful 
address he had supported the Clay compromises and killed his 
own chances for the presidency. Our greatest orator and one 
of our greatest statesmen, Webster embodied the qualities- that 
distinguished the New England gentleman of a fading era. He 
was the last man to grace the Senate in a blue broadcloth coat 
with brass buttons. Few public men in our history have been 
more greatly revered. This popularity he sacrificed to safe- 
guard the Union. The North rang with denunciation. "Web- 
ster is a fallen star ! A Lucifer descending from the heavens !" 

Sam Houston also braved the hostility of his homeland. He 
was the first senator of prominence to support Clay on the 
floor. He spoke with great solemnity. "I must say that I am 
sorry that I cannot offer the prayers of the righteous that nry 
petition be heard. But I beseech those whose piety will permit 


them reverentially to offer such petitions, that they will pray 
for this Union, and . . . ask of Him who buildeth up and 
pulleth down nations- . . . [to] unite us. I wish, if this 
Union must be dissolved, that its ruins may be the monument of 
my grave." 

The South, and especially Texas, resented these words. 
The country beyond the Sabine had sustained itself outside of 
the Union and did not doubt its capacity to do so again. 

This had no effect on Houston. When the Southern States 
held a convention in Nashville, he ridiculed the meeting and the 
Texas delegates in particular. He refused to acknowledge the 
leadership of Jefferson Davis, whom he dismissed as "cold as a 
lizard and ambitious as Lucifer." In the contest at hand Hous- 
ton was on the winning side. The Clay proposals were even- 
tually adopted, and the Kentucky Senator died in room number 
sixteen of the National Hotel, serene in the belief that 
he had res-cued his country from danger. During the long 
struggle the personal breach between General Houston and 
Jackson's old enemy was healed and Houston traveled to Lex- 
ington to attend the funeral. 


The time had come to cast an eye over the field in quest of 
candidates for 1852. Despite the industry of party leaders 
and of business interests who wished to keep the slavery question 
out of politics, party lines swayed before the pressure. The 
Democratic party, in general terms the party of the West, was 
shifting its center of gravity southward and had altered in 
other respects since its domination by the Union-loving Jack- 
son. The conservative Whig party, uniting the old blue-stock- 
ing elements- of New England and the southern seaboard, was 
drifting northward. 

In neither case was a majority of the political change- 
abouts perfectly satisfied with its new environments. But 
there were no other places to go, since the old party mechanisiBs 


remained sufficiently staunch to resist attempts at building new 
parties. The changed internal conditions of each party com- 
plicated the work of selecting candidates, however. 

Had the Democrats maintained the party of Jackson, Gen- 
eral Houston's fight for the compromises of 1850 would have 
stood him in good stead. This contest had gained Houston 
the approval of the moderates everywhere. In the spring of 
1851 Ashbel Smith, not an inferior observer, made a tour of the 
country and sailed for a holiday visit to Europe, writing to 
Houston from London. "Without a shadow of a doubt public 
opinion at the North as well as the South regards you as 
decidedly the strongest candidate of the Democratic party; 
and many Whigs have expressed to me their opinion that you 
could be elected." 2 Houston's strength was with the people, 
however, rather than with politicians, which rendered his 
resources in a large measure inarticulate. As a remedy, Smith 
suggested steps "to secure the attendance of the right sort of 
men from the several states in the next convention." 

Houston did little about this, however. Seemingly he did 
little about anything calculated to enhance the fortunes of an 
aspirant to office. The country was at the feet of the visiting 
Hungarian patriot, Kossuth, who especially desired to cultivate 
General Houston. The General met him politely, but that was 
the extent of his welcome to the popular idol, whom he felt 
should be at home fighting. Then there were the Indians. Sam 
Houston embraced their emissaries in public and made speeches 
about their wrongs. Befriending an Indian or snubbing a hero 
has made no public man any votes, notwithstanding that 
America ultimately wearied of the splendid Kossuth. 

Opposing politicians did not neglect the opportunities pre- 
sented by this unconventional behavior. After all, was not this 
fabled hero of San Jacinto just a wilful and aging eccentric 
who dressed peculiarly, whittled for children, distributed copies 
of Nelson on infidelity and wrote touching sentiments in ladies 5 
albums? It was charitably whispered that a too tardy relin* 
quishment of more entertaining habits might be responsible for 


this decline. The opium story seems to have been tisef ally re- 
vived. This tale was first sponsored in 1836 by Major James 
H. Perry, Texas Army, and Burnet's spy who had broken 
bread with Sam Houston as a member of his staff. Major 
Perry had abandoned the military profession, however. He 
was now pastor of a well-attended church in New York City, 
and still blackening the character of General Houston. 

The General did not go about a great deal socially, 
although he was still a favorite of the type that ladies vaguely 
called "interesting." In a hostess's memory book containing 
sentiments by the hands of Zachary Taylor, Hannibal Hamlin, 
John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis, he wrote: 

"Woman is lovely to the sight, 

As gentle as the dews of even 
As bright as morning's earliest light 

And spotless as the snows of Heaven." 3 

This attitude moved one wit to predict that if General 
Houston were elected president he would have a Cabinet of 
women who would boss him. 

Although by no means indifferent to Ashbel Smith's politi- 
cal efforts, Houston's replies to his 1 letters were filled with 
personal things. Smith was lonely, and Houston's repeated 
advice was to marry. There was also young Miller, the Sen- 
ator's former secretary. "Write by return mail and in better 
spirits. I mean better Heart. . . . Get married Miller while 
young ! ! !" "Absence does not lessen my affection for you, tho 
it increases my anxiety! Will you not marry Miller? You 
must do so !" 4 

When Thomas Boyers, of Gallatin, Tennessee, called, the 
Senator showed him more than the perfunctory attentions. 
"Very adroitly and after more than one interview, he led me to 
speak of his wife [Eliza], and then succeeded question and 
question, many of them of the most trivial character in regard 
to her." 5 Mr. Boyers did not record the substance of his 
replies, but he may have spoken without reserve for, after allj 


there did not seem to be a great deal to relate. After the Texas 
divorce Eliza's sudden marriage to Dr. Elmore Douglass, of a 
wealthy county family, had been a surprise in view of her pre- 
vious refusal to countenance admirers or suggestions of divorce. 
Eliza was twenty-nine when she remarried, and Doctor Douglass 
much older, a mild widower and father of a large brood of chil- 
dren. Eliza had borne him three or four more heirs. This 
considerable family lived very quietly in the shaded town house 
in Gallatin, spending the summers on a plantation. 

Peaceful Gallatin was disposed to forget and, tacitly, to 
forgive, but in Nashville discussion of the General's political 
future not unnaturally recalled the past. If the memory of an 
aged surgeon has served him rightly, an aspect of the historic 
estrangement was discussed at the University of Nashville in a 
lecture by a learned member of the medical profession. 6 

General Houston continued his faithful attendance at 
church service, but as a penitent outside the fold, absenting 
himself from communion on the ground that to partake would 
constitute a sacrilege. The spiritually serene years of Sam 
jEIouston's life had been spent with the Indians whose world 
invisible had soothed his soul when the white man's world, in- 
cluding the vice-regents of its gods, was in arms against him* 
This made matters difficult. 

A clergyman in Texas went over the Scriptures with Gen- 
eral Houston in an attempt to convince him that he might 
taste the wine of communion without offense. Returning to 
Washington the General wrestled with the issue all winter, and 
on March 6, 1851, he filled Margaret's heart with joy. "To- 
morrow is our communion day at E Street Baptist Church. If 
the Lord spares me, I expect to attend and partake of the 
sacrament of our Lord's supper. ... I know I am a sinner 
and . , . I feel that I do not love God as I ought to. ... 
Pray for me dearest. . . . Thy devoted SAM HousxoN." 7 

Thus time went by. As the nominating conventions ap- 
proached. General Houston's friends felt that the situation of 
their man was hopeless. Congressman Andrew Johnson, of 


Tennessee, wrote to a relative: "Dan the God-like is considered 
out of the fight. . . . Scott will be the Whig nominee." As 
to the Democrats, "All agree that if Sam Houston could receive 
the nomination he would be elected by a greater majority than 
any other person." 8 Johnson was a real Jacksonian> and there- 
fore biased in Houston's favor, but this was not true of Sumner, 
of Massachusetts, who, after a talk with Houston, confessed his 
astonishment "to find himself so much of his inclining. . . . 
With him the anti-slavery interests would stand better than 
with any other man." 9 

The Whigs, whose two lone presidential victories had been 
won by military idols of no political experience, put up Winfield 
Scott. On the forty-ninth ballot the Democrats nomi- 
nated the obscure Franklin Pierce, of New Hampshire. Hous- 
ton did not permit his own name to go before the Convention, 
but supported Pierce whose devastating victory over Scott was 
tailed as a guarantee of the permanence of the Compromise. 


But northern radicals took another view. "There is no 
hope," wrote Wendell Phillips. "We shall have Cuba in a year 
or two, Mexico in five. 55 A "vast slave empire united with 
Brazil" would darken the hemisphere. There was some cause 
for this warning. Pierce panned out an instrument of the 
southern ultras, and was repudiated by Sam Houston, thence- 
forward a senator without a party. 

The effort to add Cuba to the slave domain was renewed, 
although less violently than in 1851 when a son of the Attorney- 
General of the United States died before a firing squad 
in Havana. Better luck now attended William Walker, a 
young Tennesseean of the type that twenty years before made 
good lieutenants for Houston in Texas. With a band of Amer- 
icans he subdued Nicaragua, declared himself president anc 1 
sent an ambassador to Washington. 

The triumphant southerners advanced on a broad front 


Their first thrust was audacious. It contemplated the destruc- 
tion not only of the Compromise of 1850, but of the Missouri 
Compromise, which had been the steadying force in our internal 
affairs for more than thirty years. Stephen A. Douglas, a 
Democrat of Illinois, burning with presidential ambition, intro- 
duced his Kansas-Nebraska Bill, the mischievous features of 
which were inspired by a southern radical, Atchison, of Mis- 
souri. This measure would open the whole West from Iowa 
to the Mountains' to slavery by the principle of "squatter 
sovereignty," which permitted the residents to decide whether 
they should have slaves or exclude them. The tacit assumption 
was that the northern part of this territory would be free and 
the s-outhern part would be s]ave. 

This attempt at the literal leveling of the work of 1850 and 
of 1820, about which had grown a patriotic regard, was testi- 
mony of a new spirit. Yet such was the composition of the 
Senate, and the astuteness of the managers of the bill, that 
early chances of success crystallized into certainty. No state 
was more ardent for the bill than Texas, and General Houston 
was not expected to oppose his electorate. Still 5 "incredible as 
this may be," a correspondent of the Richmond Enquirer heard 
"that General Sam Houston, of Texas, will vote against the 
Nebraska bill. . . . Nothing can justify this treachery. 9 ' 10 

It was quite true. Houston not only voted against the bill, 
being the only southern Democrat to do so, but he led the hope- 
less opposition with a clarity of vision not surpassed by any 
senator on the floor. He foresaw the consequences of reopen- 
ing the agitation allayed in 1850. 

At a night session General Houston stood beneath the con- 
centric circles of gas-lights to make his closing address. The 
galleries were filled. 

"I had fondly hoped, Mr. President, that having attained 
my present period of life, I should pass the residue of my days, 
be they many or few, in peace and tranquility. . . . My 
hopes are less sanguine now. My anxieties increase. Sir, if 
this repeal takes place, I will have seen the commencement of 


the agitation, but the youngest child now born, will not live 
to witness its termination." The speaker recalled the compro- 
mise of 1820. He reviewed the "drama" of 1850. What 
necessity had arisen for the destruction of these bulwarks? 
"None." "I ask again, what benefit is to result to the South 
from this measure? . . . Will it secure these territories to 
the South. No, sir, not at all." On the contrary "it furnished 
those in the North, who are enemies of the South, with efficient 

Senator Houston cited a factor not mentioned elsewhere in 
the debates. What provision would be made for the forty 
thousand Indians inhabitating the domain in question? He 
made a plea for them, although with "little hope that any 
appeal I can make for the Indians will do any good." Nor 
was this the last time that The Raven detained an impatient 
Senate with his 1 eloquence to ask justice for "a race of people 
rhom I am not ashamed to say have called me brother." 

His conclusion was brief. The symbolic eagle above the 
chair of the presiding officer was draped in black for Webster 
und Clay. Must this badge of woe also represent "a fearful 
omen of future calamities which await our nation in event this 
bill should become a law? ... I adjure you, harmonize and 
preserve this nation. . . . Give us peace I" 11 

Four days later the bill was passed. Houston was pilloried 
at mass meetings in the South. The Texas Legislature and the 
Texas State Democratic Convention formally censured him, 
and notice was served that with the expiration of his s-enatorial 
term Sam Houston's public career would close in disgrace. 

There was work for' the big yellow coach that summer in 
Texas. Mrs. Houston had asthma, and thinking to benefit he* 
by the higher altitude, the General built another residence at 
Independence, where her mother lived and ran the Baptist 
Church. This gave the Houstons four homes, each maintained 
in readiness for instant occupancy. The General himself pre 


ferred Huntsville, though Houston City held a place in his 
heart. The old Capitol building, once his pride, was still ac- 
cessible as the Capitol Hotel. 

The march of years had not diminished his passion for 
motion, and the Houston family, with its cluster of little ones, 
whose number methodically increased to seven, became as mo- 
bile as cavalry. A notion to trek would strike the General 
In an hour the children would be rounded up by Margaret and 
the maids. With trunks 1 lashed to the boot, a surplus negro or 
two perched on the top and a flourish of Tom Blue's long 
whip, the great yellow carry-all and four horses would be off 
in a cloud of rolling dust, General Houston leading the way 
in a single-seated top buggy beside the gigantic Joshua, his 
driver. . . . On, on always in flight. 

But the long quest for spiritual repose ended that autumn 
when, at the close of a service, Sam Houston knelt before the 
altar in Independence and asked to be received into the church, 
The bell in the tower, a gift of Nancy Lea and so inscribed, 
tolled the tidings, which in clerical circles assumed the scope of 
a national event. On the nineteenth of November, 1854, the 
convert waded the chilly waters- of Rocky Creek and was 
baptized by Reverend Rufus C. Burleson. 

"The announcement of General Houston's immersion," re- 
counted a church periodical of wide repute, "has excited the 
wonder and surprise of many who have supposed that he was 
*past praying for* but it is no marvel to us. . . .Three 
thousand and fifty clergymen have been praying for him ever 
since the Nebraska outrage in the Senate." 12 

Another Rubicon had been crossed. 

"Well, General," remarked a Texas friend, "I hear your 
sins were washed away." 

"I hope so," Sam Houston replied. "But if they were all 
washed away, the Lord help the fish down below." 13 

General Houston engaged to pay half of the minister's 
salary "My pocketbook was baptised, too" and shortly 
afterward was riding horseback when his mount stumbled. 


"God damn a stumbling horse!" 

John H. Reagan, with whom the General was traveling, 
professed to be shocked. Houston dismounted, knelt in the 
road and asked forgiveness. 


The ensuing session of Congress revealed the harvest of 
the Kansas-Nebraska Bill to be as General Houston had 
prophesied. Missourians- streamed across the line to hold 
Kansas for slavery. New England sent emigrants and ad- 
venturers to dispute the issue. The result was armed conflict. 
The first shots of the Civil War were fired, not at Sumter, but 
at Lawrence. 

This sobered neither the South nor the North. Knives and 
a pistol were drawn in the House of Representatives, and Con- 
gressman Brooks, of South Carolina, answered a philippic of 
Senator Sumner by cudgeling the statesman from Massa- 
chusetts- nearly to death at his desk. "Last night I was to 4 
Party at Speaker Banks," Houston wrote to Margaret, "and 
saw 'Uncle Toms Cabin' alias Madam Beecher Stowe. She is 
certainly a hard object to look on. I ... ate an ice creant 
& left." 14 From Houston the words sound ungallant, although 
even moderate southerners 1 regarded the mild Mrs. Stowe as 
something of a demon. Her novel was the most widely read 
piece of literature in the world. Not since Cervantes laughed 
away Spain's chivalry had the pen launched such a blow at an 

There was some recrudes-cence of General Houston's pres- 
tige. The Democracy of New Hampshire endorsed him for 
the presidency and endeavored to stampede the country for 
his nomination in 1856. The General had no party behind 
him, but a new party had become inevitable. In this lay the 
hope of those who believed Sam Houston to be the man to 
o'ermaster chaos- and lead the nation from ruin. Out of a 
curious secret society called Native Americans, or Know- 


Nothings, from a formula in its ritual, was emerging a politi- 
cal organization that gave promise of becoming this national 
union party. In 1854 it carried several states and continued 
to gain. It elected Houston's friend, Banks, speaker of the 
House and began to look to the Texas Senator as national 
standard-bearer. But the Whig party collapsed, and the 
northern wing, going over to the Know-Nothings practically 
in a body, vitiated the prospects of that organization, already 
handicapped by the anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant doctrines 
of the secret order. A new grouping, calling itself Republican, 
marched from the West and claimed the day. 

The overturn of party definitions was complete* The Demo- 
cratic party, founded by Thomas Jefferson as the party of 
human rights, had become very deeply involved with property 
rights negroes in bondage. The Republican party, de- 
scendant of the Federalists of Hamilton, became in this par- 
ticular a champion of human rights. The name Republican 
was chosen because Jefferson had used it. Rather despite 
themselves at first, the Republicans were more sectional than 
national in their outlook. Many new party men were opposed 
to the radical type of opposition to slavery, however, and 
thought well of Sam Houston whose name they cheered in their 
New Jersey Convention. 

So the realignment for 1856: a failure of nationalism and 
a triumph of sectionalism. But not without misgivings- ! The 
Republicans nominated Fremont, the California conquistadore, 
who, as Benton's son-in-law, was supposed to appeal to the 
Jacksonians ; the Democrats nominated Buchanan, of Pennsyl- 
vania, a Jackson follower with a colorless record; the Ameri- 
can party (Know-Nothings) nominated Millard Fillmore and 
Andrew Jackson Donelson ! In a rather melancholy letter of 
advice to a young friend, Sam Houston gave lengthy reasons 
for supporting the Fillmore ticket. They could have been 
reduced to three words : Save the Union ! 18 

Mr. Buchanan was- elected la a fairly close contest- Fill* 
<wore carried one state -Maryland. 


The southern extremists remained in the saddle and rode 
heedlessly on, not without the spur of northern provocation 
pricking their flanks. The Dred Scott decision opened the 
entire West to slavery. The triumphant southerners cut the 
tariff again and began their successful assaults upon the 
New England ship subsidies. Sam Houston had fought his 
fight to harmonize the factions and had failed ; so had every 
other man. His term had until 1859 to run, but his career 
in the Senate was over. He turned to preserve, if possible, 
his turmoiled Texas from the wreck. 

In August of 1857 a governor was to be elected. Against 
the advice of friends and without resigning from the Senate 
Houston announced his- candidacy. The Democratic party and 
the political machinery of the state were in the hands of the 
radicals. Waiving the need of party, press or general elec- 
tioneering paraphernalia, he ran simply as Sam Houston. It 
seemed a forlorn hope, although it was by no means a fool- 
hardy one. Houston's political capital could scarcely sink 
lower, and he might redeem it. Sam Houston had been in tighi 
places before in Texas. 

The campaign was violent. The regular Democratic 
nominee was Hardin R. Runnels 1 , a square- jawed fighter. But 
Mr. Runnels was unfamiliar with political methods of the 
spacious days of the Republic and of Sam Houston's prime. 
His adversary simply changed the calendar on him. 

Sam Houston had spent too much of his life in the camps 
of the frontier to swing free in the stultifying atmosphere of 
the futile Chamber on Capitol Hill, but in Texas he was himself 
again, carrying the action to his enemy in regular Brazos Bot- 
toms style. Issues were nothing, personalities everything, and 
the surprised Runnels found himself on the defensive. Back and 
forth across the plains and up and down the strings of towns 
that dotted the watercourses, rolled Sam Houston in his old 
top buggy. The summer was hot, and he would peel off his 


shirt and harangue the folk clad in a rumpled linen duster that 
reached from his neck to his ankles. He stirred the people. He 
quickened them as they had not been quickened since 'thirty- 
six and 'forty-two. He said things- on the stump for which 
another man would have been shot. This appealed. A legen- 
dary hero had come to life the weather-beaten figure of "Old 
Sam Jacinto" himself, with a heart for any fortune and a hand 
for any fight. 

While General Houston was speaking at Lockhart, Judge 
W. S. Oldham, a Runnels lieutenant, rode up and began tak- 
ing books from his saddle-bags. 

"Be still, my friends, be still," Sam Houston said. "I will 
report the cause of this commotion. It is only Oldham, only 
Oldham. He is opening some books, but they are not the 
bank books he stole and sunk in the White River, in Arkansas. 55 

The Judge bit his cigar in two. 

"He wants to have me assassinated!" roared Houston, 
adding that Oldham had signed a circular declaring Sam Hous- 
ton should be "handled without gloves." Drawing from his 
pocket a pair a large buckskin gloves, the General put them 
on and gingerly produced a copy of the paper in question. 
"Here it is," he said. "This paper is too dirty to handle with- 
out gloves." Adjusting his spectacles the General began to 
read from the circular, which characterized him as a traitor. 

"What!" he challenged, throwing the document to the 
ground. "I a traitor to Texas !" Old Sam took s-everal steps, 
hobbling, as he occasionally did, on the San Jacinto leg. "Was 
it for this I bared my bosom to the hail of battle to be 
branded a traitor in my old age?" 

The crowd went wild, for in the preoccupation of his 
oratory the General's duster had become unbuttoned, revealing 
to the world that bosom, covered with hair "as thick as a 
buffalo mop," by one spectator's estimate. 

Retrieving the round robin Houston asked permission to 
read the names signed to it. 

"Williams-on S. Oldham though he stole and sunk those 


bank books in the river and ran away to Texas, he is not yet 
in the penitentiary. J. M, Steiner a murderer. John Mar- 
shall a vegetarian he won't eat meat and one drop of his 
blood would freeze a dog. . . ," 16 

At Brenham Houston's right to speak in the court-house 
was questioned. It was quite all right, the General told the 
assembled citizens. "I am not a taxpayer here. I did not 
contribute to buy a single brick or beam in this building, and 
have no right to speak here. But," and here his tone changed, 
"if there is a man within the sound of my voice who desires to 
hear Sam Houston speak and will follow me hence to yonder 
hillside under the shade of yon spreading live oak on the soil 
of Texas I have a right to speak there because I have watered 
it with my blood!" 17 

Runnels won the election by 32,552 votes to 23,628. Hous- 
ton wrote Ashbel Smith a humorous letter, telling the wary 
old bachelor not to be downcast, but to come to Huntsville and 
meet "one of the Grandest girls, said to be, in America. Oh, 
I do want someone who has seen other days in Texas, to 
talk with ! Come and see me, I bind myself to make you laugh.* 


During the last eighteen months of his term. Senator 
Houston occupied most of his- hours in the Chamber with a 
knife and a pine stick. In March of 1859, his thirteen years 
of service were up. The General made a round of farewell 
visits including one to the White House, recalling that forty- 
five years before, as a f urloughed soldier with an arm in a sling, 
he had gazed upon its ruins. 

Thanks to the steam cars which with many vicissitudes 
ran by relays the whole distance to New Orleans, the trip to 
Texas could be accomplished in eight days. The countless 
times in his restless life that Sam Houston had journeyed to 
and from Washington! The city he had seen grow from a 
spraddling village occupied a peculiar place in the many 


chambered magazine of his destiny. It mattered not how 
rudely or how far away events might fling him. With the pre- 
cision of a thing ordained, he'd pick a path unerringly back* 
It was incredible now, that by some pass of circumstances, he 
should not retrace the familiar course. 

This was not to be. When Sam Houston crossed the 
Sabine and set foot on Texas soil, he was never to leave it 


A YEAK. before his return to Texas as a private citizen Gen- 
eral Houston had forecast his entry into the "sheperdizing 
business," and promised to round out his days tending sheep on 
a hillside. The arrival of a collection of blooded rams from 
Louisiana lent verisimilitude to the proposal. Governor Run- 
nels desired ampler assurances, however. He was thinking of 

The Governor's misgivings were borne out. When Mr. 
funnels was renominated, the sheep scheme faded into the 
empyreal blue and Sam Houston announced his candidacy as an 
independent "opposed alike to the Black Republicans and the 
little less dangerous fanatics and Higher law men at the South." 

Two years before Houston had conducted the only sort of 
campaign by which he could hope to gain anything. He had 
not expected to win the election, but to make a showing and 
encourage the frightened opposition to the radicals. In this he 
professed to have succeeded beyond his expectations. Now the 
tables were turned. The radicals were alarmed and afraid to 
speak their minds. The Convention that nominated Runnels 
defeated a resolution in favor of the resumption of the slave 
trade, and on the stump the Governor repudiated a desire for 
"immediate" secession. How could such pretense hope to pre- 
vail against Sam Houston? He gave his adversaries no peace. 
In a campaign more dignified than that of 1857, he drove home 



his arguments against disunion. Two cargoes of savages were 
landed from Africa on the Texas coast. Houston made the 
most of it. The election was his by a vote of 36,257 to 27,500, 
or close to an exact reversal of the majority of two years 

It was a second San Jacinto. Sam Houston regained the 
troubled stage of national affairs. What manner of man was 
this Texas trojan, who single-handed had thrown back the 
southern extremists for their first defeat in eleven years? The 
South smarted under the reverse,, and the party leaders in Texas 
had recourse in childish fury. In the Legislature an appropria- 
tion for furnishings- for the Executive Mansion was obstructed 
by a controversy whether Sam Houston, who had lived in a 
wigwam, should be surrounded by civilized luxuries at public 
expense. The House debated whether it should offer its quar- 
ters for the inaugural ball and, if so, whether the carpet should 
be removed. The formalities of administering the oath of 
office to the Governor-Elect became a subject for biting al- 

Houston made his own inaugural arrangements. Instead of 
taking the oath in the House chamber before the Legislature 
and a select few, he delivered his inaugural address on the por- 
tico of the Capitol. A vast crowd stood on the sloping lawn. 
"When Texas united her destiny with that of the United 
States," Houston told them, "she entered into not the North 
nor South. Her connection was . . . national." 

Thus nine months after leaving the Senate Sam Houston 
assumed for the seventh time the helm of affairs in Texas. On 
five of the occasions preceding he had triumphed: twice as presi- 
dent of the Republic, once as commander-in-chief of the Armies 
and twice as first citizen, when he had thwarted chaos during 
the regimes 1 of Burnet and Lamar. Once, as commander-in- 
chief, he had failed, but to retrieve personally what he had lost. 
Houston had proved the only leader from Austin down con- 
sistently capable of handling Texas which, in its greatest crisis, 
turned to him again. 


