Triumph and Tragedy: Presidents of the Republic of Texas

Introduction Growing Up Gone to Texas Path to Power Mister President Second Term

Houston Timeline

March 2, 1793 - Born in Rockbridge County, Virginia

1797 - Tennessee becomes 16th state

1803 - Louisiana Purchase. United States enters dispute with Spain, claiming Texas as part of the Purchase

1806 - Houston's father dies

1807 - The Houston family moves to Blount County in eastern Tennessee

1809 - Runs away from home to join the Cherokees; spends the next three years living with the Indians

September 16, 1810 - An uprising in Dolores, Mexico is the beginning of the Mexican struggle for independence from Spain

Sam Houston

Rebellious Boyhood

Sam Houston was the fifth of nine children born to Samuel and Elizabeth Houston. Samuel, Sr. was a veteran of the American Revolution and a major in the Virginia militia. Sam Houston spent his early years in Rockbridge County, a Virginia frontier community settled by Scotch-Irish Presbyterians looking for a free and independent life. Many of the immigrants stayed only a short time before moving on to even more remote frontier country to the west. The Houstons were no exception. Major Houston died when Sam was 13, and the family pulled up stakes and moved to eastern Tennessee.

Young Houston's spirit was even more untamed than most of his peers. He was self-educated and loved books, especially classical literature. But he detested working on the family farm and in his family's store in Maryville. At the age of 15, Houston ran away from home and went to live with the Cherokee Indians. For the next three years he spent most of his time with the band of Chief Oolooteka. It was during this time that he received his Indian name, Colonneh, or "The Raven."

A Blazing Star Falls to Earth>>


Young Sam Houston

This is the earliest known likeness of Sam Houston. It was painted in 1826 when Houston was serving in the U.S. Congress from Tennessee.

Texas State Library and Archives, Prints and Photographs Collection, 1/102-288.

Page last modified: March 13, 2015