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Joshua Houston

joshuahouston

(Image credit: Texas State Historical Association)

Joshua Houston (1822-1902) was born near Marion, Alabama and was a slave in the household of the wife of Sam Houston, Margaret Lea.  In the custom of the day, Joshua and his family were left to Margaret after the death in 1834 of her father, Temple Lea.  Margaret moved to Texas in 1840 after marrying Sam Houston in May.

Joshua travelled with Sam Houston as his personal servant during the days of the Texas Republic.  During this time, he was taught to read and write and learned the skills of blacksmithing and wheel building.  When Houston learned of the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln, he emancipated all of the slaves in the family, although Texas law did not change for several more years.  Joshua and several others stayed on with the family of Sam Houston after Sam died in 1863.  Margaret died of yellow fever in 1867.  Late in life, Margaret Lea Houston fell on difficult financial times and Joshua is known to have offered his personal savings to help her.

After the end of the Civil War, Joshua married, had a family and became a blacksmith in Huntsville, Texas.  Joshua built a two story home there on 10th Street and set up his shop across the street from it.  He was a church leader and held several city and county offices in government.

He and two friends bought land near downtown and built the first church for freedmen, the Union Church, which operated at various times both as a Baptist and Methodist congregation.  Union Church continued to blossom, grew large and eventually split into at least three separate entities.  Joshua followed one of them and helped found the First Baptist Church on 10th Street in Rogersville, Texas.

His political life began when he was appointed as the first Black alderman in 1870.  He was first elected to office when he became a county commissioner of Walker County, Texas serving for a number of years beginning in 1878.  He is credited for helping to change former racially discriminatory Texas laws.  He helped found a college, Bishop Ward College, in 1882 although it remained in business for only two years and suffered from a lack of financial resources.  Joshua remained active in politics into his senior years, serving as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

During his lifetime, Joshua was married to Annieliza (last name unknown), Sylvester Baker and Mary Green and had eight children including Thomas Houston (1866-1888), Lucy Houston Gardner (1841-1916), Joseph Houston (1836-1938) who was a farmer and land owner near Huntsville and a member of the Union Chapel Methodist Church and Samuel Walker Houston.

Samuel was born in 1864 and received his education at Hampton Institute in Virginia and Howard University in Washington, DC.  His is known to have been a clerk at Ford’s Theater and also to have worked for the War, State and Navy departments of the U. S. Government in Washington, DC.  Around 1900, he returned to Texas and taught school in Grimes County.  Samuel was a gifted musician and could sing, read and write music.  He died in 1945 and his headstone reads “In honor and memory of Samuel Walker Houston, founder of the Houston Industrial Training School and late principal of the Sam Houston High School… His life was devoted to welfare and happiness of others.”

Joshua Houston’s legacy included churches that he helped to found, being involved in politics and helping to change laws that promoted racial equality and a family of educated children and grandchildren.  He died in January, 1902 and is buried with his wife, Sylvester not far from the grave of Sam Houston at Oakwood Cemetery in Huntsville.

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Posted by on January 11, 2018 in biography, black history, history, sam houston

 

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Sam Houston and Santa Anna

Santa Anna (Antonio López de Santa Anna) was born in Vera Cruz in 1794 and began serving in the Army in Spanish Mexico when he was a teenager.  He was said to have first fought in support for the Spanish against Mexican independence before joining the movement in 1821 in support of an independent Mexico.  He continued to be near the forefront of leadership in the young country of Mexico and helped defeat the Spanish effort to reclaim Mexico in the late 1820s.  Santa Anna was himself elected President in 1833.  The previous two decades had seen chaotic changes in the country of Mexico with the form of government varying from a constitutional republic to a centralist form with Santa Anna at the head, supported by the military.  The country was vast with the Central American part being largely populated and the North American portion being sparsely populated by Native American tribes and an increasing number of American settlers.  Under Santa Anna, its policy changed from encouraging settlements to being more restrictive toward them.

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Posted by on December 28, 2017 in history, republic of texas, sam houston, texas

 

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Battle of the Neches

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(Image credit: TexasCherokeeNation.org)

On July 16, 1839, the last major battle between Texas forces and the Cherokee tribe along with other tribal bands took place.  The Cherokee had first come to Texas shortly after the turn of the century, long before the Texas Revolution, and had settled near the Red River.  Much of the time thereafter, their leader was Chief John Bowles, pictured in the image above, also known as Diwal’li.  There are other variations of his name, but we will refer to him as Chief Bowles.  The Chief was thought to have been born around 1756 to a Cherokee mother and a Scotch-Irish father.  He is said to have had the features of both parents including reddish hair, Cherokee features and freckled skin.

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Ed Burleson

Burleson County is located in East Central Texas and its county seat is Caldwell.  The county is named for General Edward Murray Burleson, who served as Colonel of the First Regiment of Volunteers at the Battle of San Jacinto.  He was born in North Carolina on December 15, 1798 and was still a relatively young man when his father James B. Burleson brought him on to act as Secretary as his father fought in the Creek War under Andrew Jackson.  They both were descended from Ed Burleson’s grandfather Aaron Burleson, who had fought as a Minuteman in the American Revolution.  The family first moved to Virginia, and Ed was elected Lieutenant and later Colonel of the militia.  They later relocated to Tennessee where he served as Colonel of the militia from 1823 to 1830 in Hardeman County, Tennessee.

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Henry Wynkoop Raguet, Sr.

Henry W. Raguet was born in 1796 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  He, along with thousands of other early Texas settlers, would not be considered famous.  Individuals like him aren’t written up in textbooks and have no streets, towns, counties or buildings named for them.  They simply lived their lives and raised their families, despite whatever hardships and tragedies that they endured.

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Posted by on March 31, 2016 in biography, history, sam houston, texas

 

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Irion County, Texas

Irion County is situated west of San Angelo (Tom Green County) in West Texas.  Its county seat is Mertzon.  It is sparsely populated but the origin of its name extends back to the early days of the Republic of Texas.  It was founded in 1889 and was named for Robert Anderson Irion, a medical doctor.  Dr. Irion was a friend and personal physician of Sam Houston.

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Presidents, Republic of Texas, Part 2 (1836-1841)

Sam Houston and Mirabeau B. Lamar:

Sam Houston always had people who opposed him, whether it concerned his political philosophy, his lifestyle or his military strategy.  One such individual was Mirabeau B. Lamar.  These two men would serve as the first two Presidents of the young Republic of Texas.

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