by Ernesto Rodriguez, Associate Curator at the Alamo
Among the interesting documents in the Alamo Collection is a letter written on June 20, 1848 by U.S. Senator Sam Houston. In it the former president of the Republic of Texas accepted an invitation to a 4th of July celebration in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
One newspaper account of the celebration recorded the toast with which Houston was introduced before he spoke to the audience:
Our distinguished guest, Gen. Sam Houston. As a statesman, the productions of his pen whilst President of Texas — to say nothing of his masterly speeches since delivered in the Senate of the United States — attest his great ability. As a soldier, the battlefield of San Jacinto, by which he obtained the freedom of his country and established a Republic, will ever place him high in the temple of fame and rank him as one of the ablest and most successful captains of his age. The Democracy of Old Mother Cumberland delights to do him honor and bid him a hearty welcome to the home of his ancestors’ (American Volunteer, July 6, 1848).
For Texans like Houston, the 4th of July was not only Independence Day, it was also the day in 1845 on which delegates meeting in Austin had agreed to allow their fellow citizens to decide the republic’s future existence with a vote. In October of that year, Texans agreed to annexation, paving the way for Texas’ admission into the Union as the 28th state.
Source: Phil Collins Texana Collection at the Alamo.