Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Eliza Allen & Sam Houston

One theme in "Magnificent Destiny," by Paul I. Wellman, was the relationship between President Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston. "Often the white-haired General turned his thoughts to him (Houston), knowing his great concerns and disappointments."

One of Sam Houston's greatest disappointments was his separation and divorce from his wife, Eliza Allen, after their brief marriage. The book created an unflattering portrait of Eliza's character, although it was said that "...she had the looks...[and] her training...had looked toward making her one of the great belles of the state." She was "...beautiful in a fragile way...," and described as shallow and indolent, bored by books and lacking perseverance.. . "Yet, though she used men as mirrors for her attractions, she was not interested in men and never seriously thought of them in any closer relation to herself. She had, in fact, only one deep interest: Eliza Allen."

As for Eliza's family, "Colonel John Allen had fought in the British war, took part in politics, owned a fine plantation and a famous thoroughbred breeding stable, and was sought after for his counsels." Eliza's brother, B. F. Allen, married Mary Louisa Trousdale, Governor Trousdale's daughter, and a relative of my ancestor, Mary "Polly" Trousdale.

Perhaps it shouldn't have come as a surprise that there was so much detail about Mrs. Eliza Allen Houston in Magnificent Destiny since the trouble between them triggered Houston's resignation as Governor of Tennessee and steered him toward a path that ultimately led to Texas.

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