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Sam Houston in the Name of Texas 1809-1834: Chronicles of the Scattering, Vol. Ii

Sam Houston in the Name of Texas 1809-1834: Chronicles of the Scattering, Vol. Ii

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Sam Houston in the Name of Texas 1809-1834: Chronicles of the Scattering, Vol. Ii

Longueur:
924 pages
14 heures
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Aug 16, 2013
ISBN:
9781481777445
Format:
Livre

Description

It was people like Stephen Austin, Sam Houston and Juan Seguin and the defenders of the Alamo, who not only felt the power of the Land, but they became the life that was born from that power.

Their stories are the Life of Texas.
Éditeur:
Sortie:
Aug 16, 2013
ISBN:
9781481777445
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

R. G. Brighton, M.A., M. Div., Ph. D. is a retired Philadelphia, Pa. Police Officer. He served in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam and in the U. S. M. C. Reserve after returning home from overseas. Since his retirement, he worked in the security industry and as a Texas substitute teacher focusing on Social Studies grades 8-12, Texas history and religious literature. Currently, he resides in Michigan and he returns to the shrine of the Alamo, as often as possible.

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Sam Houston in the Name of Texas 1809-1834 - R. G. Brighton

Sam Houston,

In the Name… of Texas

1809-1834

Chronicles of the Scattering, Vol. II

R. G. Brighton

AuthorHouse™ LLC

1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403

www.authorhouse.com

Phone: 1-800-839-8640

© 2013 by R. G. Brighton. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

Published by AuthorHouse 08/10/2013

ISBN: 978-1-4817-7746-9 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4817-7745-2 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-4817-7744-5 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2013912781

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Contents

Dedication

Preface

The Journey

Bibliography

Author’s Page

Dedication

The Life of Texas

Preface

The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.

John F. Kennedy

M y life with the Cherokee shaped who I was to become and who I fully believed I was.

The time I spent with the People of the Nations—the Cherokee, along with my political and military experience, came together to shape Sam Houston. However, this happened after years of struggling to determine the real, yet hidden person behind the façade of soldier, lawyer and statesman.

Nevertheless, the combination of these vastly different experiences formed a human being, who could see both sides to an issue regardless of its eventual outcome.

My one guiding principle was to make a stand and be heard over the clamor of the dissension around me or the empty rhetoric of those, who sold life and property indiscriminately.

The Cherokee saw in me someone who could keep his word; and even more important they saw truthfulness and honor in my heart.

The same could be said of Andrew Jackson, who saw in me not just the trappings of a statesman or a politician, which came with my career; but he regarded me as someone, whom he could trust. And that I considered an honor far beyond any of the titles associated with my name.

General Jackson walked a similar path to mine, but he was thrust into the limelight of national politics; and I was, in my own manner, content to remain within the shadow of his importance.

What General Jackson and I learned about being statesmen during the long, hard-fought and difficult years of our friendship made for a unified bond between us. He was my mentor and I was his student. And only the dust of history can cloud the relationship we had.

Sometimes, the study of history can render a person myopic in their search for the undeniable truth of a situation through the discovery of an artifact. However, no page of a memoir or the rendering of a bronze statue can describe a friendship that transcends time. Such was the strength of the mutual respect General Jackson and I had for one another that no memorial can be fabricated to describe it.

I believed in negotiation first and action—if necessary, while Andrew Jackson believed in the exercise of power. What he and I shared was a mutual respect of courage, and that trait was bred into us by our affiliation with dire circumstances, pain and suffering. We viewed life differently, but we started from a mutual conviction, and that is the universal application of justice.

My travels and life as a Governor and Congressman from Tennessee, the President of the Republic of Texas and as the Governor of the State of Texas allowed me the freedom to move in circles of power unprecedented in the history of the United States.

During the time, I held these offices; the United States was moving to expand its geographical boundaries and its political influence on a world stage. Two wars with the British left the Country isolated with international commerce being hindered by the limited number of ships flying the colors of the United States in which cargo was the sole reason for their existence.

In addition, the political arena was similarly limited. As elected officials, our ability to communicate with our constituents and our military commanders were inhibited by distance and danger. These two factors alone caused havoc in a campaign be it political or military.

Without any safe paths to follow on the Journey because of the unsettled condition of the various Tribes, the expanded settlement of the frontiers took place. This settlement included frontiers in the established States as well as in the lands populated by the People of the Nations but open to very few whites. The Country experienced the allure of unrestricted land for development at reasonable or low-cost and when added to the seemingly endless need for growth—a dream of wealth fueled the imagination of both speculator and adventurer.

This time of growth went beyond the Jeffersonian expansion. Territorial development was filled with hard fights to survive by all who tried to annex lands, which secured a geographical presence. The expansion in settlements ignited the economy and the related interests of business. When the necessities of growth and development were met, the movements of diverse political connections—including revolution were easily the next steps in the future of America.

Moreover, the time of geographical growth led to alliances, which fostered the expansion of political, social and economic freedom. Politics was the arena of many battles, and trust was the life-line of survival. Consequently, after many years of trial and trouble, the conclusion that Jackson and I reached was that freedom, and need to maintain freedom, was gained only through severe purchase.

