Sam Houston Song by
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 of Tennessee.
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 Augustine, proclaimed:
| For President in
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
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
all ye good Republicans
[the author uses 'Republicans' as a synonym for Citizens, the Republican Party
not yet in existence],|
join the song with me,
Who want a man for President
To rule the brave
|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
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 continued:
of the Andrew Jackson school, |
As true and tried as steel,
And loves the
land of Freedom well,
Its glory and its weal.
listen to his sturdy voice,
Within the Nation's hall [the Capitol],
proudly to the world
The Union shall not fall.
San Jacinto's bloody field,
Our Hero met the foe,
And Santa Anna there
For traveling very slow.
"A statesman true
and hero bold,
In him are both combined;
And with him we can whip the
'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,
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,
say good-bye, old Uncle Sam,
Hang up that broad-rim'd hat!
Houston, he's the boy for me,
He does not live in Texas, for the President
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
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 governor.