a good television game show question: Name the only person who ever
served as governor of two states.
The answer, of course, is Sam
Houston. Before coming to Texas in 1832, following a boozy interlude
living with the Cherokees in Indian Territory, he had been governor
After making Texas his home and playing a decisive role in the revolution
that brought Texas independence from Mexico, Houston
got elected as the first president of the new Republic
of Texas. When Texas joined the Union in 1845, Houston represented
the new state as one of its U.S. Senators.
Five years later, some folks began to think Houston
would make a pretty good President. The Oct. 12, 1850 issue of the
Redland Herald, a newspaper published in San
| For President
General Sam Houston
The Hero Of San Jacinto
| In the same
issue, the East Texas
newspaper reprinted an assortment of snippets from other newspapers
across the nation, all touting Houston
as the Democratic choice for the White House.
The Lebanon County, PA. Advertiser was typical in its sentiments:
"From the papers we receive at our office we perceive that a number
of them are already talking about the next presidency and proposing
candidates. Who do you think is prominent this time? No less a person
that Sam Houston
of Texas, the hero of San
Jacinto. Wouldn't he be a glorious leader? It would take the world
and the rest of mankind to defeat him…We think the democracy of the
whole Union could unite on him."
Redlander also published a campaign song by one G.W. Pearce, sung
to the tune of "Oh, Susannah!"
The song, reprinted in 1928 in a long-defunct Texas magazine called
Bunker's Monthly, lies on the pages of the few surviving copies of
that publication, long forgotten. It does not show up in a Web search
or appear in the basic Houston biographies.
Sing along, pausing for a few explanatory notes:
all ye good Republicans,
[the author uses 'Republicans' as a synonym for Citizens, the Republican
Party not yet in existence]
Come join the song with me,
Who want a man for President
To rule the brave and free.
|Not too moving
a start, but the chorus is catchier:
Sam Houston, he's the boy for me,
He lives away in Texas, and a good old man is he.
[Born in 1792, "Old" Houston was 58 at the time.]
Old Sam Houston, he's the boy for me,
He lives away in Texas, and a good old man is he."
|The song writer
of the Andrew Jackson school,
As true and tried as steel,
And loves the land of Freedom well,
Its glory and its weal.
"Just listen to his sturdy voice,
Within the Nation's hall [the Capitol],
Proclaiming proudly to the world
The Union shall not fall.
"At San Jacinto's bloody field,
Our Hero met the foe,
And Santa Anna there was fixed
For traveling very slow.
"A statesman true and hero bold,
In him are both combined;
And with him we can whip the world,
'And the rest of (Whig) mankind.'
[The Whigs and the Democrats were the dominant political parties
at the time.]
"We'll bring him out in fifty-two
And on our banners high,
His name shall float for President,
So, Whiggies, don't you cry.
"And when we've placed him in the chair,
Where brave Old Hick-ry sat,
We'll say good-bye, old Uncle Sam,
Hang up that broad-rim'd hat!
"Old Sam Houston, he's the boy for me,
He does not live in Texas, for the President is he,
Old Sam Houston, a good old man is he;
The White House is his residence, Whiggies call and see."
Jan. 8, 1852, the state Democratic Convention in Austin
nominated Houston for the presidency, but the national convention
did not see it that way. Democrat Franklin Pierce went on to defeat
Whig candidate Gen. Winfield Scott. Four years later, Houston's
name came up at the convention of the newly formed American Party
in Baltimore, but he got only three votes.
By then, his strong pro-Union sentiments had killed his support in
the slave-holding South. And that ended any ghost of a chance he had
for national office. Democrat James Buchanan became the next president.
With no hope for the White House, the "good old man" resigned from
the Senate and came home to Texas, where in 1859 the people elected
Houston as their