That is, blood was the color of equality; and that concept was embedded into Colonial America, through the principles of liberty, justice and freedom, which formed the heart of the American Revolution. In turn, these principles became the foundation of a Country—a Nation that could see no boundaries.

Every inch of ground fought over by the Spanish, French and the British had stirred the thought of unbridled freedom and growth for the colonists. Even so, the People of the Nations were pushed beyond the limits of their ability to feed their families, which over time and blood led them to defend their interests. Nevertheless, it was the number of colonists and immigrants, who expanded geographically and economically without monarchial interference that turned the tide of settlement.

However, the lesson of revolution is taught within the classroom of business; because the ownership of land does not necessitate the maintaining of that same land, unless it can be made to bear the fruit of commercial necessity.

Land is purchased by the blood and the lives of those who try to claim it.

Only endearing sacrifices, and maintaining an economic and a political importance for the lives of those touched by sacrifice, is the real value of its original purchase. This, in turn, becomes a part of our history and our common value as human beings.

Property—the ground we call ours, is never as valuable as the price of the lives of those who sacrificed their existence for it; even so, it is precious in the spirit of those lives. Land itself is worth what we put into it and what it takes from us. In this regard, Land is a part of us, and we are a part of it given the spirit of those men and women whose blood has been shed for it.

There are no quick economic solutions for expansion. And there is no easy solution—in the name of equality, for those who claim the Land as a part of their natural rights. The people, who settle on property, must understand that the ground they are attempting to occupy has been purchased, already. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain a civil order to regulate and promote the freedom to expand but not to take away the ‘purchase’ of others, who may have been on the land first or longer.

This battle was fought continually with the various Indian Tribes that had settled the Land countless years before the earliest European Explorers had stepped onto it. The sacredness of that Land is in its purchase through blood, which made the land valuable, beyond description.

The Indians—the People of the Nations, had claim by blood and time to that land we called the United States, which we were now looking to increase by settlement and commercial exploitation. What the Indians did not have was the commercial aspect of the land’s worth developed to the levels that ‘European civilization’ determined was calculated to maintain its ownership.

Consequently, two separate civilizations with completely different ways of life met on the land of what was to become the United States. The determining factor, which set the pace for expansion, was commerce—backed by wealth. It was the way commerce was used to negotiate conquer, remove and annihilate that was recorded in history.

Because:

Freedom is measured by the blood of people who make a stand.

Commerce is measured by the blood of the people who attempt to wrest profit from the land.

The connecting principle is called progress.

And progress is measured from the point of view of the last person left standing.

Nevertheless, I believed there could be peace between the Indians and the whites—the military, merchants, and settlers. However, peace would exist, in name only, between the States, the National government and the Indians.

I also believed the price of peace would be high and the results strewn with the debris of purchase. Nevertheless, peace could be accomplished; because there was no less at stake than justice—the kind of justice, which is in the heart of humanity. And it is this form of justice, which should have been recorded in history—the canvas of our actions.

And, so after many years and trials through fire, I struggled—continuously, for survival in the arena of politics; especially in Washington and Texas. My focus was on the attempt to reconcile the differences between the People of the Nations and the whites, in order us to establish a relationship built upon the mutual respect for the sacredness of our beliefs.

However, as with all paths taken, the next step is not as easy to see as the steady flow of criticism over your last step may describe.

Therefore, the Journey, my strengths, weaknesses, my unending friendship with General Jackson and the words of the Shaman of the People of the Nations—the Cherokee set the path of my life.

And each step on the path was an adventure.

Life is the Journey.

And on the paths, we take; the inevitable conclusion drawn is that we end where we need to be regardless of the fortune that shapes out travel.

There are no guarantees in life. Seldom is the Journey peaceful and set on a smooth path. I was taught that fact early on by the Cherokee in my adopted home state of Tennessee. It was with the People of the Nations—the Cherokee I found not only refuge but the peace that comes from living with purpose.

It was the Cherokee with whom I was to discover something I would search for a lifetime to re-discover. That was the spiritual tranquility, which eluded me throughout my struggles with politicians, government bureaucracy and an army of soldiers from three nations.

Always, there was a fight looming on any horizon I could see.

There were the machinations of Congress, the State governments of Tennessee and even the Republic of Texas. Finally, as our Nation faced its internal armed conflict, I saw death and privation by our own hands to prove who was right about our style of government.

Unfortunately, war decides little and civil war decides even less.

Soon, the sand of time washes and cleans the pain and hurt of war to allow for wars glorious memory to be pulled over us all.

In that process, no one can remember the reasons we really went to war, except the dead, who speaks more loudly than we can imagine. They can only speak of their part at war. But their sacrifice, which is eloquent enough to speak across time, allows us to take notice and hear what they are saying.

The dead stand to be noticed, and we give them less than they deserve. That is, we honor grave sites and have parades, and we listen to the political rhetoric of our elected officials concerning bravery and honor; but we never give to our dead the silence of peace.

Peace is the one structure; we regard with diffidence on the Journey.

We fill the silence of peace with the rattle of sabers and the beating of drums. Our dead, the lifeblood of this country, require more of us than our ability to bare our heads—for a moment of solitude; and then, commandeer the silence with bombastic rhetoric.

It is to the dead that we champion our lives. It is for the dead to stand by us to illuminate the path we must travel. The Cherokee helped me see and live this promise to our dead; that is, Let me take my next step in the light of your life and let me honor you by being strong in the Journey—together.

From my early childhood to my years as an elder statesman, I did what I could to live by that creed—the unwritten code of Life, the People of the Nations—the Cherokee instilled in me.

The Journey

Strong reasons make strong actions…

King John

William Shakespeare

I became known as The Raven among the tribe that adopted me, but it took me many years to become aware and decades to understand the true meaning of my name.

This epiphany occurred, in my later years, through the observation of a raven. But this name was given by those far wiser than me, and many years before I was to comprehend its meaning.

Outside my home in Huntsville, Texas stood a pin oak tree and in that tree perched a raven. This tree was part of this raven’s territory. Although, no nesting ever took place there, the tree remained this sole raven’s possession. The tree was more than a place of rest for this raven. It came to stand for who and what that raven was all about.

That raven looked and observed and hunted from that tree. But in all the time the raven was in that tree—he never settled there.

The raven fought other ravens for that tree, but it never mated or allowed others to nest in its branches.

That tree wasn’t a home or even a resting place for that raven; it was simply where that raven decided to make a stand, and no other place in this world would suffice. The raven never challenged other ravens, and he never joined in when other ravens would battle over the carcass of a snake or other animal. This raven would hunt alone, stay alone, and he preferred silence more than the raucous banter of others of its own kind.

Day and night that raven would forage, but it never brought back to the tree what it had eaten or scraps of an animal. Whenever that raven returned to the tree, it would land on a branch and stay as motionless as the weather would allow. Even in heavy weather when the pin oak limbs would sway to near breaking, the raven would maintain its grip until finally he would have to leave for a more protected location. Many times he would return prior to the end of the storm and land on a branch more conducive to protection against the storm; but it never chose a new tree.

Never in the years I watched that raven did I detect any change in the raven’s behavior. The raven stayed alert and on guard, and it never gave way to relinquish its ‘other part’—that tree.

The raven watched all that was taking place around it, and it never gave up on what he thought was his and his alone. Eventually, other ravens would fly near that tree, but they didn’t attempt a landing. Both the tree and that raven were inseparable and their journey was one and the same.

Each spent their time in the silence of peace and the seclusion of unity.

E ven though the sight and actions of this raven filled my later days, it was in these times of solitude that I often thought back to the turmoil of my military and political career.

I had a difficult time sorting the man—Sam Houston, from the legend, and I believed at times the legend far outweighed the normal fallibilities of the man. I tried as often as I could to draw on the strength of the structure the Cherokee forged into my life. I tried, with whatever fortitude I could muster, to be the warrior and man the Tribe saw in me.

I questioned my decisions but only after I acted in what I thought was the proper and somewhat reasonable approach to a conclusion in any situation. Sometimes this would work and at other times, I questioned my actions because the results were out of my control, and I was not able to make peace with some of those results.

As a youth, both headstrong and action driven, I found myself at odds with many people my age. Later, I found that in politics, I achieved the same results. I sometimes thought how, after all the years I spent in the arena of government, nothing changed.

It appeared to me that I could see myself as a young man striving to be an adult and still fighting to get, what seemed to me, a simple point across to my critics and my detractors. I could not get many around me—to see what I could see clearly as the path to follow, whether in a military or a political war.

I had to watch the raven for years before I understood that as the Raven I could see beyond the immediate. I was, like the raven, seen as a staunch, resolute and detached being; but also, I was seen as a predator—all at the same time, by the same people.

What I thought was indecision on the part of others was actually their inability to sort the message from the messenger and the person from the image. Many others, true to themselves, would suffer this same fate but their story is uniquely theirs, and my story followed the path of the raven throughout my life.

The Raven was more than an effigy. It was me and despite my view of who I thought I was, I had the most difficult time getting others to see what I was, or what I thought, I was clearly pointing to.

Often it was not a specific issue that loomed large before the eyes of those around me. Those issues sort themselves by what side of a political situation you were standing on. No, the issues seemed to me, like that raven looking over his territory, more than just a simple majority rule.

The issues, like the raven’s life, were pointed to what happens beyond the immediate. The Raven planned for the future and protected his territory by scouting all the territory around his tree and the area within sight of his tree.

The same principle applied to me in my military and political life.

I discovered that I was talking or fighting steps ahead of those I was involved with, and they were still trying to understand the events facing them at the moment. Whenever I fought, including the brawls I was involved in as a youth, I fought as an adult. Then, as a senior statesman, it was always the same. My next punch or the next political salvo were at targets yet unseen and unheard.

It seems I left people unsure about the future, that is, the immediate future. However, I felt the ‘immediate’ had dubious consequences. The next step—the decision made beyond the demands of this moment and strategically calculated would decide the outcome of the event.

Unfortunately, this view of life left many believing I was aloof or often self-involved. Many thought that I was driven to support my feelings or my indulgent thoughts or my need for power.

However, that was not the truth, but the outcome of people’s thoughts was the same—regardless of the military or political victory.

I followed the only course I could see from the vantage of the step beyond the immediate. This action alone placed me outside, what history would record as those, who built the Nation. I was seen as being a mystery, but a powerful mystery that could command militarily and politically response. It appeared better to build around me than to go face-to-face with me and thereby avoiding either fierce rhetoric or a fierce physical fight.