The Governor plunged into his duties with enormous energy. 
Within a month he had Legislature, state departments-, and 
even county officials in a whirl of activity, reorganizing the gov- 
ernmental machinery of the state. Texas was thinking more of 
of its own concerns and less of the agitation dividing the nation. 
In the Governor's eagerly awaited message to the Legislature, 1 
national issues were subordinated to local problems, but not 
without the calm assurance that "Texas will maintain the Con- 
stitution and stand by the Union." 

An aid to the General's program was Juan Nepomucino 
Cortina, by profession a bandit. Senor Cortina had formed 
for himself a principality, embracing several Texas counties on 
the lower Rio Grande and a corresponding stretch of domain on 
the Mexican side of the river, enabling him to exercise the rights 
of citizenship in two republics. His greater success was on the 
Texas side, where he had his personal envoy in the Legislature* 
controlled the custom-house at Brownsville and maintained 
an understanding with several sheriffs, one of them being his 
brother. After the election of Houston, whom he had opposed^ 
Cortina made a demonstration of his power. Riding into 
Brownsville, he held the city by force until obliged to retire be- 
fore Mexican Regulars from Matamoras to whom American 
citizens had appealed for protection. While Mexican soldiers 
policed the streets of Brownsville, Cortina withdrew to his for- 
tified hacienda, the Rancho del Carmen, nine miles away, and 
summoned reinforcements. When Houston took office the des 
perado had five hundred fighting men, and the border was in a 
state of alarm. 

Sam Houston sent three companies of Texas Rangers to 
attend to Cortina. A body of United States Regulars pre- 
ceded them, however, and in a pitched battle drove the bandit 
over the Rio Grande. Texas approved and was wholesomely 
diverted, while Houston's political enemies observed uneasily 
that during the excitement the Governor had assembled a rather 


heavy concentration of military power which he kept within 
easy reach. 

The border diversion sustained an interruption when a com- 
munication arrived from the Governor of South Carolina. In 
view of "the assaults upon the institution of slavery, and upon 
the rights ... of the Southern States" the time had come 
for these states to hold a convention to take measures "to 
protect . . . their property from the enemy." To this end 
the South Carolina Legislature had appropriated one hundred 
thousand dollars "for military emergencies." 

"With the spirit of courtesy which should actuate the Exe- 
cutive of one State in his intercourse with that of another," 
General Houston laid the communication before the Legis- 
lature, accompanied by a lengthy message. 2 "The Union was 
intended to be a perpetuity." The Governor reasoned against 
the abstract right of a state to secede. But granting this 1 right, 
the principle of secession was ruinous. Should the South form 
a new Confederacy, it would only split into smaller fragments 

A fierce fight followed in the Legislature. This body be- 
lieved overwhelmingly in the abstract right of secession and had 
a majority in favor of the overt acC. Sam Houston controlled 
agile minorities in each house, whose leaders he inspired with 
Courage and with craft. Majority and minority reports were 
brought to the floor. In a bewildering battle Houston confused 
issues and outwitted the majority. Texas did not accept the 
South Carolina invitation. 

So another personal victory, but the question was: How 
long, with his handful of followers, could Houston keep it up? 
He managed, however, to juggle until the Legislature ad- 
journed. But the calm was momentary. An issue fraught 
with greater dangers was at hand the fatal presidential cam- 
paign of 1860, 


The Democratic party was now the only one in Texas. 
Even Houston, maintaining himself from day to day by dint of 


desperate improvisation, called his driven little band Union 
Democrats. Texas sent to the National Convention at 
Charleston & delegation headed by ex-Governor Runnels, in- 
structed to go whole hog with the radical wing of the party. 
In framing the platform the southern group lost a point to the 
northerners, and the Texans with forty-odd other delegates 
walked out of the hall. The remainder cast fifty-seven 
ballots to select a nominee. Douglas polled a majority on every 
ballot, but under the two-thirds rule there was no choice. 

Earnest efforts were made to bring the factions together. 
A spokesman for the powerful New York delegation visited a 
caucus of the Texans. There was a simple way out, he said. 
Nominate Sam Houston and New York would give him a ma- 
jority of one hundred thousand. The Texas chairman voiced 
the sentiment of the delegation. "Sir, by ! I am the indi- 
vidual Sam Houston recently thrashed for Governor and any- 
thing that is laudatory to him is d d unpleasant to me !" s 

Peace measures failing, the Convention adjourned for two 
months, to reconvene in Baltimore on June eighteenth. The 
bolters agreed to meet in Richmond on June tenth. Irretriev- 
ably divided was the party of the white-haired warrior 
who had flung in John C. Calhoun's face: "Our Federal 
Union it must be preserved !" 

Two days before the curtain rose on the disaster at Charles- 
ton, the twenty-fourth anniversary of San Jacinto was ob- 
served. General Houston remained with his family, but there 
was the usual pilgrimage to the battle-field with firing of guns, 
display of flags, foregathering of old soldiers. The assemblage 
adopted a resolution. 

6f We have fallen upon evil times. Political jobbers have 
maneuvered and squabbled, when they should have labored for 
the public good; they have invented new questions to distract 
the public mind; they have arrayed one section against 
another. . . . The time has now arrived when . . . men of 
whatever section who love their country should unite upon 
candidates of national" rather than sectional character. 


"Therefore, be it resolved . . That we recommend our dis- 
tinguished fellow-citizen. General Sam Houston, as the people's 
candidate for the presidency . . . [and ask] all conserv- 
ative men, of all parties, in all sections of our Union" to sup- 
port him. 4 

The action at San Jacinto struck fire in every quarter of 
the country. People approved, but politicians bitterly dis- 
approved. There were parties enough and candidates enough 
as it was. The "regular" Democrats went ahead and nominated 
Douglas. The southern bolters, deaf to pleading, chose John 
C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky. The Republicans were more 
careful and more astute. Taking notice of the Houston sentr 
ment and of what it meant, they rejected their shining light, 
Seward, as too extreme in his opposition to slavery, and 
compromised on a newcomer in national politics, Abraham 
Lincoln, of Illinois. Sam Houston even received a few votes for 
vice-president in the Republican Convention. Houston's south- 
ern enemies promptly made the most of this, especially since 
the nomination went to Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine, whom th^ 
South had been taught to believe was a mulatto. 

A formidable body of voters was content with none of 
these selections, however. Mr. Breckinridge was no s-outheri; 
hotspur, and some of the hotspurs responsible for the Rich- 
mond Convention, fancied his choice to be a concession. They 
might have nominated Jeffers-on Davis. But the North was in 
no mood to discern such fine distinctions 1 and regarded the 
Breckinridge candidacy as a studied slap. Even more greatly 
inflamed was the South by the nomination of Lincoln. Again, 
it was not the man. Despite his- "house divided" speech, 
Lincoln's views of slavery were too moderate for most aboli- 
tionists. The northern radicals, unable to get a man more to 
their liking, were bound to support the ticket, however. Doug- 
las was tarred with the Kansas-Nebraska blunder. 

Thus the anxious interest centering upon the remaining 
nomination to be made. Calling itself the National Union 
party, the new political group had engaged an unus-ed Prssby- 


terian church in Baltimore and prepared to hold a Convex 
tion, beginning May ninth. The choice of name was- a happy 
one. National Union expressed precisely the sentiment of the 
vast, independent, voter-group whose ideas had not been met 
by any of the three nominations preceding, Partizans of the 
previous nominees booed the Baltimore affair and the San 
Jacinto "nomination" in the same breath, but they were really 
disturbed. A profound interest welled from the people who 
sought only a leader "to grasp this sorry scheme of things 
entire . . . and . . . remould it." 

San Jacinto had spoken, and it s-eemed with the voice of 
genius. The demand for Sam Houston as the National Union 
candidate exceeded that of all others whose names adorned 
the inevitable roster of "eligibles." His Texas triumphs- were 
fresh in the public mind. He had strength in every part of 
the country. Lincoln, Douglas and Brecldnridge were, each 
one, the choice of a section. That Houston would obtain the 
Rational Union nomination was not doubted. Correspondent& 
of the New York Herald, Times and Tribune, arriving in Balti- 
more the day before the sessions opened, were a unit in pre- 
dicting the selection of the former Texas Senator. The Hous- 
ton headquarters were at Barnum's 1 Hotel, those of John Bell, 
his only rival deserving of notice, at the slightly less swagger 
Eutaw House. 

But a sudden fear caught at the heart of the Houston 
managers. If the dead hand of the Whig party, which already 
had done so much to ruin the budding aspirations of one na- 
tional union party, should dominate this Convention, Houston 
and everything were lost. Senator Bell was a Union man from 
Tennessee with a good, mediocre record, but in no sense a na- 
tional leader or a figure of national caliber. He was an old- 
line Whig, however, and strong with the surviving remnants 
of that defunct party, which like a thousand industrious moles, 
had burrowed into the structure of the new hope that was to 
express its ideals at Baltimore. 

How deeply had the moles- bored in? During the organize 


tion of the Convention on the first day, it was apparent that 
they had bored rather far, but neutral observers still gave 
Houston the best chance. The impress of his personality and 
the prestige of his attainments 1 were definitely upon the Con- 
vention, which sought to imitate the tactics by which the Texas 
victories had been won. Dispensing with much time-honored 
campaign baggage, including a platform which few ever read 
and fewer understood, Houston had substituted a watch-word, 
"The Constitution and the Union!" The National Union 
party decided to do without a platform in favor of a slightly 
expanded copy of Sam Houston's 1 battle-cry, "The Constitu- 
tion of the Country, the Union of the States, and the enforce- 
ment of the laws. 53 

General Houston did not appear to benefit by this tribute, 
however. The night following the first sessions witnessed 
further switching to Bell, and the Houston phalanx of New 
York delegates was broken into. "The old regular-died-in-the- 
wool Whigs cannot swallow the independent soldier-statesman 
from Texas," wrote the Herald man in his dispatch. 

The next day nominations were in order. "Let us know no 
party but our Country and no platform but the Union," said 
Washington Hunt, of New York, the presiding officer, repeat- 
ing almost verbatim a recent phrase of General Houston. Gus- 
tavus A. Henry, the first orator of Tennessee, gave the name 
of John Bell. Texas was next on the roll of states. It offered 
Sam Houston. The nomination was seconded by Delegate 
Gerard, of New York, who made the best speech of the Conven- 
tion. He went to the point at once. "We can't carry New 
York with Bell but we can carry it with Sam Houston." "Give 
us this man, whose blood once ran like water in defense of the 
union now imperilled; who fought the Indians when they were 
enemies and lived with them when they were friends 1 ; who has 
been governor of two states ; who has drawn his sword in de- 
f ense of two republics ; who has been president of one and is 
now on his 1 way to that high office in the other. Give us this 
man who puts his party behind him, ... a man like old 


Jackson, "who knows no party when enemies attack his beloved 
Union. Give us this man and we will decorate the City of New 
York with banners, go to the Country and with emblems of 
devotion to the union, sprinkle the blood of its' defenders on 
the lintels of every door." 5 

It was useless. Bell polled 68% votes on the first ballot, 
Houston 57, and 128% were scattered among eight other as- 
pirants. On the second ballot Bell was nominated. The list- 
less choice for vice-president was the superannuated scholar, 
Edward Everett, of Harvard University a solid Whig ticket. 

The result at Baltimore took the heart out of the nationalist 
effort, and one by one editors who had been too forehanded 
removed from their mastheads the announcements reading: 
"For President, General Sam Houston of Texas." It was a 
hard fight to lose. 


Sam Houston had failed to gain the leadership of a new 
party, but the renewed evidences of his national stature en- 
couraged his friends' in Texas and awed his adversaries. The 
feverish spring and summer of 1860 brought many very real 
consolations to the fighting Governor. Sam Houston was sur- 
rounded by his- family for the longest period since Sam, Jr.> 
Jiad been a baby. The Executive Mansion was a habitation 
deserving of its title, and the Governor's large and happy 
domestic circle enhanced its splendor. The long and exacting 
hours of labor would have been too great a tax upon the 
Executive's strength except for Margaret, who superintended 
her husband's diet and guarded his periods of rest like a, 

The Mansion was the scene of social gatherings amid whidh 
the General moved with the grace of yore. The Nashville gal- 
lant of forty years gone by was a grand seignor, whose popu- 
larity with the fair had diminished little. General Houston 
was never merely "pleased" to meet one, but "honored" to make 
the acquaintance of gentlemen and "charmed" or "enchanted 5 * 


in the case of women, who were invariably "my lady" or 
"madame." A favored visitor to the Mansion was- Emily An- 
toinette, the sister of Margaret, although there had been a 
time when Emily Antoinette stood rather higher in the favor 
of her sister's husband than of her sister. The wealthy 
Mr. Bleds'oe had died and Emily had not worn her weeds long 
enough to suit Margaret, when she married Charles Power who 
had made a fortune in the diamond mines of Brazil. The new 
brother-in-law settled in Texas, had a sharp eye for business, 
and Houston liked him. At forty-eight Emily imported her 
dresses from Paris and defied the oblivion of middle age 
something of a social experiment in 1860, 

This, General Houston would have been the last to de- 
precate. His own wardrobe was as noteworthy as ever, and 
his jewelry more so. A friendly political opponent, encoun- 
tering the General in company, began to rally him on his 
passion for personal adornment. "Yes, yes," said Houston, 
"This watch fob you see has a story connected with it. Gen- 
eral Lafayette gave it to Andrew Jacks-on" under such and 
ajuch circumstances, and "General Jackson gave it to me," So 
on through a display of four or five finger rings, watch, gold- 
headed cane and gold-encased pencil. A tale went with each 
and the absorbed hearers lost the point that the General's 
critic wished to emphasize. 6 One thing General Houston passed 
over in his inventory, however a plain gold band, quite thin 
now, worn on the small finger of the left hand. It was his 
mother's mottoed ring. Through every vicissitude of life, Sam 
Houston had carried this talisman, the simple story of which 
no man knew. 

General Houston could not see too much of his children. 
All seven were at home, except Sam. The girls went to the town 
school in Austin, and Mrs 1 . Houston instructed them at home 
in Latin and in music. Maggie was the studious one. At 
the age of twelve she helped her father with his correspondence. 
Sam, who attended Colonel Allen's military academy at Bas- 
trop, was a tall, well-mannered boy of sixteen, above average 


in his studies and his popularity with the girls. The General 
was proud of Cadet Houston and, during the busiest days of 
his life, found time to write long letters to his son. 

"Don't smoke, nor chew . . . [or] carry concealed 
weapons. ... I look upon you as the one on whom my 
mantle is to fall. . . . It is natural that I should desire you 
to wear it worthily, aye nobly, and to give [it] additional 
lustre. 537 "Remember your Creator in the days of your 
youth ... & my Dear boy never associate with those 
who . . . sneer at the teachings of the Bible." 8 

But there was less of this than one might expect. For the 
most part Houston's letters to his son were filled with family 
and neighborhood news, not to mention Sam's girl friends 
Tula Clay, "the fair haired Octavia," Miss Rosa, Maggie 
Willis, Maggie Ragsdale and Miss Oldham, who looked "as 
blooming as a Pink, & attractive as a swamp cabbage. 55 

"I wish you to pay more attention to Languages, History, 
Geography and Grammar than to mathematics." Geometry 
had been one reason for the father's brief stay at Porter 
Academy. The reading of poetry also was listed as a waste of 
time ! "Lamar wrote poetry." Penmanship, however, was im- 
portant. "Be sure my dear Boy to catch your pen, far from the 
end. This I never learned. Had I it would have been a great 
thing for me." "I have procured for you Caius Marius sitting 
on the ruins of Carthage. . . . You will be instructed & de- 
lighted, as he was one of the Proudest Romans. 519 

Marius again a patriarch of seventy maintaining his sev- 
enth consulship by the sword, while civil war wet the paving 
stones of Rome. Sam Houston sustained his seventh reign in 
Texas by force of personality and the ability to govern men. 
He had not been popular in Austin since the "archive war," 
The story is told that when he arrived as governor a citizen of 
hard reputation mentioned that it would not be wise for Sam 
Houston to show himself on the streets. The Governor heard 
that this man was entertaining the diners at a local hotel with 
his threats. He went to the hotel and without a word seated 

A life mask of General Houston by Dexter, made 
in 1860 shortly before his refusal to swear alle- 
giance to the Confederacy and consequent depo- 
sition from the governorship. 

(By courtesy of General Houston's grandson, 
Franklin Williams, of Houston) 


The last known likeness of Sam Houston, made in 1862 or 1863, while secretly 
shaping events for a restoration of "His Republic." 

(An uwretouched daguerreotype found among the personal papers of AsJibel Smith. 
Reproduced ly courtesy of Major Ingham 8, Roberts^ of Houston) 


himself directly opposite the man. The tavern's clientele trod 
softly, but nothing occurred to disturb General Houston in the 
leisurely consumption of his meal. 

These things were useful. They kept green the tradition 
of an accepted courage that excused Sam Houston from duels. 
They formed a part of the invisible force that kept Cortina 
immured within the Mexican half of his domain, and restored 
the law's majesty on the frontiers. 

"Sam Huston. Govnr. ... I have bin reElected to the 
office of Assessor and Collector of Sansaba County. . . . 
Send me a SixShooter of the largest size and Buoy knife. 

. ESTEP." 10 

"Sir I have the Honor to report the success of Capt Clark 
and myself in over taking the horse theives that you will 
recollect seeing us on their trail in Austin on the 4th of July 
you'll also recolect Col John Burleson giving my little son 
Kossuth an introduction to you in your buggy who told you he 
had heard so much talk of you that he expected to see a man 
big as an Elephant whereupon after a few more words you 
presented him to 50 ct what do you think he did with it Gov- 
ernor permit me to tell you that he bought a rope that hung 
the thieves. . . . J. B. BARRY 1st Sargant Bosque County 
minute men.' 511 

Although personal and political animosities made it a bitter 
pill, Houston gave pro forma support to Bell, and tried to 
prepare the people for the election of Lincoln. He left a sick 
bed to address a union rally at Austin urging that the success 
of the Republicans would afford no reason for secession. 

In Texas the Governor continued as much in the public eye 
as any candidate. The individuality of Sam Houston was a 
part of the common domain, like the Llano Estacado. Steam- 
boats and babies basked in the reflected glory of the magic 
name. Now that a few miles of railway had been laid down in 
Texas one read this head-line in the Republican: 



For such was the name of "the new and splendid LocomcN 
tive" of the Southern Pacific Railroad. 
In the same newspaper : 


"Messrs Cohen & Bredig 
"Have Declared a Great War 

"against . . . E. Schwartz. ..." 

whom one infers to have been an unethical competitor. 

The trend of informed political opinion did not agree 
with Messrs. Cohen & Bredig. The North would not fight. 
Displaying a lady's handkerchief one speaker volunteered to 
mpe up every drop of blood that should be spilled over seces. 
sion. Another orator offered to drink every drop, 


The election passed off fairly quietly in Texas* Before the 
result was known General Houston wrote to his son. "Your 
Dear Ma sends you by stage a bundle with eatables in it. I 
hope they may be agreeable to your palate." Whatever the re- 
sult of the election, "If an attempt should be made to destroy 
our Union . . . there will be blood shed. ... I wish you 
to write Cousin Mart Lea . . . and beg of him never to drink 
a drop of liquor . . . [but] don't let him know that I have 
given you the hint." 12 

The count of the ballots revealed that, although receiving 
less than two-fifths of the votes cast, Lincoln had a small pop- 
ular plurality and a good majority in the electoral college. Bell 
ran last, polling 590,000 votes to 847,000 for Breckinridge, 
1,365,000 for Douglas and 1,857,000 for Lincoln. Texas cast 
4)7,000 votes for Breckinridge, 15,000 for Bell and none that 
were counted for Douglas or Lincoln. 


Bonfires burned and Lone Star flags appeared. Secession 
seemed a certainty. Houston's Huntsville neighbors addressed 
a petition for guidance to the Governor. Houston's answer 
was to be calm and reflect. "Mr. Lincoln has been elected upon 
a sectional issue. If he expects to maintain that sectional issue 
during his administration, it is well that we should know it. If 
he intends to administer the government with equality and fair- 
ness, we should know that. Let us wait and see. 5513 

Houston was deluged with petitions to call the Legislature. 
On November twentieth Ashbel Smith arrived in the capital, 
bearing such a petition. Sam Houston received his friend 
affectionately, and two days later published a Thanksgiving 
Day proclamation, asking citizens humbly to beseech Divine 
direction "in this hour of peril." All petitions to summon the 
Legislature were rejected, but the tidal wave of secession senti- 
ment rolled on. The narrow ground on which Sam Houston 
stood began to crumble beneath his feet when members of his 
own Administration whom he had carried into office on a Union 
ticket deserted their leader. While Houston penned his 
Thanksgiving proclamation, a little knot of officials gathered 
in the office of the Attorney-General. On December third they 
disclosed their plan for circumventing the Governor. A peti- 
tion was placed in circulation calling for the election of 
delegates to a Convention to meet on January twenty-eighth to 
decide the future of Texas. 

The call swept the state. Prominent men vied for prece- 
dence in affixing their names. Preparations for the election 
went ahead, and the result was never an instant in doubt. 

Between two fires, Houston chose to deal with the Legis- 
lature. He summoned it to convene on January twentieth, 
eight days in advance of the meeting of the Secession Con- 

On December twentieth South Carolina seceded, and as 
dectric thrill ran through the South. 

Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana left 
the Union. The simulacrum of a government at Washington 


did worse than nothing. Poor, negligible old Buchanan, wring- 
ing his hands in impotent bef uddlement ! An agonized by- 
stander stretched his arms to heaven. "Oh, for an hour of Old 
Hickory Jackson !" As for Sam Houston, Senator Iverson, of 
Georgia, invited "some Texan Brutus" to "rise and rid his 
country of the hoary-headed incubus." 

The Texas Legislature convened amid tumult, but gave 
respectful attention to the reading of a message which stands 
as one of Sam Houston's greatest public papers. The larger 
part of it was devoted to a comprehensive review of the internal 
affairs of Texas, outlining sufficient work in this field to occupy 
the lawmakers for a year. But there was something more* 
"The peculiar attitude of our relations with the Federal 
Government will, I trust, command . . . earnest atten- 
tion. . . . While the proud structure of government, built by 
our fathers, seems tottering in ruin ... we may not alone 
contemplate the scene and await its total downfall. . . . Ere 
the work of centuries- is undone, and freedom, shorn of her 
victorious garments, started out once again on her weary 
pilgrimage, hoping to find another dwelling place, is it not 
manly to pause and avert the calamity." 

The Governor permitted himself a tactful use of the sec- 
tional vernacular of the period. "The election of the Black 
Republican candidate to the presidency" was regrettable, "but 
the Executive yet has seen in it no cause for the . . . im- 
mediate secession of Texas." Houston shifted his line of 
defense. He contended no longer against the right of secession, 
but against the wisdom of it. He counseled delay. "Let the 
record of no one rash act blur" Texas's- page in history. 

But the Secession Convention, decreed to convene in ten 
days, bore upon the Governor like an engine of destruction. 
Houston fell back upon a strategy he had plied before with suc- 
cess. He ignored the Convention. In the entire length of hi* 


message there was no allusion to its existence. Yet, it might be 
that "the people, as the source of all power," should desire to 
speak their wishes as to "the course that Texas shall pursue.* 5 
In any event the Legislature should study the matter. "Should 
the Legislature in its wisdom deem it necessary to carry a con- 
vention of delegates fresh from the people, the Executive will 
not oppose the same. . , . May a kind Providence guide 
you aright." 1 * 

A time there had been in Texas when Houston ruled by the 
hypnotism of his words and of his presence. That day was 
waning. The Legislature ignored the message and occupied 
itself with provisions for the comfort of the Secession Conven- 
tion which, it was decided, should meet in the hall of the House 
of Representatives. It met on January twenty-eighth, and the 
Legislature, overriding a veto, recognized its authority. 

The presiding officer of the Convention, Oran M. Roberts, 
an associate justice of the Supreme Court, conducted matters 
with a marked regard for the sensibilities of the Governor. 
Whether one liked Sam Houston or not, all conceded the 
strength his adhesion would bring to the secession cause. When 
one delegate called Houston a traitor William P. Rogers choked 
an apology from him. Rogers was a cousin of the Governor. 
An ordinance of secession was drafted, with a proviso for sub- 
mission to the voters, intended as a concession to the views of 
the Executive. 

The Convention was 1 to vote on the ordinance at noon on 
February first, and Rogers headed a committee to invite the 
Governor to honor the occasion with his presence. Long before 
the hour designated the galleries were crowded, with special 
places for the legislative, judiciary and executive officers of the 
state. The s-eat of honor at Judge Roberta's right was re- 
served for Sam Houston. 

On the stroke of twelve the Governor made a majestic 
entrance. Amid "deafening" applause Judge Roberts wel- 
comed him graciously. Every eye was on Sam Houston's 
countenance. It told them nothing. 


Amid perfect silence the Secretary read the ordinance of 
secession. Not a muscle of Houston's face moved. The clerk 
began to call the roll. 

The first seventy delegates on the alphabetical list answered, 

"Hughes," read the clerk. Thomas Hughes, of Williamson 
County, was first and always a supporter of Sam Houston. 

"No!" he shouted. 

The effect was one of stupefaction. Then a cry of dis- 
approval swept the hall. 

After another stretch of "ayes" three more negative votes 
were cast in the face of increasingly hostile demonstrations. 

"Throckmorton." James W. Throckmorton was leader of 
the Houston minority in the State Senate tall, slender, mag- 
netic and the best parliamentarian in Texas. It was his thirty- 
sixth birthday. "Mr. President, in the presence of God and 
my country, and unawed by the wild spirit of revolution around 
me v I vote, No !" 

Judge Roberts announced the adoption of the ordinance by 
a vote of one hundred and sixty-seven to seven. Attorney- 
General JFlournoy led a company of ladies down the aisle. They 
unfurled a Lone Star flag, and the tableau was over. 


Interest veered to the military situation that Sam Houston 
had contrived on the Rio Grande. This concentration of 
troops, the largest in the country, long had been a source of 
concern to secessionists throughout the South. They were 
uncertain of the officer in command, Colonel Robert E. Lee. 
They had an ally, however, in the Secretary of War, who re- 
placed Lee with General D. E. Twiggs. Governor Houston 
diplomatically asked the new Commandant to transfer the mili- 
tary property in Texas to the state authorities. Twiggs said 
he would do so "after secession," and with the passage of the 
ordinance he yielded troops and stores to a Committee o? 
Public Safety created by the Convention. 


On February twenty-third Texas was to vote on the seces- 
sion ordinance. After a few Union meetings had been broken 
up, and speakers stoned, Sam Houston took the stump a 
Dantonesque gesture in the face of certain defeat. After his 
second speech, at Waco, his life was threatened. At Gilmer 
he was challenged to express his "honest" opinion of ThomaS 
Jefferson Green who was stumping Texas for secession. "Hd 
has all the characteristics of a dog except fidelity," replied Sam 
Houston. The Governor intended to close his tour with a 
speech from the balcony of the Tremont House in Galveston, 
but the behavior of the crowd was so ugly that his friends 
begged him not to appear. 

