March on Houston

On March 2, 1793, a baby was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia. That baby, Samuel Houston, was destined to become an American statesman, soldier, politician, and was twice elected to the office of the president of the Republic of Texas.

The history of Sam Houston, who ran away from home to live among the Indians and then became a soldier and public servant is well-documented. Today, we will look at his personal life, particularly the love he found in the second half of his life.

The youthful and wild Sam Houston was elected to the office of Governor of Tennessee and began in that office in 1827. 

In January of 1829, the 30-year-old Sam Houston married Eliza Allen, a 19-year-old beauty from Tennessee. Shortly after the wedding, for reasons which neither of them ever spoke of, Eliza left her groom and returned to her father's house. Sam wrote a letter to Mr. Allen, saying in part, "The only way this matter can now be overcome will be for us all to meet as tho it had never occurred, & this will keep the world, as it should ever be, ignorant that such thoughts ever were." He followed that up with a suggestion that Eliza's relatives "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."

He resigned as Governor, partly because of the embarrassment the incident caused, and went to live with the Cherokee in Arkansas Territory, where he was adopted as a citizen of the Cherokee nation. It was there that he lived with and then married a Cherokee widow, Tiana. Though he was still married, this marriage was recognized under Cherokee law.

In 1832, Sam moved to Texas, and Tiana, who refused to go with him, stayed behind. Sam finally divorced Eliza in 1837.

He served as the first President of the Republic of Texas from 1836 until 1838.

In 1828, on a business trip to Mobile, Alabama, Sam met and fell in love with 20-year-old Margaret Moffett Lea. Based on the fact that he was 46 years old, as well as his "checkered past," Margaret's mother had serious concerns, but she eventually gave her consent.

They were engaged, after which he went back to Austin where he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, where he represented Nacogdoches. In 1840, Sam Houston and Margaret were finally married. It soon became apparent that Margaret had a calming effect on Sam, and he stopped drinking and carousing. In a letter to a friend, he mentioned, "my wife controls me and has reformed me."

The next year, he became the fourth President of the Republic of Texas, his second term in that office, and was in that office from 1841 until 1844.

In 1854, he professed faith in Jesus Christ and was baptized, becoming a member of the Baptist denomination. He delighted in joking that when his sins were washed away by the water, fish instantly died. He then became active in the temperance movement.

He went on to become the Governor of the State of Texas from 1859, but was removed from office in 1861 when he refused to swear loyalty to the Confederacy after Texas seceded from the Union.

He and his wife and their eight children resettled in Huntsville, Texas, which Sam said reminded him of his boyhood home. With his beloved wife, Margaret, at his side, he died of pneumonia in Huntsville before the Civil War came to a close. His last words were, according to legend, "Texas! Texas! Margaret…"

His tomb may have been slightly more descriptive of the man than any written history. It reads:

A Brave Soldier. A Fearless Statesman.

A Great Orator– A Pure Patriot.

A Faithful Friend, A Loyal Citizen.

A Devoted Husband and Father.

A Consistent Christian– An Honest Man.