Alexander: ‘Sam Houston is my hero’

A statue of Sam Houston was dedicated over the weekend at Maryville, where the former governor of Tennessee and Texas spent some time during his boyhood. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, also a former Tennessee governor who claims Maryville as his hometown, was on hand and made a speech.

From the News Sentinel account:

“As a boy, I was fascinated with this man,” Alexander said. “Whether he had grown up in Maryville or not, Sam Houston is my hero.”

Alexander, who said his son and grandson are named after Houston, also showed off Houston’s former walking stick.

Born in Virginia, Houston moved in the early 1800s with his widowed mother and siblings to a family farm his father had purchased in the Bear’s Creek and Morganton communities near Maryville.

He lived there for a while, as well as with the Cherokees at Hiwassee Island between Knoxville and Chattanooga. About 1812 at the age of 19, Houston taught school in Blount County before embarking on a career that saw him become a military hero as well as governor of Tennessee and later Texas. As Texas governor, he opposed secession from the Union at the time of the Civil War.

Houston’s great-great-granddaughter, Madge Thornall Roberts, said while Houston’s time in the Maryville area was short, it made a major impact on his life due to the positive influence of his mother there and his association with the Cherokees.

…The statue was constructed by sculptor Wayne Hyde of Pennsylvania in collaboration with noted Gallatin, Tenn., historical painter David Wright… The sculpture shows Houston wearing a hunting shirt and carrying a pouch and powder horn, as well as a pipe, tomahawk and beaded sachet to show the Cherokee influence. A rifle belonging to Davy Crockett was used as the model for Houston’s gun, Wright said.