HOUSTON, Samuel, (father of Andrew Jackson Houston and cousin of David Hubbard), a Representative from Tennessee and a Senator from Texas; born at Timber Ridge Church, near Lexington, Va., March 2, 1793; moved about 1808 with his widowed mother to Blount County, Tenn.; attended Maryville Academy (now Maryville College), Maryville, Tenn.; employed as a clerk in a store in Kingston, Tenn.; enlisted as a private in the United States Infantry 1813; served under General Andrew Jackson in the Creek War, rose to lieutenant, and resigned from the Army in 1818; studied law, admitted to the bar in 1818, and commenced practice in Lebanon, Tenn.; district attorney in 1819; adjutant general of the State 1820; major general 1821; elected to the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Congresses (March 4, 1823-March 3, 1827); Governor of Tennessee 1827-1829, when he resigned; moved to the territory of the Cherokee Nation, now a part of Oklahoma, was a trader, and was made a member of the Cherokee Nation by action of the National Council; moved to Texas around 1835 and was a member of the convention at San Felipe de Austin, the purpose of which was to establish separate statehood for Texas; member of the constitutional convention in 1835; commander in chief of the Texas Army; successfully led the Texans against the Mexicans in the Battle of San Jacinto in April 1836; first President of the Republic of Texas 1836-1838; member, Texas Congress 1838-1840; again President of the Republic 1841-1844; upon the admission of Texas as a State into the Union was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate; reelected in 1847 and 1853 and served from February 21, 1846, to March 3, 1859; chairman, Committee on Militia (Thirty-first through Thirty-fourth Congresses); Governor of Texas 1859-1861; deposed March 18, 1861, because he refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States; died in Huntsville, Tex., July 26, 1863; interment in Oakwood Cemetery.
“Houston, Samuel,” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=H000827.
The Texas legislature elected Houston to the U.S. Senate on 21 February 1846. He drew a two-year term upon entering the Senate but was elected to a full term in December 1847. As sectional animosity over slavery increased, Houston took what would become an unalterable stance against extremism and in defense of the Union. Houston's moderate views on slavery supported his determination to preserve the Union. He owned slaves throughout his life and did not see the institution as a compelling moral issue; he defended it as a practical necessity, a way of providing labor and race control, and rejected the more aggressive view associated with John C. Calhoun and other extremists that slavery was a "positive good." Time would deal with the institution, he hoped, if fanatics would leave it alone. He voted in 1848 for organizing the Oregon Territory with a prohibition on slavery, and he refused to sign John C. Calhoun's 1849 "Southern Address," which called for sectional unity in defense of southern rights. He voted for all parts of the Compromise of 1850. Houston was elected to a third term in the Senate in January 1853, but his unionism began to injure his political career seriously in 1854 when he voted against the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Many of his constituents never forgave what they regarded as an antisouthern act. In 1855 the state legislature officially condemned his vote and indicated that he would not be reelected when his term expired in 1859. Houston identified with the Know-Nothing party in 1855-1856 and ran for governor of Texas in 1857. In that contest he suffered the only electoral defeat of his career, losing to Hardin R. Runnels, an ultrasoutherner.
Randolph B. Campbell, "Houston, Sam," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00528.html.