Tag Archives: houston

Trivia Question: Name 5 Tennesseans who became president

News release from Secretary of State’s office:
Here’s a quick trivia question: Can you name five Tennesseans who became president?
If you’re a good student of the state’s history, you probably won’t have any trouble naming former U.S. presidents Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson or James K. Polk. But a fourth or fifth?
It’s a trick question, because there were also Tennesseans who later became presidents of foreign countries, such as Sam Houston, who led the briefly-independent Republic of Texas, and William Walker, who was inaugurated as president of Nicaragua on this date in 1856.
Walker’s life is highlighted in one of the Tennessee State Library and Archives’ online exhibits. The exhibit can be found at http://tn.gov/tsla/exhibits/walker/index.htm.
Walker isn’t as famous as some Tennesseans chronicled at the State Library and Archives, but in his day, he was quite infamous for his efforts to colonize Central America.
Three years before he became president of Nicaragua, the Nashvillian led a group of 45 men who landed in Baja California, Mexico. Walker declared the land to be the Republic of Lower California and proclaimed himself to be the new country’s president. Mexican forces soon threw him and his troops out of the country and he was tried (but acquitted) for violating U.S. neutrality laws when he returned.
Walker then led a group of 57 soldiers into Nicaragua. After fighting a number of battles and eventually becoming president, he launched a plan to “Americanize” the country by declaring English the official language and encouraging U.S. residents to immigrate there. He was later ousted by the combined forces of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. After unsuccessfully attempting to regain the presidency of Nicaragua, he was eventually captured and turned over to the Honduran government, which executed him for piracy.
“The story of William Walker is one of thousands that can be found at the Tennessee State Library and Archives,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “Because his life is chronicled in one of our online exhibits, it is accessible to Tennesseans free of charge, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. I encourage people to visit our web site and learn more about the resources that are just a few mouse clicks away.”

A Political Report from Traditionally Democratic Houston County

Michael Cass has visited Houston County, one of just four rural counties carried by President Obama four years ago, and reports things could be different this year. Obama carried Houston by 70 votes in 2008.
And with unemployment at 9.8 percent in August, it’s possible the Democratic winning streak will end when voters choose between Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, on Nov. 6.
“Not too many people are satisfied,” said Albert Bell, 73, a retired General Motors engineer who owns a flower shop in Erin, a shamrock-happy town that makes the most of its Irish name. “They don’t like the way things are. The change Mr. Obama promised never happened.”
Even so, Bell, an Obama supporter in 2008, said he was undecided as of late September.
Residents of the predominantly white county said the unrepentant yellow-dog streak in many voters has a number of deep roots. A significant farming community and a big Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in neighboring Stewart County have made the federal government an important, often friendly presence.
“People don’t have a fear of government,” said Charles Uffelman, a University of Memphis freshman from Erin who was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention last month. “The county wouldn’t survive if not for a lot of the government programs we have.”