Friday, 22 April 2011
Lambeg Drum - A selection of Painted Shells 9
The Ulster Scots (Scots Irish)of America, pride themselves of their rich cultural heritage and ancestory. Many great, great men, left these shores in search of a better life, but also to eacape persecution that was rife in the 17th and 18th Century's.
One famous figure was Sam Houston - he is quite unique in the lambeg drumming tradition as he has been painted on the shell of a drum, which is if I am correct in Texas. Below is a brief word on Sam Huston.
Sam Houston was the son of Major Samuel Houston and Elizabeth Paxton. Houston's ancestry is often traced to his great-great grandfather Sir John Houston, who built a family estate in Scotland in the late 17th century. His second son John Houston emigrated to Ulster, Ireland, during the English plantation period. Under the system of primogeniture, he did not inherit the estate. After several years in Ireland, John Houston emigrated in 1735 with his family to the North American colonies, where they first settled in Pennsylvania. As it filled with Lutheran German immigrants, Houston decided to move his family with other Scots-Irish who were migrating to lands in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
An historic plaque in Townland tells the story of the Houston family. It is located in Ballyboley Forest Park near the site of the original John Houston estate. It is dedicated to "One whose roots lay in these hills whose ancestor John Houston emigrated from this area.
The Shenandoah Valley had many farms of Scots-Irish migrants. Newcomers included the Lyle family of the Raloo area, who helped found Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church. The Houston family settled nearby. Gradually John developed his land and purchased slaves. Their son Robert inherited his father's land. His youngest of five sons was Samuel Houston.
In 1812 Houston reported to a training camp in Knoxville, Tennessee, enlisted in the 39th Infantry Regiment to fight the British in the War of 1812. By December of that year, he had risen from private to third lieutenant. At the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in March 1814, he was wounded in the groin by a Creek arrow. His wound was bandaged, and he rejoined the fight. When Andrew Jackson called on volunteers to dislodge a group of Red Sticks from their breastwork (fortification), Houston volunteered, but during the assault he was struck by bullets in the shoulder and arm. He returned to Maryville as a disabled veteran, but later took the army's offer of free surgery and convalesced in a New Orleans, Louisiana hospital.
Houston became close to Jackson, who was impressed with him and acted as a mentor. In 1817 Jackson appointed him sub-agent in managing the business relating to Jackson's removal of the Cherokees from East Tennessee to a reservation in what is now Arkansas. He had differences with John C. Calhoun, then Secretary of War, who chided him for appearing dressed as a Cherokee at a meeting. More significantly, an inquiry was begun into charges related to Houston's administration of supplies for the Indians. Offended, he resigned in 1818.
He negotiated a peace settlement with the Cherokee of East Texas in February 1836 to allay their fears about independence. At the convention to declare Texan Independence in March 1836, he was made Commander-in-Chief.
On March 2, 1836, his 43rd birthday, Houston signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. He soon joined his volunteer army at Gonzales, but retreated before the superior forces of Mexican General (and dictator) Antonio López de Santa Anna. Mexican soldiers killed all those at The Alamo Mission at the end of the Battle of the Alamo on March 6 1836. At Goliad, Santa Anna ordered the execution of approximately 400 volunteer Texas militia led by James Fannin, who had surrendered his forces.
Houston continued his retreat eastward towards the Gulf coast, drawing criticism for his perceived lack of willingness to fight. Finally, Santa Anna caught up with Houston's army, but had split his own army into three separate forces in an attempt to encircle the Texans. At the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, Houston surprised Santa Anna and the Mexican forces during their afternoon "siesta." The Texans won a decisive victory in under 18 minutes, suffering few casualties, although Houston's ankle was shattered by a stray bullet. Badly beaten, Santa Anna was forced to sign the Treaty of Velasco, granting Texas its independence. Although Houston stayed on briefly for negotiations, he returned to the United States for treatment of his ankle wound.
Houston was twice elected president of the Republic of Texas (the first time on September 5, 1836). He served from October 22, 1836, to December 10, 1838, and again from December 12, 1841, to December 9, 1844. On December 20, 1837, Houston presided over the convention of Freemasons that formed the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas, now the Grand Lodge of Texas.
While he initially sought annexation by the U.S., Houston dropped that goal during his first term. In his second term, he strove for fiscal prudence and worked to make peace with the Native Americans. He also struggled to avoid war with Mexico, whose forces invaded twice during 1842. In response to the Regulator-Moderator War of 1844, he sent in Republic militia to put down the warfare.
In 1854, Houston, having made a profession of Christian faith, was baptized by Rev. Rufus C. Burleson. At the time Burleson was the pastor of the Independence Baptist Church in Washington County, which Houston and his wife attended. Then the wealthiest community in Texas, Independence had won the bid for Baylor College, where Burleson served as second president. Houston was also close friend of Rev. George Washington Baines, who preceded Burleson at the church. Baines was the maternal great-grandfather of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
In 1862, Houston returned to Huntsville, Texas, and rented the Steamboat House; the hills in Huntsville reminded him of his boyhood home in Tennessee. Houston was active in the Masonic Lodge, transferring his membership to Forrest Lodge #19. His health deteriorated in 1863 due to a persistent cough. In mid-July, Houston developed pneumonia. He died on July 26, 1863 at Steamboat House, with his wife Margaret by his side. His last recorded words were, "Texas! Texas! Margaret..."
The inscription on his tomb reads:
A Brave Soldier - A Fearless Statesman.
A Great Orator – A Pure Patriot.
A Faithful Friend, A Loyal Citizen.
A Devoted Husband and Father.
A Consistent Christian– An Honest Man.
Sam Houston was buried in Huntsville, Texas, where he lived in retirement;