Houston faced the mob. "There he stood," wrote an admir- 
ing northerner who was present, "an old man of seventy years, 
on the balcony ten feet above the heads of the thousands 
assembled to hear him, where every eye could scan his mag- 
nificent form, six feet and three inches high, straight as an 
arrow, with deep-set and penetrating eyes, looking out from 
heavy and thundering brows, a high forehead, with something 
of the infinite intellectual shadowed there, crowned with white 
locks, partly erect, seeming to give capillary conduction to the 
electric fluid used by his massive brain, and a voice of the deep 
basso tone, which shook and commanded the soul of the hearer T 
adding to all this a powerful manner, made up of deliberation, 
self-possession, and restrained majesty of action, leaving the 
hearer impressed with the feeling that more of his power was 
hidden than revealed." 15 

There was silence. It was not as yet given to Texans to 
withstand the Presence. 

"Some of you laugh to scorn the idea of bloodshed as the 
result of secession," said Sam Houston. "But let me tell you 
what is coming. . . . Your fathers and husbands, your sons 
and brothers, will be herded at the point of the bayonet . , . 
You may, after the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure 
and hundreds of thousands of lives, as a bare possibility, wiu 
Southern independence . . but I doubt it. I tell you that, 


while I believe with you in the doctrine of state rights, tlie 
North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a 
fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder cli- 
mates. But when they begin to move in a given direc- 
tion . . . they move with the steady momentum and per- 
severance of a mighty avalanche ; and what I fear is, they will 
overwhelm the South. 5 ' 16 

At the moment the South was overborne by an avalanche 
of a different character. Jefferson Davis rode to his inaugura- 
tion in a carriage drawn by white horses. A granddaughter of 
ex-President Tyler fired the ceremonial cannon. The oath was 
administered in front of the stately Capitol of Alabama. "The 
man and the hour" were proclaimed to have "met," and the day 
closed with an illumination and a ball. 

Five days later Texas voted. Eighty-one counties re- 
ported majorities for -the ordinance. Seventeen voted for the 
Union. Twenty-seven counties, including some of the most 
populous, submitted no official figures. The result was 39,415 
for secession and 13,898 opposed. 

Houston's- stand attracted much attention in the North, 
but the Buchanan government did nothing. While the election 
returns were being tabulated the Governor started on a trip 
from Austin to Belton. En route he stopped overnight at the 
home of Elias Talbot in Georgetown where a stranger who in- 
troduced himself as George D. Giddings handed General Hous- 
ton a letter from Abraham Lincoln. Once in office Mr. Lincoln 
promised to support Houston in his endeavor to keep Texas 
in the Union, offering to land a large force of Federal troops 
,m the Texas coast. 

Returning to Austin Sam Houston held the second, and last, 
council of war of his career. David B, Culbertson, 
J. W. Throckmorton, Benjamin H. Epperson and George W. 
Paschal were summoned to the Executive Mansion. All were 
Unionists. Houston showed them the letter from Lincoln and 
asked their advice, beginning, military fashion, with the 
youngest person present. 


This was Epperson. He favored resistance. Culbertson 
was next. He opposed resistance. The majority of people in 
Texas were for secession, and to make their homes a battle- 
ground would not change their opinions. The third to speak 
was James Throckmorton, ablest and most effective of Hous- 
ton's adherents in Austin. He supported Culbertson. Pas-chal 
<Iid the same. 

The Governor stepped to the fireplace and dropped the 
tetter of Abraham Lincoln into the flames. 

"Gentlemen, I have asked your advice and will take it, but 
Sf I were ten years younger I would not." 1 * 


On March fourth the Convention declared Texas an "inde 
pendent sovereignty" and adjourned for dinner. Leaving the 
Capitol grounds-, members saw posted on the gate a "Proclama- 
tion by the Governor of the State of Texas," announcing that 
an election had been held, with a result "appearing ... in 
favor of 'secession. 5 " That was all. No mention of the 

Judge Roberts sent a committee to ascertain the meaning 
of the proclamation. The Governor said he would explain 
himself to the Legislature, which was to reconvene on March 

The Convention was not to be thrust aside. By a vote of 
one hundred and nine to two it declared Texas a part of the 
Confederacy, and ordered all officials to take the oath of al- 
legiance. The ceremony for state officers 1 was set for noon on 
March sixteenth. A great crowd of them was on hand. When 
the hour struck R. T. Brownrigg, Secretary of the Conven- 
tion, called out: 

"Sam Houston." 

There was no answer. 

"Sam Houston! Sam Houston I* 



"Edward Clark." 

Lieutenant-Governor Clark took the oath to support the 
Confederate States of America and was- declared successor to 
the "vacant" office of governor. 

In the Executive Chamber General Houston was at his 
desk, writing. The words have an imperishable quality. 

"Fellow citizens, in the name of your rights and liberties* 
which I believe have been trampled upon, I refuse to take this 
oath. In the name of my own conscience and my own man- 
hood ... I refuse to take this oath. ... I love Texas too 
well to bring strife and bloodshed upon her . . [and] 
shall make no endeavor to maintain my authority as chief ex- 
ecutive of this State except by peaceful exercise of my func- 
tions*. When I can no longer do this I shall calmly withdraw, 
leaving the government in the hands of those who have usurped 
my authority, but still claiming that I am its chief execu- 
tive. . . . 

"It is, perhaps, meet that my career should close thus. I 
have seen patriots- and statesmen of my youth one by one 
gathered to their fathers, and the government which they have 
reared rent in twain. ... I stand the last almost of my 
race . . . stricken down because I will not yield those prin- 
ciples which I have fought for. . . . The severest pang is 
that the blow comes in the name of the State of Texas." 18 

General Houston crossed the Capitol square to the Execu- 
tive Mansion, and seated himself on the south porch to await 
the end. His view commanded the State-House. Perhaps 
faintly he caught the sound of the cheering. 

Shortly before one o'clock the throng began to stream from 
the building. From one of 2 group passing the Executive resi- 
dence a little fellow with a squeaky voice Sam Houston heard 
the tidings of his fate. 

The veteran's face was gray. 

"Margaret," he said, "Texas is lost." 19 



THE "bonnie blue" banner of the Confederacy gleamed 
beside the ensign of the single star. The new flag had experi- 
enced its baptism of fire on the field of Manassas in Virginia. 
Houston City celebrated the victory, Main Street a pageant 
of fresh uniforms and crinoline. 

What nonsense that old villain Houston had preached to 
frighten the tender-hearted! With Manassas had vanished 
every doubt of a speedy end to the war. Every promise of the 
secessionists had been borne out, every foreboding overthrown. 
Union men who had followed Sam Houston had little to say in 
July of 1861. A few had left Texas, some were lying low, but 
the majority had proclaimed their error. No cringing coat- 
turning, this, but a genuine part of the emotional outpouring 
for Texas. "My State right or wrong!" James Throckmorton 
had said, and joined the Army. 

During the spring Houston had tarried at Huntsville and 
then s-ought the deeper seclusion of Cedar Point by the sea. 
"He has sunk out of sight, leaving but a ripple on the surface." 

In the exhilaration that thrilled Houston City and peopled 
its promenades, none seemed to recognize the countenance ob- 
scured by a shaggy beard, or the tall stooped form of an elderly 
man in loose-fitting country clothes who clumped Main Street 
with a great cane. At the high-toned Capitol Saloon hardly a 
head was turned when the old man received from the hand of 
the bartender a glass of anemic ginger water and retired to a 



table to sip alone and, it is possible, to reflect that under this 
roof Sam Houston had made Texas a nation and ruled it. 

At the bar a party of staff officers clinked their glasses and 
demolished Yankees faster than Beauregard had dreamed of. 
One of them ventured that it would afford him pleasure to run 
his sword through the heart of that coward and traitor, Sara 

Leaving his ginger water the old man maae his way to the 
bar. He corrected the stoop in his shoulders. 

"Here is the heart of Sam Houston, and whoever says it is 
the heart of a coward or traitor lies in his teeth I" 1 

On another day General Houston was seated on the balcony 
of the City Hotel when a parcel of recruits for the Second 
Texas Infantry called out a respectful greeting. They were 
just boys. Leaning on his stick, the General started to tell 
them in a paternal way some of the things that young soldiers 
ihould know. A bystander made a sneering remark. 

Sam Houston threw down his cane and spoke in a new tone, 
Having himself gone to war as a boy, he had a feeling toward 
these young men that only an old soldier could understand. All 
honor to them. But this was- not to say that the war was 
right or reasonable. One swallow did not make a summer, 
and one victory would not win the war. Emblems of triumph 
floated in Texas now. Time would see badges of sorrow in 
their places. But these boys went to battle with his blessing. 
His prayers would follow them, "that they may be brave, trust 
in God and fear not." 2 

General Houston returned to Cedar Point to learn that he 
Aad blessed his own son. Sam, Jr., had joined Ashbel 
Smith's company, of the Second Texas. Margaret was in tears. 
Her husband consoled her. What else was there for a boy of 
spirit to do? 


Yet, General Houston had nourished other ambitions for 
bis son. Such ambitions! For months his mind had dwelt OB 


them: The sword of San Jacinto in a younger Sam Houston's 
hand ; deeds of glory in Texas ; a dream of dynasty ; the restora- 
tion of His Republic and His Son's 1 . 

Since the early f oreshadowings of disaster the grand imagi- 
nation had been at work. As remote as 1857 the General had 
speculated upon a possible resurrection of the Lone Star in 
event of the disintegration of the Union. Sam Houston be- 
lieved that, given time, he could, in any situation, bring Texas 
to his bidding. North of the Red River lay the Indian country, 
where the career of The Raven formed a part of the tribal 
legends. To the south shimmered the castles of the Monte- 

Toward the end of the short sharp struggle at Austin over 
secession 5 Sam Houston's methods had been more transparent 
than was usual for him. His idea was to accept a separation 
from the Union, then quickly disperse the Secession Conven- 
tion and gather all authority into his own hands. "I can see 
your motive in this," wrote Houston's- brother-in-law, Charles 
Power, "which is to endeavor to get this state to go it alone 
looking to a disruption of the new confederation. . . * I 
should like to see yr program carried out but General . . . 
the die is cast. . . , The only portion of the State that will 
be for the Lone Star is Galveston. ... I advise you as a 
friend to yield quietly to the majority. . . . Pass quietly into 
quiet retirement and let them fight it out, and posterity will 
give you a page of History which is as much as the greatest 
can expect, the disorganizes may have their day but will go 
down without paeons- being sung to their memories." 8 

The advice of Emily's husband seems to have weighed with 
the Executive, who could have gathered to himself a band of 
men who would have sold their lives dearly. But Houston had 
retired peaceably so peaceably that his opponents were un- 
easy. "Ex-Governor Houston," said the Austin Gazette, "is at 
last willing to acknowledge that Texas is out of the Union. He 
now declares himself in favor of the Lone Star Republic, and 
opposed to the Southern Confederacy. He will use his influence 


to cause the rejection of the permanent constitution of the 
Confederate States." 4 

This opposition, too, failed to materialize; yet apprehen- 
sion did not down. Before he had been in office a month. Gov- 
ernor Clark began to contribute to the worries- of Jefferson 
Davis. "An effort will soon be made ... to establish an 
independent republic, and one of the most effective arguments 
will be that the Confederate States have supplied the place of 
IT. S. troops consisting of 2800 men with only one regiment. 
The people of Texas have been positively assured that their 
protection would be far more perfect under the Confederate 
States than it was under . . . the old U. S. and on that as- 
surance we now rely." 5 

While these things were going on Sam, Jr., was at mili- 
tary school in an atmosphere that gave his father much concern 
General Houston was glad when the term ended, and he could 
\mry the boy at Cedar Point, sending him in advance of the 
family to "mind the corn and the cord-wood . . . destroy the 
cockleburs in the fields and yard." As for politics-, the Gen- 
eral hoped Sam would not believe what he saw in the papers, 
"They lye to suit the market. Do you my son not let anything 
disturb you, attend to business, and when it is proper you 
shall go to war if you wish. . . . It is every man's duty to 
defend his country and I wish my offspring to do s-o, at a 
proper time and in a proper way. We are not wanted or 
needed out of Texas, and we may soon be needed and wanted 
in Texas. Until then, my son, be content. . . . Tula Clay 
und all are well. . . . Thy father, affectionately." 6 

The family moved down to the seashore and General Hous- 
ton continued his 1 subtle occupation of sowing distrust, in which, 
as invariably happened, external events seemed to spring un- 
bidden to his aid. A stream of complaints poured upon 
Mr. Davis. Texas resented the pres-ence of recruiting officers 
from across the Sabine. A Texas regiment had been raised bf 
an outsider and marched east without local authority, A 
demand for eighteen regiments had specified infantry, when aP 


the world knew that Texas cavalry had no equal on the globe. 
But the dominant consideration was the supposed need for 
troops lor local defense. On one frontier were the Indians. On 
another a rumor of invasion by way of Missouri stole surrep- 
titiously from the sharp brain of a white-haired schemer 
shuffling the cards for his last cast for fortune. The result 
was a mounting tide of sovereignty, the legacy of the Lone 
Star. Houston could wish for nothing better. 

He was anxious, however, about his boy. Sam had gone 
off to a near-by encampment where a group of young fellows 
were drilling with the vague intent of absorbing thems-elves 
into the new regiments requested by Richmond. "I had hoped, 
my dear son," his father wrote, "that in my retirement my mind 
would be engrossed . . . with . . . matters concerning my 
family alone, and to live in peace." But this was not to be. 
**In the train of events 1 now transpiring I think I perceive 
disaster to Texas, 

"I know not how much statesmanship Lincoln may have, 
or Generalship at his command . . . but looking at matters 
as they s-eem to me his wise course, I would say," would be to 
launch an offensive from Missouri against Texas. In this 
"Texas . . . can look for no aid from the Confederacy." 
She "must either succumb or defend hers-elf. . . . My 
son . . . your first allegiance is due" to Texas, "and let 
nothing cause you in a moment of ardor ... to assume any 
obligation to any other power whatever without my consent. 
If Texas 1 demands your services or your life . . . stand by 

"Houston is not, nor will be, a favorite name in the Con- 
federacy ! Thus you had best keep your duty and your hopes 
together, and when the Drill is over come home. . . . Wheik 
will you come home? my son? Thy Devoted Father. 
SAM HousTON." 7 

Immediately after writing this letter General Houston made 
his visit to Houston City, returning to learn that his son wa? 
a Confederate soldier. 


The boy asked his fathers forgiveness and received it* 
When the Second Texas was mobilized on Galveston Island, 
General Houston became a frequent visitor to the encampment, 
He slept in the Colonel's tent but ate with the men. The sights 
and circumstances of camp life restored the old soldier's spirits, 
and he shaved the unsightly beard. When the young men called 
him General he would say, "Why, don't you boys know that 
Sam Houston is just a private in Company C?" 

In this way passed August and September of 1861, and in 
October the family returned to Huntsville. The sunlit balm 
of Indian summer lay upon the rolling landscape. In a corner 
of the lawn, under a great oak, General Houston loved to sit 
ind smoke, with a blue velvet cap on his head, soft yellow mocca- 
sins on his feet and the San Jacinto leg on a stool. Shadows 
played on the green hills and the melodies of Stephen Foster 
floated from Margaret's piano. The General's chair was the 
dependable rawhide bottom one that had twice served him while 
president of the Republic. One evening he crossed the lawn 
and asked Margaret to play Come to the Bower. . . . Come 
to the Bower. "Hold your fire men, hold your fire." Twenty- 
five years ago he had said it. 

Thus an old man under an old tree, smoking and thinking, 
still on the bourne of the dream-world that had drawn into the 
forest a boy with a book and a rifle half mystic, half show- 
man; half poet, half sage. 

The destiny-borne war rolled on its- way* The North had 
not quit, but the South won most of the battles and breathed 
the intoxicating air of triumph. Texas regiments were witiL 
T^ee in Virginia the famous brigade of Hood. Texans were 
fighting in Tennessee, though not with equal success. But in 
New Mexico they had routed the Yanks properly and th 


Stars and Bars flew over Santa Fe. The Lone Star State waa 
taking a keener interest in the war, although an enormous con- 
centration of butternut-clad troops remained in the camps at 
home. Sam Houston said they should stay there. He coached 
representatives in the Confederate Congress to oppose conscrip- 
tion and to criticize Mr. Davis's measures for financing the 

Early in 1862 more Texas regiments were ordered to the 
front, among them the Second Infantry. General Houston 
repaired to camp. Colonel Moore asked him to review the 
troops. Houston put them through the evolutions. How the 
old drill sergeant loved to do that ! Bringing the regiment into 
line, he commanded: 

"Right about, face!" 

The men were looking to the rear. 

"Do you see anything of Judge Campbell or of Williamson 
S. Oldham here?" the General shouted. 

"No," the regiment replied. 

"Right about, face! Do you see anything of Judge Camp- 
bell's son here?" 

"Paris at school !" yelled the soldiers. 

"Eyes, left! Do you see anything of young Sam Houston 

And when the cheering subsided: "Eyes, front! Do you 
eee anything of old Sam Houston here?" 8 

The regiment departed on March twelfth, General Houston 
describing his son as "18 years of age, 6 feet high and a rather 
well-made and good looking boy . . . ardently devoted to the 
cause in which he is engaged." 9 

At the end of the month the regiment reached the great 
Confederate concentration point at Corinth, Mississippi. "I 
am here amidst an hundred thousand men," wrote a cousin of 
Margaret, "Emmet & Sam are talking outside the tent God 
bless & protect the boys. . . . Crazy politicians have made it 
necessary that we offer our Isaac's upon the altar of our coun- 
try. Sam is in robust health and seems as likely to bear the 


fatigue of the campaign as any soldier in it. . . .A terrible 
struggle may be expected. . . . Present me kindly to Gener 3 
& tell him they have stoned the prophets but will come to 
their senses.' 510 

Before this letter reached Margaret the terrible struggle 
occurred. At Shiloh Church, on the soil of Tennessee, Albert 
Sidney Johnston took Grant unaware and launched a dashing 
assault with forty thousand men. Grant had thirty-three thou- 
sand. The Confederate leader was killed early in the fight but 
the fury of the southern charges rolled the Federals back. 
Cutting its way through the Yankee line, the Second Texas 
captured intact a Union battery and a reserve brigade of three 
thousand men. Captain Ashbel Smith was wounded. At night- 
fall disaster crowded the stubborn Grant. Driven back to 
Pittsburg Landing his left clung to the river bank until BueH 
arrived with a fresh army of twenty thousand, which fell 
on the exhausted Confederates at dawn. Again the Second 
Texas charged, driving a salient in the enemy front nearly half 
a mile deep, when, overwhelmed by flanking fire it fell back. 
After six hours of battle the Confederate line broke. The Sec- 
ond Texas deployed to cover the retreat, and Private Houston 
fell with a ball through the body. The Federal advance swept 
over him and Sam was dropped from the roll of Company C 
as killed in battle. 

A Union medical officer, kneeling beside the wounded boy d 
told a blue-clad chaplain that this- soldier had not long to live. 
Sam's knapsack had fallen off, and its contents were strewn 
about. The chaplain picked up a Bible. It had been shot 


Margaret Lea Houston 
to her beloved son 

Huntsville, Texas" 

"Is General Sam Houston your father?" asked the clergy- 


TAis minister had been among the signers of a celebrated 
protest against the enactment of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. 
Senator Houston was one of the few defenders of this petition, 

Sam was given special care and as soon as he could travel 
he was exchanged. 

Margaret was tending her flowers when a crippled soldier 
appeared at the gate. She left her work to speak to him, but 
he spoke first. 

"Why, Ma, I don't believe you know me P nl 


Sam recuperated at Cedar Point where the air smelled of 
the subtropical sea, and white clouds hung so palpable and 
motionless that it seemed a miracle they did not fall from the 

General Houston's personal popularity continued to mend. 
The enduring affection that Texas held for Sam Houston de- 
spite its fits of temper and his ; the tradition of sovereignty of 
which Houston was the personification ; the lynx-fox game at 
which the old General continued to ply his practised hand - 
these considerations were not to be resisted. A blunder on the 
part of the Confederate Government also had its effect. Rich- 
mond sent a General Hebert to command the military depart- 
ment of Texas. He proclaimed martial law and covered the 
state with provost marshals clothed in despotic power. Pass- 
ports to travel on the highways were required of all citizens 
over seventeen years of age. One energetic guardian of the 
public safety took it upon himself to halt Sam Houston's top 

"San Jacinto is my pass through Texas !" was the response 
he got. 12 

The story was repeated with relish, and the top buggy was 
on the roads more than ever. 

In August of 1862 Houston heard that "charges have been 
lodged against me" with the provost marshal of Harris County, 


in which Houston City is located. He wrote immediately to 
that officer, requesting the "name of the author, or authors, 
who may have complained to you, or made any charges against 
my loyalty to the Government. ... I claim no more than 
the humblest man in the community, and I am always ready to 
answer the Laws of my country." 13 The days of the Hebert 
regime were numbered. 

Sam, Jr., returned to the front. "My ever precious 
boy," wrote his mother. "We are expecting Col. Smith this 
evening . . . previous to his departure for the army . . . 
and I almost tremble when I think of meeting one who is so 
intimately associated . . . with the great trial of my life. But 
I will not pain my darling boy by recounting the sufferings 
through which the Good Lord has brought me safe, but reserve 
it for the time . . . when we can talk together of the fearful 
dangers through which you have been preserved. . . . The 
children have given you all the news and as it is the Sabbath 
day I do not feel at liberty to write any secular details, so I 
will beg of you ... to answer the all-important question 
Have you given your heart to God? . . , My son have you 
Bought him with your whole heart? Are you sure that you 
abhor your sins? . . . Once more I entreat you to flee from 
the wrath to come. Oh do not delay ! . . . I send you a little 
book containing passages of scripture for every day in the 

Sister Nannie begged to say that she had sent a pair of 
socks and father added a postscript in his own hand. 

"My Dear Son I only send you a fond Father's tender 
blessing and assure you of his prayers at a Throne of Grace 
for your safety and salvation." 14 

All days were not gray. September sixth was the birthday 
of Nannie, and when she walked into the living-room there stood 
the handsomest rosewood piano she had ever seen. Not many 
people in Texas were buying pianos in 1862. While by no 
iieans a poor man. General Houston's scale of living caused 


people to exaggerate his wealth. A master of public economies, 
he was rather careless in personal matters of money. Tax 
receipts and other papers indicate that at the beginning of the 
war General Houston was worth possibly one hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars. Most of this was in land and mortgages. 
Amid the stresses of wartime debtors were unable to pay, and 
land was a burden. From the beginning of his- retirement Hous- 
ton was pressed for ready cash, though this had little effect on 
his open-handed style of living. When he died his estate had 
shrunk to eighty-nine thousand dollars. 

Since leaving Austin the General had been seriously con- 
cerned about his health. Physicians prescribed in vain. The 
blow of repudiation by his beloved Texas had broken some 
vital spring. There was also an ominous cough accompanied 
by a loss of flesh. Out of their patient's hearing doctors whis- 
pered "consumption." Houston's eldest brother had died of it. 
On the other hand another brother had shot himself over a love- 
affair and the beautiful Mary, his favorite sister, had gone to 
her grave insane as the result of a tragic marriage. 

In the autumn when the time came to return to Huntsville, 
General Houston was too ill to travel. The attending physi- 
cian, a young man, having exhausted the resources of his 
professional skill, decided that the General was going to die. 
One night he rode through the rain to ask Hamilton Stewart, a 
neighbor, to convey the difficult message. 

"Call the family and the servants," General Houston said. 

In a calm voice General Houston gave his wife a summary 
of his personal affairs, and then bade each of his children, and 
the servants, good-by. He asked Nannie and Maggie to sing 
a hymn. The little girls broke down, and General Houston, 
finishing the chorus, asked every one to go back to bed. A few 
days later he was up and around. "Yes, tell my enemies I am 
not dead yet." 15 

The General gained strength and seemed on the way to bet- 
ter health than he had enjoyed since his retirement. Ashbel 
Smith, a lieutenant-colonel now, was veil of his wound and 


about to return to the Army. With him Houston frankly dis 
cussed the separation of Texas from the Confederacy. The 
General's ideas had crystallized. His plan was to stop the flow 
of Texas troops across the Sabine and, at the right moment, 
declare himself the lawful magistrate of the state, unfurl the 
Lone Star and call Texans home from the armies of the Con- 
federacy. Magnificent prospects spread before the grim 
dreamer. He foresaw in fifteen years' time steam cars running 
from the Brazos to Mexico City. 

In November Houston was able to journey to Independence, 
and thence to Huntsville, making numerous stops en route. 
The coup d'etat filled his mind. Smith returned to his regi- 
ment, and another furloughed Confederate field officer became 
Houston's confidant, the General writing to him from Inde- 
pendence under date of November 24, 1862 : 

"Please come and see me at Huntsville, where a warm wel- 
come awaits, and a thousand things to speak of with a comrade 
who has seen other and better days in Texas. . . . We must 
send out no more troops, 710* one man! The Confederate Govt 
must agree to this, the preservation of Texas is imperative to 
her hopes of success. Now, I mean to preserve Texas. It is my 
duty. Am I not, according to the constitution, the sovereign 
authority of this state. . . . The people will uphold me in 
this and with God's help we will save Texas." 1 * 


A short half-mile by dusty road from the court-house 
square in Huntsville nestled the famous Steamboat House amid 
a bank of cedar, crpe myrtle and fig trees. But its- glory was 
a great oak, from the shade of which one surveyed a panorama 
of green-clad, orderly hills. To the south in a hollow stood the 
squat buildings of the state penitentiary. A small graveyard 
lay to the westward, across the little road. The only neighbor- 
ing dwelling in view was the Rawlings mansion, a smaller Mount 
Vernon, half -hidden by the planting on its lovely grounds. 

The Steamboat House was erected about 1860 by Dr. 


Rufus W. Bailey, president of Austin College at the other end 
of the town. Deploring a lack of originality in the prevailing 
styles of architecture. Doctor Bailey determined to remedy this 
defect. His inspiration, the Mississippi River steamboat, was 
executed with alarming perfection. The long narrow structure 
was surrounded by a two-story gingerbread gallery. The stair- 
ways were on the outside, leading from one deck of the gallery 
to the other. The motif found further expression in the design 
of the doors and the windows with their little panes of vari- 
colored glass. The parlor was on the "saloon deck" up-stairs. 
Bedchambers bore some resemblance to staterooms. 

Shortly before the war General Houston had sold both 
Raven Hill plantation and his town house in Huntsville, but his 
attachment for the placid village carried him back after sur- 
rendering the governorship. Doctor Bailey had lately died and 
his residence was for rent. The Houstons took it and in this 
bizarre pavilion, the Steamboat House, the old wanderer found 
his last home. 

