Invitation to Governor-Elect Sam Houston's Inaugural Ball

After serving as the first elected president of the Republic of Texas (1836-1838), Sam Houston became the seventh governor of the state of Texas, taking office on December 21, 1859.

Houston had run as an independent on a relatively moderate platform as what he called a “Union Democrat.” He won a relatively close race, 33,257 votes to 27,500, defeating Hardin R. Runnels, despite the increasing unpopularity of his stance against secession. His opponents decried his election.

According to Marquis James in his biography of Houston, The Raven, the extremists in the Texas legislature reacted negatively to the new governor. He wrote, “In the legislature an appropriation for furnishings for the Executive Mansion was obstructed by a controversy whether Sam Houston, who had lived in a wigwam, should be surrounded by civilized luxuries at public expense. The House debated whether it should offer its quarters for the inaugural ball and, if so, whether the carpet should be removed.”

James continued, “Houston made his own inaugural arrangements. Instead of taking the oath in the House chamber before the Legislature and a select few, he delivered his inaugural address on the portico of the Capitol.”