Samuel "Sam" Houston (March 2, 1793 - July 26, 1863) was a U.S. politician from Tennessee. A veteran of the War of 1812, Houston went on to become a key figure in first the independence of the Mexican state of Texas, then in its decade as a republic, and finally in its annexation to by the United States in 1845. He served as a Senator from Tennessee and later from Texas, as well as President of Texas during its period as a republic. In 1861, Houston, now governor of Texas, sought to prevent his state from seceding from the U.S., but failed. He retired, and died in 1863, while Texas was part of the Confederate States during the American Civil War.
In 1917, during the closing days of the Great War, the United States evoked the memories of Sam Houston when it created the new state of Houston out of territory it had captured from western Texas. The U.S. reminded the Confederate States that Sam Houston had opposed his state's secession, and proclaimed the citizens of the new state were rectifying their "grandfathers' mistake."
The naming of this new state was problematic, however, as there was already a large city in southeastern Texas with the exact same name. During the Second Great War, Jefferson Pinkard once remarked on how damnably confusing that was.
Despite his best efforts, Governor Sam Houston was unable to prevent Texas from voting to secede from the Union in February 1861. His power continued to shrink throughout February and into March, a fact that Lt. Colonel Robert E. Lee was painfully aware of as he held off a siege of pro-Confederate forces commanded by Ben McCulloch at the Alamo.