On January 1, 1863, Texas forces recaptured Galveston 
from the Federals, and Sam Houston congratulated Hebert's 
successor, Magruder, on having "introduced a new era in 
Texas.'* The Union troops and seamen taken by Magruder 
were confined in the Huntsville penitentiary. When General 
Houston learned that they were locked in cells, he got out the 
top buggy and lodged a vigorous protest with the authorities. 
More appropriate quarters were provided for the prisoners of 
war, and General Houston made several acquaintances among 
them, whom he visited in the course of his walks about the 
countryside during the spring of the year. 

The new era moved haltingly. Ben Butler, the Federal 
General occupying New Orleans, was- agitating Washington to 
make a military demonstration along the Sabine calculated to 
help Houston to restore the Republic. This was, of course, a 
form of assistance that General Houston least desired. 

But as for other help, competent hands were wanting. The 
figures of the Revolution, the personages of the RepuMic* 


friend and foe, had passed nearly all. The Whartons wer 
dead. Henderson was dead. Three-legged Willie was dead. 
Rusk was dead suicide. Hockley was a loyal Confederate 
officer. Barnard Bee had fallen at Manassas- while rallying a 
broken brigade: "See, there stands Jackson like a stone 
wa ll!" an d History caught from the dying man's lips, "Stone- 
wall" Jackson. Gail Borden, revolutionary editor, had re- 
turned North, perfected his process, originated in Texas, of 
condensing milk, and was profitably supplying Yankee quarter- 
masters. Lamar was dead, Anson Jones was dead. His 
ineptitudes at the lynx-fox game had cost poor Jones dearly 
in popularity. To crown all he must write a book, blaming 
everything on Houston. Ascending the steps of the colonnaded 
Capitol Hotel he exclaimed, "Here I began my career in Texas, 
here I end it !" and applied a pistol to his temple. 

And Bur net. During the summer at Cedar Point Nannie 
had returned from a visit with an enthusiastic account of a 
"charming old gentleman" she had met. "You must certainly 
remember him, father, for he said that he knew you in the 
?arly days of Texas, and made such kind inquiries about you." 
General Houston asked the name. "Judge Burnet," said 
Nannie. The General smiled, but told his daughter nothing 
of those early days with David Burnet. 17 

Penniless and alone, the ex-Provisional President was living 
on the bounty of friends, a broken patriarch with a white 
beard that might have belonged to one of those Old Testa- 
ment squires he knew so welL With Houston's eventual 
triumph in Texas he had resumed his travels in futile search 
of fortune, returning to Texas 1 to die. "In my heart dwells 
no bitterness towards General Houston. He is a Christian, 
blessed with a Christian lady and several fine children, while 
I am bereft and alone.' 5 The old man's all was- a son, an officer 
in the Confederate service. He said he wished that his boy 
end Sam Houston's might meet and fight side to side. Ten 
days before the surrender of Lee, Major Burnet was killed in 
battle. The old adventurer turned to the Book that had been 


his prop for sixty years, and scrawled opposite the name of 
his boy. "Oh! My God! thy will be done and give me grace 
to submit !" 

Many were the men from whom Sam Houston had parted 
in anger, but he hated as he loved, in hot blood, and with a 
few conspicuous exceptions bitterness lapsed on this side of the 
grave. While in the Senate a Congressman from Rhode Island 
told Houston he had come into possession of some notes signed 
by M. B. Lamar, and asked the General's advice whether to 
dispose of the paper for what he could get, or to hold it in 
the expectation of payment in full. Houston said to hold the 
notes. "You know what I think of Lamar, but he's honest. 
He pays his debts." 

In Summer County, Tennessee, another Bible was brought 
out, and its pages turned. Under the heading "Family oi 
John Allen, Esq," appeared this line : 

"Eliza H. Allen, sister of George W. Allen, was born 
Saturday, Dec. 2nd, 1809." 

And further down: 

"Eliza H. Allen, sister of Geo. W. Allen, was married to 
Gov. Samuel Houston, Jan. 22nd, 1829." 

On another page: 

"Eliza, who first married Gov. Sam Houston and separated 
from him for cause unknown . . . then married Dr. Elmore 

It was now time for a last entry : 

"Eliza H. Houston-Douglass (Allen) Sister of George W. 
Allen died March 3rd, 1862." 18 

The earth that assimilated her dust tells no more. By leave 
of indulgent years the worn stones have fallen into easy atti- 


tudes, which impart an air of friendliness to the Gallatin grave- 
yard. One may note the resting-places of Eliza Allen's parents, 
of her brothers and sisters and in-laws by the score, of her 
husband's first wife who had ten children in fifteen years and 
then was struck by lightning, and of two of Eliza's own children 
who preceded their mother in death. 

No stone says where Eliza lies. The girl who changed the 
face of history sleeps in an unmarked grave. 


The unnatural war went on. "A great many of your old 
friends and school-mates have died or been killed," Margaret 
tvrote her son. "I will merely name Lem Abercrombie, Jeff 
Montgomery, John Garratt, Lem Hatch John Hill Proctor 
Porter Bill Humes John White Walter Maxey Angus Allston^ 
Old Mrs. Thomas of our neighborhood has lost five sons.' 519 

Texas had seventy-five thousand men in the field. Only 
Virginia, reluctant to secede but now practically sustaining the 
Confederacy, contributed more generously of her manhood. In 
the West things went badly. The imperturbable Grant, maul- 
ing at Vicksburg, wrote his wife that it made no difference to 
him whether the negroes were freed or not. Mrs. Grant owned 
slaves until the close of the war. In the East Stonewall Jack- 
son went down. Lee, who disbelieved in slavery, carried on 
much alone, moving his' dwindling Army of Northern Virginia 
by a succession of futile victories over the long road toward 

The chances are that Mrs. Thomas, whose five sons had died 
for the bonny blue flag, did not own a slave. What, then, 
touched the instincts of these people to fight so long and so 
well for an institution in which they had no share? The answer 
is that they were fighting also for something else. "Southern 
rights" was more than a phrase. Like the rest of the Valley, 
Rockb ridge County, in Virginia, where Sam Houston was born, 
and where he had a hundred blood relations, had staunchly 


opposed both slavery and secession. But when Lincoln called 
for troops its men went almost en masse into the Confederate 
regiments. Still another intangible factor supported the cause 
of the South Lee's almost God-like inspiration of his armies. 
One asked a poor white why he fought and he would answer, 
"For Robert E. Lee," whom, perhaps, he had never seen. To 
say that Lee was the greatest soldier who has used the English 
tongue does not explain this devotion. Grant was a great 
soldier and McClellan a comparative mediocrity, yet Grant's 
men felt no especial love for their chief while Little Mac's 
adored him. 

True, there was internal dissension in the South: rich- 
man's-fight talk ; obstruction of the draft ; threats by Georgia 
and North Carolina to secede from the Confederacy. Identical 
difficulties wracked the North whose swelling armies were weU 
paid and well fed, whose people were strangers to the degree of 
privation that sapped the South. One must never say that the 
South's heart was not in this war, waged, as it was, against the 
protest of the great statesman, the foresight of whose proph- 
esies became daily more apparent. Yet, in Texas, it seemed 
that the tide might turn in time for him. 

In March of 1863 General Houston visited Houston City. 
He was hospitably received and invited to deliver an address. 
"Ladies and Fellow-Citizens," he said, "This manifestation is 
the highest compliment that can be paid to the citizen and 
patriot. As you have gathered here to listen to the sentiments 
of my heart, knowing that the days draw nigh unto me when 
all thoughts of ambition and worldly pride give place to the 
earnestness of age, I know you will bear with me while ... I 
express those sentiments that seem natural to my mind." He 
spoke hopefully of the war. The North was weary. The 
South might find an ally in France, as a result of that nation's 
adventure in Mexico. Then he adroitly betrayed himself as a 
purveyor of dubious optimism. "I do not look with confidence 
to these results, nor do I advance them as more than mere 
probabilities. . . . Let us," however, "go forward, nerved to 


nobler deeds* . . . Let us bid defiance to all the hosts that 
our enemies can bring against us. Can Lincoln expect to sub- 
jugate a people thus resolved? No!" 20 

So cordial was the reception that General Houston thought 
perhaps the dawn of the new era approached. He sought the 
counsel of two trusted friends, E. W. Cave and Alexander W. 
Terrell. Major Cave had been Houston's secretary of state 
and the only state official to follow his chief in his refusal to 
take the Confederate oath. Houston spoke of the war with its 
wicked waste of life and the improbability of success to the 
southern arms. How would the people of Texas feel, he asked, 
about displaying the Lone Star flag, calling the Texas troops 
home and saying to North and South alike, "Hands off!" 

Cave and Terrell were shocked. They said the stroke would 
fail and would ruin all concerned with it. 21 

General Houston returned to the Steamboat House and 
wrote his will. "To my eldest son, Sam Houston, Jr., I be- 
queath my sword, worn in the battle of San Jacinto, never to 
be drawn only in defense of the Constitution, the Laws and 
Liberties of his Country. If any attempt should ever be made 
to assail one of these, I wish it used in its vindication.' 522 

Sam, Jr., was at home on furlough, preparing for a trip 
to Mexico with his uncle, Charles Power, who wrote the Gen- 
eral to give his son a good horse and "decent" clothes. "When 
he gets to Mexico I want Sam Houston, Jr., with me, not a 
*Mexican bandalho !* " Mr. Power's letter contained other ob 
servations. "I would rather be hung at a black jack than take 
another dollar of Confederate money." "You made the Hori- 
zon bright in your speech at Houston, and I only wish I had 
the same ideas. ... I make no doubt but that the People will 
sail you out yet for Governor. I never saw such a change in 
wy life." 28 

On the Potomac a confidant of spies wrote a letter marked 
"Private" to Ben Butler at New Orleans : "The movement of 
Gen. Sam Houston for the restoration of the Republic, coupled 
yith the fact that the Mexican Legation has withdrawn, ha* 


alarmed (and not without cause) the Secretary of State. > . . 
I beg of you to give this matter your serious and early con-* 
sideration. . . . You can restore to the Union a State in 
acreage equal to six and a half of New York." 2 * 


General Houston's popularity continued to return. He was 
solicited to become a candidate for governor at the election of 
August, 1863, but formally declined on grounds of uncertain 
health. The fact that Sam Houston had never taken the Con- 
federate oath was not mentioned as a disqualifying circum- 
stance. Moreover, it appears that the disabling ailment was 
somewhat diplomatic in character. In May of 1863 Houston's 
health seems to have been as good, if not better, than in March 
when the visit to Houston City was made with the definite 
thought of reclaiming the executive power. 

Since Houston was- never forehanded with his plans, it is 
impossible to say what was now in his mind. Had he con- 
tested for the governorship at the regular election of 1863, 
the campaign would have been a strenuous one. Perhaps 
Houston, who already considered himself the constitutional 
chief magistrate of Texas, thought to spare himself this- exer- 
tion by biding his time. Sam Houston was very good at 

In any event, instead of an electioneering tour, the General 
made a trip to Sour Lake to bathe his old wounds, which were 
troubling him, as they had done periodically for twenty-five 
years. There was also the cough, but when the General passed 
through Houston in the latter part of June the Telegraph 
congratulated him on his hale appearance. 

On the eighth of July, the day after receipt of news of the 
fall of Vicksburg, Margaret wrote her husband a letter that 
was more cheerful than usual. Temple, the baby, "talks a 
great deal about you. He grows more and more interesting.* 
*Betty Sims and Delia Alston spent Friday night with us, and 


the young people had quite a merry time." Nannie was visit- 
ing her Aunt Emily Antoinette at Independence. Sam, Jr., 
after many delays, had crossed the Rio Grande in high spirits. 
Mrs. McGary's funeral was held yesterday "and bro. O'Brien 
preached a fine sermon* . . . Mr. Seat preaches tonight on 
the Prophesies and the Confederate government. I hope he 
will have better luck in predicting than he has had heretofore, 
"I do hope my Love you will soon recover your health and 
be able to return home, but do not hurry on account of any 
anxiety about us*. ... I must ask you the favor to get me 
another supply of Jonas Whitcomb's remedy for Asthma. 

"Thy devoted wife 

"P. S. Maggie sends her love to you, in which all unite. I 
hope soon to get a letter from you. Written with a bad pen 
and muddy ink." 25 


General Houston did not write a letter. He came home, 
quite miserable with a cold. Margaret put him to bed in the 
front room down-stairs and called Doctor Markham. The 
days were hot and the narrow couch was drawn to the center 
of the room to get the benefit of the circulation of air. The 
patient did not improve, and Doctor Kittrell, a political ad- 
versary but a personal friend, was summoned from his planta^- 
tion fifteen miles from town. 

The physicians told Margaret that the General had con- 
tracted pneumonia. On July twenty-fifth he fell into a 
drug-like sleep. The family gathered about the couch and 
Reverend Doctor Samuel McKinney offered a prayer. 

General Houston slept through the night, with Margaret 
at his side. When morning dawned she asked for her Bible 
and began to read in a low voice 


As these words fell from her lips General Houston stirred. 
It was mid-forenoon. Margaret put down the book and 
clasped her husband's hands. His lips moved. 

"Texas Texas ! Margaret " 

As- the slanting shadows of sunset crept upon Steamboat 
House General Houston ceased to breathe. A life so strange 
and so lonely, whose finger-tips had touched stars and felt 
them change to dust, had slipped away. 

Margaret asked God to make her children men and women 
worthy of their father. From her husband's finger she re- 
moved the talisman that fifty years before another mother had 
given a boy soldier to confront the world. Margaret held the 
ring so that the children might s-ee graven on its inner surface 
the short creed that Elizabeth Houston said must for ever shine 
in the conduct of her son. It was "Honor." 26 




*The name Is properly pronounced Hew'-stun, although in eastern 
United States, and particularly in New York City, it frequently is 
rendered House'-tun. This colloquialism may represent a diffusion of 
N"ew York's way of saying Houston Street, which has been House'-tun Street 
for at least three generations. On early maps it appears as Houstoun 
Street, an old Scotch spelling, but unlike Philadelphia and Virginia, early 
New York had few Scotch immigrants to keep the pronunciation pure. 
The name originated about 1153 when Hugh Padvinan obtained the barony 
of Kilpeter in Lanarkshire and founded Hughstoun (Hugh's Town). 

2Rockbridge County Court records, Books 1 to 4. Lexington. 

sOn the basis of recollections of old inhabitants, Mr. and Mrs. Horatio 
JEdward Thompson, present owners of Timber Ridge plantation have re- 
constructed for the writer the birthplace of Sam Houston. The original 
house was burned shortly after the Civil War. The present house, in 
which the Thompsons live, was built upon the old foundations. The liv- 
ing-room mantel, some door-knobs and latches from the original survive 
In the newer structure. The school Major (then Captain) Houston helped 
to establish was held in a building previously used for school purposes 
but which had transferred its classes to Lexington where it took the 
name of Liberty Academy. This was changed to Washington College and 
later to Washington and Lee University. 

*Rockbridge County records. Will Book No. 3. 


iThe Life of Sam Houston. The only Authentic Memoir of "him ever 
published) 18. This virtual autobiography was published in 1855. It is 
a revision of Sam Houston and His Republic, 1846, which was written 
under Houston's supervision by Charles Edwards Lester. Mr. Lester also 
assisted in the preparation of the edition of 1855, which is unsigned. 

2The site of the Houston homestead in Tennessee was rediscovered a 
few years ago by W. E. Parham, of Maryville, an indefatigable disciple of 
research into old Blount County annals. Traces of the foundation are dis- 
cernible. A few neglected graves are near Tby. Mr. Parham thinks them 



to be the graves of slaves. The whereabouts of Elizabeth Houston's last 
resting-place is unknown. There is a local tradition that she was buried 
in the Baptist churchyard half a mile east of the homestead. A more 
likely place, however, would seem to be the Big Springs Presbyterian 
Church or the Baker's Creek Church of that denomination, respectively one 
and a half and three and a half miles from the house on the hillside. 

sPeter Cartwright, Autobiography, 90. 

^Authentic Memoir, 259. 

^Minutes of Blount County Court, Maryville. 

^Authentic Memoir } 23. 

fjames Mooney, "Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees," Seventh Annual 
Report, Bureau of American Ethnology, 344 

sCharles Edwards Lester, Sam Houston and His Republic, 13. In the 
Authentic Memoir edition, the phraseology of this passage is altered 


iRecords of Porter Academy. From Judge James M. Cates, Maryville, 

sHouse, tree and spring are still there, the house in 1929 being the 
Dwelling of a tenant farmer. 

sAlfred M. Williams, Sam Houston and the Texan War for In- 
dependence, 9. Mrs. Mary K. Pflanze, of Montvale Springs, Tenn., has 
written me of the discovery some years ago of a pair of lead "knucks" 
bearing the name "S. Houston." They were found in a chink over the 
door casirig of the schoolroom. To insure decorum in their classes, 
frontier educators have been known to go to greater lengths than carrying 

*Samuel G. Heiskell, Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History, 
II, 152. 

^Authentic Memoir, 27. 


iHouston to Robert McEwen, April 25, 1815. Texas Historical A* 
tociation Quarterly, XIV, 160. 

2Jo C. Guild, Old Times in Tennessee, 290. 

sHouston to Crawford, Feb. 16, 1816. Old Files, War Department 

*Beene to Houston, May 31, 1817. From Houston Williams, Houston, 

fiJoseph McMinn to Cattioun, Jan. 19, 1818. Retired Classified Piles, 
Indian Bureau. 

ejohn Jolly to Calhoun, Jan. 2&, 1818. Retired Classified Files, Itt- 
Bureau. Jolly was Oo4oo-t<vka>fl "English" name. 

NOTES 439 

7McMinn to Calhoun, Jan. 10, 1818, and Sept. 18, 1818. Retired Clas* 
Slfied Files, Indian Bureau, 

sQld Files, War Department. 

QMcMinn to Calhoun, April 2, 1818. Retired Classified Files, Indian 


*Blount County Records, Maryville, A deed from Joseph Herndon, 
executor of James B. Houston, to Samuel A. Moore, June 9, 1832. The 
transfer of Sam Houston's share had been made previously, however. 

2lndian Bureau files indicate that Lewis resigned because of ill health 
and family considerations. 

sHouston to Jackson, Sept. 30, 1819. Old Files f War Department 

^Jackson to Calhoun, Jan, 30, 1819. Old Files, War Department. 

^Houston to Calhoun, July 5, 1822. From Houston "Williams. 

^William Carey Crane, The Life and Select Literary Remains of Sam 
Houston, 250. 

?Houston to Robert Williams, Feb. 4, 1824 Jackson Papers, Library 
of Congress. 

8 James Parton, Life of Andrew Jackson, III, 56. George Ticknor 
Curtis, Life of James Buchanan, I, 574. 

eHouston to A* M, Hughes, Jan, 22, 1825, Tennessee Historical So* 
eiety, Nashville. 

isjackson to Houston, Dec. 15, 1826. Library of Congress, 
isEaton to Jackson, Dec. 7, 1828. From Andrew Jackson IV, Loi 
Angeles, Calif. 

"Cambreleng to Van Buren, Jan. 1, 1829. Library of Congress. 

ijackson to Houston, Nov. 22, 1826. Library of Congress. 

^Jackson to Houston, Feb. 15, 1826. From Houston Williams. 

^Letter in Houston's handwriting dated Washington, May 27, 1826, 
Addressee not given. From Houston Williams. 

*Dr. George Frederick Mellen, in an article in a scrap-book of 
clippings. Tennessee State Library, Nashville. See also Ben C. Truman, 
The Field of Honor, 284. 

Truman, 285. 

Wiles' Register, May 28 1827. 


sGuild, 262. 

Mrs. Nettie Houston Bringhurst, of San Antonio, Texas, to th 

loKnoxville Register Aug., 15, 1827. 

^Houston to Dr. John Marable, Dec. 4, 1828. From the late John 
Trotwood Moore, State Archivist of Tennessee. 

iJo C. Guild, Old Times in Tennessee, 278. 

^Tennessee State Historical Society, Nashville. 

*From Houston Williams. 

^Houston to John H. Overton, Dec. 28, 1829. From Judge John 
H. DeWitt, Nashville. 

eNashville Banner, Dec. 30, 1907. 

^Houston to Joseph McMinn, Feb. 15, 1823. From Grant Foreman, 
ISIuskogee, Okla. 

sNashville Banner, Dec. 30, 1907. 

Memoir, 46. 
, 47. 

nJackson to an unidentified correspondent, April 26, 1829. An in- 
complete letter. Library of Congress. 

i2jackson to Carroll, May 21, 1829. Library of Congress. 

isCarroll to Jackson, May 29, 1829. Library of Congress. 

"Carroll to Jackson, May 25, 1829. Library of Congress. 

"Houston to John Allen. See page 143, this volume. 

^Authentic Memoir, 47. 

^Nashville Banner, Dec. 30, 1907. 

isGeorgia C. Burleson (editor), Life and Writings of Rufus C. Burle* 
fion, 522. Doctor Burleson, a long-standing friend of Sam Houston and 
a dependable chronicler of reminiscence, is mistaken in saying that both 
men were Mrs. Houston's brothers. Mrs. Houston had only one brother 
old enough for such an errand George Webster Allen then a boy of 
eighteen. The other may have been Robert or Campbell Allen, Eliza's 
uncles, Robert being a former colleague of Houston in Congress. A write* 
as intimately acquainted with the Allen family as Guild makes the mistake 
of calling Robert and Campbell Allen Eliza's brothers. 


iHouston to John H. Overton, Dec. 28, 1829. Slightly recast for sabi 
$f brevity and clarity. From Judge John H. DeWitt, Nashville, Tenn. 

NOTES 441 

scrap-book of old clippings. Tennessee State Library, Nashville, 
& Authentic Memoir f 51. 
*Ibid., 52. 

sjohn Jolly to Bighead, Dec. 11, 1828. Retired Classified Files, Indian 
Bureau. Jolly was Oo-loo-te-ka's "English" name. 


iHaralson to Eaton, June 23, 1829. Retired Classified Files, Indian 

sjackson to Houston, June 21, 1829. Henderson Yoakum, History of 
Texas, I, 307. 

^Authentic Memoir, 51. 

4A. M. Williams in Magazine of American History, November, 1883; 
also scrap-book of clippings, Tennessee State Library, Nashville. 

sjohn Jolly, Big Canoe, Black Coat and eleven others to "My Young 
Friends," June 8, 1829. Retired Classified Files, Indian Bureau. 

^Journal of "Washington Irving, October 6, 1832. New York Public 

^Washington Irving Manuscripts. Note-book No. 6. New York Public 

sHaralson to Eaton, June 23, 1829. Retired Classified Files, Indian 

^Volume 34, Letter 72, Manuscript Library, American Board for 
Foreign Missions, Boston. 

iopaul L. Chouteau to Col. Charles Gratoit, Nov. 3, 1829. Retired 
Classified Files, Indian Bureau. 

uRoly Mclntosh and others to Jackson, June 22, 1829. Retired 
Classified Files, Indian Bureau. 

laEastern Creeks to Jackson, Nov. 20, 1829. Retired Classified Files, 
Indian Bureau. 

"Houston to Jackson, June 25, 1829. Retired Classified Files, Indian 

"Houston to Eaton, June 24, 1829. Retired Classified Files, Indian 

"Houston to Arbuckle, July 8, 1829. Retired Classified Files, Indian 


iMooney, 860. The writer also has heard the ritual from old Cheroket 

2Library of Congress. 

Franklin Williams to the writer. 


*Pa-hu-ska (\Vmte Hair) and three others to Jackson, Aug. 25, 1828. 
Retired Classified Files, Indian Bureau. 

^Report of Missionary Convention, Cantonment Gibson, January, 1830. 
Manuscript Library, American Board for Foreign Missions, Boston. In 
his Reminiscences of the Indians, 147, Doctor Washburn gives an account 
of the conversion of Tah-neh which is so in conflict with the foregoing 
record as to suggest that when writing his book the author confused 
Tah-neh with another convert. 

^Authentic Memoir, 54. 

sStanding Bear in the Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, Aug. 11, 1830. 

s ] Authentic Memoir, 54. 

loEnclosure with letter, Matthew Arbuckle to John H. Eaton, July 
23, 1830. Retired Classified Files, Indian Bureau. 

njohn Jolly to Andrew Jackson, Dec. 3, 1829, Old Files, "War De- 

i^Houston to John H. Overton, Dec. 28, 1829. From Judge John EL 
DeWitt, Nashville. 

^Standing Bear in the Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, Dec. 8, 1830. 

i^Autograph copy from Houston Williams. 

isHouston to John H. Overton, Dec. 28, 1829. From Judge John H. 


iHouston to Jackson, Sept. 19, 1829. Library of Congress. 

2 Account of the ration controversy derived from U* 8. House Reports, 
22nd Congress, 1st Session, No. 502 and the United States Telegraph) April- 
May, 1832, dealing with Houston's assault on Congressman Stanbery. 

sHouston to William B. Lewis, May 30, 1830. Tennessee Historical 
Society, Nashville. 

4 See page 139, this volume. 

5 Benjamin F. Allen, a brother of Eliza, in an autograph memorandum 
written in 1908 at the request of ex-Governor James D. Porter, of Ten- 
nessee. Tennessee Historical Society, Nashville. Judge Allen was three 
years old when his sister and General Houston parted. His explanation 
was submitted seventy-nine years after the event. It tells nothing, and 
is useful simply as a marker to indicate the shifting course of sentiment, 
Judge Allen said Houston's jealous disposition and want of refinement 
caused Eliza to leave him although she "was really much attached to him" 
and took the separation grievously to heart. "Inere was no mystery or 
romance about the separation. Like many other married couples they were 
not congenial." Members of the present generation of the family have 
told the writer substantially the same thing. It is the only story they 
have ever heard. A trace of resentment toward Houst/jza ia still dis* 

NOTES 443 

$rnible in Sumner County if one looks for it, but the reason for this is 
something no one can tell you. 

eHenry W. Wise, Seven Decades of the Union, 147. 

7Dr. George W. Samson, "Sam Houston's Exile; Explained after 
Many Years, . . . Why He Abandoned His Wife, His Office and Civiliza- 
tion." New York Tribune, Nov. 13, 1880. Doctor Samson was Houston's 
pastor in Washington, D. C., 184*6-59, as is discussed in later chapters. 
In some of his reminiscences of Houston, given in this article, the doctor's 
memory is at fault, but I believe the portion quoted to be worthy of 

sWill T. Hale and Dixon L. Merritt, A History of Tennessee and 
Tennesseeans, II, 379. 

sJohn Trotwood Moore. Tennessee the Volunteer State, I, 403. 

"Guild, 281. 

nMrs. H. C. Cantrell, a niece of Eliza Allen, in a communication to 
the Louisville Courier Journal, enclosing the statement quoted from, which 
was prepared by another member of the family whose identity is not 
disclosed. From scrap-book of old clippings, Tennessee State Library, 

^Houston to William B. Lewis, May 30, 1830. Tennessee Historical 

"Guild, 270. 
"Guild, 272. 

