HOUSTON, ANDREW JACKSON (1854-1941). Andrew Jackson Houston, politician, son of Sam and Margaret (Lea) Houston, was born at Independence, Texas, on June 21, 1854. In 1874, after attending various military academies and colleges including Baylor, he mustered the Travis Rifles to protect the new post-Reconstruction Democratic legislature. He was admitted to the bar at Tyler in 1876 and was United States district court clerk from 1879 to 1889. In 1892 he accepted the "Lily-white" Republican nomination for governor, though the party was split and had no chance of winning. In 1898 Houston gathered a troop of Rough Riders for Theodore Roosevelt, and in 1902 he accepted President Roosevelt's appointment as United States marshall in East Texas, a post in which he served until 1910. In 1910 and 1912 Houston again accepted futile nominations for the governorship, this time on the prohibition slate. He then returned to his legal practice in Beaumont. He was awarded several honors in the 1930s, including the post of honorary superintendent of San Jacinto State Park (now San Jacinto Battleground State Park). In 1938 he published Texas Independence, a book about his father's role in the Texas Revolution.
After the death of United States senator Morris Sheppard on April 9, 1941, Governor W. Lee O'Daniel wanted to replace Sheppard as senator himself, but was required to appoint an interim senator to serve until election time. He had to find someone of some prominence who would like to be senator but would not run against him in the special election. O'Daniel selected Houston, who was two months short of his eighty-eighth birthday and disabled by illness. At that time Houston was the oldest person ever to serve in the United States Senate. There was some doubt that he would even enter the Senate chamber, since his daughters did not want him to risk the long trip. He did, however, travel to Washington a few weeks after his appointment. There he died after attending one committee meeting. On June 26, 1941, Houston's body was returned to Texas and buried at the State Cemetery in Austin. He had been married twice-to Carrie G. Purnell, who died in 1884, and to Elizabeth Hart Good, who died in 1907. Two daughters survived him.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Paul D. Casdorph, A History of the Republican Party in Texas, 1865-1965 (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1965). Frank Goodwyn, Lone Star Land (New York: Knopf, 1955). George N. Green, The Establishment in Texas Politics (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 1979). Seth Shepard McKay, W. Lee O'Daniel and Texas Politics, 1938-1942 (Lubbock: Texas Tech Press, 1944). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).
George N. Green
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "HOUSTON, ANDREW JACKSON," http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/HH/fho69.html (accessed September 1, 2005).