“Sam Houston” – An Essay by Asher Wells

In competition between 3rd-5th graders across Texas, Asher Wells, Linden Kildare ISD, son of Kerry and Erin Wells, placed second for his essay on “Sam Houston”.

Asher Wells receiving his second place certificate from Dr. Patricia Richey, Chair of the Social Sciences Department and Sponsor of the Webb Society Chapter Jacksonville College in Jacksonville, Texas

“Sam Houston”

He went from runaway teen to war hero. There were so many interesting events in the life of Sam Houston including having the Capital of the Republic of Texas located in the city named after him before being moved to Austin. He was likely the only politician to join an Indian tribe, direct destruction of the Alamo and “caned” a Congressman.

Houston was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia March 2, 1793. When his father died his mother took the family to live on a farm. Houston decided life with the Cherokee Indians sounded better. He was adopted by Chief Oo-Loo-Te-Ka who named him “The Raven.”

Sam Houston, painting c. 1856.

Houston joined the Army at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in the War of 1812 where he was badly injured twice. His bravery caught the eye of General Andrew Jackson. From there he was nominated by Andrew Jackson’s Democratic Party for the U.S. House of Representatives. He won the election with one hundred percent of the votes. Later he was elected Governor of Tennessee even though he injured a General in a duel.

Legend says Houston was six foot six and he didn’t let anyone mess with him, so when he got word that a Congressman had accused him of fraud in the newspaper, he called him up. They decided to meet on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington D.C. where he beat the man with a hickory cane. From there he was off to Texas.

He became a Major General in the Texas Army and even ordered James Bowie to blow up the Alamo once. That didn’t happen but Texas declared its independence from Mexico and he now led the army of the Republic of Texas to the Battle of San Jacinto. Even though he was outnumbered he defeated the Mexican army in twenty minutes.  In rallying his men to battle, he is quoted as saying “You will remember this battle! Each minute! Each second! Until the day that you die! But that is for tomorrow, gentlemen. For today, Remember the Alamo!”

Surrender of Santa Anna by William Henry Huddle

After gaining freedom from Mexico, Sam Houston was elected President of the Republic of Texas and found time to marry his third wife.

Houston went to see his friend Andrew Jackson after this but arrived at The Hermitage one hour after the President died. “The towering Texan sank to his knees and openly wept over the body,” said one report. Houston had a child he named Andrew Jackson Houston. He returned to Texas and spoke in favor of Texas joining the United States. The state was annexed shortly after this. Next he went to Washington D.C. as a Senator from Texas and kept going until he was Governor of Texas.

As Governor he did not want to go along with Texas leaving the United States before the Civil War so he stepped down. He said, “I love Texas too well to bring civil strife and bloodshed upon Her.”

Houston died of pneumonia in Huntsville, Texas at age seventy. Sam Houston State University was built there in his honor. The impact of this historic man lives on today.

Sam Houston, Hermann Park, Houston

Websites: Samhoustonmemorialmuseum.com/history Wikipedia


Old Linden Firehouse receives Texas Historical Foundation Grant

Linden Heritage Foundation’s Firehouse Rescue Project is honored to have received a $1,000 planning grant from the TEXAS HISTORICAL FOUNDATION.  This organization is based in Austin and serves past, present, and future Texans by supporting research, publication of Texas history, and preservation of sites significant in Texas history and prehistory.

THF grant recipients are strongly urged to follow the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties as guidance for decision-making about work or changes to a historic property. To download a copy of these standards, go to

Take the time to visit their website at www.texashistoricalfoundation.org and consider becoming a member of THF.  Membership begins at $45 – for that see http://texashistoricalfoundation.org/membership/.

“The Cyclone of 1908”

The business district of Linden was almost leveled on May 13, 1908, by a cyclone that appeared on Linden’s southwestern horizon and began traveling northeast. Within minutes, everything on the north side of the city’s square was destroyed or damaged. Little was left of the blocks formed by Main, Graham, Houston, and Kaufman Streets.

“We had no warning that a tornado was approaching except for that awful cloud and the loud roaring that came up real fast; we made it to the storm cellar at the I.N. Merrett home when the cyclone hit. It sounded as if a train drove right over the top of the storm cellar,” recalled Mrs. W.R. Lanier.

The storm left death and destruction in its path. Killed in the storm were A.J. Nelson Sr., Sam Whitworth, Mrs. Marian Jane Tremper, and James [Jim] Tremper. The destroyed Tremper home was located near where the hospital now stands. Mr. Whitworth was in his blacksmith shop (where the old Ford Motor Company was located) shoeing a horse when the storm hit. He was blown across the street and mortally injured.