Barnwell Elliott, Sam Houston, 21. 
Look Scott in the Nashville News, Dec. 6, 1902. 
"Houston to William B. Lewis, May 30, 1830. Tennessee Historical 
Society, Nashville. 
aoGuild, 270. 

Tennessee Historical Society, Nashville. 


iTah-lhon-tusky in the Arkansas Gazette, June 22, 1830. 

2Supplement to the Arkansas Gazette, Oct. 20, 1880. 

^Standing Bear in the Arkansas Gazette, Dec. 8, 1830. 

^Manuscript No. 7, Vol. 33, Manuscript Library, American Board of 
Foreign Missions, Boston. 


eHouston to Arbuckle, July 21, 1830. Retired Classified Files, Indian 

?Arbuckle to Secretary of War, July 23, 1830. Retired Classified Files, 
Indian Bureau. 


8P. G. Randolph, Acting Secretary of War to Arbuckle, Sept. 30, 1830. 
Retired Classified Files, Indian Bureau. 

sHouston to George Vashon, Nov. 4, 1830. Retired Classified Files, 
Indian Bureau. 

loEaton to Berrien, Dec. 20, 1830. Retired Classified Files, Indian 

nBerrien to Eaton, Dec. 21, 1830. Retired Classified Files, Indian 

^Authentic Memoir, 260. 


i4Reverend William McCombs, of Eufaula, Oklahoma, a Creek Indian, 
born on the Arkansas in 1842, told the writer that the Creeks have never 
called Houston Big Drunk. Their name for him, and the name the old 
Creeks use to-day, is Is-tah-cha-ko Thlocko, meaning Big Holy Person or 
superman. At present this name is also sometimes applied to the Secre- 
tary of the Interior, who handles Indian affairs. The informal title of 
this official, however, is Cho-kah-ya Thlocko Big Writer. 

W. J. W. in Fort Smith Elevator. Scrap-book of old newspaper 
clippings, Tennessee State Library, Nashville. 

leThe Arkansas Gazette, Aug. 4, 1830. 

i7Arkansas Gazette, Aug. 3, 1831. 

isEventually Bonneville went to the mountains, selling his journal of 
the expedition to Washington Irving who published it as The Adventures 
of Captain Bonneville. 

"Houston to Eaton, Dec. 15, 1830. Retired Classified Files, Indian 


iVashon to Cass, Jan. 4, 1832, enclosing copy of delegation instructions 
dated Dec. 1, 1831. Retired Classified Files, Indian Bureau. 

2 Unless otherwise credited quotations dealing with the Stanbery 
assault and Houston's trial before the House are from the current House 

^United States Telegraph, April 21, 1832. 

*A. W. Terrell, "Recollections of General Sam Houston." Texas His- 
torical Association Quarterly, XIV, 123. 

sjudge Norman Kittrell in the Chicago Record-Herald, 1911, as 
reported by William E. Curtis. Scrap-book of Houston memorabilia* 
Tennessee State Library, Nashville. 



sRelated to the writer by Mrs. Nettie Houston Bringhurst to whom 
it was told in 1888 by Edwin Booth, who called on Mrs. Bringhurst m 
San Antonio. The visit was prompted, the actor said, by a desire ttf 

NOTES 445 

meet a daughter of the man who had been the hero of so many of his 
father's anecdotes, and to beg an autograph of General Houston. 

10 U. S. House Reports, 22nd Congress, No. 502. 

ii-George Paschal, "Last Years of Sam Houston." Harper's Magazine., 
April, 1866. 

isThe ring remained in the Jackson family until 1897 when it was 
stolen by some one who appeared to appreciate its sentimental importance. 


i Jackson's note-book, May 21, 1829. Library of Congress. 

2Jackson to Houston, June 21, 1829. Yoakum, I, 307. 

sHouston's reply to this letter can not be found, but the collateral 
evidence that Houston gave the pledge is convincing. His reiterated as- 
surances in subsequent correspondence that he will do nothing to embarrass 
the President, I take as predicated upon the earlier vow. Had Houston 
not given the pledge the old ties of affection between him and Jackson, 
maintained under circumstances trying to the President, would have been 
Instantly severed. 

*Yoakum, I, 281. 

^Robert Mayo. Political Sketches of Eight Years in Washington, 119. 
T Authentic Memoir, 64. 

BAugustus C. Buell, History of Andrew Jackson, II, 351 (footnote). 
^Authentic Memoir, 62. 

iQHouston to Lewis, May SO, 1830. Tennessee Historical Society, 

York Herald, Dec. 29, 1907. Related by Thomas Boyers, of 
Gallatin, who knew Eliza Allen and Sam Houston. The Boyers family 
was prominent in Sumner County at the time of the events described and 
was represented on the "vindication" committee of 1830. 

"Related in 1925 to the writer by Miss Harriet Talbot, of Nashville, 
a lifetime student of Texas and Tennessee genealogy. Miss Talbot was 
born in the Republic of Texas in 1842. The story was told to her by the 
iate Robert Quarles, state archivist of Tennessee, who had it from the old 
negress herself. 

i4Scrap-book of press clippings. Tennessee State Library, Nashville. 

isOriginal in possession of Houston "Williams. Copy in Retired Classi- 
fication Files, Indian Bureau. 

i6Crane, 48. 

irjournal of Washington Irving. Note-book No. 6. New York Public 


isFrom General Pike's reminiscences republisbefi in the Nashvill* 
TTem in 1905, 


iCrane, 46. 

aPronounced Boo'-ey. Tradition, supported by historical testimony 
deserving of some consideration at least, attributes the invention of the 
bowie knife to Jim. Two or three accounts, the details of which are 
essentially in agreement, say that Jim cut his hand in a fight by striking 
such a blow with a knife that his fingers slipped down upon the blade. 
Thereupon he devised a weapon with a hilt. A dissenting school brings 
forward Rezin Bowie as the inventor of the knife. Kezin Bowie was a 
man of parts, but brother Jim overshadowed him. Inasmuch as the knife 
had established its place in frontier history fifty years before the Bowies 
were born I am prepared to believe that some one quite unknown to fame 
may have been the originator of the bowie-type weapon. Be that as it 
may, Jim's exploits and rumored exploits gave bowie knives their vogue 
and started a factory in Sheffield, England, to making them for the Texas 

^Authentic Memoir, 66. 

*Grant Foreman, Pioneer Days in the Southwest, 202. 

^Authentic Memoir, 66. 


iM. M. Kenney. Texas Historical Association Quarterly, I, 228. 

2Williams, 36. 

sWilliam S. Red, The Texas Colonists and Religion, 125. 

* Authentic Memoir, 71. 

sibid., 69. 

eAustin City Gazette, March 2, 1842. 

7Crane, 23. 

William F. Pope, Early Days in Arkansas, 158, 

eG* W. Featherstonhatigh, Excursion through the Slave State*, 119. 


iProfessor James E. Winston, "How New Orleans Aided Texas in 
Gaining Freedom." New Orleans States, March 6, 1927. 

aHouston to J. A. Wharton, April 14, 1835. Lamar papers. Texa* 
State Library, Austin. 

aNacogdoches Archives* Texas State Library, Austin. 

*Ibid., Feb. 10 and March 10, 1835. 

sibid., Feb. 11, 1835. 

eFrom Sam Houston III* Oklahoma City, Olda. 

^Houston to Fannin, Nov. la 1835, Texas State Library, Austin, 

NOTES 447 

sFannin to Houston, Nov. 18, 1835. Texas State Library, Austin. 

Fannin to Houston Nov. 18, 1835. From Houston Williams. 

lOFannin to Houston Nov. 18, 1835. Texas State Library, Austin. 

^Houston to A. Huston, Quartermaster-General, Dec. 8, 1830. From 
Houston Williams. 

isYoakum, II, 450. 

is Army order, Dec. 30, 1835. From Houston Williams. Houston to 
Fannin, two orders, Dec. 30, 1835. From Franklin Williams. 

"Houston to Smith, Jan. 0, 1836. Williams, 128. 

isHouston to Smith, Jan, 17, 1836. Texas State Library, Austin. 

isHouston to Smith, Jan. SO, 1836, John Henry Brown, History of 
Texas, I, 502. 

^Authentic Memoir, 85. 


iTexas State Library, Austin. 

2William F. Gray, From Virginia to Texas, 121. 

sHouston to Henry Raguet, March 13, 1836. From Mrs. Madge W. 
Hearne, Houston, Texas. 

<T. H. Kuykendall. "Recollections of the Campaign," Texas Historical 
Association Quarterly, IV, 295. 

cNo copy of Fannin's message can be found. In his Authentic Memoir, 
pp. 95 and 98, and in a speech in the United States Senate (Crane, 582), 
Houston said it contained a refusal to obey his orders to retire 3 saying 
that Goliad would be defended to the end. Later Fannin attempted to 
retreat, and was intercepted by Urrea. The fact that the surviving 
papers of Fannin do not confirm Houston's assertion by no means estab- 
lishes that Houston's memory was at fault. The vacillating Fannin was 
so beside himself that he might have written Houston anything. 

^Authentic Memoir, 98. 

vlbid., 100. 

sHouston to Rusk, March 23, 1836. From Houston Williams. 

*Ibid. A postscript dated March 24. 

ioW. B. Dewees, Letters from an Early Settler in Texas, 204. 

nA memorandum by Captain Baker. E. C. Barker, "The San Jadnto 
Campaign," Texas Historical Association Quarterly f IV, 279. 


iHouston to Rusk, March 29, 1836. Yoakum, II, 485. 
sHouston to Rusk, March 81, 1886. Authentic Memoir, 103. 
sW> H. Wharton to Houston, Feb. 16, 1836. From Houston 


^Houston to The Bowl, April 13, 1836. A. K, Christian, "Mirabeau 
Buonaparte Lamar," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XX, 69. 

cBurnet to Houston, April 7, 1836. Telegraph and Texas Register, 
June 9, 1841. 

6N. D. Labadie, Assistant Surgeon, 2nd Infantry Regiment, in Texas 
Historical Association Quarterly, IV, 311. 

t Texas Historical Association Quarterly, XI, 66. 

sPrivate Alfonzo Steele, Biography, 9. 

^Memorandum by Captain Baker. E. C. Barker, "The San Jacinto 
Campaign," Texas Historical Association Quarterly, IV, 279. 

lopronounced Deef by his contemporaries. 

uln Texas most Spanish words are given their original pronunciation. 
San Jacinto is an exception. Texans pronounce it exactly as any Ameri- 
can unfamiliar with Spanish would pronounce it. The habit is an old one. 
I have never heard a Texan of advanced years, including a son and 
daughter of General Houston, use the Spanish pronunciation. 

isYoakum, II, 498. 

^Authentic Memoir, 124. 

i4Houston's report of the battle gives his strength as 783, the figure 
usually used, though it includes three who were wounded on April 20 and 
others who were sick. Brown (II, 31-38) lists 52 additional men, 
which if they were all present on April 21, would make Houston's force 
635. It seems certain that fewer than this actually fought however. 

isLabadie, 316. 

leWilliams, 200. 

IT 'Authentic Memoir, 147. 

is 2 'bid,, 150. 

leSteele, 9. 

soNew Orleans Bulletin, July 12, 1836. 


iRusk to Houston, July 2, 1836. From Houston Williams. 

2Rusk to Houston, July 6, 1836. From Houston Williams. 

s Austin to Houston, July 4, 1836. From Franklin Williams. Burnet 
and Austin also write Gaines direct. 

4darence R. Wharton, The Republic of Texas, 165. 

^Scrap-book of Houston memorabilia. Carnegie Library, Nashville. 

eGeneral George W. Morgan, "Reminiscences," Southwestern Historical 
Quarterly, XXX, 183. 

7 Wharton, 217. 

sSwartwout to Houston, Aug. 7, 1836. From Sam Houston III, Okla- 
homa City. 

aCurrey to Houston, June 7, 1836. From Miss Marian Williams, 
Houston, Texas. 

NOTES 449 

loHouston to the General Commanding the Army of Texas, July 26, 
1836. Authentic Memoir, 166. 

nCrane, 266. E. W. Winkler, Librarian of the University of Texas, 
has given me an interesting note on the Texas Constitution. The private 
library of Thomas W. Streeter, of Morristown, N. J., whose collection of 
early Texas books and pamphlets is very valuable, contains a pamphlet 
copy of the constitution printed in Washington, D. C., in 1836. On page 
3 is a statement signed by Robert Hamilton and George C. Childress, who 
represented the Burnet regime in the United States, dated May 22, 1836, 
certifying that it is a true copy of the constitution framed by the repre- 
sentatives of the people of Texas. Apparently this pamphlet was un- 
available to Mr. Burnet who used as his official text the reprint in the 
Telegraph for August 2, 1836. 

to Rusk, Aug. 1, 1836. From Houston Williams. 

to Houston, July 30, 1836. From Houston Williams. 

wSanta Anna to Houston, July 22, 1836. From Houston Williams. 

"Rusk to Houston, Aug. 9, 1836. From Houston Williams. 


iMorgan, 183. 

2 Related to the writer by Captain William Christian, of Houston, who 
knew Judge Williamson. 

sSanta Anna to Houston, Nov. 5, 1836. From Franklin Williams* 

^Austin to Wharton, Nov. 18, 1836. George P. Garrison (editor), 
"Diplomatic Correspondence of the Republic of Texas." Report of the 
American Historical Association, 1907, II, 140. 

oWharton to Austin, Dec. 11, 1836. Ibid. 

eWharton to Rusk, Feb. 16, 1837. Garrison, II, 190. 

& Authentic Memoir, 186. 

^Houston to Irion, Jan. 23 and Feb. 2, 183T. Dallas News, March 7 
and H, 1915. 

loFrom Mrs, Madge W. Hearne, Houston. 

nMcEwen to Houston, Dec. 13, 1836. From Miss Marian Williams, 

"Houston to Anna Raguet, Jan. 1, 1837. Dallas News, March 7, 1915. 

isHouston to Anna Raguet, Jan. 29, 1837. Dallas News, March 14, 1915. 

i^Houston to Irion, March 19, 1837. Dallas News, March 14, 1915. 


iA traveler's letter to the Hesperian or Western Magazine, Columbus^ 
Ohio, 1838, reprinted 1928 by the Union National Bank, Houston. 


*I do not know what has become of this portrait. Smith died shortly 
after it was painted, and several years later Houston made a search for 
the painting but with what result I am unable to learn. Smith was a native 
of New York State. Deaf Smith County in Texas perpetuates his name. 

^William H. Burleigh in an Abolitionist pamphlet. San Antonio 
Public Library. 

^Houston to Anna Raguet, May 15, 1838. Dallas News, March 28, 1915* 
The insertion of this letter, dated 1838, in an account of the affairs of 183T 
is an unintentional anachronism, but one which, as luck has it, involves no 
distortion of fact. 

7Robert Buchanan, Life and Adventures of Audubon the Naturalist, 

sRelated by Majov S. M. Penland, of Galveston, a grand-nephew of 
General Houston. 

0Lamar Papers, Manuscript No. 2480. Texas State Library, Austin. 

loHouston to The Bowl, July 3, 1837. Calendar of Papers of Mira- 
beau B. Lamar, I, 559. This particular pow-wow was held at Nacogdoches, 

nHouston to Anna Raguet, May 20, 1837. Dallas News, March 21, 

"William D. Redd to Lamar, May 23, 1837, Lamar Papers, I, 552. 

isS. H. Everitt to Lamar, May 30, 1837. Lamar Papers, I, 555. 

i^The murder of Teal was cleared up many years later. He was 
killed by a criminal among his soldiery whose motive of robbery had 
nothing to do with the acute politics of the time. 

isAshbel Smith, Reminiscences of the Texas Republic. Quoted from 
Crane, 246. 

i^Houston to Anna Raguet, Aug. 22, 1837. Dallas News, March 21, 

^Olivia A. Roberts Mather to M. B. Lamar, Oct. 14, 1837. Lamar 
Papers } I, 575. 


isSnively to Houston, Nov. 22, 1837, From Houston Williams. 

soDavid S. Kaufma.n to Houston, Feb. 17, 1838. From Houston 

siMrs. Dilrue Harris, "Reminiscences," Texas Historical Association 
Quarterly, VIII, 215. 

died of pneumonia. Although much courted, for she was 
rather well-to-do, and the tradition is, still handsome, she did not remarry* 
In the National Cemetery at Fort Gibson is a stone with this legend: 

Sacred to the Memory of 


Cherokee Wife of 


NOTES 451 

Liberator of Texas 
Died at Wilson's Rock, C. N". 

In the Year 1838 

Removed to Fort Gibson 

May 30, 1905 

/f Narcissa Owen, Cherokee mother of the former United States 
Senator of Oklahoma, is correct in her recollection, it is likely that the 
body resting beneath this slab is that of Sam Houston's wife. Mrs. Owen 
remembered as a girl seeing the roses on Tiana's grave at Wilson's Rock. 
Professor Emmett Starr, the native Cherokee historian, and others con- 
tend, however, that the body is that of another, Tiana having been buried 
forty miles from Wilson's Rock. W. Wilson, a white man from whom the 
Rock takes its name, was an unsuccessful suitor for Tiana's hand. In any 
event, the name on the gravestone is incorrect. Tah-li-hina is a Choctaw 

24Williams, 35. 

ssBee to Ashbel Smith, June 5, 1840. University of Texas Library, 

seHouston to Anna Raguet, June 4, 1838, Dallas News, March 28, 

27Mrs. Dilrue Harris, Texas Historical Association Quarterly, VII, 218. 

29Thomas F. McKinney to S. M. Williams, Nov. 3, 1838. Rosenberg 
Library, Galveston. 

soWilliaras, 31. 

siA. W. Terrell, "Recollections," Texas Historical Association 
Quarterly, XIV, 130. 


iSmith to William Locke, Dec. 20, 1838. University of Texas Library* 

2 Lamar Papers, III, 42. 

sThis meeting has oeen described to me by several of General Houston's 
descendants, notably his daughter, Mrs. Bringhurst. His granddaughter, 
Mrs, Hear we, has the poem. 

^Scrap-book of clippings, Tennessee State Library, Nashville. 

cCrane, 253. 

Anson Jones, Memoranda and Official Correspondence Relating td 
fhe Republic of Texas, 34. 

7lbid. } 35 

sAustin City Gazette, Nov. 27, 1839. 

sjones, 35. 

iQJames Love to Lamar, March 15, 1840. Lamar Papers, III, 854. 
Nettie Houston Bringhurst to the writer. 


to Smith, June 5, 1840. University of Texas Library, Austia 

"This story was related by Judge John Moore, of Marion, Ala., a 
wedding guest, and is recorded by his son, John Trotwood Moore, State 
Archivist of Tennessee, in his Tennessee the Volunteer State, I, 401. As 
recorded the questioner is identified as John Lea, Margaret's father. The 
elder Lea was dead, but Margaret had two grown brothers at the wedding. 

i*Bee to Smith, June 5, 1840, University of Texas Library, Austin. 

i<sHouston to his wife, Sept. 23, 1840. Library of Sam Houston State 
Teachers' College, Huntsville, Texas. 

is Private library of Simon J. Schwartz, New Orleans. 

nTexas Centinel, Aug. 26, 1841. 

isjames Armstrong to Lamar, June 12, 1841. Lamar Papers, III, 537. 


iW. D. Miller to Houston, March 6, 1842. Texas State Library; 

2W. D. Miller to Houston, March 7, 1842. Texas State Library, 

sFrom Franklin Williams. 

^Houston to Morehouse, March 10, 1842. From Franklin Williams. 

^Houston to Somervell, March 10, 1842. From Franklin Williams. 

^Houston to Edmunds, March 11, 1842. From Franklin Williams. 

7Houston to Santa Anna, March 21, 1842. Authentic Memoir, 211. 

sHouston to M. E. Holliday, May 6, 1842. From Franklin Williams. 

^Houston to John S. Sydnor, May 13, 1842. From Franklin Williams. 

loHouston to L. B. Franks, May 21, 1842. From Franklin Williams, 

iiMdntosh to Houston, June 15, 1842. From Houston Williams. 

i2Houston to James Davis, June 6, 1842. From Franklin Williams* 

"Houston to Davis, June 10, 1842. From Franklin Williams. 

i*Hunt to Houston, July 21, 1842. From Franklin Williams. 

^Houston to The Red Bear, Oct. 18, 1842. From Franklin Williams. 

isHouston to Chief Linney, March 5, 1843. From Franklin Williams. 

iTHouston to Moses A. Bryan, Jan. 24, 1843. Lamar Papers, V, 502, 

isHouston to Bagley, Dec. 18, 1842. Houston Public Library. 

i0E. H. Winfield to Ashbel Smith, Sept. 22, 1841. University of Texas 
Library, Austin. 

aoFlaco to Houston, March 24, 1843. From Houston Williams. 

aiHouston to Flaco, March 28, 1843. From Franklin Williams. 

aaHouston to Elliot, Jan. 24, 1843. From Franklin Williams. 

ssSmith to Houston, Oct. 30, 1843. University of Texas Library. 

24Smith to Houston, Aug. 15, 1843, University of Texas Library, 

2H. F. Gillette to Ashbel Smith, Dec. 8, 1843, University of Texas 
Library, Austin. 

NOTES 453 


iJones, 371. 

zjones, 39. 

sElliot to Addington. Private, Nov. 15, 1842. F. O., Texas, Public 
Record Office, London. Captain Elliot's reference to Houston's Indian 
children is a repetition of gossip rather current at the time and widely 
circulated by the General's political adversaries. The rumor is not ex- 
tinct in Oklahoma and Texas. The same has been said, often truthfully, 
of nearly every other white man who has lived among the Indians. Merely 
Houston's prominence gave the matter more than passing interest. In 
quest of the facts in Houston's case, I have failed to find, difficult as 
that would be, even doubtful affirmative evidence in any specific instance. 
Tiana Rogers bore him no children. By her first husband, Gentry, she 
had two children, both of whom were dead when she married Houston. 
I have talked with old eastern Oklahoma Indians, who recall their elders' 
reminiscences of Sam Houston. They admit the existence of the rumor, but 
Will vouch for nothing beyond that. This testimony is more important than 
toost white people think. I have encountered the name Houston on several 
Iribal rolls; also the names Andrew Jackson, Washington Irving, and Na- 
poleon Bonaparte. General Houston was the godfather of Sam Houston 
Bowles, son of the venerable Texas Cherokee chieftain, The Bowl. 

^Elliot to Addington, Dec. 11, 1842, F. 0., Texas, Public Record 
Office, London. 

sjackson to Houston, Jan. 18, 1844. From Houston "Williams. 

eJackson to Houston, Jan. 23, 1844. From Houston Williams. 

7Houston to Jackson, Feb. 16, 1844. From Franklin Williams. 

&The Adventures and Travels of Monsieur Violet. 

Mrs. Matilda C. Houstoun, A Woman's Memories of World-Known 
Men, 134. 

"Houston to Murphy, May 6, 1844. Rice Institute Library, Houston. 

"Houston to Santa Anna, Dec. 10, 1844. From Franklin Williams. 

isCrane, 255. 

isjackson to Houston, March 12, 1845. Yoakum, II, 441. 

"Buchanan to Donelson, April 28, 1845. Justin H. Smith, Annexe 
tion of Texas, 439. 

i5Smith to Houston, April 7, 1845. From a private library. 

icCrane, 251. 

iTSamuel G. Heiskell. Andrew Jackson, I, 171. 

isparton, III, 676. 

s. Nettie Houston Bringhurst to the writer. 

*OIfver Dyer, Great Senators of the "United States, 116. 


sHouston to Polk, Sept. 29, 1845. From Miss Marian Williams, 

sjournal of Ashbel Smith, Aug. 20, 1846. University of Texas Library, 

^Lamar to Burnet, March, 1847, Lamar Papers, IV, pt. i. 165. 

eCrane, 240. 

^Houston to Joseph McMinn, March 30, 1823. Texas Historical As* 
9ociation Quarterly, VI, 72. 

TFrom Mrs. Madge W. Hearne, Houston. 

sMargaret Houston to her husband, May 8, 1848. Mrs. Madge W, 

^Congressional Globe, 30th Congress 1st session, 1075. 

lOCrane, 202. 


Temple Houston Morrow, Dallas, 
to Houston, May 9, 1851. 

*From an album, original owner unidentified, Goodspeed's Book Shop, 

^Houston to Miller,, Oct. 7 and Sept 13, ISfift Texas State Library. 

*New York Herald, Dec. 29, 190T. 

^Memorandum of Dr> H. C. Dunavant. Reserved file, Tennessee State 
Library, Nashville. The fact that Mrs. Houston bore her second husband 
several children destroys the theory imputed to the lecturer, Doctor Eve. 
Doctor Eve could hardly have been ignorant of these circumstances. My 
conclusion is that after the long interval Doctor Dunavant's memory failed 
him on the details of the lecture, 

7Houston to his wife, March 5, 1851. Raines, 452. 

8 Robert W. Winston, Andrew Johnson, 54. 

sWilliams, 330. 

lORichmond Enquirer, Feb. 6, 1854. 

11 Crane, 402. 

^America's Own, Dec. 23, 1854. 

isFranklin Williams to the writer. 

^Houston to his wife, April 18, 1856. From Temple Houston Morrow, 

icHouston to John Hancock, July 21, 1856. From Houston Williams. 

ie A. W. Terrell. Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XVI, 119. Gen- 
era] Houston's statements were highly political. Mr. Steine had killed a 
man in self-defense. Judge OJdham and Houston became friends a few 
years later. 

NOTES 455 


iCrane, 611. 

*/&., 621. 

^Harrison (Texas) Flag, June 5, 1860. 

<Louis J. Wortham, A History of Texas, IV, 293. 

*A. S. Colyar, Life and Times of Andrew Jacks on , I, 166. 

Mrs. Nettie Houston Bringhurst to the writer. 

7Sam Houston to Sam Houston, Jr., Feb. 18, 1859. C. W. Raines, A 
Year Book for Texas, 453. 

sSam Houston to Sam Houston, Jr., Jan. 30, 1860. From Temple 
Houston Morrow. 

Sam Houston to Sam Houston, Jr., various dates. From Templej 
Houston Morrow. 

loEstep to Houston, Aug. 19, 1860. Texas State Library, Austin. 

nBarry to Houston, dated Flag Pond, P, O., Bosque County, Texas, 
Aug. 14, 1860. Texas State Library, Austin. 

isSam Houston to Sam Houston, Jr., Nov. 7, i860. Raines, 454. 

"Dudley G. Wooten (editor), A Comprehensive History of Texa$ 
tt, 85. 

"Crane, 631. 

icWilliams, 353. 

Ktf&iU, 354. 

i7Temple Houston Morrow to the writer; Charles A. Culberson, "Sam 
Houston and Secession," Scribn&r'a Magazine, May, 1906; A. W. Terrell* 
"Recollections," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XVI, 134. 

isWooten, II, 126. 

i]M[rs, Nettie Houston Bringhurst to the writer. 



sCaptain William Christian to the writer. He was one of the re- 
cruits and served with Sam Houston, Jr., in Company C. 

eCharles Power to Houston, March 7, 1861. Texas State Library, 

^Austin City Gazette. March 23, 1861. 

