Governor Houston, a slave owner who opposed abolition, lost his office on the eve of the Civil War when Texas voted to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. Houston refused to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy and was evicted from office on March 16, 1861. The War Between the States began barely a month later.
Again - few things in this war that tore our country apart for four years are clear cut, and, perhaps, that is what fascinates me the most about it.
This January, when the 2013 calendars went on clearance, I picked up a Civil War calendar for my office desk. Each day has a different event connected to the Civil War. One day, they featured a portion of a speech Houston gave from a hotel window on April 19, 1861:
“Let me tell you what is coming. Your fathers and husbands, your sons and brothers, will be herded at the point of bayonet. You may, after the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, win Southern independence... but I doubt it. I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of states rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche... they will overwhelm the South.”Sadly, Houston was proved correct, some 620,000 casualties later. In some ways, our country has never recovered.
Sam Houston died 150 years ago this week - July 26, 1863, in Huntsville, Texas, in the Confederate States of America, and is buried there. A 77 foot statue of Sam Houston there is considered to be the second tallest free standing sculpture in the United States. Only the Statue of Liberty is taller.
Texas is a fascinating place - I lived there briefly many years ago. Texans liked to say that "everything is bigger in Texas." With Sam Houston, they were right.