Texas Republic Army General, Texas Republic President, Tennessee Governor, Texas Governor. He is best remembered as the General who defeated the Mexicans to win Texas independence. Born in Virginia in 1793, his family moved to Tennessee when he was 13 years old and lived in a frontier settlement, where Houston worked as a clerk in a trader's store. When he was 15, he ran away from home and lived with the Cherokee Indians in eastern Tennessee, where the Indians adopted him and taught him much of their ways. After three years with the Indians, he returned home and opened up a country school. When war broke out between the settlers and the Creek Indians, he enlisted in Andrew Jackson's Army, and was severely wounded in battle. In 1818, he left the Army to set up a law practice in Lebanon, Tennessee, where in 1823, he was elected to Congress. Four years later, he was elected as Governor of Tennessee. In 1829, his wife left him, and he resigned as Governor, to move to Texas intending to become a trader and merchant. When revolution broke out between the Texas settlers and the Mexican government under its military dictator, General Antonio de Santa Anna, he helped form a militia, and was quickly selected to head its Army. After a series of battles, he finally won the Battle of San Jacinto in April 1836, captured General Santa Anna, and forced the Mexicans to give Texas their independence. In October 1836, he was elected the first President of the Republic of Texas, and served two terms, from 1836 to 1838, and from 1841 to 1844. In 1845, he worked to have Texas admitted to the United States, and from 1846 to 1859, he served as US Senator from Texas. Opposing any break from the Union, he ran for governor of Texas on an anti-secession platform and won, however, in 1861, the Texas congress voted to join South Carolina and the other southern states in leaving the Union, despite Governor Houston's opposition. The Confederates then removed Houston as governor, and he retired to private life in Huntsville, Texas, where he died in 1863. The city of Houston, Texas, is named in his honor, as is an Army fort in San Antonio, Texas.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson