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Houston's first appointment proves difficult.
Houston's transition into politics was not without its hardships.
Aware of Houston's relationship with the Cherokees, Andrew
Jackson appointed him the Indian Subagent in 1817. In 1818, when the U.S.
began enforcing a controversial treaty under which Indians ceded
lands in Tennessee in exchange for new territory west of the Mississippi
River, Houston was asked to oversee his foster family's removal from
Tennessee. Houston carried out his heart-wrenching assignment, but
he made sure that all items that were promised in the treaty, such
as blankets, rifles, and rations, were supplied to the Indians.
In 1818, Houston faced another difficult situation when he was asked
to accompany a delegation of Cherokees to Washington to meet President
Monroe. Houston wore traditional Cherokee garb to the White House,
which outraged John C. Calhoun, the Secretary of War. Calhoun not
only gave Houston a serious reprimand, but also shortly thereafter
accused Houston of being involved in slave trading. Houston quickly
proved his innocence, but he soon resigned from his position as Indian
Subagent. This series of events forever strained the relationship
between Houston and Calhoun.
Randolph B. Campbell, Sam Houston and
the American Southwest, ed.
Oscar Handlin (New York: Harper Collins, 1993).
James L. Haley, Sam Houston (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,
The Sam Houston Memorial Museum, accessed June, 2003.
The Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June, 2003.
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