News / USA

Sam Houston Lives On - In Texas Museum

A concrete and fiberglass depiction of 'Big Sam' Sam Houston stands more than 20 meters tall on display in Huntsville, Texas. The statue is considered the largest statue of any American hero.
A concrete and fiberglass depiction of 'Big Sam' Sam Houston stands more than 20 meters tall on display in Huntsville, Texas. The statue is considered the largest statue of any American hero.

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +

Sam Houston stands among the towering figures of American history. He governed two states, made his mark on the national stage and yet his name is forever tied to Texas, the state he helped to create. This year, historians are recalling his connection to two anniversaries: Texas's independence, 175 years ago, and the U.S. Civil War, which began in 186.

Big Sam still towers over the land he loved; more than 20 meters tall, a concrete and fiberglass depiction of Houston in Huntsville is considered the largest statue of any American hero.

'Big Sam'

A few kilometers away, the Sam Houston Memorial Museum holds many of his belongings and promotes his legacy.

Director Patrick Nolan says Houston's accomplishments were impressive.

“He is really the only man in our history who was president of an independent country, also governor of two states, the only man to have that distinction, Tennessee and Texas, United States senator from Texas, commanding general in a very successful war,” explains Nolan.

Houston had suffered personal and political setbacks by 1832 when he joined American settlers in what was then the northeast Mexican territory of Texas.

Nolan says this gave him a new start. 

“The idea of re-making yourself, of re-constituting your career if you will, was there and Texas was an opportunity to do that,” he notes.

Houston led Texas rebels to victory over a larger Mexican army at the battle of San Jacinto in April 1836.  

At a recent re-enactment of the battle, just east of the city that bears his name, Houston was again the hero of the day.

Forced to resign

Yet, in 1861, Houston was forced to leave the governor's mansion in Austin and retire to his farm in Huntsville.

The man who fought to bring Texas into the United States refused to sign an oath to the Confederacy of rebellious southern states, says Nolan.

“He would not take that oath to support the Confederacy. He would resign -- no he did not resign, he would be dismissed, he would be fired before he would do it,” states Nolan.

The Civil War was still raging when Houston died at his home in Huntsville in July 1863.

In the city of Conroe, down the road, Houston biographer James Haley visited a new park featuring 13 flags associated with Texas history.

Compassionate slave owner

Haley says Houston annoyed many southerners because, even though he and his wife owned slaves, he paid them for extra work and he opposed the expansion of slavery.

“Every year he had a speaking tour up the Ohio valley, through Pennsylvania, New York and up into New England. That was really the center of his political strength, because he was unpopular in the South because of his stance against slavery," Haley explains.

Houston saw the Civil War coming as early as 1854 and made accurate predictions.

“The South will go down, I think he said, in a sea of smoke and ruin and that will be the end of the South as we know it and then the North will think it has won this big victory, but he said the North will have its own price to pay. They will reap a harvest of assassination,” says Haley.

Source of inspiration

A week after the surrender of the main Confederate army, on April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

Haley says Houston freed all his slaves before he died and the money he gave them helped some become educated and establish successful businesses.  He also defended the rights of Hispanics and American Indians, with whom he lived for a time.

Sam Houston continues to inspire people and his legacy in Texas remains strong.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid