James Walker Fannin, Jr. and Samuel Houston

Portrait of James Walker Fannin, Jr.

James Walker Fannin, Jr.
Sam Houston described James Fannin as an “ill-fated man.” Born in 1804, the Georgian attended West Point but dropped out. In 1834, Fannin immigrated to Texas. While he acted the plantation owner, he was actually a slave trader. In 1835, Fannin fought at the battle of Concepción. In 1836, he commanded the Goliad garrison. Completely outgeneraled by Mexican commander José Urrea, he ordered a retreat—but too late. Urrea defeated Fannin at the battle of Coleto Creek and took the Texan prisoners back to Goliad. There, on March 27, Mexican soldiers executed Fannin and most of his command.

Portrait of Samuel Houston

Samuel Houston
Sam Houston possessed a keen sense of history—and his place in it. Teenage rebellion and a later bout with heartbreak led Sam Houston to twice leave American society and seek refuge in Cherokee communities. Living in Nacogdoches at the outbreak of revolution, Houston’s reputation as congressman and governor of Tennessee, and participation in the War of 1812 singled him out for leadership.  In November 1835 Houston was named major general of the Texas army, and would lead the charge against Santa Anna and the Mexican army at San Jacinto — the final battle of the Texas Revolution.  As first president of the Republic of Texas, Houston worked to ensure its recognition by the U.S. and eventual annexation.