Sam Houston (March 2, 1793 - July 26, 1863) was a 19th century American statesman, politician and soldier. The Virginia-born Houston was a key figure in the history of Texas, including periods as President of the Republic of Texas, Senator for Texas after it joined the Union, and finally as governor. Although a slave owner and opponent of abolitionism, his unionist convictions meant he refused to swear loyalty to the Confederacy when Texas seceded from the Union, bringing his governorship to an end. To avoid bloodshed, he refused an offer of an army to put down the rebellion, and instead retired to Huntsville, Texas, where he died before the end of the war.
His earlier life included emigration to Tennessee, time spent with the Cherokee Nation (into which he was adopted and later married into), military service in the War of 1812, and subsequent successful involvement in Tennessee politics. Indeed, as of 2006, Houston has been the only person in U.S. history to have been the governor of two different states, Tennessee and Texas. A fight with a Congressman, followed by a high profile trial, led to his emigration to Mexican Texas, where he soon became a leader of the Texas Revolution. He supported annexation by the United States rather than an seeking long term independence and expansion for Texas. The city of Houston was named after him during this period. Houston's reputation survived his death: posthumous commemmoration has included a memorial museum, historical park, a university named for him, and the largest statue of an American hero.