Josh HoustonJOSH HOUSTON - one of Houston County's most colorful and historic citizen, was born in Africa and sold into slavery, a destiny that brought him to America and finally to Texas.  In the year 1840, General Sam Houston of San Jacinto fame came into the possession of Josh, whereupon he became the great General's trusted black body servant, who traveled with him on diplomatic missions of The Texas Republic, and to Washington, after Texas had been admitted to the Union.  The historic shrines of Texas as were the distinguished citizens of the state were well known to Josh and they to him, for he was often the bearer of important documents, which were to play an important roll in the future greatness of both Texas and our nation.  At one time, Josh had belonged to Mrs. Houston's father, Colonel Lea, of Alabama.  Josh also had the distinction of working under General Ulysses S. Grant.

A highly esteemed servant, Josh was often seen walking about Huntsville with a handsome cane, which Gen. Houston gave to the beloved servant who, all along, had served him so well and faithfully.  Josh's bearing was that of an aristocrat, and he had received his education under the tutorage of Gen. Sam Houston.  In time, Josh would leave a heritage of education and Christian living, through which his motto would progress and mature: "Leave a trail and someone will follow."

In the year 1863, the year in which General Sam Houston died, some few years after he had been elected governor of Texas and deposed for adherence to the Union, President Lincoln decared the freedom of all slaves within certain designated territory which was in rebellion.  Josh and his family were freed and around 1864, he and his family left Huntsville, moving then to Houston County.  He had saved $3,000 in gold, $2,000 of which he offered to Mrs. Sam Houston.  Refusing, she insisted that Josh keep his savings and invest it in the education of his children.

Josh had married a woman of Irish and Indian descent in 1856.  Her name was Annieliza.  Their children were: Joe, Lucy, Andrew, George and Julie.  While Josh used some of his savings to buy a 200 acre farm, he invested other of his savings in the education of his children.  A log cabin, which served as both school and church, and which had been donated by Mr. Hall, the owner of Hall's Bluff --- a small town in 1865 --- ws where the children attended school. The school/church was known as St. Daniel's Baptist Church.  Miss Melinda, a well-educated New England lady, was the schoolmistress.

Julie Houston often spoke of how she and others of the family would go down to the Trinity River and watch the steamboats load and unload their cargo, the river being located something less than a mile from the Josh Houston homeplace.  Steamboat transporting of cotton made Hall's Bluff an important trading point.  Josh's choice of 200 acres of fine farmland in the Hall's Bluff area had been appropriate.

NOTE:  Click on the picture to view a large photograph

"HOUSTON COUNTY HISTORY: - narrative written by Mrs. Georgia Mae Wagner Jolley