Mrs. Leola (Pete) Goodman was a switchboard operator, working on the second floor of the Harris Drug Store when the cyclone hit. Mrs. Goodman said, “The wind was so strong that the back of my dress was torn and every hairpin was blown out of my head. A nail was stuck in my arm. The building was wrecked and the only thing that kept the walls from falling in on me was all the telephone wires that held them back. After I was taken out, the wires were cut and the building collapsed.”

Damage to property was expensive. The winds of the cyclone ripped the top off of the courthouse and damaged the jail.  Woodman Hall and the post office received damages in excess of $500 (1908 rates).

Cass County State Bank, Harris Duncan and Fant General Merchandise, Cabin Drug Store, E.H. Sheffield, John S. Morris, JJ Story Store, JS Lea Grocery, Methodist Church, Hines Hotel, W.C. Taylor Hotel, the Baptist parsonage, the telephone company, Whitworth and Williams and C.H. Nelson suffered damages to their business. The Baptist Church (originally the courthouse) and the Masonic Hall were destroyed. The Lodge’s Charter was one of the few records recovered. All of the records of the Baptist Church were destroyed.  Storm damages were in excess of $26,600.00 (1908 rate)

After the cyclone exited Linden’s business, district torrential rains and thunderstorms followed. Flooding and constant lightning hampered relief efforts. “Lighting came down through our stove pipe and busted out the joints on it. It then hit the wood box, turned the logs into splinters, burned the corner off of a tin shovel and went through the floor,” recalled Mrs. Lanier.

The rebuilding of Linden began immediately after the storm despite torrential rains and flooding. The relief committee called for aid for the homeless and destitute. Individuals and business from surrounding communities contributed labor, supplies, and money to Linden’s rebuilding efforts. Due to damages to the Baptist and Methodist Churches the courthouse was turned into a house of worship until the churches could be rebuilt or repaired.

Despite the damage inflicted upon their community, the citizens of Linden came together to help each other by clearing out rubble and rebuilding as soon as possible. Hammering and sawing were constantly heard in the air as Linden commenced recovering from the cyclone.

Northside of Square Rebuilt 1909 after Cyclone

The cyclone of 1908 left a lasting legacy on the town of Linden. Prior to 1908 few storm cellars were located in the city. After the cyclone numerous cellars were built and are still visible today. Many of Linden’s records were destroyed in the cyclone thus preventing a complete history of the town from ever being recorded.

The cyclone virtually leveled Linden’s business district but it could not destroy the determination of the citizens to rebuild their city even better than it was before the storm. May 13, 2017, marked the one hundred and ninth anniversary of the cyclone which forever changed Linden’s business district and left Lindenites watching the southwestern horizon for many years.

“The Cyclone of 1908” is an article based on the research Hillary Ragsdale conducted for the Friends of the Governor’s Mansion Historical Contest. Hillary received an award for the best overall individual project. All of the information from the following article was taken from 1908 accounts of The Cass County Sun. Pictures are courtesy of  The Cass County Sun, Sue Morris Lazara and Ruth Bridges Early.  

Recognition of Linden Volunteer Fire Department

At some point in their lives, almost every child wants to be a firefighter and for good reason:  They are modern-day heroes, best known for their willingness to risk their lives to save others.

At the Linden Wildflower Trails in April the Linden Heritage Foundation Booth was organized to recognize that child’s dream.  The Linden Volunteer Fire Department provided the City’s 1957 Chevy Firetruck as a backdrop for photos.

To inspire fire safety, over 73 “junior” fire department hats were given to children with many taking photos with the fire truck.

Linden Kildare High School student, Morgan (Lizzie) Guy, created a drawing of a fire truck given to each child to color.

The 1939 Linden Firehouse was named by Preservation Texas to the 2016 Most Endangered Places list in the local public building category.  The Linden Heritage Foundation is actively supporting the restoration of the Firehouse, with plans to bring the building back into service as a commercial asset.

For more information on the 1939 Firehouse go to its page on our website and take an opportunity to donate to the Linden Old Firehouse Rescue Fund.

Special thanks for the Wildflower Trail success goes to Mary Jo Eller Ellison (for use of her building), Linden Volunteer Fire Department and Linden Heritage Foundation Vice President for Marketing & Development, Sandra Westbrook Skoog.





Every year Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May. It was formally known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women who have died in military services for America.

The peaceful event of Memorial Day is commemorated with excitement, passion and enthusiasm.  It is a day to express our gratitude to those who have and are currently serving to keep our country free.