Samuel "Sam" Houston (March 2, 1793 – July 26, 1863) was an American politician and soldier, best known for his role in bringing Texas into the United States as a constituent state. His victory at the Battle of San Jacinto secured the independence of Texas from Mexico in one of the shortest decisive battles in modern history. He was also the only governor within a future Confederate state to oppose secession (which led to the outbreak of the American Civil War) and to refuse an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy, a decision that led to his removal from office by the Texas secession convention. Houston was born at Timber Ridge Plantation in Rockbridge County, Virginia. He was of Scots-Irish descent. After moving to Tennessee, he spent time with the Cherokee Nation, into which he later was adopted as a citizen and into which he married. He performed military service during the War of 1812 and successfully participated in Tennessee politics. In 1827, Houston was elected Governor of Tennessee as a Jacksonian. In 1829, he resigned as governor and relocated to the Arkansas Territory. In 1832, Houston was involved in an altercation with a U.S. Congressman, followed by a high-profile trial. Shortly afterwards, he moved west to Coahuila y Tejas, then a Mexican state, and became a leader of the Texas Revolution. After the war, Houston became a key figure in Texas and was elected as the first and third President of the Republic of Texas. He supported annexation by the United States and he became a U.S. Senator upon achieving it in 1845, and finally a governor of the State of Texas in 1859, whereby Houston became the only person to have become the governor of two different U.S. states through popular election, as well as the only state governor to have been a foreign head of state. As governor, he refused to swear loyalty to the Confederacy when Texas seceded from the Union in 1861 with the outbreak of the American Civil War, and he was removed from office. To avoid bloodshed, he refused an offer of a Union army to put down the Confederate rebellion. Instead, he retired to Huntsville, Texas, where he died before the end of the war. Houston's name has been honored in numerous ways. He is the namesake of the city of Houston, Texas's most populous city and the fourth most populous city in the U.S.. Other things named for Sam Houston include a memorial museum, the USS Sam Houston (SSBN-609) naval vessel, Fort Sam Houston, a national forest, a historical park, a university, an elementary school in Lebanon, TN (Sam Houston Elementary), a prominent roadside statue outside of Huntsville, and major streets in many Texas cities.
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