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On the brink of a national career, Houston resigns
At the age of thirty-four, Houston was elected Governor of Tennessee.
As Jackson's protégé, he was poised for a national
career in politics, and by some accounts, for a future run for the
presidency. But a bizarre turn of events in his personal life would
derail his seemingly imminent success.
In January of 1829, Houston married nineteen-year old Eliza Allen,
the daughter of a politically powerful family in Tennessee. That
same month, he announced his bid for reelection as Governor of Tennessee.
The marriage lasted a mere eleven weeks and the reason for its failure
is still a mystery. Houston offered some explanation as to the couple's
difficulties in a letter to Eliza's
father. Two days after Houston
wrote the letter, Eliza returned to her parent's home in Gallatin.
According to the Allen family, Houston tried desperately to reconcile,
but Eliza refused to return to Nashville with him.
In public, Houston would not discuss his wife or the separation.
The sentiment of the people turned against him, and on April 16,
1829, Houston submitted his letter of resignation as the Governor
of Tennessee. He left Nashville in disgrace.
Randolph B. Campbell, Sam Houston and
the American Southwest, ed.
Oscar Handlin (New York: Harper Collins, 1993).
The Sam Houston Memorial Museum, accessed June, 2003.
The Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June, 2003.
The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, accessed June,
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