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Eliza Allen Houston Douglass

Elizabeth Ann Allen was the first wife of Sam Houston. Quite a bit younger than Houston, she was born in 1809 to John and Laetitia Saunders Allen in Tennessee. The Allens were a wealthy family of the Gallatin area. Houston was born in 1793, so he was some 16 years older than Eliza when they married in 1829. Some accounts will give her age to be sixteen but according to genealogical sources, she was about twenty. Although they were only married about eleven weeks, the reason for their separation and eventual divorce has been the subject of speculation ever since.

Houston had been born in Virginia to Samuel and Elizabeth Blair Paxton Houston. His father died in 1807, when Sam was only about thirteen years old, leaving Elizabeth to raise a rather large family. She moved them to Tennessee and supported the family. She is not known to have ever remarried. Sam later left home and went to live with a friendly Cherokee tribe for about three years. It was from this experience that he likely developed a level of comfort with and warmth toward the Cherokee, and other tribes, that would remain with him throughout his life. He studied the law and lived in Nashville from about 1823 to 1827, serving for some time as a United States Congressman. Sam was elected governor of Tennessee in 1827 at the age of about thirty-five.

Houston became acquainted with Eliza Allen in the 1820s and they were married in early January, 1829 in Tennessee. Before returning to Nashville, they spent one night at the home of family friends. Houston needed to return to Nashville to resume his duties as governor. Not much is known about the details of their relationship, but it failed and by March, the marriage was over. Houston determined to resign as governor and leave the state.

Neither Eliza nor Sam Houston is believed to have officially commented on the cause of the dissolution. Various theories include an irreconcilable difference of some kind between them, some possible prior relationship that held the affections of Eliza, suggestions of Eliza’s lack of feelings for Houston, and the like.

Eliza returned to live with her family. However, both of Eliza’s parents died a few years later, beginning with her mother’s death in 1832. Her father died the following year. Houston and Eliza remained separated for about eight years until Houston secured a divorce in 1837. Afterward, they both remarried with Eliza marrying a widowed doctor named Elmore Douglass. Dr. Douglass, Houston and John Allen had all served in the United States military during the War of 1812. It is unknown how well acquainted they may or may not have been during that period. Houston and John Allen were believed to have known one another through their common friendship with Andrew Jackson.

Dr. Douglass had been previously married to Elizabeth Savin Fulton since 1818. The couple had at least four children. Their oldest son, Edward Douglass, had tragically drowned when he was still a teenager in May, 1835. Later that same month, his wife Elizabeth (also known as Eliza) died of electrocution when their home was struck by lightning. A newspaper account stated that the house had suffered lightning strikes on three previous occasions. Dr. Douglass and Eliza Allen Houston were married in 1840 and had at least four children, one of which (William H. Douglass) died as an infant, another (Harriet Louisa Douglass) who died at the age of ten and the other two (Martha Allen Douglass and Susan Miller Douglass) who lived to be adults. Neither of the older daughters of Dr. Douglass and Eliza Allen Houston Douglass were known to have ever married, so there are no known descendants of the marriage other than the four children.

Upon leaving the state of Tennessee for Texas, Houston had gone to live for a time with the same Cherokee people he knew from his youth. During that period, he is said to have lived there with a woman of part Cherokee ancestry who is referred to as Talahina Rogers. Houston and the woman are generally thought of as having been married. At some point, they separated and she is believed to have died at about thirty-nine years of age of pneumonia and be buried at Fort Gibson in Oklahoma. Talahina may or may not have been her name, but it is engraved on her tombstone.

Sam Houston and Margaret Lea Houston were married from 1840 until Sam’s death and had eight children. The youngest was Temple Lea Houston and the oldest was Sam Houston, Jr. The family generally resided near Independence and later in Huntsville.

Houston was initially deeply disturbed by the breakup with Eliza at the time. However he was publicly complimentary toward Eliza and is believed to have remained cordial with her parents until they died. Tennessee Public Television published a copy of Houston’s 1829 letter to his former father in law in which he expressed affection for Eliza and that he was unhappy to be united to a woman who could not feel the same toward him. That is probably about as close as anyone will come to reading a public explanation for their breakup. Of the four individuals, Eliza Allen Houston Douglass was the first to pass away, dying in 1861 of cancer. Dr. Douglass passed away in 1862. Both are buried in a city cemetery in Gallatin, Tennessee. Sam Houston died in 1863 and is buried in Huntsville. Margaret Lea Houston died in 1867 and is buried in the little cemetery adjacent to the Baptist Church in Independence.