A few times, being able to see beyond the moment, served me well enough to survive. Often, the opposite effect took hold; I was labeled powerful, yet quarrelsome, and that hardly provides for political and military stability.

Consequently, political and military leaders would work around me, and I was labeled as the figurehead of whatever, often dubious, plans the leadership of the Country would envision. I could be pushed to the side but only after a fight, so why not use me for the leadership’s gain and my eventual loss.

This pattern was repeated often, and it took many years—a sizable number of them as I recollected, for me to understand what had happened when I thought I had formed allies in a cause.

I never quite ‘understood’ the social and economic issues about the ‘need’ for immediate action, because my ideas were beyond the moment. And although the ability to see beyond the moment was to serve me proficiently in military campaigns, it did not work well in the political arena.

As a Governor and as a Senator I felt vanquished daily.

The political battles, hourly, daily and over decades killed more assuredly than any enemy bullet, sword or bayonet. None whom I fought could see the future and the damage these fights did to the person of Sam Huston. To apolitical general, it was always divided and conquer; to a military general, it was circle and crush. Either way the tactics were obvious or the results were plainly in sight.

Nevertheless, real damage was done to the person of Sam Huston, and the future of the Country as the result of these battles.

Many times, I wondered who I was. Mainly, I could not see the person of Sam Huston because of the forces smothering me. Hard as I might fight to free myself from the yoke of battle only to find myself opposed on another front blocking a path to a catastrophic resolution.

Therein lay my strategy after observing the carnage of many battles.

I could still, sometimes with great effort, see the next step, and I attempted to avert the ambushes set by both my colleagues and my enemies. Even so, in all this maneuvering, the original concept was lost to the immediacy of battle, and at those times the cause was lost until I could retreat and reform my thoughts and actions.

Whenever I was called to move away from the battle—lives and matters were lost to the political and military darkness of power. However, I could not function in any capacity when cornered by the baying hounds of the inept and the callous. It was at those times, and to those enemies that I left the field and retreated to a place where the future—that is, next critical step could be formulated.

This was my weakness as a so-called leader, and it cost me dearly throughout life but it was the only way I knew how to survive to fight again and again.

Throughout my career, I could ‘see’ the plans of others; but their insipid plans were locked to the immediate. However shallow they seemed and no matter how I believed I could circumvent those plans; I fell as prey to the sheer numbers and power of those enemies. I call them enemies not out of the frustration caused by the issues, but these people were the enemies of what appeared to be the best interest of a cause.

Like many of my colleagues, I could stand as both an individual and as the supporter of a cause but I, like them, could not surrender to the naked wielding of power. Sometimes this power struggle was apparent, and sometimes it was a complicated web of deceit that could entrap, and it did, even the most steadfast warrior.

I was not alone in this fight, but I was alone in my thoughts and my belief that any fight, given the proper cause, the proper motive and the proper use of power would stand the Country in good stead and not leave it an impoverished tangle of lies, deceit and corruption.

I failed as often as I won and the winning was costly at all stages—the planning, the immediate and the future results. To my everlasting sorrow, the victories were paid for in blood, in lives shattered and in an entanglement of mist blocking the clarity of final victory.

I learned and could never reconcile the unwavering truth that victory both political and military clouds the actions of those who served and often enough; it hides the truth behind the conflict. This we have fondly called history, and it is only in the painstaking unraveling of the seen and unseen events that the essential core of truth can be discovered and used to serve those who follow.

The defeated are those who are left after the battle in both life and death. Those who caused the battles to take place, for their singular and usually personal reasons, either died with the defeated or receive the honors and glory of the victors. In reality, all die from a battle whether history records their heroic actions or history leaves their exploits to be buried under the dust, dirt, and destruction of the fight.

I have witnessed that a battle is never the single component or single action that history so readily records. Battles start at the inception of a simple thought, and then proceed along a twisted path that forms its webs, boundaries and alliances in a grotesque fashion. Lives are lost or surrendered to the grist mill of political ambition and economic folly. Often, the sincerest of actions—political or social, will set the stage for a fight that will lead to a disaster of epic proportions.

The battle may take years, decades or centuries in development to produce devastation and destruction to the individual or to the Nation. And it is a combination of events, actions and planning that will fulfill the drama with its predictable results. A battle is never started by just a single event, and only the foolhardy can place this reasoning to the forefront of historical vision.

But a war has levels both unseen and unheard, and it is only after the first shot has been fired that the victims and the aggressors are seen strewn, like wind-blown seeds, in the streets of the Capitals, whose legislators urged the battle onwards.

Quickly, the military and the political generals order the destruction and the unheard of use of weaponry to clear the streets of rational thought and prepare for an adequate defense of further bombardment. However, by the time the battle has concluded in the physical sense, there are the dead along with those, who are shattered and left to tell the story of war. It is for those scarred and battered survivors whom the real pain of battle commences.

The survivors, who witnessed the battle in its grisly appearance, are examined for the truth of decisions made by others far away, and decades before they were born. The survivors can only speak of the sights and sounds within their senses, yet they are relegated to be both the witness and juror for the war that surrounded them in battle. Epic decisions that are sanctified in blood and praised in rhetoric; and all that history will record from the battle is determined by one thought—whether the decisions were made or not made in time for the victim’s epitaphs.