Clark to Davis, April 4, 1861. Executive Record, LXXX, 19. Texas 
State Library, Austin. 

eSam Houston to Sam Houston, Jr., May 22, 1861, Raines, 454. 

TSam Houston to Sam Houston, Jr., July 23, 1861, Raines, 454. 

*TMs Story has the Houstonian touch and I give it as it is recorded "by 
a purported eye-witness (Thomas North, Five Tears fa Tettas, 95), but 
there fs at least one discrepancy. Houston could hardly have mentioned 
Judge Oldham as quoted. He had become reconciled with this 



of printed sources mentioned In the foregoing Notes. Not a bibliography 
of this volume. See remarks entitled "Sources and Acknowledgments." 

America's Own. December 23, 1854. 

Arkansas Gazette. Various dates. 

Austin City Gazette. Various dates. 

Authentic Memoir. Full title: The Life of Bam Houston, The only 
Authentic Memoir of him ever published. 1855. 

Baker, Captain Moseley. A memorandum quoted by Barker, Texat 
Historical Association Quarterly, IV. 

Barker, Eugene C. "The San Jacinto Campaign," Texas Historical 
Association Quarterly, IV. 

Brown, John Henry, History of Texas. 1893. 

Bruce, Henry. Life of General Houston. 1891. 

Buchanan, Robert. Life and Adventures of Audubon the Naturalist 

Buell, Augustus C. History of Andrew Jackson. 1904. 

Burleson, Georgia C. (editor), Life and Writings of Rufus C. Burleson. 

Butler, General Benjamin F. Private and Official Correspondence. 

Cantrell, Mrs. H. C. A letter to the Louisville Courier- Journal. 

Cartwright, Peter. Autobiography. 1856. 

Christian, A. K. "Mirabeau Buonoparte Lamar." Southwestern His* 
torical Quarterly f XX* 

Colyar, A. S. Life and Times of Andrew Jackson, 1904. 

Congressional Globe. Various dates. 

Crane, William Carey. Life and Select Literary Remains of Sam 
Houston. 1884 

Culbertson. Charles C. "Sam Houston and Secession.** Scribner's 
Magazine, May, 1906. 

Curtis, George Ticknor. Life of James Buchanan. 1888* 

Dallas News. Various dates. 

Dewees, W. B, Letters of an Early Settler in Texas. 1858. 

Dyer, Oliver. Great Senators of the United States. 1889. 

E21iott, Sarah Barnwell, Sam Houston. 1900. 

Featherstonhaugh, G. W. Excursion through the Slave States. 1844 

Foreman, Grant. Pioneer Days in the Early Southwest. 1936. 



Garrison, George P. (editor) Diplomatic Correspondence of the Re- 
public of Texas. In Annual Report American Historical Association for 

Gray, William F. From Virginia to Texas, 1835. Reprint 1909. 

Guild, Jo C. Old Times in Tennessee. 1878. 

Hale, Will T. and Dixon L. Merritt. A History of Tennessee and 
Tennesseeans. 1913. 

Harris, Mrs. Dilrue. "Reminiscences." Texas Historical Association 
Quarterly, VII and VIII. 

Harrison (Texas) Flag, June 5, 1860. 

Heiskell, Samuel G. Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History, 

Hesperian or Western Magazine, 1838. Reprint of 1928. 

Houstoun, Mrs. Matilda C. A Woman's Memories of World-Known 
Men. 1883. 

Jones, Anson. Memoranda and Official Correspondence Relating to 
the Republic of Texas. 1859. 

Kenney, M. M. Article in Texas Historical Association Quarterly, L 

Kittrell, Norman, "Reminiscences of Sam Houston" as reported by 
William E. Curtis in the Chicago Record-Herald. 1911. 

Knoxville Register, August 25, 1827. 

Kuykendall, J. H, "Recollections of the San Jacinto Campaign," 
Texas Historical Association Quarterly, IV. 

Labadie, Dr. N. D., Quoted by Barker, Texas Historical Association 
Quarterly, IV. 

Lamar, Mirabeau Buonoparte, Calendar of Paper. 1920-25. 

Lester, Charles Edwards. Bam Houston and His Republic, 1846. 

Mayo, Robert. Political Sketches of Eight Tears in Washington. 1889. 

Mellen, Dr. George Frederick. An article on Houston's duel with 
White. Tennessee State Library scrap-book. 

Mooney, James. "Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees." In Seventh 
Annual Report of Bureau of American Ethnology, published 1891. 

Moore, John Trotwoocl. Tennessee the Volunteer State. 1923. 

Morgan, General George W. "Reminiscences." {Southwestern Histori- 
cal Quarterly, XXX. 

New Orleans Bulletin. July 12, 1836. 

New York Herald, Various dates. 

New York Times. Various dates. 

New York Tribune. Various dates. 

Nile? Register, Baltimore and Washington. Various dates, 

Parton, James. Life of Andrew Jackson. 1860. 

Paschal, George, "Last Years of Sam Houston." Harper's 
April, 1866. 

Pike, Albert. Reminiscences. Reprinted in Nashville News 19Q5, 

Pope, William F, Early Days in Arkansas* 1895, 


Kaines, C. W. A Year-Book for Texan. 1901. 

Red, William S. The Texas Colonists and Religion. 1920. 

Richmond Enquirer. Various dates. 

Samson, Reverend George W. A letter on Houston's separation from 
Eliza Allen. New York Tribune. November 13, 1880. 

Scott, Emma Look. An article in the Nashville Newt, December 6, 

Smith, Justin H. The Annexation of Texas. 1911. 

Steele, Alfonzo. Biography. 1906. 

Telegraph and Texas Register. Various dates. 

Terrell, Alexander W. "Recollections of General Sam Houston.** 
Texas Historical Association Quarterly, XIV. 

Texas Centinel. August 26, 1841. 

Texas Republican. May 26, 1860. 

Texas Telegraph. Various dates. 

Truman, Major Ben C. The Field of Honor. 1884. 

United States Telegraph. Various dates. 

V. S. House Reports, 22nd Congress, 1st session, No. 502* 

Washburn, Cephas. Reminiscences of the Indians. 1869. 

Wharton, Clarence R. The Republic of Texas. 1925. 

Williams, Alfred M. An article on Houston's Indian Life. Magazine 
of American History. November, 1883* 

Williams, Alfred M. Sam Houston and the War of Independence in 
Texas. 1893. 

Winston, James E, "How New Orleans Aided Texas." New Orleans 
States. March 6, 1 927. 

Winston, Robert W. Andrew Johnson Plebeian and Patriot. 1928. 

Wise, Henry W. Seven Decades of the Union. 1872. 

Wooten, Dudley G. (editor) A Comprehensive History of Tewa*. 1898, 

Wortham, Louis J. A History of Texas. 1924. 

Yoakum, Henderson, History of Texas. 1856* 



This volume is mainly derived from contemporary manuscripts, few of 
which have been hitherto consulted with reference to Sum Houston, and & 
considerable portion of which have not been previously examined for any 
historical purpose. Printed sources have been indispensable, naturally. 
They have been fully examined. Their use, however, required a considerable 
effort at discrimination. 

On the shelves of almost any town library may be found portrayals 
of General Houston which are at variance with this account. This is an 
attempt to portray him against the background of national affairs, as a 
national rather than a sectional figure as he has been hitherto largely re- 
garded. Sam Houston was a national figure, and an important one. Othe* 
departures from current conceptions of Houston also are evident in these 
pages. Except in special cases, usually for clarification, these are not 
indicated, because they would interest few people. Students will find 
authorities for my statements in the notes, which I trust will guide them 
to the sources upon which they may place their own interpretations. A 
minor qualification in this connection should be noted. I have had access 
to the library of a private collector containing about two hundred of 
personal and public papers of General Houston and a few of his con* 
temporaries. I am not privileged to identify the owner of these papert 
or to quote from them. I have, however, been given free use of th 
substance of the documents, so that the only material effect is the absence 
of eight or ten notes that otherwise would appear* 

Newspapers and pamphlets have been used extensively, and were 
consulted chiefly at tlie Library of Congress, the American Antiquarian 
Society, Worcester, Massachusetts, the New York Public Library, the 
Lawson-McGhee Library, Knoxville, the Carnegie and Tennessee State 
Libraries, Nashville, the Louisiana State Historical Society, New Orleans, 
and the Texas State Library, Austin, 

The account of Houston's ancestry and his boyhood in Virginia If 
based on court-house records of Augusta and Rockbridge Counties, Oren 
F. Morten's History of Rockbrtdge County, and several genealogies of the 
Houston family of which for my purposes Samuel Rutherford Houston'* 
was the best. Among numerous residents of the Valley of Virginia I have 
a special debt to acknowledge to Mr* and Mrs. Horatio E. Thompson, 
present owners of Timber Ridge plantation, and Freeman H. Hart, of 
Lexington, head of the history department of Hampden-Sydney College, 



My lively discussions with Doctor Hart, who read twelve chapters of this 
book in proof, were as instructive as they were interesting. 

The notes indicate the track of printed sources followed through 
Houston's Tennessee career. Additionally the Jackson biographers were 
helpful, but what I missed most was a good general history like Yoakum's 
or Bancroft's works on Texas. The printed page, including the Authentic 
Memoir and the pioneering of Professor A. M. Williams, affords little more 
than a glimpse of the budding careerist in Tennessee. The man I have 
tried to recreate emerged from elsewhere the archives of the Blount 
County Court-House; the endless personal resources of Will E. Parham, 
of Maryville, who knows his Blount County of one hundred years ago al- 
most as well as he knows the present; the records of Porter Academy; the 
Old Files under the eaves of the War Department; the bewildering museum 
in the basement of the Indian Bureau; the well-ordered precincts of the 
leisurely and decorous Library of Congress; the collections of the Tennessee 
State Historical Society, Nashville; the pleasant slopes of the Cumberland 
Valley and the yellow brick court-house at Gallatin; the aging scrap-books 
of Houston memorabilia compiled by useful unknowns and now on the 
shelves of the Carnegie and Tennessee State Libraries in Nashville. Con- 
tributions by individuals were invaluable. I renew my expressions of 
thanks to Andrew Jackson IV, of Los Angeles, Meriwether Listen Lewis, 
Judge John H. DeWitt and Miss Harriet Talbot, of Nashville, Judge 
James M. Gates, of Maryville, Dr. William N. Lackey, of Gallatin, Charles 
C. Gulp, of Louisville, and William Henry Nugent, of New York City. 

When the writer began his inquiry into Houston's years of Indian 
exile that span presented a historical blank save for the ground-breaking 
by Professor Williams in the early 'eighties. Professor Williams devoted 
fourteen small pages to this period, seven of which are preempted by the 
Stanbery affair which happened in the broad daylight of Washington. 
But Williams visited the country and what he wrote is accurate. The pity 
is that he did not write more. Lacking also was a background of tribal 
history for the period. The prospect remained very dismaying until 1926 
when Grant Foreman's Pioneer Days in the Southwest was published. 

Mr. Foreman is a lawyer of Muskogee, Oklahoma. I had previously 
made his acquaintance and by his introduction an acquaintance with the 
basement of the Indian Bureau. Here are a quarter of a mile of filing 
cabinets, a quarter of a million documents and less dust than one might 
expect in a place so seldom visited. The place is a Klondike for students, 
richer, I believe, in the materials for unwritten history than any other 
precincts of like dimensions in the United States. The bulk of Book II 
came out of this basement, with side excursions among the manuscripts 
of the American Board of Foreign Missions, Boston, the War Department, 
the Department of Justice, the Missouri State Historical Society and the 
Washington Irving papers in the New York Public Library, Mr. Fore' 
man gave generously of the results of his own gleanings in various fields 


&nd read my manuscript of the Indian chapters. I also gratefully ac- 
knowledge the assistance of my friend, Hanford MacNider, former As- 
sistant Secretary of War, William J. Donovan, former Assistant to the 
Attorney-General, J. E. Van Court, of Eufaula, Oklahoma, attorney for 
the Creek Nation and his secretary, Miss Eulelia L. Ewing, a Creek Indian. 
I remember the courtesies of the clerks of the Indian Bureau. I felt at 
home in their cellar. 

When the writer was a boy growing up in the Cherokee Strip of 
Oklahoma Territory it was a big 1 day in Enid when Temple Houston drove 
across the prairie from Woodward to address a jury. I can see 
him now, with his long hair and high-heeled boots. He has told me the 
story of the Alamo. When Temple's eldest boy, Sam Houston, III, of 
Oklahoma City, heard that I was working on this biography he wrote to 
offer his help. He let me take some of his grandfather's papers and told 
me of other, and more important, collections owned by members of the 
family in Texas. I knew of these papers. A few students had seen some 
of them, but they had been sought without success by collectors, libraries 
and schools. 

I had better luck. Franklin and Houston Williams, of Houston, un- 
dertook to round them up for me, and in other ways they made my so- 
journs in Texas memorable and congenial. I owe it to them, and their 
relations, to say that this material was submitted without restriction or 
reservation as to its use. No promise concerning my treatment of any 
phase of General Houston's career was made by me or asked for by them. 
It would be impossible to call the roll of the members of the Houston 
family who have assisted me, but these I must mention: Mrs. Nettie Hous- 
ton Bringhurst, of San Antonio, a southern lady of the ancient regime and 
a true daughter of Sam Houston; Colonel Andrew Jackson Houston, of 
Pasadena, Texas, the GeneraPs last surviving son, who Is writing a history 
of the Texas revolution which should be of notable interest; Temple Hous- 
ton Morrow, of Dallas, Mrs. Margaret John, Mrs. Madge W. Hearne, Miss 
Marian Lea Williams and Royston Williams, of Houston. 

Additional manuscripts were consulted at the Houston Public Library, 
the Library of the Rice Institute at Houston, the Rosenberg Library, 
Galveston, Sam Houston State Teachers' College, Huntsville, the University 
of Texas and Texas State Libraries, Austin, and the Public Record Office, 

At the Public Record Office my application for the Foreign Office 
correspondence on Texas elicited the information that these files have not, 
as yet, passed into the category of superannuated papers retained for the 
harmless pleasure of academicians* It appears that something of thefr 
vital diplomatic character survives. Leastwise I was told that my request 
to inspect them must proceed from the American State Department K>y 
way of our embassy in London. This was communicated with an air that 
a member of the Royal family would be powerless to rectify the procedure. 


however greatly he might wish to do so in my particular case. Inasmuch 
as I was unprepared to remain in England long enough to undertake the 
arrangements mentioned I must have looked very unhappy. In any event 
one of His Majesty's civil servants descended from an impressive dais 
and promised to employ his best efforts in my behalf. The papers were 
produced so promptly that I missed a free lunch, but nevertheless thank the 
kind-hearted stranger possessed of such vast, invisible influence. 

I am very grateful to Dr. E. W. Winkler, Librarian of the University 
of Texas for corrections and comment on Chapters XIV to XXIII. 

Miss Harriet Smither, State Archivist of Texas, is devoting the re- 
sources of her broad scholarship to a biography of Ashbel Smith. "We 
have exchanged materials, and had I traded horses at as good advantage 
I should be a person of consequence by now. Miss Smither made me at 
home among the state papers of Texas. In a record kept in Spanish one 
first picks up Don Samuel trying a lawsuit before Judge Mora in Nacog- 
doches. Miss Smither read the manuscript of Chapters XXIV and XXV 
dealing with the complex and difficult subject of annexation. On this 
question Miss Smither is an authority, her studies lighting dark little cor- 
ners that escaped the monumental labors of Professor Justin H. Smith. 

Mrs. Mattie Austin Hatcher, Archivist of the University of Texas, 
performed many valuable services. I am similarly indebted to Reverend 
George L. Crocket, Nacogdoches, Major Ingham S. Roberts and Captain 
William Christian, of Houston, and O. T. Nicholson, of Shamrock. My 
wife, Bessie Rowland James, collaborated on research in Virginia, 
Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas, read a thousand old newspapers and 
compiled the index of this volume. My friend William MacLean, of Larch- 
mont, N. Y., prepared the maps that appear in this volume. 

Printed sources on Texas, old and new, are full, exceptionally good 
and fairly accessible. One book like Eugene C. Barker's Stephen F. Austin 
or J. H. Smith's Annexation will make a breach in any man's ignorance, 
My notes indicate the measure of profit with which I turned the pages of 
the thirty-two volumes of the Texas Historical Association Quarterly and 
the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. When Thomas "W. Streeter, of 
Morristown, N. J., a Texan practising law in New York City, completes 
his bibliography an up-to-date catalogue of Texas sources will be 

Everywhere I have gone I have talked to old people. I have not sought 
facts from their lips, especially. Community legends and traditions have 
received close attention and sometimes have been transferred, duly labeled!, 
to the foregoing pages. But these reminiscences, enjoyable for their own 
sake, also seemed to me to impart a sort of "feel" to the different en* 
vironments which from time to time enclosed the life of my man. 

H. J* 



Abercrombie, Lem, 428 

Aberdeen, Lord, 334., 335 

Adams, John Quincy, 54, 57, 175, 288 

Addington, H. U., 340 

Addison, Mrs. (formerly Ellin 
Small wood), 263 

Alabama, 30, 111, 296, 307, 309, 312, 
405, 410 

Alamo, The, 221 ; Travis's message 
from, 225; 227, 228; "Remember 
the," a battle-cry, 244, 251; 255, 

Alexander, William L., 137, 141 

Allen family, 74; break with Hous- 
ton, 82, 84, 133, 137, 140, 427 

Allen, Benjamin F., 442 

Allen, Campbell, 73 

Allen, Eliza, 72 ; courtship and mar- 
riage to Houston, 73; leaves her 
husband, 77; 181; poignant situa- 
tion one year after separation, 
137; overtures for reconciliation, 
140, 277; committee meeting to re- 
port on "private virtues," 141, 
151, 161, 173; legends concerning, 
183, 184, 202; divorce, 299, 803, 
808, 313, 360; remarriage, 880; 
death, 427, 442* 

Allen, George W., 427 

Allen, John, 72, 427 

Allen, Robert, 78, 141 

Allston, Angus, 428 

Almonte, Juan N., 252, 256 

Alston, Delia, 431 

Alston, Willis, 308 

American Anti-Slavery Society, 287, 
844, 374 

American Fur Company, 91, 95, 107 

American Party, 387 

Anahuac, Texas, 213 

Anderson, Dr. Isaac, 29 

Anderson, Thomas, 141 

Annexation of Texas to the United 
States, 263, 266, 272, 327; dip- 
lomatic maneuvers of Houston 
which brought about, 333 

Appleman, Captain, of The Flora, 

Appomattox, 428 

Arbuckle, Matthew, 103, 110, 15% 
160, 185 

Archer, Dr. Branch T., 215, 302 

Aristocracy in Virginia, 4, 5, 873 

Arkansas, 90, 95, 102, 148, 207 

Arkansas Gazette, 148 

Arkansas River Valley, trading and 
trails in, 91 

Army, Texas. See Texas 

Army, United States, Houston joins 
Regular, 29; officers' prospects 
after Creek War, 36; Houston re- 
signs, 46; 240, 258, 260; war with 
Mexico, 360, 869; 380 

Astor, John Jacob, 91, 105 

Atchison, Senator, Missouri, 383 

Audubon, John James, visit to 
Texas, 289 

Austin, Texas, 306, 309, 820, 828, 
858, 402, 410 

Austin City Gazette, 811, 415 

Austin College, 425 

Austin, Moses, 10, 174 

Austin, Stephen F., 10, 175, 181, 191, 
192, 193, 194; character, appear- 
ance, and colony, 197; opinion of 
Houston, 199; imprisoned in Mex- 
ico, 204; 210, 213; in command of 
army, 214; 215, 224, 260, 264, 26% 
269; death, 274; 806 

Austin, William T., 231 

Bailey, Dr. Rufus W., 425 
Baker, Isaac, 141 




Baker, Moseley, 228, 236, 238, 241, 

242, 249, 284 
Baker's Creek, Tennessee, Houston 

family arrives, 1807, 14; their resi- 
dence described, 16 ; Houston sells 

interest, 47. 
Balch, Alfred, 71 
Baldridge, Joseph W. 5 141 
Baltimore, 207, 270, 300, 396, 398 
Baltimore American, 355 
Banks, Speaker of House, 386, 387 
Banner and Wkig, Nashville, 75 
Barker, Miss, 264, 292 
Barker, Mr. and Mrs., actors, 301 
Barr, Robert, 271 
Barry, J. B., 403 
Bastrop, Texas, 401 
Bee, Barnard B., 272, 275, 299, 313, 

314, 323, 426 
Bee, New Orleans, 213 
Beene, Jesse, 40 
Belfast, Ireland, 3 
Belgium, 336, 342 
Bell, John, 398, 403, 404 
Belton, Texas, 410 
Benton, Thomas, a namesake of the 

original, 66 

Benton, Thomas Hart, 258, 357, 387 
Berrien, John McP., 155 
Berry, Radford, 211 
Beverly Hills, California, 151 
B&xar. See San Antonio de B&xar 
c< Big Drunk," Indian nickname for 

Houston, 157, 172, 363 
Big Track, Osage Chief, 108 
Black Coat, Cherokee Chief, 99, 162 
Black Fox, The, signer of Cherokee 

removal treaty, 95 
Blair, Representative, Tennessee, 


Blair, Francis P., 171, 355, 357 
Bledsoe, Emily Antoinette, 308. See 

also Power 

Bledsoe, William, 307, 309, 312 
Blount County, Tennessee, 13, 14, 30 
Blount, Governor, Tennessee, 28 
Blue, Tom, a slave of Houston, 290, 

331, 385 

Boddie, Elijah, 141 
Boden, Jose* Lorenzo, 211 
Bogy, Joseph, 107 

Bonneville Benjamin Louis Eulalie 
de, 103, 159 

Booth, Junius Brutus, 53, 170, 205, 

Borden, Gail, 244, 264, 426 

Bosque County, Texas, 403 

Bowie, James, 90, 191, 215, 220, 221, 
229; invention of knife, 446 

Bowie, Rezin, 446 

Bowie, Ursula Veramendi, wife of 
James, 191, 215 

Bowl, The, war lord of Texas Cher- 
okees, 233, 241, 292, 309 

Boyd, Mrs. Archer, "a pretty wid- 
ow," 298 

Boyd, John, 76 

Boyers, Robert M., 141 

Boyers, Thomas, 380 

Bradburn, Colonel, soldier of for* 
tune, 193 

Brazil, 382 

Brazoria, Texas, 192, 303 

Brazos River (Rio de los Brazos de 
Dios), 191, 237, 242 

Brearley, David, 109, 111 

Breckinridge, John C., 397, 404 

Brenham, Texas, 390 

British, Creek War, 30; burn Wash- 
ington, 36; recognize Cherokee 
Nation, 93 ; 273. See also England 

Brooks, Congressman, South Caro* 
lina, 386 

Brown, Jesse, 364 

Brown, John, 128 

Brownrigg, R. T. 5 411 

Brownsville, Texas, 394 

Buchanan, James, 355, 387, 406, 410 

Buckner, Senator, Missouri, 163, 166 

Buell, Don Carlos, 420 

Buena Vista, battle of, 369 

Buffalo Bayou, Texas, 233, 244, 245, 

Buffington, Mary, 150 

Bullock, Austin, innkeeper who dis- 

turbed the waters of diplomacy, 


Burleson, Edward, 217, 218, 229 
Burleson, John, 403 
Burleson, Reverend Rufus C., 385 
Burnet, David G. 5 provisional presii 
dent of Texas Republic, 233; 241 ; 



Burnet, David G., cont, 
rebuffs Houston, 256; 259, 264; re- 
signs, 266; 302,, 303, 317, 319, 363, 
380, 426 

Burnet, Major, son of David, 426 
Burnham's Crossing, Texas, 231 
Burr, Aaron, 9, 181, 212, 263, 362 
Bustamante, President, Mexico, 194 
Butler, Anthony, 175, 180, 205, 274 
Butler, Benjamin F., 425, 430 
Butler, Edward George Washington, 
251, 253 

Calhoun, John C., 43, 49, 50; Peggy 
Eaton affair, 135; 164, 344, 351, 
370, 373; disunion debate with 
Clay, 377; 380, 396 

California, 151, 321, 350, 360, 387 

Cambreleng, Churchill C., 62 

Campbell, John, 278 

Campbell, Judge, Texas, 419 

Canada, 226 

Cannon, Newton, 67, 70 

Carroll, William, 51, 67, 71, 75, 83, 
137, 140, 144, 181, 360 

Carter, Dan, 77 

Cartwright, Reverend Peter, 17 

Cass, Lewis, 369 

Cave, E. W., 430 

Cedar Point s Texas, Houston sum- 
mer home, 318, 375, 413, 416, 421, 
425, 426 

Chambondeau, Pere, 204 

Charleston, South Carolina, 396 

Chaumont, Alexandre Le Ray de, 
282, 297 

Cherokee Indians, ball play, 20; Oo- 
loo-te-ka's leadership, 21 ; faithful- 
ness, 30; treaty dispute with Ten- 
nessee, 40; western migration, 42; 
Tah-lhon-tusky, 43; neglected by 
United States, 49 ; 80 ; runners, 92 ; 
difficulties with whites, 92; Osage 
war and other problems, 101; 
threat of uprising, 114; ceremo- 
nial treatment of sick, 118; mis- 
sionaries among, 122; an annuity 
payment, 125; make Houston a 
citizen, 127 ; family of Tiana Rog- 
ers, 151; decision of Supreme 
Court of United States on sov- 
ereignty of, 156,, 159; Mexicans 

Cherokee Indians cont. 

start uprising in Texas, 223; driv* 

en from Texas, 309. 
Chihuahua, 350 
Choctaw Indians, 115, 116 
Chouteau, Auguste Pierre, frontier 

home of, described by Washington 

Irving, 104; 105, 108, 114, 123, 159, 

162, 172 
Chouteau, Masina, Indian wife of 

Auguste, 106 
Chouteau, Paul, 108, 109 
Chouteau, Rosalie, Indian wife of 

Auguste, 106 

Christy, William, 258, 332, 335, 337 
Cincinnati, demonstration against 

Houston at, 184; 205, 242, 264 
Claremore, Oklahoma, 151 
Clark, Edward, 412, 416 
Clay, Henry, 54, 57, 63, 348, 37% 

376, 384 

Clay, Tula, 402, 416 
Clinton, De Witt, 58, 59 
Coahuila, 194 
Collingsworth, Chief Justice, Texas 

