Saturday, April 26, 2014

52 Ancestors #16: Sam B. Houston

General Sam Houston on the left, Uncle Sam Houston on the right
 This week's post is kind of a tale of two Sams: General Sam Houston of Texas fame & my Uncle Sam Houston who lived in Cameron, Milam Co., Texas. My paternal great uncle Hubert Houston who was a nephew of my great grand uncle Sam always used to claim that our Houstons were related to General Sam Houston. My problem was that Uncle Hubert only shared his basic Houston research with my branch of the family & never shared his supporting documentation of any link between us & the General. I have never found any concrete evidence of a link between our two Houston families, although I do have a suspicion they are related. I just don't know how.

My working theory for this (even though I haven't found irrefutable documented proof) is based on more than just family resemblance. Our family has always taken particular notice that General Sam & Uncle Sam look very much alike, but there is also the fact that Sam had two brothers named Luther Henderson Houston (my paternal great grandfather) & Charles Culberson Houston. I don't remember where I heard it, but somewhere over the years, I either heard or deduced I heard that Luther got his middle name Henderson from his father John Young Houston's sister Elizabeth who married Hollie Middleton Henderson. I had nothing to base on where Charley may have gotten his middle name Culberson from until I happened to be doing some research on General Sam many years ago.

General Sam Houston descends from John & Margaret Cunningham Houston of Ireland through one of their sons, Robert, who married Margaret or Mary Dunlap Davidson. John & Margaret Cunningham Houston had another son, John, who married Mary Ross (supposedly, some of the data is a little sketchy this far back).  John & Mary Ross Houston had a son named James, who is by tradition or supposition, married to Mary Hughey. James & Mary had a son named John Y. whom many are unclear on exactly who he married for certain (& no, no one ever comments on what the middle initial Y stands for, although Mary & James did have a younger son in their family named Young Gresham Houston). Most agree that he married someone named Elizabeth or Betsey (same difference, right?), but there is a disagreement on what her last name was. I have documented proof that my paternal third great grandfather John Young Houston (who I call Sr to distinguish him from the other John Young Houstons who came after & were named for him) was married to Elizabeth  "Betsey" Rodgers on 25 Nov 1809 in Morgan Co., GA where James & Mary Hughey (& John Young Houston Sr.) lived. (See My ancestor has been said to have been the son of John & Mary Young Houston. John Y. Houston, son of James & Mary Hughey Houston, is supposed to have married Elizabeth Maddox a year earlier on 25 Nov 1808 in Clarke Co., GA (however, I don't have documentation of this). Clarke is two counties northeast of Morgan County, GA & was probably where the bride lived, the premise being here that couples sometimes got married in the bride's county of residence.

James & Mary Hughey Houston also had a daughter named Mary who married Isaac Culberson. (This would make General Sam her uncle. I heard once from a cousin, Debra Nell Houston, that she had heard this claim of Uncle Hubert's also & although she did not now recall the exact relationship, she thought that General Sam was also supposed to have been an uncle many times removed of ours). If there is a connection between our family & General Sam's, is this where Charley, like Luther, got his middle name from?

Our Houstons  & General Sam's ancestry started out in SC from Ireland; they then migrated to GA & AL before settling for good in Texas. General Sam was reportedly very well known for siring children out of wedlock with many women, but although, our mutual relatives followed the same migratory patterns, I do not believe our female relatives were anywhere nearby in the same time period to have fallen victim to his "charms of persuasion", so where is the connection that would explain why our families seem to resemble each other? As far as I know, there is no documented proof of one that I have ever run across where I could say without a doubt in my mind that there actually was one.

Back to Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam was born the eighth of nine children to John Young (Jr) & Roxie Lindsey Houston on 29 Sept 1895 in Maysfield, Milam Co., TX. He farmed & lived his entire life in Milam County, Texas. He married Mary Price, daughter of a neighbor Moses Wright Price & Nannie Elizabeth Richards, on 26 Aug 1915 in Milam County, Texas. Mary taught school for a number of years in the community where they lived. They were blessed with no children of their own, but when the children of James William & Anna Pearl Turnbow Reynolds were orphaned after their parents' deaths, Sam & his older brother Will Houston, split the children into two groups with each brother taking charge, adopting, & raising the orphaned Reynolds children as their own.

The children Sam & Mary took in were Mary Faye & Edna Mae Reynolds. They also adopted & raised as their son, a boy named Douglas. I am not very clear on whether he was one of the Reynolds children or not. The information I have says he was, but I have a note that he may also have been a Woodson; in which case, I do not know who his biological parents were before Sam & Mary adopted him. Douglas died in a tragic plane crash during college while on his way home for a visit  in 1946. Mary Faye & Edna found good husbands, married & stayed close to home.

Uncle Sam died of a coronary occlusion at the age of 70 in Cameron, Milam Co., TX on 6 Apr 1966. He was laid to rest at Oak Hill Cemetery in Cameron. His wife Mary survived him by 12 years & was also laid to rest there in 1978. Below is a photo of Sam & Mary that was shared with me by my cousin Donna Fuller Delamar. I do not know the time or place, but it is obvious that they were attending someone's funeral (perhaps Douglas'?). Whatever the connection, I hope to one day be able to break down this brick wall.

Sam & Mary Price Houston

"Texas, Marriages, 1837-1973," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 Apr 2014), Sam Houston and Mary Price, 26 Aug 1915; citing Milam, Texas, , reference ; FHL microfilm 981393.
"Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 26 Apr 2014), Sam B Houston, 06 Apr 1966; citing certificate number 25955, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2117976.

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