Sam Houston

Sam Houston
PHOTO: Library of Congress


Sam Houston was a big, strong man, but some of his biographies say that he was afraid of the dark. He also became governor of two American states even though he seemed to prefer Native American culture over white culture.

The room in which Sam Houston once taught school

Houston was born in 1793 and grew up in Maryville. When he was a teenager, he ran away from home to live with the Cherokee Indians on Hiwassee Island, located in Meigs County. He stayed there for about three years and was given the name “The Raven” by a Cherokee chief. Young Sam later came back to white society and, for a while, taught at a one-room schoolhouse (which is still standing in Blount County.)

Horseshoe Bend National Military Park

Sam Houston volunteered to fight during the War of 1812. In the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814, he became a hero when he fought on despite an arrow wound in his thigh.

Houston later moved to Lebanon, became a lawyer, and was elected to Congress. With Andrew Jackson’s backing, he became governor of Tennessee. But then, in one of the most shocking things ever to happen in Tennessee politics, Houston resigned as governor and went back to live with the Cherokees.

Then, Houston moved to Texas to fight for the independence of that state. He later became governor of that state as well.

Many places in American are named for Sam Houston–the most important of which is Houston, Texas (the fourth largest city in the United States).

Sam Houston’s name was also the first word ever said from the surface of the moon: “Houston, Tranquility Base here,” Neil Armstrong said. “The eagle has landed.”