Sam Houston was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia in 1793. He was the 5th of nine children. He was just 13 years old when his father, Major Samuel Houston, died.

Sam was 14 when his mother, Elizabeth Houston, moved their family to a farm on Baker's Creek in Maryville, Tennessee. Sam didn't like farm work or working as a clerk in the family's general store in Maryville. So, at 16, he moved in with the Chief of the Cherokee and became "Colonneh" (pronouned Ka-lanu'), the Raven.

He returned to Maryville in 1812 to pay off his bill at the family's store. He didn't find employment to his liking anywhere in Blount County. So, at the age of 19, he decided to teach school. This was the best joke Maryville had enjoyed in sometime, as people made remarks about his "degree" from the "Indian University". Sam had only spent 6 months in formal schooling, but, like his contemporary, Abe Lincoln, he taught himself, including reading Latin & Greek. He memorized much of the 24 books of the Iliad. You could say he was a self-motivated, classical scholar!

After planting time in May, 1812, he opened his school with only 8 students. By the end of June he had 35, turning many away for lack of space, even though he charged much more than any other school in the region - $8.00 per student!

School continued until the corn harvest in November, closing only for a week or so in July for the wheat harvest. Houston's school was a success. He had saved enough money to pay his debts, with some left over to continue his own studies.

Houston joined the army in 1813 and after numerous displays of heroism went on to become attorney general of Tennessee, governor of both Tennessee & Texas, congressman, senator, Indian agent, army commander-in-chief, and president of the Republic of Texas - a record of public service unequaled by any other American!

Throughout his life, Sam Houston NEVER stopped learning. Even today, his life has much to teach us if we will but listen and learn:

Heroes are fading because patriots are few,

Houston was both. How about you?

Wisdom is fading because scholars are few,

Houston's life bids us study, to find what is true.

Houston's courage & honor are needy virtues

for this generation - be one of the few!


The one-room log schoolhouse, built in 1794, is named for Sam Houston, who was the schoolmaster there in 1812. The schoolhouse was constructed on Revolutionary War veteran Andrew Kennedy's land by Kennedy, Henry McCulloch, the school's first teacher, and neighbors. It was located on a slight rise, just above a free-flowing spring, and shaded by an oak tree. After the oak tree fell in a storm, the stump was carved in the likeness of Sam Houston.

The schoolhouse is built of hand-hewn poplar logs, typical of "field" schools of the 1700's. Window apertures (like horizontal shutters) are cleverly converted into desks. The 7-foot ceiling hovers over hewn log seats.

In the one hundred fifty-one years before its purchase by the state in 1945, the schoolhouse had a varied life. It served as school, church, and tenant house. The structure is now a Tennessee Historic Site and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The care of the schoolhouse is entrusted to an eighteen-member board of directors, The Sam Houston Memorial Association.

Come and visit us at the schoolhouse and learn the inspiring story of this man of honor and his one-room school.

Click on these links for more specific information on:

tours history hours & directions events reenactors
books teacher resources related links membership slide show