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Application Essays for 1998 Governor's School Program
Ben Andrew Quillen
William Blount High School
Maryville, Tennessee

5.) Blount County Heritage Essay:

The Story of Sam Houston

When the name of Sam Houston is heard, most people associate it with the history of Texas. However, Maryville and Tennessee played a significant part in Sam Houston's early life. He moved to Maryville when he was thirteen years old where his family settled on a farm about five miles from town. He accepted a job as an assistant store clerk in Maryville. But Little Sam did not like being "cooped up" in one place, so he ran off. He went to Hiwassee Island where he lived for three years with the Cherokee Indians. On his return home, Sam, who had a $100 debt to the local general store, decided to earn a wage as a teacher. He built a school house and started teaching. He had six students to start out with but so many came that he had to turn them away. The school house still remains today on the east side of Maryville.

The time Sam Houston lived in Tennessee was a significant and important part of his life. He learned many skills from the Cherokees which helped him survive and fight in battles against the Creeks and the British in the War of 1812. He was their fast-running messenger. They gave him the nickname "Raven" because it was a swift, honored bird. Sam Houston served Tennessee as an Attorney General and fought along side "Old Hickory", Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States. As a Tennessean, Houston was promoted to Colonel of the Tennessee Militia and was elected to the offices of U.S. Congress and Governor. He moved to Texas in 1832 and helped secure its independence from Mexico. The city of Houston is named in his honor. His school house in Maryville remains his oldest monument.