History is the composition and layering of epitaphs, and it is only the writer whose identity and motives needs to be determined.

And beyond any doubt, history is the ultimate record of the reasoned annihilation of the human kind; while its bombastic oratory and writing only accent the futility of beating the drum of war.

It can be said that throughout history, the Capital of a Country that is the Victor at war—in its eloquent eulogy of gain both political and economic, resonates with glory. And the generals, who with modest accounting of the toll of war, will remain alive to utilize and profit from the confusion of war.

But the dead, both the physically dead and those who died when their spirits were crushed by the pawn like roles they served, to bring into being the onslaught of death and destruction, will remain to tell the story of shortsightedness, greed and the iron will of power, which brought about destruction.

I was one of the people who crossed both lines in a state of war trying to keep soldiers alive and sending them to their deaths in both the military and the political arenas. However, I never succeeded in resolving—for the peace of my mind, the compromises that caused so many to suffer.

I was left, only, with my pain and sights of the Raven to help me see the path of a lifetime and the forces that shaped that life.

W ar and the battles that compose a war seemed, while I was fighting those battles, so eloquently simple in their scope. There was a mission, an objective and covering all that—a sense or being on the right side of the cause.

I discovered after being wounded that the courage to face a purported enemy was not only a physical aspect of a person, but it was the mental wrangling that leads to a startling conclusion.

When faced with the truth of the matter of fighting a war and the results that can be claimed after the fighting was done, the conclusion is inevitable. All the parties involved should have avoided the conflict at the first beating of the drums of war.

It took me years to understand that ‘the beginning’ was the real issue. Although, I could see the results and especially the next few steps in the entire process, dealing with the singular causes for the start of hostilities eluded me until very late in life.

It is said, often enough, that it is necessary to keep a soldier busy; then he won’t have time to think. Sadly, I became the prey to this simplistic rationalization.

I believed a well-disciplined soldier was the ultimate key to victory even in the harshest of conditions and battles. Discipline, training and working hard both in the field and in the garrison were all complimentary activities in the making of a complete soldier. Whether I served in the ranks, or I was given a commission, I believed the effort of hard work, and hard discipline would carry an army through to victory.

I did not understand, until I started to question this routine—that a soldier must think all the time. I didn’t know, at first, the primary key to being a soldier and by extension; an army’s real victory was that soldiers, at every level, must think alike. The soldiers must think alike, not in a locked step rhythm of cadence but the soldiers must think alike in cause and effect, step and counter step, belief and disbelief.

An army starts to die at the moment a soldier stops believing in the cause.

An army dies when that soldier’s non-belief infects the soldier next to him and then the realization follows that defeat, and victory are the two sides of a single coin.

An army dies when a soldier questions the competence of its leaders, even though the leadership itself may not be the cause for the failure of a mission. It is the loss of belief in a leader, which will often enough result in the failing of the soldiers to follow through and ‘put off’ the time of their death from being fulfilled.

An army dies when a soldier realizes it is only a matter of time before he dies; it is only the place that history may or may not record his having been there.

An army dies when the leadership of that army fails to remember they are soldiers first and leaders second. When the leadership of an army crosses the unstated boundary of forgetting who and what they are in actuality—the cause is doomed regardless of who remains standing at the end of the formal hostilities.

In every aspect of fighting a battle and the war, whose mists shrouds and surrounds the truth of the matter, a soldier’s thoughts remain a constant—to weathervane the course of history by making a stand—regardless of the outcome of his actions.

When we forget this simple truth, we forget who we are and why we have chosen to fight.

I t took me a very long and pain-filled life to understand that cause and effect are a relationship, which exists in life and is measured through our actions. Somehow, I had forgotten to apply this genuine truth about life—called the Way of All Things, which the Cherokee taught me to understand.

Possibly, I believed that I was one of those people I knew over the years socially, politically and militarily,who had such a strong command of life, that they believed their every effort could mold and shape history to reveal the truth of a complex situation.

Over the years of my military service, I found I should have listened more closely to the words of my Cherokee mentors and family. The Raven only shows to the world one side of his presence. The Raven looks for his next meal, but the Raven sees all around him. When the Raven moves, he moves in one direction and his prey or his rival will follow only to find the Raven has come up behind his adversary and claimed the battle or the conquest from a different direction. The Raven shows one side but sees all sides to a situation. And it is in the Raven’s tactics that his plans show careful preparation.

I was told this often enough in my youth by the Cherokee tribal members, Warriors and Medicine Men and Shamans; but my time back among the political and military leaders of the Country placed this teaching out of my thought and practice.

I wanted to be a soldier, and I wanted to be in a position of power either politically or personally. However, I gave too much of myself in this hopeless cause to realize I had peace given to me in the formative steps of the quest—to live in The Truth of All Things, already working inside my mind and heart.

I lost years while putting the lessons of the Cherokee out of my thoughts, because I believed alliances with the Officials of States or the Federal government could lead me to my goals.

Although, I was sure what my goals really were; I was certain that somewhere inside my heart I was confused about my actions. I rationalized away the truth in front of me, and I looked for an answer in the murky patterns of the future based on the power structure in place at the time.

My self-doubt commenced early in my military career because I started to think about fate and my part in the scheme of military conquest. It was not only the pain from the wounds I received but the hollow feeling of what I thought was the accomplishment in attaining a victory during battle, which caused me to realize something was not clear inside my heart.

