Gen. Sam Houston’s “rock” a year older

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum will be hosting the 196th Margaret Lea Houston birthday celebration in conjunction with Founder’s Day, Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Margaret Moffette Lea Houston, the wife of General Sam Houston, was born April 11, 1819 and died Dec. 3, 1867, at the age of 48.

Marketing Coordinator Megan Buro stated that because of Margaret’s ability to serve as a foundation for the General throughout their lives, they sought to celebrate her life equally with her husband’s.

“She was Sam’s rock and she helped tame him,” Buro said. “You know his reputation wasn’t the greatest so she definitely helped.”

Margaret Lea’s birthday event began around the year 1960. The director at the time felt Margaret should be celebrated alongside her husband for her contributions.

“We decided that we needed to celebrate Margaret too,” Buro said. “She was important to Texas and our history.”

It was a huge event for years but then it died down a bit in the 1980s. The museum director brought the celebration back in 2012. However, last year, due to different circumstances, the event was not held.

Following tradition, attendees are asked to bake a cake for the event. As of now, there are 20 cakes lined up for the enjoyment of the community on Saturday.

Nineteenth century period dress is encouraged as well to help convey that time period as much as possible. The museum has available clothing such as dresses for women wishing to partake in the event through appropriate attire which they are offered the chance to borrow.

Once the main celebration has concluded, there will be a program where Una Grace Nash, a Huntsville local who has portrayed Margaret Lea in the play “Gone to Texas” in previous years, will make an appearance.

The event will be held outside of the Woodland home which is the Houston’s actual home on the grounds of the museum. The museum will be open for those present to explore the grounds and learn a little more about the Houstons and their lives.

There will be children activities appropriate for the time period which include games such as hoops and ball in cup which are just a few of what the Sam Houston State University education department has planned.

Demonstrators will also be present and teach the methods of spinning and weaving, blacksmithing and kick wheel pottery to give the community a proper sense of the customs in the 19th century.

“I would invite the students at Sam to come,” Buro said. “You know the grounds are beautiful right now with everything in bloom and to get a chance to look at the homes and the actual museum.”

According to Buro, it is important for students to understand the namesake behind what will become their alma mater.

“It’s important for us as students and alumni to remember why SHSU was named what it was,” Buro said. “As well as the important role that Margaret had on Sam’s life.”


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