Samuel Houston, known as Sam Houston (March 2, 1793 – July 26, 1863), was a 19th-century American statesman, politician, and soldier. He was born in Timber Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, of Scots-Irish descent. Houston became a key figure in the history of Texas, and was elected as the first and third President of the Republic of Texas, US Senator for Texas after it joined the United States, and finally as governor of the state. Although a slaveholder and opponent of abolitionism, he had unionist convictions. He refused to swear loyalty to the Confederacy when Texas seceded from the Union, and resigned as governor. To avoid bloodshed, he refused an offer of a Union army to put down the Confederate rebellion. Instead, he retired to Huntsville, Texas, where he died before the end of the Civil War.
His earlier life included migration to Tennessee from Virginia, time spent with the Cherokee Nation (into which he later was adopted as a citizen and took a wife), military service in the War of 1812, and successful participation in Tennessee politics. Houston is the only person in U.S. history to have been the governor of two different states (although other men had served as governors of more than one American territory).
A fight with a US Congressman, followed by a high-profile trial, led to his emigration in 1832 to Mexican Texas. There he soon became a leader of the Texas Revolution. He supported annexation by the United States. The city of Houston was named after him during this period. Houston's reputation was honored after his death: posthumous commemoration has included a memorial museum, a U.S. Army base, a national forest, a historical park, a university, and the largest free-standing statue of an American.