Sam Houston, whose full name is Samuel Houston, ran away from home as an adolescent, had little formal education, was one of five boys in a family with eight children and spent time living with the Cherokee Indians; he eventually owned slaves and supported slave ownership, but also endorsed the Union and was the seventh governor of Texas. Sam Houston read classic literature as a child, set up a school at age 18, earned a degree in law and eventually opened his own law firm.
Sam Houston was born on March 2, 1793. He spent most of his childhood living on his family's plantation in Rockbridge County, Va. Houston had Scottish and Irish ancestry, and was raised as a Presbyterian. Eventually, the family moved to Tennessee following the death of Houston's father. Despite living on a farm, young Sam Houston showed little interest in farming. He attended a nearby academy briefly, and spent his free time reading; the Iliad was a favorite. Houston fled his home in 1809 to live with the Cherokees. Houston developed a close bond with Chief Oolooteka, who acted as a surrogate father and gave Houston the name of "Raven.' Houston eventually left his Cherokee family to study law and pursue politics. He returned, however, to his Cherokee family and served as an activist promoting good relations between the Cherokees and whites.