At age 16, after his father died, Sam Houston ran off to live with the Cherokee Indians on the Tennessee River.
He was adopted by Chief Oolooteka and given the name “Raven.”
Three years later, Sam Houston returned to Knox County, Tennessee, and opened a one-room schoolhouse – the first school built in the State.
He joined the army and fought in the War of 1812.
After the Massacre of Fort Mims, where Red Stick Creek Indians, supplied with British guns, scalped over 500 men, women and children, the U.S. government sent in General Andrew Jackson.
Sam Houston fought under General Jackson against the Red Sticks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend on March 27, 1814.
When Sam Houston was shot with an arrow in the upper thigh, the arrow was removed and he kept fighting.
He was then struck again with bullets in his shoulder and arm.
General Andrew Jackson took notice of Sam Houston and began mentoring him.
In 1818, Sam Houston, wearing Indian dress, led a delegation of Cherokee to Washington, D.C., to meet with President James Monroe.
Houston studied law under Judge James Trimble, passed the bar, and opened up a legal practice in Lebanon, Tennessee.
Houston was appointed the local prosecutor and was given a command in the state militia.
Sam Houston was elected to Congress in 1823, and became Governor of Tennessee in 1827.
After a failed marriage, Sam Houston resigned and moved to the Arkansas Territory where he lived among the Cherokee Tribe.
At this time, Houston was interviewed by the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, who was traveling through the United States.
While visiting Washington, DC, a politician slandered Houston’s character resulting in an altercation and trial.
Francis Scott Key was Houston’s lawyer, and future President James K. Polk interceded for him, but nevertheless, Houston was fined $500.
Rather than pay, Houston left town and traveled out west.
He married a Cherokee wife, but she refused to follow him to the Mexican Territory of Tejas.
In 1833, in Nacogdoches, Sam Houston was baptized into the Catholic faith, which was a requirement to own property in the Mexican Territory.
In 1836, at the age of 43, Sam Houston was made Commander-in-Chief to fight Santa Anna.
On March 2, 1836, Sam Houston signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, which stated:
“When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the people… and…becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression…
it is a…sacred obligation to their posterity to abolish such government, and create another in its stead.”
The Texas Declaration ended:
“Conscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the decision of the Supreme Arbiter of the Destinies of Nations.”
Sam Houston defeated Santa Ana at the Battle of San Jacinto, April 21, 1836, though a bullet shattered Houston’s ankle.
American Minute-Notable Events of American Significance Remembered on the Date They Occurred
President Andrew Jackson wrote to General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, September 4, 1836:
“Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 4th day of July last, which had been forwarded to me by General Samuel Houston…
The Government of the United States is ever anxious to cultivate peace and friendship with all nations…
If…Mexico should signify her willingness to avail herself of our good offices in bringing about the desirable result you have described, nothing could give me more pleasure than to devote my best services to it.
To be instrumental in terminating the evils of civil war and in substituting in their stead the blessings of peace is a divine privilege…
Your letter, and that of General Samuel Houston, commander in chief of the Texan army, will be made the basis of an early interview with the Mexican minister at Washington…
In the meantime I hope Mexico and Texas, feeling that war is the greatest of calamities, will pause before another campaign is undertaken and can add to the number of those scenes of bloodshed which have already marked the progress of their contest and have given so much pain to their Christian friends throughout the world.”
On OCTOBER 22, 1836, General Sam Houston was sworn in as the first President of the Republic of Texas.
In 1846, Sam Houston became U.S. Senator from Texas, and in 1859 he was elected Governor.
Sam Houston was the only person to have been elected the governor of two different States.
After receiving news that his Cherokee wife had died, Sam Houston married again in 1847.
In 1854, his new wife convinced him to be baptized as a Baptist in Little Rocky Creek.
When the Civil War began, Houston refused to swear allegiance to the Confederacy and was removed from office.
The 4th largest city in the United States is named after him – Houston, Texas.
Addressing the Houston Ministerial Association, Democrat Presidential Candidate John F. Kennedy stated September 12, 1960:
“I believe in an America…where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.
For, while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew – or a Quaker – or a Unitarian – or a Baptist.
It was Virginia’s harassment of Baptist preachers…that led to Jefferson’s statute of religious freedom…
I believe in an America…where all men and all churches are treated as equal…
I would not look with favor upon a President working to subvert the First Amendment’s guarantees of religious liberty.”
In Houston, Texas, August 17, 1992, Ronald Reagan stated at the Republican National Convention:
“Whether we come from poverty or wealth;
whether we are Afro-American or Irish-American;
Christian or Jewish, from big cities or small towns, we are all equal in the eyes of God…
May all of you as Americans never forget your heroic origins, never fail to seek divine guidance, and never lose your natural, God-given optimism…
My fellow Americans…God bless each and every one of you, and God bless this country we love.”
The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s bookshere.
If you haven’t yet, invest in one or Bill Federer’s latest books
- Change to Chains: The 6000 Year Quest for Global Control
- Miracles in American History: 32 Amazing Stories of Answered Prayer,
- Prayers & Presidents – Inspiring Faith from Leaders of the Past
- America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations