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HUSTON, ALMANZON

HUSTON, ALMANZON (1799–1861). Almanzon Huston, quartermaster general of the Texas army, was born in New York on October 22, 1799, and in April 1819 married Elizabeth Newton in Pennsylvania. He served in the Indian wars in Michigan before immigrating to Texas, where he opened an inn in San Augustine and until 1851 operated a stage line from San Augustine through Nacogdoches to Huntsville. Huston took part in the Fredonian Rebellion in 1832. In 1835 he and John A. Veatch laid out the village of Attoyac in Nacogdoches County. In 1835 he was elected to the Consultation as a representative of San Augustine. He arrived at San Felipe with his colleague Jacob Garrett about October 16, 1835. Huston was a member of the General Council and was on the subcommittee appointed to draw up the military organization of the provisional government.

On November 14 he was appointed quartermaster general of the revolutionary army with the rank of colonel. Given the poverty of the nation and the disorganization of its government, this was an almost insupportable burden, but Huston handled his task with great skill and energy. With Stephen F. Austin, Branch T. Archer, and John A. Whartonqv, Huston was ordered to New Orleans on December 8, 1835, by Gen. Sam Houston to arrange for the purchase of supplies and was in the city on January 17. He was there delayed for a month waiting for funding from the provisional government. "Here I am tied hand and foot," he wrote to a fellow officer. "I wish I had been appointed to the line; then I could have acted without any pullbacks." He quickly purchased $14,000 worth of supplies for the army once money was made available to him, however, and by March 5, 1836, he was in Nacogdoches raising and supplying volunteers for Houston's army. He reported for duty with Houston on the banks of the Colorado River on March 25. By April 1 he was in Brazoria overseeing the transshipment of the "Twin Sistersqv" to the army and gathering public stores for transportation to East Texas out of the way of the invading Mexican army. On April 10 he set about the construction of a series of depots between Natchitoches, Louisiana, and the Brazos River in order to expedite the movement of volunteers and supplies overland from the United States to the Texas army. After the victory at San Jacinto, however, he returned for three days to New Orleans, where he redirected the movement of supplies by sea. He was back in Harrisburg by June 25, subsequently at Galveston, and finally at Velasco, still arranging shipping for food, clothing, arms, and ammunition for the soldiers. With his department always underfunded and understaffed, Huston sold his watch and horse on July 11 to purchase coffee for the troops. Always in sympathy with the common soldiers, on July 15 he sent an entreaty to Secretary of War Thomas Jefferson Rusk that the men be better supplied. "These are the men that have fought the battles of our country, they have not shared in the spoils of victory, nor have they had one cent from the government either in clothing or money," he wrote in frustration. "I do hope for the honor of our cause you will order these men clothed." Although aware that he was in violation of regulations, he continued to supply rations to soldiers in order that they might make their way home after discharge. At Quintana on July 30 he also assumed the responsibilities of the commissary and ordnance departments. Without proper clerical assistance, through the summer of 1836 Huston became personally responsible for contracting for sewing, carpentry, hams, firewood, harnesses, camp kettles, steamboats, and a myriad of other commodities. He resigned as quartermaster general on March 18, 1837.

In 1839 he served in the Cherokee War. He died in San Augustine in August 1861. He was a Catholic and the father of fourteen children. Stephen F. Austin, who had great confidence in Huston, said of him, "He is a good man, and wishes to do all he can & never to travel beyond the strict sphere of his duty."

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Dorothy Grant Palmer, "Colonel Almanzon Huston," Texana 10 (Winter 1972). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

Thomas W. Cutrer

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Thomas W. Cutrer, "HUSTON, ALMANZON," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhu45), accessed April 25, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.