The Personal Correspondence of Sam Houston: 1839-1845

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University of North Texas Press, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 448 pages
In the April, 1971, issue of Southwestern Historical Quarterly , historian Llerena Friend wrote that there was a "need for a new editing of Houston correspondence" to complement the eight-volume collection compiled in the 1930s by Eugene C. Barker and Amelia Williams.

When author Madge Roberts began research for her previous book, Star of Destiny: The Private Life of Sam and Margaret Houston, she began to collect just such a file of previously unpublished Houston correspondence, which soon consisted of nearly a thousand letters. Because most of these letters were until recently in the hands of Houston descendants, most of them are "personal" rather than "political." Although a few have been excerpted in various books and historical articles, none have been published in their entirety.

In comparing these letters to those published in the Barker and Williams volumes, Roberts found that "the personal letters often take the historian one step further," as Houston felt more free to discuss his analyses of people and events than he did in his official correspondence.

Houston was an extraordinary writer, in terms of both quantity and quality. His letters to friends and family overflow with lively details about manners, dress, medical practices, farming, transportation, family dynamics, and many other topics of interest to social historians.

In her footnotes, Roberts reveals the full names of the people mentioned and the historical events taking place at the time, thus placing the letters into the broader context of Houston's life and times.

Volume I, 1839-1845, covers the years of the Texas Republic.


July 17 1839October 41840
November 10 1840February 31841
March 22 1841November 101841
November 301841Fe6ruary 71842
May 51842July 51842
July 301843September 201844
January 241845November 101845

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Page 2 - I am in the midst of my childhood's friends, and greeted on every hand with gentle words and soft endearing epithets and I am happy; Quite happy?
Page 3 - My heart ... is like a caged bird whose weary pinions have been fold[ed] for weeks and months— at length it wakes from its stupor, spreads its wings and longs to escape. . . . Last night I gazed long upon our beauteous emblem, the Star of Destiny, and my thoughts took the form of verse, but I will not inscribe them here, for then you might call me a romantic, star-struck young lady.