Sam Houston before 1830

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" I have no hope for Sam, he is too wild."1 Samuel Houston and Elizabeth Paxton of Virginia gave birth to their 5th of nine children, a son bearing his fathers name "Sam", on March 2, 1793. Samuel Houston was a militia captain. While fulfilling his military duties as a militia inspector, he died unexpectedly in the spring of 1807. Sam was only 13 when his father died. Young Sam Houston had a passion for literature, and it was The Iliad that was his favorite, and although he admitted he was unable to endure formal education for less than a year altogether, he was non-the less intellectual.

The year his father had died, his mother Elizabeth, sold their Virginia estate and loaded up her then 9 children into two wagons filled with their necessities. They moved to Maryville, Tennessee. Rebelling at his older brothers' attempts to make him work on the farm and in the family's store in Maryville, Houston ran away from home in 1809 to reside with the Cherokees, who lived across the Tennessee River.

"With these Indians Sam found The Iliad come alive: the warrior society of brave, chilivaric individuals, living by their wits off the land and moving on when and only when-they willed."2 Between short visits to Maryville, he stayed for three years with the band of Chief Oolooteka, also known as John Jolly, who adopted him and gave him the Indian name "the Raven." Houston viewed Oolooteka as his "Indian Father" and the Cherokees as a surrogate family, because of this he would maintain great compassion toward Indians. "My early life among the Indians was a necessary portion of that wonderful training that fitted me for my destiny."3 While Houston was living with the Cherokees he frequently came into town and purchased gifts...