Supreme Court, 303 
Co-lon-neh (The Raven), derivation, 


Colorado River, Texas, 231, 232, 23T f 

Colt, Samuel, 302 

Columbia, Texas, 266, 268 

Columbus, Mississippi, 307 

Comanche Indians, 95, 114 

Connecticut, 291 

Coody sisters, Lizzie and Nannit 

(Rogers), ISO 
Copano, Texas, 220 
Cdrdova, Vicente, 202 
Corinth, Mississippi, 419 
Corpus Christi, Texas, 360 
Cortenoz, Miguel, 199, 200 
Cortina, Juan Nepomucino, 394 
Corzine, Shelby, 299 
Cos, Martin Perfecto, 213, 244, 24^ 

51, 356 

Craig, John, 24 

Cramayel, Vicomte de, 330, 843 
Crawford, Mr., British Consular 

Service, 2S3, 290 
Crawford, William H., 38. fi^ fltf 



Creek Indians, British alliance, 30; 

battle of To-ho-pe-ka, 32; 109, 111, 


Crockett, George S., 141 
Crowell, John, 112 
Crowell, Thomas, 112 
Cuba, 369, 382 
Culbertson, David B., 410 
Curry, Ben, 263 

Cusack (or Cusick), John B., 20, 28 
Custis, George Washington, 56 

Dallas, George M., 351 
Davidson, family mentioned, 4, 5 
JDavis, Adjutant-General, Texas 

Army, 325 
Davis, Jefferson, 378, 380, 397, 410, 

416, 419 
Delaware, 373 
Delaware Indians, 115 
Democratic Party 5 348, 369, <$78, 382, 

387, 388, 395, 397 
Pey, Anthony, 202 
/Dickinson, Angelina, 229 
Dickinson, Mrs. A. M., 229 
Dilsey, servant of Allen family, 184 
Donahoe, Texas settler, 242 
Donelson, Andrew Jackson, 63, 351, 

353, 354, 387 
Dot, Juan M., 211 
Douglas, Stephen A., 383, 396, 397 5 


Douglass, Alfred H., 137, 141 
Douglass, Eliza Allen. See Allen, 

Douglass, Dr. Elmore, marries Eliza 

Allen, 381, 427 
Dred Scott decision, 388 
Due, Elizabeth, 150 
Due, Jennie, 150 
Duncan, Sanford, 66 
Durst, Jose*, 202 
Du Val, E. W., 125, 128, 135 
Dwight Mission, 119, 123 
Dyer, Oliver, 359 

Eaton, John H., 52, 56, 58, 59; Jack- 
son forces marriage to Peggy 
O'Neale (Timberlake), 60; 118, 
116, 131, 133, 135, 155, 162, 172 

Eaton, Margaret (Peggy) O'Neale, 
53, 58, 60, 134 3 135, 162, 357 

Ebberly, Angelina, 329 

Edmunds, P., 322 

Edwards, Hayden, 197 

Elliot, Charles, British Charge* d'Af 

faires, Texas Republic, 330, 333 

336, 339; estimate of Houston^ 

340; 343, 344, 348, 351, 354, 357 
Ellis, Chairman, Convention at 

Washington, Texas, 232 
England, 190, 226, 321, 324, 327, 333, 

336, 341, 345, 351, 353, 358, 36X, 

See also British 
Epperson, Benjamin H., 410 
Ervin, John P., 64 
Esau, a slave of Houston, 290, 319 
Estep, E., resourceful tax-gatherer 

of San Saba County, Texas, 403 
Eve, Joseph M., 330, 340, 347 
Everett, Edward, 400 
Everitt, Senator, Texas, 294 
Ewing, Surgeon-General, Texas 

Army, treats Houston's wound, 

253; dismissed from service, 257; 


Fannin, James W., 216, 220, 222, 227, 
228, 229, 231, 235, 239, 255, 325 

Filfsola, General, Mexican Army, 
249, 253 

Fillmore, Millard, 387 

Fisher, William S., 270, 285, 316, 
322, 328, 332 

Flaco, Lipan (Chief), 332 

Flaco, Lipan (warrior and scout ) t 

Florida, Jackson's conquest of, 59, 
136; 162; relation of this to ac- 
quisition of Texas, 174, 181, 276; 

Forbes, John, 249 

Fort Bend, Texas, 239, 242 

Fort Smith, Arkansas, 90, 116, 125, 

France, 273, 317, 321, 324, 327, 330, 
336, 342, 345, 348, 351, 353, 430 

Franco-Texienne Land Bill, 317 

Franklin, State of, 14 

Franks, Colonel, peacemaker among 
Texas Indians, 324 

Fr&nont, John C., 387 



Gaines, General, U. S. A., 260, 262 
Galan, Lieutenant, Mexican Army, 


Galladay, Isaac, 47 
Gallatin, Tennessee, 72, 73, 75, 137, 

141, 380, 428 
Galveston, Texas, 244, 312, 322, 335, 

336', 354, 358, 409, 415, 425 
Galveston Bay and Texas Land 

Company, 202, 207 
Garrero, Francisco, 202 
Garrison, William Lloyd, 327, 374 
Gentry, David, 150 
Georgetown, Texas, 410 
Georgia, 43, 93, 96, 102; dispute with 

Cherokee Nation, 156; 222, 226, 

271, 293, 405, 406, 429 
Gerard, Delegate, New York, 399 
Gibbs, Tennesseean with whom 

Houston almost fought a duel, 64 
Gibson, Cantonment, 91, 107, 110, 

117, 120, 125, 152, 160, 185, 190 
Giddings, George D., 410 
Gillespie, Colonel, 325 
Gilmer, Texas, 409 
Girth, The, Cherokee Indian, 123 
Glass, The, Cherokee Indian, 43 
Glenn, Hugh, 108 
Goliad, Texas, 216, 220, 221, 228, 

229, 258, 322 
Gonzales, Texas, first skirmish of 

Texas Revolution, 209; 216, 228, 

232, 234 
Grant, Dr. James, 218, 220, 228, 258, 


Grant, Ulysses S., 420, 428, 429 
Grant, Mrs. Ulysses S., 428 
Gratoit, Charles, 109 
Gray, William F., 224, 225, 233, 234 
Grayson, Peter W., 303 
Great Britain. See England 
Green, Duff, 57, 131, 133, 164, 171, 

172, 176, 351 
Green, Thomas Jefferson, 260, 263, 

264, 265, 409 
Groce, Jared, 239 
Grosveneur, Ogden, 212 
Grundy, District-Attorney, Nash- 
ville, 262 

Grundy, Felix, 167 
Guild, Jo C,, 68, 71, 137, 141, 360 

Hall, William, 78, 137, 141, 144, 147 
Hamilton, James, 323 
Hamilton, Narcissa, 206 
Hamlin, Hannibal, 380, 397 
Hamtramck, John F., 107, 109, ISl 
Hanna, Anne, 69, 240 
Haralson, H., 89, 98, 104, 107, 159 
Harper, Representative, New Hamp 

shire, 170 
Harris, Mrs., widow of founder 

Harrisburg, Texas, 234 
Harris County, Texas, 421 
Harris, Ira A., 302 
Harris, Mary Jane, belle of Buffalo 

Bayou, 299 

Harrisburg, Texas, 233, 242, 244 
Hatch, Lem, 428 
Hawkins, Ben, 126, 208 
Hebert, General, C. S. A., 421, 425 
Helena, Arkansas, 90 
Henderson, James Pinckney, 270, 

288, 295, 318, 342, 426 
Henry, Gustavus A., 399 
He-Puts-the-Drum-Away. See Oo- 

Hill, John, 428 
Hitchcock, Lieutenant, 261 
Hockley, George W., 223, 227, 231, 

235, 238, 252, 254, 264, 318, 336, 426 
Holland, 342 
Holland, Congressman, Texas Re 

public, 329 

Hot Springs, Virginia,, 348 
Hotels. See taverns 
Houston, Texas, 280; description of, 

in 1837, 281; James J. Audubon 

visits, 289; 318, 324, 328, 348, 385, 

413, 429 
Houston, Eliza Allen. See Allen s 


Houston, Eliza Ann, 7 
Houston, Elizabeth Paxton, mother 

of Sam Houston, 6; appearance, 

13; moral qualities, 14; 29, 36; 

death, 161 ; 433, 438 
Houston, Isabelle, 7, 16 
Houston, James, 16, 47 
Houston, James (of Jim Houston's 

Fort), 14 
Houston, John, 14 
Houston, John, "Gentleman," Arri- 
val in America, 4 



Houston, Maggie, 376, 401, 423, 432 

Houston, Margaret Lea, wife of 
Sam Houston, 318, 324, 326, 330, 
832, 337, 340, 352, 357, 365, 367, 
875, 381, 384, 386, 400, 412, 414, 
418, 420, 422, 423, 428, 431; Sam 
Houston's death, 432; death, 457, 
See also Lea, Margaret 

Houston, Mary, 7, 428 

Houston, Matthew, 8 

Houston, Nannie, 365, 376, 422, 423, 
426, 432 

Houston, Paxton, 16 

Houston, Robert, 5 

Houston, Sam, characteristics, ap- 
pearance, 16, 48, 68, 69, 99, 133, 
136, 167; described by Washington 
Irving, 186; 207; certificate of 
character, 211; 215, 226, 227, 270, 
284, 290, 331, 337, 340, 349, 359, 
409; ancestry, 3, 5, 6; religion, 21, 
81, 120, 121; a "Muldoon Catho- 
lic," 203; 365, 381; joins Baptist 
Church, 385; 402, 422; childhood 
and schooling, 7, 8, 25, 26, 29; re- 
moval to Tennessee, 13; dislike of 
farm work, 15; runs off to live 
With Indians, 19 ; adopted by Chief 
Oo-loo-te-ka, 20; Indian court- 
ships, 22; schoolmaster, 26; militia 
drummer, 20; joins Regular Army, 
29; promoted, 30; bravery at To- 
ho-pe-ka, 33; near death from 
wounds, 35; first trip to Washing- 
ton, 36; transferred to New Or- 
leans, 37; an early love-affair, 39; 
Indian agent, 40; Calhoun's repri- 
mand, 44; resigns from Army, 45; 
studies law, 47; begins practise in 
Lebanon, 47; appointed adjutant- 
general, state militia, 48; prose- 
cuting attorney, 50; elected to 
Congress, 51; activities In presi- 
dential election, 1824, 54, 56; con- 
siders marriage, 55; opposes Cal- 
houn, 59; duel with White, 65; 
elected governor of Tennessee, 70; 
mentioned for presidency, 71; 
courtship of Eliza Allen, 73; mar- 
riage, 75; challenges political pow- 
er of Carroll, 75; separates from 
77; resigns governorship, 78; 

Houston, Sam, cont. 
scandal and gossip, 80 ; clergy's at- 
titude toward, 81; rage of Allen 
family, 82; leaves Nashville for 
exile, 84; journey to Arkansas, 89; 
"a sacrifice to Bacchus," 90; con- 
siders Oo-loo-te-ka's dream of an 
Indian Empire, 100; a leader 
among Indians, 106, 107, 110, 111, 
113, 114, 116; a desperate illness, 
117; thanks Jackson for his "solic- 
itude for my future welfare," 120; 
attitude toward missionaries, 121; 
made a citizen of Cherokee Nation, 
127; Oo-loo-te-ka's ambassador to 
Jackson, 127; encounter with 
Agent du Val, 129; received by 
President Jackson, 131, 133; In- 
dian ration contract and Duff 
Green's enmity, 133; a year's col- 
lection of gossip and fact, 137; 
meeting of Sumner County citi- 
zens to report on "private vir- 
tues" of Mrs, Houston, 141; re- 
turn to Nashville, 142; findings of 
Sumner County committee, 142; 
letter to Eliza Allen's father, 143; 
reply to Sumner County citizens, 
144; writes newspaper articles 
about the Indians, 148; takes an 
Indian wife, Tiana Rogers, 149; 
claims Cherokees a sovereign and 
independent people, 155; United 
States Supreme Court rules other- 
wise, 156; called Big Drunk, 1ST; 
the vision of Texas, 159; death of 
mother, 161; pummeling of Wil- 
liam Stanbery and trial by House 
of Representatives, 163; congres- 
sional investigation of ration con- 
tract, 172; warmer friendship with 
Jackson, 173; Texas his goal, 175; 
Dr. Mayo tells Jackson of Texas 
conspiracy, 178; funds for Texas 
trip including reputed $500 loan 
from Jackson, 182; ovation in 
Tennessee, 182; legends of Eliza, 
Allen, 183; unfavorable demon- 
stration at Cincinnati, 184; re- 
ceives passport for journey to 
Texas, 185; crosses Red River inta 
Texas, 186; letter to Jackson M cai- 



Houston, Sam, cont. 
culated to forward your views 
touching acquisition of Texas," 
190; matters that smell of sub- 
terfuge, 192; delegate to conven- 
tion of 1833, 194; residence in 
Nacogdoches, 199; law practise, 
202; moderate views on indepen- 
dence, 205 ; an evening with Booth, 
the actor, 206; mysterious visit at 
"Washington, Arkansas, 207; en- 
ters army of revolution, 209; 
delegate to San Felipe consulta- 
tion, 214; commander-in-chief of 
Texas Armies, 215 ; letter to James 
W. Fannin, 216; Army organiza- 
tion, 217; prestige declines, 218; 
opposes invasion of Mexico, 219; 
deprived of command, 222; signs 
Declaration of Independence and 
reelected commander-in-chief, 226; 
retreat from Gonzales, 230; from 
Colorado, 236; reorganizes Army, 
240; crosses Brazos, 242; battle of 
San Jacinto, 246 ; capture of Santa 
Anna, 254; enmity of President 
Burnet, 256; arrival at New Or- 
leans for treatment of wounds, 
258 ; congratulations of old friends, 
including Jackson, 263; president 
of Republic, 266 ; begins manipula- 
tions for annexation to United 
States, 272; suggestions of recon- 
ciliation to Eliza * Allen from 
friends, 277 ; coolness of Anna Ra- 
guet, 280; difficulties of the Re- 
public, 285; writes to Anna 
Raguet, 288, 292; outwitting a few 
enemies, 293; results of a year's 
rule, 297; social activities, 298; 
divorces Eliza Allen, 299; the 
break with Anna Raguet, 299; re- 
tirement from presidency, 304; 
visit to United States, 307; meet- 
ing with Margaret Lea, 308; mar- 
ries her, 313; opposes asserting 
dominion over New Mexico, 317; 
a happy summer with Margaret, 
818; reelected president, 320; 
Mexican invasion of Texas, 1842, 
822 ; vetoes bill giving himself dic- 
tatorial powers, 325 j peace with 

Houston, Sam, cont. 

Indians, an unruly Army and 
other matters of state, 327; Mier 
expedition, 332; beginning of dip* 
lomatic intrigue to annex Texas 
to United States, 333; circumvents 
Captain Moore, Texas Navy, 334; 
bluffs peace with Santa Anna, 
335; lynx-fox game with England 
and France, 338 ; writes to Jackson 
about annexation, 346; dream of 
a greater Texas Republic, 349; 
elects Anson Jones to succeed him 
as president, 351; death of Jack- 
son, 356; end of the Republic, 358; 
elected United States Senator, 
359 ; the Oregon question and Mex* 
lean War, 361, 370; lonely in 
"Washington, 363 ; stand for preser- 
vation of the Union, 371 ; supports 
Clay compromises, 377; considered 
for president of United States, 
379, 382; repudiates Franklin 
Pierce, 382; fights Kansas-Nebras- 
ka Bill, 383; censured by Texas* 
384; presidential aspirations, 386; 
defeated for governor of Texas, 
1857, 388; elected governor of 
Texas, 1859, 392; outwits Legisla- 
ture over secession, 395; "People's 
Candidate" for president, 397; 
defeated for nomination at Na- 
tional Union Convention, 400; 
family life, 401; forced to sum- 
mon pro-secession Legislature, 
405; stumps against secession, 
409; rejects Lincoln's offers of 
support, 410; refuses to take Con- 
federacy oath and is deposed, 411; 
plan to restore Texas Republic, 
415, 424, 429, 431 ; declines to run 
for governor, 431; death, 433; 
burial, 456 

Houston Writings 
Memoirs, etc.: description of 
mother, 29; life with Indians, 22, 
23; Cherokee annuity payment, 
126 j a philosophic poem, 129; on 
wrongs done Indians, 148; on his 
"enchantress,'* alcohol* 1ST; on 
Texan independence, 2Q5j poem ia 



Houston, Sam, cont. 
Narcissa Hamilton's album, 206; 
appeal for recruits, 209; orders to 
Army during Mexican invasion, 
1842, 322; 8am Houston and His 
Republic, 363; on secession, 405, 
406; refusal to take Confederate 
oath, 412 

Letters: to Robert McEwen, 
youthful views on matrimony and 
finance, 36; to Jackson about ap- 
pointment as Indian agent, 49; a 
word of warning to Calhoun, 50; 
to Robert Williams on Jackson's 
presidential chances, 1824, 54; con- 
sidering a bride, 55; "should I 
perish," written in anticipation of 
a duel, 64; on "the gals," 72; res- 
ignation as governor of Tennes- 
see, 78; to Jackson asking him to 
continue friendship, 90; to Jack- 
son on composing Indian differ- 
ences, 113; to Colonel Arbuckle 
reporting on peace efforts among 
Indians, 114; to Jackson thanking 
him for "solicitude," 120; indi- 
rectly to Jackson, 128; to Judge 
Overton, 130; to Jackson on "a 
notion of honor," 132; on justice 
to Indians, 135; to Eliza Allen's 
father "acquitting" wife, 143; to 
William Hall, replying to Sumner 
County resolutions, 144 ; to Colonel 
Arbuckle asserting rights as Cher- 
okee citizen, 153; to War Depart- 
ment on Cherokee sovereignty, 
155; to Eaton recommending Na- 
thaniel Pry or, 160; to Lewis, con- 
cerning Eliza, 183; to Jackson 
"calculated to forward your views 
touching the acquisition of Texas," 
190; to Wharton on Austin's im- 
prisonment, 210; to Fannin with 
plans to reduce San Antonio, 216; 
to Governor Smith, deploring ex- 
pedition to Matamoras, 221; to 
Governor Smith with Bowie's in- 
structions to blow up the Alamo, 
221; to Governor Smith after be- 
ing deposed as commander-in- 
chief, 223; to Henry Raguet on 
fall of the Alamo, 229; to the gov- 

Houston, Sam, cont. 
ernment on intention to fight OB 
the Colorado, 232; to Rusk about 
Gonzales retreat, 234, 240; to The 
Bowl, 241; to Henry Raguet, 245; 
to Anna Raguet from San Jacinto 
battle-field, 253; to Texas Army, 
leave-taking, 257; to General 
Gaines, 261 ; to Army, on value of 
Santa Anna alive, 263; to Irion 
about Anna Raguet, 277, 279; to 
Anna Raguet, 288; to The Bowl, 
292; to Anna Raguet, 292, 295, 
299; to Margaret Houston, 314; to 
Colonel Franks on state of Treas- 
ury, 324; to Adjutant-General 
Davis, 325; to The Red Bear, 328; 
to a friend on moderate use of 
liquor, 331; to Chief Flaco, 332; 
to Captain Elliot on annexation, 
333; to Jackson on annexation, 
346; to Murphy on a greater 
Texas Republic, the rival of the 
United States, 349, 356; to Santa 
Anna, 352; to Margaret, 376; to 
Miller, his secretary, advising 
marriage, 380; to Margaret, 386; 
to Sam, Jr., 402, 404, 416, 417, 
422; to Ashbel Smith, 424 

Houston Quoted 

14, 15, 18, 19, 27, 29, 37, 52, 54; 
challenge of General White, 65; 
66; exoneration of Eliza Allen, 
78; 81, 82, 84, 121, 157; Stanbery 
affair, 163, 167, 168; 186, 195, 205, 
231, 242, 244 ; battle of San Jacinto, 
248, 249, 250, 254, 256; 272, 276, 
284, 308, 310, 320, 324, 357, 360, 
370, 371, 377, 378; Kansas-Nebras- 
ka Bill, 383; 385, 389, 393, 401; 
secession, 409, 412; 414, 418, 419, 
421, 423, 429; on death-bed, 433 

Houston, Sam, Jr., 337, 357, 365, 376, 
401, 404; joins Confederate Army 5 
414, 416, 419; wounded and re- 
ported killed, 420, 428, 430, 432 

Houston, Samuel (father of Sam)j 
6, 10; death and will, 11 

Houston, Reverend Samuel, 14 

Houston, Temple, 431 

Houston, William, 7 

Houston's, Jim, Fort, 14, 94 



Houstoun, Matilda C., 348 

Hughes, Thomas, 408 

Hume, Reverend William, 75, 81, 84 

Humes, Bill, 428 

Hunt, Memucan, 287, 307, 326 

Hunt, Washington, 399 

puntington, Representative, Connec- 
ticut, 170 

Huntsville, Texas, 352, 355, 375, 385, 
405, 413, 418, 423, 424 

Huston, Felix, 269, 279, 282, 285, 

Ikin, Jonathan, 233 

Illinois, 92, 383, 39T 

independence, Texas, 384, 424, 432 

Indians, their life appeals to Sam 
Houston, 15; frontier attitude 
toward, 17; Houston's three so- 
journs with, 19; ball play, 20; 
courtship, 22; Creek alliance with 
British, 30; battle of To-ho-pe-ka, 
32; Cherokee treaty* dispute with 
Tennessee, 40 ; Houston becomes a 
subagent, 41 ; Oo~loo-te-ka departs 
for the West, 42; early western 
migration under Tah-lhon-tusky, 
43; Tah-lhon-tusky' s delegation to 
Washington, 44; United States 
neglect of Cherokees in West, 49; 
runners, 92; differences between 
Cherokee Nation, and whites in 
East and West, 92; Oo-loo-te-ka's 
dream of empire, 96, 100 ; an Osage 
scout, 104; Chouteau's fair dealing 
with, 105; Osages complain of 
Agent Hamtramck, 107; Astor's 
business with, 107; debauchery of 
Osages, 108; letter to President 
Jackson from Creeks complaining 
of injustices, 111; complaints of 
eastern Creeks against Agent Cro- 
well, 112; threats of frontier 
uprising among, 114; plight of 
Choctaws, 116; ceremonial treat- 
ment of sick by Cherokees, 118; 
missionaries, 122; an annuity pay- 
ment, 125 ; Cherokee Nation makes 
Houston a citizen, 127; ration 
contract, 134; Houston writes on, 
148; history of Tiana Rogers and 
family, 150; Houston's views on 

Indians cont. 

liquor traffic with, 153; Supreme 
Court decision on national rights 
of Cherokees, 156; Houston tries 
to protect lands of, in Texas, 195; 
Houston negotiates to bring 
Creeks to Texas, 203; Mexicans 
start uprising among, Texas, 223; 
241, 261, 292, 306, 309, 311, 321, 
324, 328, 379, 384. See also Cher- 
okee, Choctaw, Comanche, Creek, 
Delaware, Osage, Pawnee, Semi- 
nole, Shawnee 

Ireland, 3, 226 

Irion, Dr. Robert, 276, 318 

Irion, Sam Houston, 318 

Irving, Washington, 105, 122; de- 
scription of Sam Houston, 186 

Isacks, Jacob C., 56, 61 

Iverson, Senator, Georgia, 406 

Jack, a horse without a tail, 186 
Jackson, Alden A. M., 322 
Jackson, Andrew, 9, 17, 28; Creek 
War, 31; battle of To-ho-pe-ka, 
32; 48; letter to Calhoun recom- 
mending Houston for Indian agent 
appointment, 49; 52, 54; "literary 
bureau," 56; letter to Houston 
about that "meanest scoundrel," 
Henry Clay, 57; presidential cam- 
paign, 1828, 58; orders Eaton to 
marry Peggy O'Neale, 61; letter 
to Houston on buying a horse 
from John Randolph, 63; Nash- 
ville postmaster affair, 64; advises 
Houston on marksmanship in 
dueling, 66; makes Houston can- 
didate for governor of Tennessee, 
67; failing health, 71; 73; supports 
Houston against Carroll, 83; sym- 
pathy for Houston in marital 
troubles, 98; orders surveillance 
of Houston's Indian activities, 
103; letter from Creek Indians 
complaining of their agent, lllj 
eastern Creeks complain against 
Agent Crowell, 112; 115; lettef 
from Houston who is grateful for 
"solicitude for my future wel- 
fare," 120; letter from Oo-loo-te- 
ka, 127,- 181; loyal friendship fof 



jfackson, Andrew, OonL 
Houston, 132; Indian ration con- 
tract, 133 ; befriends Peggy Eaton* 
135; 162, 164; Stanbery affair, 16f; 
171, 173; Texas policy, 174; letter 
to Houston asking his pledge of 
honor not to attempt capture of 
Texas, 176; letter from Dr. Mayo 
relating Houston's Texas conspir- 
acy* 178; 181; reported loan of 
$500 to Houston to go to Texas, 
182; letter from Houston on Texas 
affairs, 190; "confidential" busi- 
ness with Houston, 192; 253; joy 
over battle of San Jacinto, 261 ; 
262, 272, 274, 275, 287, 308, 334; 
Texas annexation, 843, 345, 348, 
353, 355; death, 356; 401, 406 

Jackson, Fort, Alabama, 35 

Jackson, Mississippi, 307 

Jackson, Rachel, 57, 58, 71 9 132 

Jackson, Sarah York (Mrs. Andrew, 
Jr.), 173 

Jackson, "Stonewall," 426, 428 

Jarnagin, Spencer, 70 

Jennings, Reverend Obadiah, 81 

Jessup, Fort, Louisiana, 209 

Johnson, Andrew, 381 

Johnson, Cave, 163 

Johnson, Francis W., 218, 222, 228, 
258, 325 

Johnston, Albert Sidney, 279, 282, 
324, 420 

Jolly, John. See Oo-loo-te-ka 

Jones, Anson, 240, 288, 310, 311, 321, 
330, 338, 348, 351, 354, 358, 426 

Joshua, a slave of Sam. Houston, 
375, 385, 456 

Kansas, 386 

Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 383, 386, 397", 

Karnes, Henry, 245, 248 

Kaufman, Congressman, Texas Re- 
public, 298 

Kentucky, 66, 67, 93, 226, 235, 250, 
273, 378, 397 

Kerr, Peter, 235 

Key, Francis Scott, 165, 167 

Kimble, Mr., secretary of Constitu-* 
tional Convention, 264 

King, Captain, force massacred, 239 

Kingston, Tennessee, 24 

Kittrell, Dr., 432 

Know-Nothings, 387 

Knox, Secretary of War, 94 

Knoxville, Tennessee, 13, 30, 36, ft} 


Knoxville Register, 70 
Kossuth, Hungarian patriot, 370 

La Baca River, Texas, 231 

La Branche, Alc6e, 275 

Lafayette, Marquis de, 138, 168, 212, 

Lafitte, Pierre, 197 

Lamar, Mirabeau Buonaparte, 247 
250, 256, 259, 260, 266, 293, 296, 
303; president of Texas Republic, 
305 ; disastrous administration, 
310, 312; expedition to New Mexi- 
co, 317; 337, 362, 363, 426, 42T 

Laredo, Texas, 336 

Lawrence, Kansas, 386 

Lea, Margaret, 259, 308, 309, 312 j 
marriage to Sam Houston, 31S* 
See also Houston, Margaret Lea 

Lea, Mart, 404 

Lea, Nancy, 309, 313, 385 

Lea, Pryor, 70 

Lebanon, Tennessee, 47, 50 

Lee, Robert W., 56, 408, 418, 426, 
428, 429 

Lemoyne, the abolitionist, 262 

Leopold, King of the Belgians, 336 

Lester, Charles Edward, 362 

Lewis, Reuben, 49 

Lewis, William B,, 58, 136, 183, 263, 
345, 357 

Lexington, Kentucky, 378 

Lexington, Virginia, 5, 7, 9 

Lienda, Justo, 211 

Lincoln, Abraham, 397, 403, 404* 
410, 429, 430 

Linton, John, 90 

Little Rock, Arkansas, 90, 125, 207 

Little Terrapin, Cherokee Indian, 99 

Lockhart, Texas, 389 

Lockport, New York, 359 

Long, James, Texas filibuster, 174* 
191, 197 

Louis Philippe, King of France, 886^ 

Louisburgh, Arkansas, 90 



Louisiana, 108, 174, 190, 209, 405. 