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Posted by on July 22, 2021 in biography, sam houston

 

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Fort Bend

The area around Brazoria and Fort Bend counties first had Anglo-American settlers in the early 1820s, associated with the colonists of Moses and Stephen F. Austin. According to a newspaper article from 1946 in the Freeport Facts, Freeport, Texas, they included the family of Capt. Randall Jones who landed at the mouth of the Brazos on December 23, 1821 in a schooner named “Lively” and brought their possessions upstream near a promising bend in the river near the current town of Richmond. The settlement was called Fort Settlement or Fort Bend. Jones was joined by about fifty other families in that immediate area. If there was an actual structure that gave its name to the Fort Bend area, it was most likely a simple shanty or cabin, rather than a more traditional military style-fort. The historic location of such a building does not appear to be precisely known.

Austin’s original contract was with Spain and when Stephen F. Austin went to San Antonio to report on his settlement to Governor Martinez in 1823 he was told that he would have to go to Mexico to renew the contract because Mexico had gained its independence from Spain. Austin complied and was away for several months, returning in 1824.

Early settlers clashed with various indigenous tribes over the years, including the Karankawa, over land in the area of the Brazos and Colorado and losses of life resulted on both sides. In addition to the clashes, settlers complained of stolen cattle and horses. To establish some order when he returned from Mexico, Austin organized the Militia of the Brazos and Militia of the Colorado and personally led scouting missions to find the hiding places of the tribes. Capt. Randall Jones served as a leader of a company of militia and reported a number of clashes, again primarily with the Karankawa. The community of Jones Creek took its name from the location of a nearby battle. The clashes continued until there was a treaty around the first of November in which the tribes agreed not to range east of the San Antonio or Guadalupe rivers.

Capt. Randall Jones was in his upper 30s when he came to Texas with Stephen F. Austin as a colonist. He had already spent a number of years in the U. S. Army including the War of 1812. After the conclusion of those hostilities, he is believed to have set up a trading post in the Nacogdoches area. He came to Austin Colony in the early 1820s and served in Austin’s militia, as noted above. Jones married the former Polly Andrews in 1824 and the couple is believed to have resided in the general area that became Richmond. The couple had at least nine children. Jones lived until well into his 80s and died in Houston in 1873.

The Fort Bend area was also affected by the Runaway Scrape, when settlers fled from the troops of Santa Anna, returning to find that their property had been plundered by the troops. However following the Texas Revolution, the settlers returned to prosperity. The county of Fort Bend was established in 1837 (created from parts of Austin, Harris and Brazoria counties). At the same time, a number of the currently existing communities were incorporated.

It was prime land for agriculture including the production of cotton and sugar cane. Until the conclusion of the Civil War, the large agricultural enterprises were supported by slavery and estimates are available that African American residents were far greater in number than Anglo American residents. After the war, the area was slow to recover but agriculture and ranching, assisted by the creation and expansion of rail service into the area, contributed to economic and population growth. Communities like Sugar Land, Stafford, Missouri City and Rosenberg developed to serve the expanding economy. Oil was discovered in the 1920s and still contributes to the economy between Fort Bend County and the Gulf of Mexico.

Gradually the area became more residential as expansion continued west from Houston and Harris County, but still some agricultural remnants can be found along and west of the Brazos.

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Posted by on July 15, 2021 in county names

 

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Tex Schramm

Texas Earnest Schramm, Jr. was born in 1920 in San Gabriel, California. His father was named Texas Ernst Schramm and his mother was Elsa J. Steinwender Schramm. Tex’s father later adopted the spelling Earnest for his middle name, but at birth his father had shared the middle name Ernst with four of his siblings. Tex’s grandfather, Edgar Ernst Schramm had come to the United States from Germany and his grandmother, the former “Tony” Benner, was born in New Braunfels. The Benners had been long time Texas residents, as Tex’s grandmother Benner’s family had had arrived in the 1800s. His Schramm grandparents had resided in San Antonio for many years. Tex’s father had moved the family to California where Tex spent his early years, attending high school there. Tex attended University of Texas in Austin, graduating in 1947 with a degree in journalism, after serving in the United States Army Air Corps in World War II.

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Posted by on July 8, 2021 in biography, people named Tex

 

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Caro Crawford Brown

Thirteen women were inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame on September 18, 1986. They included astronaut Sally Ride, women’s basketball coach Jody Conradt, business executive Mary Kay Ash, former ambassador Anne Armstrong, rancher Mary Lavinia Griffith, educator and civic leader Ada Simond, educator Wilhelmina Delco, pathologist May Owen, attorney Hermine Dalkowitz Tobolowsky, publishing editor Margaret Cousins, civic volunteers Alicia R. Chacon and Frances E. Goff and journalist Caro Crawford Brown.

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Posted by on July 1, 2021 in biography, texas women

 

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Herbert Gibson

Before there were the nationwide chain stores like Kmart, Target, Wal-Mart and various others, there was a chain of stores known as Gibson’s Discount Centers. Gibson’s was founded by Herbert R. and Belva Gibson. The couple exemplified an American dream of starting small and building a national business.

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Posted by on June 24, 2021 in biography

 

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