Sam Houston Before 1830 Essay

2722 words - 11 pages

" I have no hope for Sam, he is too wild."1 Samuel Houston and Elizabeth Paxton of Virginia gave birth to their 5th of nine children, a son bearing his fathers name "Sam", on March 2, 1793. Samuel Houston was a militia captain. While fulfilling his military duties as a militia inspector, he died unexpectedly in the spring of 1807. Sam was only 13 when his father died. Young Sam Houston had a passion for literature, and it was The Iliad that was his favorite, and although he admitted he was unable to endure formal education for less than a year altogether, he was non-the less intellectual.The year his father had died, his mother Elizabeth, sold their Virginia estate and loaded up her then 9 children into two wagons filled with their necessities. They moved to Maryville, Tennessee. Rebelling at his older brothers' attempts to make him work on the farm and in the family's store in Maryville, Houston ran away from home in 1809 to reside with the Cherokees, who lived across the Tennessee River. "With these Indians Sam found The Iliad come alive: the warrior society of brave, chilivaric individuals, living by their wits off the land and moving on when and only when-they willed."2 Between short visits to Maryville, he stayed for three years with the band of Chief Oolooteka, also known as John Jolly, who adopted him and gave him the Indian name "the Raven." Houston viewed Oolooteka as his "Indian Father" and the Cherokees as a surrogate family, because of this he would maintain great compassion toward Indians. "My early life among the Indians was a necessary portion of that wonderful training that fitted me for my destiny."3 While Houston was living with the Cherokees he frequently came into town and purchased gifts for them, along with liquor that he had become fond of. He purchased most of this with credit and soon developed a large debt. In 1812 to help pay off this debt Houston founded a school in Maryville. In March 1813, again in debt Houston enlisted in the army. In late December he was given the commission of third lieutenant. As part of Andrew Jackson's army, he fought at the battle of Horseshoe Bend on March 26, 1814. During this battle he received three fatal wounds. One of these was from a musket ball that shattered his right shoulder; this wound would never fully heal. For his courage and heroism at Horseshoe Bend, Houston won the interest of General Jackson, who from then on would support Houston, like his own son, for the rest of his life. Houston, in return, greatly admired Jackson and became an active Jacksonian Democrat.While recovering, he was promoted to second lieutenant. While he was stationed in Nashville, in 1817 he was detailed as sub-Indian agent to the Cherokees. Throughout that position, he assisted John Jolly and his clan in their removal to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River, as set by the Treaty of 1816. Houston, then a first lieutenant, resigned from the army in March 1818, and then from his position as...

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