See also New Orleans 
Louisiana Purchase, 7, 108 
Love, Hugh, 108, 109 
Love, Sam, 24 

Lynchburgh, Texas, 246, 256 
Lynch's Ferry, 245 

McClellan, George B., 429 
McClellan, William, 116 
McClung, family mentioned, 4, 15 
McCorkle, family mentioned, 4 
McCormick, family mentioned, 4 
McCormick, Mrs., on San Jacinto 

battle-field, 256 
McCormick, Cyrus, 8 
McCulloch, John, 26 
McCurley, Sam, 242 
McEwen, Robert, 36, 75, 278 
McGregor, Colonel, 64 
Mclntosh, George S., 324 
Mclntosh, Holy, 111 
Mclntosh, William, 111 
McKenzie, Slidell, 369 
McKinney, Reverend Samuel, 432 
McMinn, Governor, Tennessee, 41, 

43, 44, 46, 48 

Magruder, General, C, S. A., 425 

Maine, 397 

Manassas, Virginia (Battle of Bull 
Run), 413, 426 

Mann, Mrs., her oxen were not at San 
Jacinto, 242, 243 

Marable, John, 72, 176 

Marion, Alabama, 313 

Markham, Dr., 432 

Marriage, Houston's youthful atti- 
tude toward, 36; 40, 55; Jackson 
brings about Peggy O'Neale's, to 
Eaton, 61; 72; of Houston and 
Eliza Allen, 75, 77; Houston takes 
an Indian wife, 149, 150; of Hous- 
ton and Margaret Lea, 313; com- 
ments on, 314; 381 

Marryatt, Captain, author, 348 

Marshall, John, 156 

Marshall, John, a vegetarian, 390 

Martin, Martha (Mrs. Robert), 138 

Martin, Robert, 75 

Martin, Wily, 238, 243 
363, 387 

Maryville, Tennessee, 13; described 

in 1812, 24 

Massachusetts, 226, 372, 382, 386 
Matamoras, 218, 220, 260, 264, 26& 

282, 286, 325, 394 

Mather, Olivia A. Roberts, 296, 312 
Maxey, Walter, 428 
Mayo, Dr. Robert, 178 
Memphis, Tennessee, 89 
Mexia, Jos Antonio, 219 
Mexico, Republic of, policy in Texas, 
174, 181, 190; suppression oi 
American colonization, 193; civii 
war in, affords opportunity fot 
Texas revolution to grow, 194; 
imprisons Stephen Austin, 204; 
James Grant's scheme to invade, 
219; General Mexia attacks Tam- 
pico, 219; invades Texas, 221; 226 , 
President Jackson and, during 
Texas revolution, 262; 272, 274} 
William S. Fisher hopes for wax 
with, 315; Texas Congress passes 
bill to invade, 325; 327, 333; Texas 
arranges armistice with, 336; 343, 
351, 352, 354, 358, 360, 362, 369, 
382, 429, 430 

Army: 213; Travis drives garrison 
from Anahuac, 213 ; invades Texas, 
221 ; 227, 235 ; San Felipe, 241 ; 243 5 
Lynch's Ferry, 246; strength be- 
fore battle of San Jacinto, 249; 
San Jacinto, 251 ; 260 ; invasion of 
Texas, 1842, 322; 332, 394 

Mexico City, 175, 210, 321 

Mier, Mexico, 332 

Milam, Ben, 218 

Millard, Colonel, 250 

Miller, Houston's secretary, 324, 
326, 336, 347, 380 

Mission Concepcion, battle of, 215 

Missions and missionaries, 119, 151 

Mississippi, 269, 307, 405, 419 

Missouri, 201, 383, 417 

Missouri Compromise, 373, 383 

Mobile, Alabama, 296, 307, 322 

Monroe, James, 43, 44, 45, 59, 164* 

Monterey, Mexico, 362 

Montgomery, family mentioned, 4^ U 

Montgomery, Daniel, 141 

Montgomery, Jeff, 42$ , 



Montgomery^ Lemuel P., 83, 47 
Moore, Colonel, C. S. A., 419 
Moore, Post Captain, Texas Navy, 


Moore, Reverend Mark, 24 
Mora, Juan, 202, 211 
Morehouse, Brigadier-General, Texas 

Army, 322 
Morgan's Rifle Brigade, War of 

American Revolution, 6 
Morris, Eastan, 137, 141 
Muldoon, Padre Miguel, 203 
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 48 
Murphy, General, United States 
Charge d' Affaires, Texas Repub- 
lic, 347, 349 

Nacogdoches, Texas, 189, 191, 194, 
196, 199, 209, 213, 226, 242, 261, 
265, 297, 300 309 

Nashville, 2T, 37, 46, 48, 64, 68; 
described about 1827, 69; 77, 137, 
162, 235, 240, 262, 264, 351, 360, 
378, 381 

Natchez, 28 

Natchitoches, Louisiana, 190 

National Journal, Washington, D. C., 

National Union Party, 397 

NTavarro, Jos Antonio, 352 

Navy of Texas Republic. See Texas 

Neill, Joseph C., 221, 247 

Neuvo Leon, Mexico, 219 

New Hampshire, 382, 386 

New Jersey, 226, 387 

New Mexico, SI 7, 418 

New Orleans, 9; battle of, and com- 
ment by Sam Houston, 36; 37; 
night life in 1815, 38; 209, 224, 
258, 283, 285, 315, 318, 322, 330, 
334, 343, 390, 425 

New York, 226, 366, 370, 396, 399 

New York City, 39, 207, 233, 338, 
368, 380 

Newport, Kentucky, 250 

Newport, Rhode Island, 366 

Nicaragua, 382 

Nicks, John, sutler at Cantonment 
Gibson, 9, 153, 186 

Nicks, Sallie, 110, 185 

Wiles' Register; Baltimore and Phil- 
adelphia, 80. 143 

Norbonne, Comte de, 348 
North Carolina, 93, 226. 260, 

Oglethorpe, James, 98 

Ohio, 54. See also Cincinnati 

Oklahoma, 151 

Old Swimmer, a Cherokee Indian, 

Oldham, Williamson S., 389, 419, 455 

O'Neale, Margaret (Peggy). S$6 
Eaton, Margaret 

O'Neale, William, 52 

Oo-loo-te-ka, Chief (He-Puts-ths~ 
Drum Away), 19; adopts Sam 
Houston, 20; characteristics, 21; 
departs for the West, 42; disap- 
pointments in Arkansas, 49; wel- 
comes Houston to Cherokee Na- 
tion, 92; his struggles against 
whites, 92; scheme of Indian Em* 
pire, 96; 100; hospitality, 99; 
difficulties in tribal councils, 101; 
shrewdness in white dealings, 102; 
116, 117; attitude toward mission- 
aries, 122; letter to Jackson 
naming Houston ambassador of 
Cherokee Nation, 127; 151, 155, 
157, 159 

Opoth-ley-ahola, Creek Chief, 162, 

Oregon, 348, 350, 361 

Osage Indians, 43, 95, 101, 105, 107, 
108, 122 

Overton, John H., 130 

Palmer, Dr. Marcus, 122 

Palmerston, Lord, 288, 321 

Parker, D., 46 

Parkersburg, Virginia, 323 

Paschal, George W., 410 

Patton, William H., 295 

Pawnee Indians, 114 

Paxton, family mentioned, 4 

Paxton, John, 6 

Pennsylvania, 4, 226, 387 

Perry, James H., 380 

Pettis, Buck, 328 

Peyton, Bailey, 167 

Philadelphia, 3; landing of John 

Houston, 4; 207 
Phillips, Lieutenant, U. S. A., 2fl& 



Phillips, Billy, 2T 

Phillips, Wendell, 382 

Picayune, New Orleans, 318 

Pierce, Franklin, 382 

Pike, Albert, 186 

Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, 420 

Pixley, Reverend Ben ton, 122 

Pocahontas, 102 

Poinsett, Joel R., 175 

Polk, James K., 67, 163, 165, 166, 

167, 171, 348, 351, 353, 360, 369 
Polk, Mrs, James K., 72, 351 
Pope, Governor, Arkansas, 176 
Porter Academy, 25, 29, 70 
Porter, Proctor, 428 
Potter, Robert, 227 
Power, Charles, 401, 415, 430 
Power, Emily Antoinette, 401, 432. 

See also Bledsoe, Emily An- 
Powhatan, 102 
Price, Aron, 127 

Ragsdale, Maggie, 402 

Raguet, Anna, 199, 210, 213, 253, 
265, 268, 276, 280, 288, 292, 309, 

Raguet, Henry, 199, 201, 229, 309 

Randolph, John, 57, 63 

Raven, The. Bee Houston, Sam 

Raven Hill, Houston's plantation 
near Huntsville, 352, 375, 425 

Reagan, John H., 299, 386 

Rector, Elias, "The Fine Arkansas 
Gentleman," 186, 331 

Red Bear, The, Indian Chief, 328 

Refugio Mission, 220, 222, 223 

Republican Party, 387, 392, 39T, 406 

Rhode Island, 275, 366, 427 

Richmond, 383, 396, 397 

Richmond Enquirer, 383 

Ring Tailed Panther, The, a resi- 
dent of Nacogdoches, 201 

Rio Grande, 175, 194, 328, 408 

Roberts, Oran M., 407, 411 

Robertson, Sterling C., 192 

Robinson, James W., 225, 335 

Robinson, Mrs. James W., 234 

Robison, Joel, 253 

Rockbridge County, Virginia, 0, 8, 

Rodgers, Colonel 3 Texas Army* 2 


Rogers, Betty, 152 
Rogers, Cynthia, 152 
Rogers, Eliza, 152 
Rogers, James, 22, 30, 44, 96, 150 
Rogers, John, 22, 150 
Rogers, John, Jr., 22, 30, 48, 128, 

150, 151 

Rogers, Susannah, 151 
Rogers, Susy, 97, 150 
Rogers, Tiana, 140; history of, 150; 

186, 203 ; death, 299 ; burial, 450 
Rogers, Will, 151 
Rogers, William Charles, 151 
Rogers, William P., 407 
Rohrer, Wagon Master, Texas Army s 

243, 330 
Rose, Dilrue, trials as a debutante, 

298, 300 

Runnels, Hardin R., 388, 392, 396 
Rusk, Thomas J., arrival in Texas, 

211; 213, 234, 240, 257, 260, 264, 

265, 269, 309; United States Sena* 

tor, 358, 362; death, 426 

Sabine River, 175, 242, 260 

Saco, Miguel, 202 

Saligny, Count Alphonse de, 310, 
312, 343, 354 

Saltillo, Mexico, 191, 221 

Samson, Reverend George "W., 365 

San Antonio de B6xar, 189, 192, 
213, 214, 216; surrender of Cos, 
218; 221, 285, 294, 295, 322, 327, 
335. See also Alamo 

San Augustine, Texas, 201, 259, 264* 
296, 299, 314 

San Felipe de Austin, 191, 192; first 
independence convention at, 194; 
second, 195; Consultation that 
adopted decree of independence, 
214; 217, 220, 223, 224, 239, 241 

San Jacinto, battle of, 250, 261, 396, 

San Saba County, Texas, 403 

Santa Anna, Antonio L6pez de, 193, 
210, 213, 221, 223, 224, 225, 229 j 
march across Texas, 239; San Ja- 
cinto, 252 j capture, 254 ; 259, 20^ 
265; released and sent to 



Santa Anna cont. 

States, 272, 274; 287, 316, 319; 
war against Texas, 1842, 322 ; 327, 
333, 334, 335, 344, 352, 369 

Santa F6 expedition, 317, 321 

Santa F6 Trail, 105, 113, 317 

Saratoga, New York, 366 

Scotland, 226 

Scott, Winfield, 369, 382 

Secession, 370, 375, 396; Texas, 405, 
407, 409, 410, 411 

Seminole Indians, 41 

Sesma, General, Mexican Army, 235 

Sevier, John and Bonny Kate, 14 

Seward, William H., 397 

Shackford, John, 134 

Shawnee Indians, 115 

Shelby, Dr. John, 77, 84, 360 

Sherman, Sidney, 235, 238, 241, 247, 

Shiloh, Battle of, 420 

Sims, Betty, 431 

Slave smuggling, 45 

Slavery, in Texas under Mexico, 
181; issue in Texas annexation, 
273; 287, 342, 370; review of, in 
United States, 372; 376, 282; af- 
fected by Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 
386; 395 

Sloane, Representative, Ohio, 54 

Smith, Ashbel, 290, 291, 295, 299, 
301, 306, 314, 318, 324, 327, 330, 
336, 342, 354, 356, 362, 379, 380, 
390, 405, 420, 422, 423 

Smith, Ben Fort, 236, 254 

Smith, Deaf (Erastus), 229, 230, 
235, 244, 245, 247, 248, 251, 285 

Smith, Henry, 192, 215, 219, 221, 
222, 224, 264, 266, 269 

Smith, Thomas, 328 

Smith T., John, 64 

Snively, Jacob, 297 

Social life, Tennessee frontier about 
1810, 17; New Orleans, 1815, 38; 
Washington, D. C., 1832, 53; Texas 
Republic, 298 

Somervell, A., 322 

Sonora, 350 

Sour Lake, Texas, 431 

South Carolina, 93, 226, 373, 386, 
895, 396 

Southard, Secretary of Navy, 53 

Sowell, John, blacksmith of 

zales, 228 
Spain, 9, 174 
Stanbery, William, fight with Hous* 

ton and trial, 163; 172, 275 
"Standing Bear," nom de plume of 

Houston, 148 
Steamboat House, Huntsville, 424% 

430, 433 

Steiner, J. M., 390 
Sterne, Adolphus (Don Adolfo) n 

196, 199, 211, 213, 309 
Sterne, Eva Rosine, 203, 226 
Stevenson, Andrew, 165, 167, 168, 


Stewart, Hamilton, 423 
St Louis, 105 
Story, Justice, Supreme Court of 

United States, 156 
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 386 
Stuart, family mentioned, 4, 15 
Sublett, Phil, 202, 261, 264 
Sumner County, Tennessee, 141, 142, 


Sumner, Charles, 382, 386 
Supreme Court of United States s 

decision on rights of Cherokee Na- 
tion, 156 
Swartwout, Samuel, 10, 58, 136, 181, 

207, 211, 213, 262, 317 

Tah-lhon-tusky, Cherokee Chief, 43, 
46, 93, 94, 101 

"Tah-lhon-tusky" nom de plume of 
Houston, 148 

Tah-neh, Cherokee sister-in-law of 
Houston, 123 

Ta-kah-to-kuh, Cherokee statesman,, 
92, 101 

Talbot, Elias, 410 

Tamaulipas, Mexico, 219 

Tampico, 219 

Taverns, hotels, etc. Dennis Cal- 
lighan's, Virginia, 11; Russell's 
Inn, Maryville, 24; Hotel du Tre- 
moulet, New Orleans, 38 ; Caf 6 des 
Refugies, New Orleans, 38; 
O'Neale's (later Gadsby's Hotel), 
"Washington, 52, 60; Nashville 
Inn, 65, 69, 75, 77, 81, 84, 89, 196, 
360; City Hotel, Nashville, 69 j 
"Widow Jackson's, Knoxville, 70? 



Caverns cont. 

Brown's Indian Queen Hotel, 
Washington, 162, 163, 167, 178, 
205, 364; Orleans Coffee House, 
Cincinnati, 184; Brown's Tavern, 
Nacogdoches, 199; Catina del 
Monte, Nacogdoches, 199; Hat- 
field's Saloon, Washington, Texas, 
329, 331; National Hotel, Wash- 
ington, 362, 364, 378; Metropoli- 
tan Hotel, Washington, 364; Wil- 
lard's Hotel, Washington, 364; 
Barnum's Hotel, New York, 368; 
Capitol Hotel, Houston, 385, 426; 
Barnum's Hotel, Baltimore, 398; 
Eutaw House, Baltimore, 398; 
Tremont House, Galveston, 409; 
City Hotel, Houston, 414 

laylor, Zachary, 360, 369, 380 

Teal, Henry, 294 

tecumseh, 30 

Tekotka," a literary critic, 149 

Tennessee, Houston family in, 15; 
militia in Creek War, 81; treaty 
dispute with Cherokees, 40; guber- 
natorial campaign, 1827, 67; 1829, 
75; 92, 93, 129, 136, 163; change of 
sentiment for Houston in marital 
troubles, 182; 205, 226, 262, 303, 
347, 351, 356, 360, 380, 382, 398, 
418, 420 427 

Terrell Alexander W., 430 

Texas, under Mexico, 150; United 
States and, 174; Moses and 
Stephen F. Austin, 174; Jackson's 
letter to Houston forestalling at- 
tempt to capture, 177; Dr. Mayo 
reveals Houston's conspiracy, 178; 
Houston arrives, December 2, 
1832 3 186; Houston writes Jackson 
on "acquisition," 190; political ex- 
tremists in, 192; Mexico attempts 
to stop American colonization, 
193; San Felipe convention asking 
separation from Coahuila, 194;" 
lawlessness in early, 197; Houston 
negotiates to bring Creek Indians 
to, 209; Thomas J. Husk arrives, 
211; Samuel Swartwout on Hous- 
ton's future in, 211; capture of 
Anahuac, 213; Consultation at San 
Felipe declares for constitution 

Texas cont. 

of 1824, 214; General Mexfa inj, 
219; Mexicans invade, 221; Declar* 
ation of Independence, 226 
The Republic, constitutional con- 
vention at Washington elects pro* 
visional government, 233; govern- 
ment's conduct before and after 
battle of San Jacinto, 239, 241, 
253; failure of Burnet's Adminis- 
tration, 260; Houston elected 
president, 266 ; early court of jus- 
tice, 271 ; United States . refuses 
recognition, 274; United States 
recognition, 275; Houston City, 
the capital, 281; finances, 286; 
Houston's first year as president, 
297; the theater, 300; President 
Lamar, 305; Austin, the capital, 
306; war with Cherokees, 309; 
Houston reelected president, 319; 
Mexican invasion, 1842, 322; 
Washington-on-the-Brazos, the 
capital, 329; truce with Mexico, 
335; a successful year, 337; Eng- 
land, France and the United 
States, 341; United States re- 
opens annexation question, 345; 
maneuvers of Houston to bring 
about annexation, 349; United 
States rejects, 351; President An- 
son Jones, 351; final attempt of 
England and France to prevent 
annexation, 354; passing of the 
Lone Star, 358 

The State, 360; resents Houston's 
stand in Senate against disunion, 
378; backs Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 
383; censures Houston, 384; Hous- 
ton defeated for governor, 1857, 
388; Houston elected governor, 
392; national election of 1860 in, 
404; votes to secede, 410; joins 
Confederacy and deposes Hous* 
ton, 411; dissatisfaction over Con- 
federate military preparations^ 
416; Houston's schemes to reestab* 
lish the Republic, 4.15, 424, 4^\ 
Houston regains popularity in* 
421, 429, 431 

Army of the Revolution, Hoiastoli 



Texas cont. 

Department of Nacogdoches, 209; 
first skirmish of Texas revolution 
at Gonzales, 209; New Orleans 
"Grays," 213; Austin in command 
before B6xar, 214; Bowie victor at 
Mission Concepcion, 215; Hous- 
ton's instructions to Fannin, 216; 
Burleson in command., 217; Cos 
surrenders, 218; Grant gains sup- 
port of, for Matamoras invasion, 
219; Houston endeavors to save, 
220 ; Bowie starts for Alamo, 221 ; 
Houston superseded as command- 
er, 222; Travis's message from 
Alamo, 225; Houston made com- 
mander-in-chief, 226; last message 
from Travis, 227; 228; retreat 
from Gonzales, 230; from the 
Colorado, 236; Houston reorgan- 
izes, 240; preliminary engagement 
with Santa Anna, 247; battle of 
San Jacinto, 250 

Army of the Republic, 260, 264; 
under Felix Huston, 269; 279, 282, 
285; Santa F expedition, 317, 321; 
Mexican invasion, 1842, 322, 328 
Army of the Confederacy, 414, 
416, 418, 420, 425, 428 
Navy of the Republic, 259, 270, 
286, 297, 306, 321, 324, 334 

Texas Rangers, 394 

Texas Telegraph (later Telegraph 
and Texas Register), 244, 264, 304 

Thomas, Mrs., who lost five sons in 
Civil War, 428 ' 

Thompson, Justice, Supreme Court 
of United States, 156 

Thorn, Frost, 202 

Thornton, John, 119 

Three Forks, settlement on the Ar- 
kansas, 91, 107, 125 

Throckmorton, James W., 410, 413 

Timber Ridge plantation, 5; bank- 
rupt, 10; sold, 11; 437 

Timberlake, John, first husband of 
Peggy O'Neale, 53, 60 

To-ho-pe-ka, battle of, 32 

Too-chee-la, Cherokee Chief, 43 

Toole, William, 24 

Towson, Fort, 186, 191 

Travis, William Barret, 180, 193$ 
captures Anahuac, 213; message 
from Alamo, 225; last message, 
227; 244 

Trimble, James, 47 

Turner, Nat, 374 

Twiggs, D. E., 408 

Tyler, John, 333, 337, 344, 345, 347, 
353, 410 

United States, War of 1812, 27; 
Creek War, 30; Cherokees and, 
40, 95, 102; interest in Texas, 174; 
Texas colonization, 193; Jackson's 
"neutrality" during Texas Revolu- 
tion, 262; Texas adopts proposal 
for annexation, 266; Houston be- 
gins manipulations for annexa- 
tion, 272; opposition to annexa- 
tion, 273; refuses to recognize 
Texas, 274; recognizes Texas, 275; 
288; Houston visits, 307; 817, 321, 
324, 327, 330, 333, 336, 342; senti- 
ment for Texas annexation, 343; 
reopens question of annexation* 
345; Houston bluffs, 349; rejects 
Texas once more, 351; Senate 
votes to annex Texas, 353; Mexico 
severs relations, 360; war with 
Mexico, 362, 369; problem of slav- 
ery, 372; presidential politics, 
1852, 378, 382; presidential poli- 
tics, 1856, 386; 1860, 397; seces- 
sion and Texas, 405 
House of Representatives, Hous- 
ton a member, 51 ; Stanbery affair, 
163; 288, 386 

Senate rejects Texas, 351; votes 
to annex Texas, 353; Houston in, 
359; Oregon debate, 371; Clay and 
Calhoun debate disunion, 376; 
Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 383. Bee 

United States Telegraph, 57, 131, 
134, 164 

Upshur, Judge, United States Sec- 
retary of State, 345, 347 

Urrea, General, Mexican Army, 281 

Vail, Father, 123 

Van Buren, Martin, 58, 69, 62, 13$ 
263, 287, 348 



Van Fossen, John, 134. 185 

Vashon, Captain, United States 
Agent of Cherokees, 153, 160, 162 

Velasco, Texas, 193, 259 

Vera Cruz, 260, 275, 369 

Veramendi, Don Juan, 189 

Vicksburg, 428, 431 

Vince's Bridge, 245, 254 

Virginia, Houston family in, 4; Sam 
Houston leaves, 13; 226, 323, 348, 
373, 374, 383, 413, 418, 428 

Waco, Texas, 409 

Walker, William, 382 

Wallace, family mentioned, 15 

Wallace, Judge, a cousin of Hous- 
ton, 308 

War Department, 68, 98, 113; Hous- 
ton's dispute over rights as Chero- 
kee citizen, 154, 157; 190 

Ward, Colonel, Georgia volunteer in 
Texas Revolution, 222 

Washburn, Reverend Cephas, 123, 

Washington, Colonel, an American 
too zealous in the cause of Texas, 

Washington, Arkansas, 207 

Washington, D. C., 36, 44, 51, 52; 
presidential election, 1824, 54; re- 
action to O'Neale-Eaton marriage, 
61 ; 205, 272, 273, 274, 364 

Washington, Pennsylvania, 262 

Washington Globe, 171 

Washington-on-the-Brazos, Texas, 
213; Houston's headquarters, 220; 
a "disgusting place," 224; 232, 264; 
capital of Republic, 328; 343, 347, 
352, 354, 358 

Watkins, Charles, 141 

Watterson, George, 365 

Weathersford, Bill, Creek warrior, 

Webber, Walter, or Watt, Cherokee 
leader. 92, 99, 126, 127, 128, 159 

Webber's Falls on the Arkansas 

River, 92 

Webster, Daniel, 53, 363, 377, 384 
Weed, Dr., of Dwight Indian Mis- 
sion, 119 
Western, Major, Texas Army, 294 

Wharton, John A., 177, 192, 210, 249, 

286, 426 

Wharton, William H., 192, 194, 201, 
210, 215, 240, 272, 274, 286, 302, 
Whig Party, 67, 348, 369, 370, 378 fl 

382, 387, 398, 400 
White, John, 428 

White, William A., duel with Hous- 
ton, 65 
White Hair, Osage Chief, 109, 110 a 


Whitney, Eli, 372 
Wigwam Neosho, home of Tiana 

Rogers and Sam Houston, 152 
Will, of Major Samuel Houston, 
father of Sam Houston, 11, 12, 
16, 18 

Williams, Fort:, Alabama, 35 
Williams, a missionary upon whom 

fortune smiled, 121 
Williams, Willoughby, 29, 76, 77, 84 
Williamson County, Texas, 408 
Williamson, Robert M. (Three- 
Legged Willie), 271, 297, 426 
Willis, Maggie, 402 
Woll, General, Mexican Army, 327, 


Woods, John, 31 

Woonsocket (Rhode Island) Patriot^ 

Young Elder, Cherokee Indian, 99 
Yucatan, 226, 306, 321, 362 

Zacatecas, 213 

Zavala, Lorenzo cie, 214, 215, 233 

Zavala, Lorenzo de, Jr., 234, 253, 2S*