Museum honors Sam Houston on 160th anniversary of his death

Museum honors Sam Houston on 160th anniversary of his death
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 3:32 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 26, 2023 at 9:45 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KTRE) - The Steamboat House, the final home of Sam Houston, is usually closed to the public, but today, on the 160th anniversary of his death, ceremonies honoring Houston were held, and the house was opened up.

Ceremonies began at the Sam Houston Museum where the Huntsville Masonic Lodge gave a tribute prayer to Houston, who was a Mason himself.

Then, the Alabama Coushatta tribe gave a tribute chant to Houston in front of the Steamboat House. He was a longtime friend of the tribe and they still recognize that friendship today.

After the ceremonies, the house was opened to the public.

As Sam Houston Museum Director Derrick Birdsall explained, keeping the house closed is necessary to preserve the artifacts inside.

“Our goal is to have your baby come when she or he is older as a adult and see the same thing you got to see today.”

The artifacts range from a replica of Houston’s coffin, paper, furniture, and a crutch from Houston’s time. Houston had been walking with a cane or crutch since he was 21 because he had an arrow wound to the thigh that happened in 1814. Then, at San Jacinto, a musket ball shattered the front part of Houston’s bone just above his ankle, according to the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

Birdsall explained why remembering the man’s legacy remains important today.

“As a senator he was extremely outspoken. He always stuck to his political viewpoints. He wasn’t one of those politicians that just went with the wind and changed views often. You fast forward to 2023 and what good does it do to study someone who has been dead 160 years? You can’t look at Texas today without thinking about Sam Houston’s impact. At a bare minimum, there wouldn’t be a university right across the street, there wouldn’t be a town named after him, and you and I wouldn’t be sitting here having this discussion. I think at a bare minimum, Texas would be quite different than it is today without him.”

Sam Houston is buried in Huntsville. His statue there overlooks I-45. giving him a Texas-sized legacy in the Lone Star State.