Once victory is attained the costs are reckoned and the tally never seemed to be just. That is, the tally in the amount of misery, loss of life and the incalculable loss of human potential did not equal the accomplishment of the military action. Whether it was a skirmish or a pitched battle the dead seemed to be the only ones who could speak, and they had but one question, Why?

It was never a case of wondering about the right or wrong in war and battle, because to allow a soldier to think of cause and effect, while fighting a battle, ruins the temper of the sword blade. Therefore, only the leaders and not the junior-grade officers or the rank and file soldier were allowed to think too deeply. Those in General grade commands regulated the tally of the battle, and they leave the stores, supplies and burial details to junior officers. As a result, those in command could prepare a strategy to win the next fight.

It was attending to the details of battle that my thinking of the entire picture of cause and effect—racked my brain and tore apart my heart.

I realized, sorrowfully, that I could not determine the cause of a war. I could not see the reasons why we were burying the future of the Nation. Furthermore, I could not see how anyone could replace a soldier with ammunition or supplies and more soldiers.

I could not understand my plight, because I did not want to face the real conclusion of my actions: I put out of my head the lesson of the Raven. And by doing so, I lost myself in the snare of power, deceit and the fantasy of political and military ambition.

I turned my back to the Raven and by doing so; I started to turn my back on the real person of Sam Huston.

My thoughts turned ever inwards to the Journey I started, but I could no longer see my path.

I moved in one direction, but my heart and mind moved elsewhere.

I longed for the Raven, I was supposed to be in life, but I could only see the image of the Raven in the waters of the political and military stream of power.

I followed the picture, of who I thought I was and started to lose the Raven, which the Cherokees had seen so plainly in me. I moved solemnly within turmoil and only through great pain did I emerge from the black time of my own self-deception.

This path was costly to the Raven—in the battles outwardly and inwardly fought.

M y life moved in the Circle often spoken about as my time with the Cherokee. The circle of the ever present now, the future and the past all in harmony one with the other; but the circle of my journey was broken by the only force strong enough to set life into disarray: self-deception.

The Cherokee lived by a simple code, and I fully believed I was more a Cherokee than white; although, I was ‘set apart’ from the People of the Nation by my accident of birth—only. I was born other than of the People, and I was still, at all outward appearances, one of the whites who took land and life from the Indians. By legend, stories and birthright, the Indians believed they had a full ‘title’ to the land—by their presence, and their Life on the land. This ‘title’ was through the gift of the Land from the Great Spirit.

At first, my time with the Cherokee was filled with their observation of me to determine why the Spirit had sent me to them. After some time, the Cherokee had a vision of the message sent by the Spirit, and I was accepted as a member of the Tribe.

Because of my acceptance into the Tribe, especially during my young adulthood, I started to understand the nature of life in harmony with all around me.

I was more comfortable as a member of the Tribe than anywhere else I had been thus far in my youth and young adulthood. I lived in the view of the world that the Cherokee embraced, and it had, so far, been all that I needed to survive and to thrive as young man. I was formed in this mold, and I believed this was my true way of life. It was in both essence and my calling to be a Warrior and to be fulfilled as a person by my life with the Cherokee.

My world view encompassed trust through honesty and a commitment to living Life to its fullest potential as part of a ‘whole’ group of People. The People were dedicated to their appointed paths on the Journey, as ordained by the Spirit. This concept and Life put into practice became who I am and who I was and who I would be.

I believed in the Cherokee Way of Life because it held a special meaning for me in order to calm my aggressive, adventurous, and often dangerous, nature—my way of living.

This way of life was founded on one unchanging and unmoving principle that the Cherokee made their code of life: truth in life, truth in death and truth in all relationships by being who you are and nothing more.

If you were destined to be a Warrior or a Shaman or the Leader of the Tribe, then you fulfilled your role by being true to who you are and placing—the Truth in All Things, above all else of ‘value’ and let the Spirit guide you and move your actions for all to recognize.

Belief, and it is an unshakable faith, in the truth to guide you and others is how the people of the Nations—the Cherokee were ‘formed’ and it is how the Cherokee lived. They know no other method of living and dying especially when they faced their adversaries—such as, the white settlers.

This principle was more than a guide for living; it became Life itself for the Tribe and for the People of the Nations—the Cherokee and for me, their adopted Warrior.

When I returned to my family after my many years with the Cherokee, I left the tribe in the body only. I was told by a Shaman, My heart would never truly be with either the whites or the Cherokee until you decided which Life you were supposed to live.

Then and only then could I be true to what the Spirit ordained for my role, my part in life and my path on the Journey; it was for me to decide to listen or to turn my back on the words of the Spirit.

I hesitated at leaving the Tribe to start my adult life with the people of my family. And my return to a white settlement was delayed several times as I pondered long and hard the words of the Shaman. But I thought I was being led back to my family and the world, or what seemed like a wider world, from which I could develop into the man I was supposed to be.

What I could not see was the truth in front of me; I could not see that I had become the man I was supposed to be and only time and following my path could lead to the successful completion of my Life in the Spirit.

I did not understand the Truth of All Things because I thought I was on the path I was supposed to follow. All I could see was another part of an adventure, which revolved around a return to a life I had left. However, I had not felt safe in the world of the whites to start with.

