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Special Collections Online at UT

Samuel Houston Letter to Andrew J. Donelson

Identifier: MS-1007

  • Staff Only

This collection features one letter from Samuel Houston to Andrew J. Donelson dated November 3, 1823. Houston writes from Gains, Sullivan County, Tennessee.


  • 1823 November 3



Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.


0.1 Linear Feet (1 folder)


This collection features one letter from Samuel Houston to Andrew J. Donelson dated November 3, 1823.

Biographical/Historical Note

Sam Houston was born to Samuel and Elizabeth (Paxton) Houston on March 2, 1793 near Lexington, Virginia. Shortly after his father died in 1806, Houston moved to Maryville, Tennessee with his mother and eight siblings. Houston frequently ran away to live with the Cherokees, and was adopted by Chief Jolly in about 1806. Just a year after joining the Army in 1813, Houston became a war hero fighting against the Creeks at Horseshoe Bend. His heroics caught General Andrew Jackson's eye, and he appointed Houston to his headquarters. There, Houston became involved in politics. He served in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1823 to 1826 and won the governorship of Tennessee in 1827.

Shortly after his new wife Eliza Allen left him in 1829, Houston resigned the governorship and left Tennessee to live among the Cherokees in what is now part of Oklahoma. He subsequently settled in Texas and served as a Major General in the fight for independence from Mexico. He also married again, this time to Margaret Lea in 1840. Houston was heavily involved in the new Republic of Texas's politics, serving as President from 1836 to 1838 and again from 1841 to 1844 as well as in the Texas Congress from 1838 to 1840. When Texas became a state, he was elected as a Senator and served from 1845 to 1858, where he was a staunch Unionist despite the secessionist sentiments of his fellow Texans. He was elected Governor of Texas in 1859, but was deposed on March 18, 1861 because he would not sign an oath of allegiance to the Confederate States of America. Houston died in Huntsville, Texas on July 26, 1863 and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

Major Andrew Jackson Donelson was the adopted nephew and private secretary of President Andrew Jackson. He was the son of Samuel and Mary Donelson. Donelson attended Cumberland College in Nashville, TN before moving on to West Point. After graduating West Point, he eventually became a Major General in the United States Army. His wife, Emily, served as the White House Hostess and the unofficial First Lady. In 1844, President Tyler appointed Donelson chargé d'affaires of the United States to the Republic of Texas. In 1856, Donelson was nominated as a running mate of Millard Filmore on the American Party ticket; however, their bid for the White House ended with only 8 electoral votes. He died in June 1871.


This collection is in one folder.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA