Houston, (Samuel) Sam(1793–1863) Texas leader, public official; born near Lexington, Va. He received little schooling and lived for three years among the Cherokee Indians (1809–12). He served in the War of 1812 (1813–14) and studied law. He served in the House of Representatives (Dem., Tenn.; 1823–27) and was governor of Tennessee (1827–29). He resigned the governorship and again lived among the Cherokee Indians. Attracted to the struggle for Texan independence, he led the Texan army at the battle of San Jacinto (1836) and became the first president of the Republic of Texas (1836–38, second term 1841–44). After the admission of Texas as a state, he became a senator (Dem., Texas; 1846–59). He was the governor of Texas (1859–61) but was deposed (1861) when he refused to swear allegiance to the Confederate States of America.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.