I left my family because I had become troubled with life confined to a farm, and a business forged on a frontier settlement. I wanted more than what surrounded me but the demands of life with my family burdened not only my physical body but my heart as well. I became more and more troubled by an ever-present feeling of a loss of freedom that confined my mind, my heart and my body. The hard work of the homestead or business was not the issue at hand. It was the confinement of my spirit because I was not connected to the Land, which caused me to be a problem for my family.

I had now chosen to return to this same family and to the life that I led before my manhood with the Cherokee. To me, it made little sense except; I thought that was where I was supposed to be headed. To the Cherokee Shaman, who had often guided my growth to manhood, it brought the vision of a personal disaster. I had not understood the Shaman when he told me to believe and be a whole person. I thought he told me to choose one way of life over another and then follow my choice for the rest of my life.

What he tried to show me was that I needed to be true to the real me and then form my life around the Truth in and of everything—All Things, which I was, am and would be.

I could then live where I choose and still be the real—me in all my relationships—with the Cherokee, the whites, other tribes and especially in my relationship in the Spirit.

By not waiting and hearing the Shaman’s words for what they really meant, I stepped off my path and wandered away from the path I should have taken. I started a path of self-deceit, which blinded all but the Shaman to the real person, the Sam Houston I was—and only later in life returned to be.

It was a hard lesson to learn, and as I look back on that moment of decision—to return home to my family, I realized the words of the Shaman rested heavily on my heart. Consequently, my steps away from the Tribe were burdened not only by my sorrow for leaving but by my burden of blindness to the truth of who I was, am and would become.

I almost turned back—to return to the People, but I could not face reversing my decision. The Cherokee Shaman could only pray to the Spirit for me so that I would open my ears and my heart to the Spirit’s words. I thought I was following the Spirit, but I had actually fooled myself into believing that I heard the Spirit’s words because they fit so perfectly into my plans. I thought I could return home a man and in that manhood, I could overcome all adversity and pain.

My vision for life caused part of my dilemma, because I had been raised to see death as another part of the Journey and not to be feared and despised for its loss of riches, which the whites had demonstrated to the Cherokee.

I was my own man, and I owed it to the Cherokee to show my family that I had learned life’s lessons well. I believed more in what I saw than what I could not see. However, it did not take any amount of time at home for me to realize something was wrong. I had now become another mouth to feed and I had to earn my place in life on the homestead and business. I had to become a family member all over again, and I had to become ‘civilized’ to the white world and its far more complex social and economic rules and regulations.

I thought I left the confinement of the homestead, and I believed I could weather any storm, but I found I returned to that same confinement and the prison of suspicion that formed the everyday economic, social and political life of the settlers.

I traded freedom for a bonded life with my family; and my heart, my spirit and my actions clashed. I ached for the passion, which life with the Cherokee had instilled in my person. I realized that I was now but half of whom I had been, and I could not live with being a shell of man.

I needed to repay a debt of servitude to my family, and then I needed to move onwards to find my missing self. I needed to become whole again, and my search started for this ‘whole person’ after I believed my debt to my family had been paid in full.

So my second step in self-deceit was now in place, and I started to act on it immediately. I could see the next steps in my future, but I could not see the path I stood on or any of the beauty around me, My life of harmony while I was with the People of the Nations—the Cherokee had been broken and nearly shattered because I did not believe I could return to my real home among the People. I believed I would not be welcome so soon after I left them.

Unfortunately, the certainty of my actions was delivered to the world through my blindness to the Truth, which—in essence, kept me from becoming a whole person.

I thought I could not return to the Cherokee because I had given my word—to myself that I should return to my white family and repay my debt—created through my abandonment of them.

I discovered that an agreement based on your own short-sighted thoughts and filled with self-deceit is no agreement in truth; it is an agreement with nothing because it is founded on the emptiness of doubt and fear.

I fell into my own trap.

I became entangled in a pit of doubt, desire and self-guidance.

I left my truthfulness in everything behind me because I could not believe in the one thing that mattered most in life; I could not believe in the Truth in All Things in me because I made decisions based on what I had thought, rather than what I knew, was the right thing to do.

These two decisions, the first to leave the People of the Nations—the Cherokee and the other to remain with my family were made in error. I could not see the Truth of All Things around me. I was taught what life should be, and I lived it as such. This made me a whole person—an individual who is in harmony with Life.

I should have returned to the Nation, but the steps on my ‘new’ path seemed to loom in front of me with a certainty that only youth can provide. Nevertheless, I needed the wisdom of the Shaman to live within a world that did not or ever would believe in the wisdom of Truth of All Things and the Way of All Things.

M y time with the family I was born into, after a less than tearful reunion, was only the very beginning of my path to return to the People of the Nations—the Cherokee.

I had a debt to pay and regardless of any circumstances, it would be paid because that was part of the Cherokee’s principles; that is, living in truth—as the Truth in All Things.

Therefore, a debt is a debt until repaid in full or by the mutual consent of both parties involved. At first, that may seem as if it is a simple idea filled with common sense, but I found living within the truth required honesty on all party’s sides. And in life among the settlers, it was not so easy to accommodate such a way of living.

