Sam Houston

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Sam Houston
…came from Scots-Irish descended, family of 9 siblings, born on March 2, 1793. His family were mbrs of the slaveholding gentry of western Virginia. He came from Rock Bridge County in Virginia where his family owned a Timber Ridge Plantation. …his dad, John Houston, served in the revolution as captain in the Daniel Morgan Rifle Brigade. He enjoyed military life and remained in the Virginia Militia after the war serving as a brigade inspector and attaining the rank of major in 1803. In 1806 he sold the plantation to pay debt and bought 419 acres in eastern Tennessee to make a new beginning for his family but grew sick and died in 1806. His wife, Elizabeth Paxton Houston and kids had to move southwest to Maryville, Tennessee. …pg. 3 (They were told that he “preferred measuring deer tracks in the forest to tape and calico in a country store.” The “wild liberty of the red man,” Houston later wrote, “suited his nature far better than the restraints of the white settlements.” …pg. 4 (Life with the Cherokees was, in Houston’s words, “greatly to his own satisfaction and comfort,” but it shaped his future as well. He developed an abiding understanding and respect for his hosts’ culture that he extended to the Indian way of life in general. Few, if any, white leaders matched Houston’s concern and sympathy for the Indian. His adoptive father, Chief Oo-loo-te-ka name meant “He Who Puts Away the Drum,” signifying a leader who sought conciliation and peace rather than war. Sam Houston would win fame as a soldier, but as a leader, he rarely favored war over peace, even when everyone around him clamored for a fight. …pg. 4 (He stayed long enough to get into trouble by demonstrating a weakness for alcohol that eventually went beyond youthful lacking of restraint or the general fondness for liquor on the American frontier. In September 1810, the Maryville militia held a muster, accompanied as usual by tapping kegs of beer and barrels of whiskey. Houston and one of his friends got drunk and decided to beat a drum outside the courthouse window while the Blount County Court was in session. That bit of fun earned him a $5 fine for “disorderly, riotously, wantonly …annoying the court with noise of a drum.” …pg. 5 _ Sam Houston became a teacher. When the session ended in November, he had earned enough to pay his debts and found that he thoroughly enjoyed teaching. Later as a US senator he described how, while instructing his students with a sourwood stick pointer as a symbol of “ornament and authority,” he “experienced a higher feeling of dignity and self-satisfaction than from any office or honor which I have since held.” Sam Houston enjoyed being in command. …pg 6 (At 20yrs old, Sam Houston enlisted to the United States Army on March 24, 1813 as a private rather than seeking a commission worthy of Samuel Houston’s son. Sam replied that honor could be served in the ranks as well as with a commission. “You don’t know me now,” he said, “but you shall hear of me.”) …Sam Houston, though without proper education, was a quick learner. Pg 4 (Sam quickly learned their language and participated in their games, hunts, and festivals.) …He was a man of good character. Pg 5 (Houston returned to the Cherokees until spring of 1812. In total, he lived among the Cherokees for most of the three years. On each trip home, he bought presents such as powder, shot, needles, and blankets for his Indian friends and in the process went $100 into debt with merchants in Maryville. The earning power of a 19 yr old man who had little formal education and no liking for farm labor or clerking seemed very limited, but Houston hit upon a bold expedient – he became a teacher. He opened his school on a farm near Maryville in May 1812, advertising it with a broadside that set tuition at $8 for the term. …Pg 6 (Houston began training with the Seventh U.S. Infantry at Knoxville and became a sergeant within a few weeks.) In July 1813 his regiment merged with the...
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