When Sam Houston Came to Town

In 1857 Sam Houston, then a U.S. senator, ran for governor of Texas as an independent.

Sam Houston

During the campaign Houston came to Birdville to debate Lewis T. Wigfall, a representative of Houston’s opponent, Democrat Hardin Runnels.

 

E. M. Daggett

The debate was attended by Captain Ephraim M. Daggett (1810-1883). Canada-born Daggett moved to Fort Worth in 1854—almost as soon as the doors opened. He was instrumental in getting the county seat moved to Fort Worth from Birdville, helped bring the first railroad to town. In fact, during the next two decades he would do so much for Fort Worth that when the city incorporated in 1873, the city council voted to have Daggett’s likeness placed on the city seal.

As Fort Worth pioneer J. C. Terrell recalled years later, after the debate Daggett offered Houston lodging for the night (photo of Daggett from Terrell’s 1906 memoirs).

Daggett’s home was located in the block bounded by Tenth and Eleventh streets and Main and the street named for Houston—about where the convention center dome is today.

Terrell recalled that the leg wound that Houston had received at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836 had never healed and bothered Houston that night. Daggett washed and dressed Houston’s wound. Fittingly, Daggett used the silver wash basin that he had confiscated from Houston’s old foe, Santa Anna, at the Battle of Buena Vista during the Mexican-American War in 1847.

Daggett had great admiration for the hero of the Texas Revolution, but Daggett and Houston disagreed politically (Daggett was pro-slavery). When election time came, Daggett voted for Houston’s opponent. Houston lost the election—his only electoral defeat.

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