In fact, as I worked my way through young adult and adulthood, I found that honesty was in very short supply among the so-called civilized people of the world.

The sheer ease of speaking the truth was somehow complicated in life among my family and other families in the rural settings of Tennessee.

It seemed that people only accepted me, to the extent that I was a prodigal son, who had returned to his senses and who became a part of what was considered by others as a decent environment.

I felt quite the opposite.

I believed I left years of civilized living behind me, and I had returned to a world I did not understand.

I felt uncomfortable living with my family. And this feeling became stronger during gatherings with other settler’s families. I was bothered by the sense that I was held in suspicion of having become, One of them, and that I had somehow become less of a human being.

This feeling I became aware of was never spoken to me directly, but having become observant of my surroundings and my dealings with others; I became increasingly aware of the language of hatred as acted through a person’s walk, talk and posture. I noticed the look of suspicion in other men’s eyes as they approached me in even the most casual of circumstances. Somehow I had become an enemy, and I had no idea how that happened, at least—at first I had no idea. However, under the cover of darkness when I would leave the cabin to walk through the fields of my family’s farm, I would rest against a tree or near a stream and look at the sky and the stars that still filled the sky.

I realized that the feeling I had at those times, when I wasn’t in contact with other people, was where I felt at home. Among the Cherokee, the night sky was filled with the wonder of life. Hours were spent not in the telling of tales of what whites had said the patterns of the stars meant. Rather, there was a sense of fulfillment that became apparent during the moments or hours of silence spent under the blanket of stars that set the sky to light and diminished the darkness, which filled our hearts.

We, as the People, discovered both individually and as a Nation that the night sky held promise.

When all other promises were broken, and the Nation was set on a path of destruction in their dealings with outsiders; the promise of the blanket of stars—the lights of the Spirit, kindled hope and dreams.

The Shaman warned the People and me, their adopted one, to be prepared for the ‘promise of emptiness,’ but always remain faithful to the People and renew your life under the blanket of stars—the lights of the Spirit.

These words and the picture of a future I could not understand, nor did I know would happen, were still distant and unknown to me. But the blanket of stars—the lights of the Spirit were real, and I knew I could hold on that reality because it was based upon the truth of living. The stars were alive and not part of our imagination.

What happened under the stars, the life we lived was of great story telling, because the stars were sacred and alive. In the People of the Nations—the Cherokee’s view they covered, protected and guided us on our path, which is Life in our Circle.

It was the living memory of the peace and inner tranquility given through the blanket of stars, the lights of the Spirit, which filled my heart with the courage to face the new day.

Sometimes, when I felt the daylight would come too soon I would try to hold on to the passage of time, the minutes and even the seconds if I could. But I realized those dimensions of time were invented by those, who could not hold on to the reality of a moment in Life.

The measure of time was a convenience of civilization, but how much had we as human beings sacrificed to the necessity of meeting appointments, deadlines and travel?

How much had we sacrificed by making the use of time our weathervane for progress?

How much had we sacrificed by allowing ourselves, as human beings, to be owned by time and not use time to our advantage?

How often, during any day, did we allow ourselves to be moved by the convenience of time apportioned properly and yet, miss the day itself and the glory of the night to follow?

How often could we, the so very civilized, have taken just a few of our precious moments and turn them inwardly for a look at the truth of our lives?

After returning to my family, I realized that the need to look inside one’s heart was obscured by the need to fill the time during the day with ‘useful activity.’ This ethic of civilized life became known as economic progress—ceaseless work. In essence, the need to look into one’s heart is directly related to the productive activity you are performing, in order to replace living within the truth.

I n the ‘civilized’ settlement of Tennessee in 1809, the day was separated into two distinct parts. Except for rare occasions, the day was for work, and the night was for sleep—a rest of sorts.

Even on what the settlers called the Sabbath, the day was for the work of religion.

I could not understand how you had to work at religion. Just living in the Truth of All Things and the Way of All Things was a gift from the Spirit—to find your peace of heart and mind.

How could ‘work at prayer,’ accomplished with the same vigor as plowing a field or harvesting a crop, be rewarding in the eyes of the Spirit?

The blanket of stars, the lights of the Spirit were given to us to see our path and to be bathed in the light of the Spirit’s guidance.

How could we work to wrest the truth from that which was already given and not realize—we can only fail without the guidance of the Spirit—the Truth in All Things around us?

The answer to the People of the Nations—the Cherokee was to live the life of truth in everything we do. By living this life in the truth, we follow the Spirit and what the Spirit has provided for us.

The Shaman used to ask us, "What can you change of the stars?

What can you change of the world around you?

What can you change so that others could see you for the person you are"?

For years, the People, mainly children, would speak of their great deeds and how they would be spoken of under the blanket of stars. Others would talk of becoming powerful leaders, and their words would be re-told under that same blanket of stars. Still others would talk of how they would become strong and feared among their enemies, and those stories would be told under the blanket of stars.

The Shaman would listen, often saying nothing and directing our attention to the lights of the Spirit. He would point or move his head in the direction; he wanted us to look. He would motion to where he wanted us to see the movement of the blanket of stars and how in that movement, we were still in the same place. During the day, especially at the beginning of our path with the Shaman, we would ask our parents what all that meant. The elders would look at us and smile but say nothing. Our ‘parents’ would do the same

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