Sam Houston statue could be unveiled in 2015 on day he was born, March 2
By Iva Butler | (email@example.com)
Over $100,000 has been raised to erect a statue of Sam Houston in Maryville, an architect has been hired and the location has been moved from downtown to the grassy front lawn of Maryville Municipal Center.
Maryville City Manager Greg McClain said the Knox architectural firm of Blankenship and Partners has been secured to work on what the artistic image of Sam Houston ought to show.
The committee working on the project is composed of Honorary Fundraising Chairman Times Editor Dean Stone, who is a former member of the Sam Houston Schoolhouse Board, Joe Emert, Ed Harmon, both graduates of Sam Houston Elementary School, and Maryville Councilman and history buff Joe Swann.
The city is handling the money as a nonprofit group.
Emert said the plan has grown from the original concept of a life-size bronze of Houston downtown near where Houston enlisted in the Army to the municipal center.
The plan is for “a circular, 60-foot plaza with a statue of Sam Houston standing in the middle of it showing him joining the Army and telling the story of Sam Houston as a youth, the importance of education in his life and his time spent with the Indians.”
Houston actually lived several years with the Cherokee band of Chief Oolooteka, who gave him his Indian name — Colonneh or “the Raven.”
Emert said the history of Sam Houston as an adult has already been told numerous times by many people and this will highlight his younger years.
Houston was born March 2, 1793, in Rockbridge County, Va., to parents of Scots/Irish descent. His father died and his mother moved the family to Blount County in 1807.
They established a farm on a tributary of Baker’s Creek in South Blount County.
His older brother tried to make him work on the farm and in the family store in Maryville and Houston reportedly chose to run away from home in 1809 to live among the Cherokee.
Emert said, “The community support for this has been great. This could be a destination point. A lot of Texans come to Sam Houston Schoolhouse already.”
Coming into Maryville people will see Maryville Municipal Center, the Sam Houston statue in the front, Anderson Hall on the Maryville College campus and Three Sisters part of the Chilhowee Mountains in the background, Emert said.
The statue may be larger than life-size, he added. There is some controversy of whether Houston, who everyone characterizes as a big man, was between 6 feet, 2 inches and 6 feet, 6 inches, tall.
McClain said hopes are the $100,000 will pay for the bronze. “Money will still need to be raised for the plaza it will sit on,” he said.
”Once everything is finalized it will take 18 months to construct the statue itself,” Emert said.
The sculptor has not yet been selected.
Emert said March was an important time in the life of Houston and that might be the best time to unveil the statue.
On March 24, 1813, Houston joined the Army when he took a dollar from the recruiter’s drum held at Maryville’s town well.
During the Texas Revolution on March 6, 1836, over 200 Texas supporters were killed at The Alamo by the Mexican forces of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, including Jim Bowie and David Crockett.
Then on March 27, 1837, a total of 303 prisoners who had been fighting for Texas independence were slaughtered at Goliad.
In retaliation Houston led the Texas Army against the Mexicans at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, in which Santa Anna was defeated and Texas claimed its independence. Reportedly 630 members of the Mexican Army were killed and 730 captured, while only nine Texans died.
“Sam Houston is one of the most important individuals in our national history,” Stone said. “Most remember that he is the only person ever to serve as governor of two U.S. states, was president of the Republic of Texas, general of an army and served in both the U.S. House and Senate.”
“He left home in Blount County, beginning his illustrious national career, when he took a dollar from the recruiter’s drum head at Maryville’s town well.
“Perhaps more significant to Blount County is Houston’s recollection to an old friend in his later years that while as a boy teaching school in the one-room log cabin in Blount County, ‘I experienced a higher feeling of dignity and self satisfaction that from any honor while I have received.’”
He was 19 when he set up the school.
His mother, a brother and sister are buried here.
Houston died July 26, 1863, in Huntsville, Texas. According to the Texas State Historical Association website “dressed in Masonic ceremonial trappings, he was buried in Oakwood Cemetery at Huntsville.”
Tax deductible donations can be made out to and mailed to City of Maryville, 400 W. Broadway Ave., Maryville, TN 37801. Put on bottom of check attention Sam Houston Statue.
Donations can be made in person at Maryville Municipal Center utility customer service desk. Someone from the finance department will then come out and help people make the donation.