The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 36
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Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly
on their sleeves for the daws to peck at, but she was capable of lasting
and devoted affection for those whom she esteemed." Curious that
Peyton, who knew Eliza in later life, repeatedly refers to her as "Mrs.
Houston," at the same time calling her a "devoted wife" of Elmore
Douglass. Also remarkable is the inscription on the stone placed at
Eliza's grave in the 1950s:
Eliza Allen Houston Douglass
Daughter of John and Laetitia Allen
Dec 2, 18og March 3, 1861
It seems she did, in spite of her second marriage, carry the name of
Houston to her grave as John Campbell wrote in his 1836 letter to Sam
Houston that she intended to do."
Perhaps Judge Benjamin Franklin Allen's simple statement about his
sister's marriage to Sam Houston, that "like many other couples they
were not congenial," comes close to the entire truth: certainly those
characteristics cherished in Sam Houston as a hero-his intensity and
waywardness, his great vanity-would not be so endearing in a hus-
band. Or possibly there was a more sensational truth: a forsaken love,
or an infidelity. There is no proof conclusive enough to deny or con-
firm any one of the suppositions."
No one would claim that the marriage was anything but a failure. In
their need for privacy Sam and Eliza Houston only generated more
speculation. And in her bid for obscurity Eliza insured her immortality
as a legend. But in the end, the bond between these two people-the
mystery-prevails, and is a triumph in itself. As Sam Houston stated
years after Eliza left him, when asked of the reason, "It is an absolute
secret, and will always remain so.""81 In his later years he seemed to take
some pleasure in that. Tradition has a story:
A friend, Hugh Johnston, asked Sam Houston the true cause of his
separation from Eliza. Houston declined to reply and changed the
topic, then returned to it with a somber expression.
"Hugh, can you keep a secret?"
"Of course I can."
One finger lifted to his lips as if in confidence, Houston whispered,
"So can I."82
7'l'er rell, "Recollections of General Sam Houston," 1 17 (1st quotation), Houston Dazly Post,
May 26, 190o (2nd-4th quotations), Nashville Tenvesean, Aug 19, 1962 (5th-7th quotations),
Gallatin City Cemetery tombstone (8th quotation), Campbell to Houston, Oct 6, 1836, in
James, The Raven, 278.
"1Nashville Banne?, Dec. 22, 1908 (quotation).
8' Williams, Sam louston and the War of Independen e, 35-36
"2 Miriam Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County, and the Atascoesto Detrct (Austin: Pemberton Press,
1974), 179. The conversation was between Houston and Capt. Hugh B. Johnston, as told by
Johnston's granddaughter, Eva Lee Partlow.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/m1/60/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.