I apologize because it has been so long since I posted anything on here. I’ll try to do better. I decided to do something that combined two of my favorite subjects—sex and Texas. This is what I came up with---
My Texas history books didn’t talk about sex—they’d have been a lot more interesting if they had. For the life of me, I can’t understand why most history professors shied away from discussing sex among our ancestors. The fact that they were ancestors proves they engaged in sex, whether or not they talked about it. During my research, I’ve discovered much about the sexual mores of Texas historical figures.
I guess we should start with the “Father of Texas,” Stephen F. Austin. There is no evidence that he ever had sex with anyone. When asked about it once, he said, “My mistress is Texas.”
That’s an odd answer, and if true, it must have been a pretty unsatisfactory arrangement. I need to point out that Austin died a bachelor, having never been married. I don’t want to infer that Stevie was perhaps a bit light in his loafers, but that possibility does exist. Look carefully at his statue in the capitol building, the one done by Elizabet Ney. With all that curly hair, he really was kind of cute.
Elizabet Ney did life-size Carrara Marble statues of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston. One set resides in the Texas State Capitol building in Austin and a matching set is on display in the Nation’s Capitol in Washington.
One other thing about Austin gives me pause—Jane Long claimed to have had offers of marriage from just about everyone involved in the Texas Revolution—except Stephen F. Austin. I can’t help it if I find that significant.
Erastus “Deef” Smith, one of the most heroic Texians, had decided to sit out the revolution. He didn’t mind living under Mexican rule. In a way, he already did. He was married to a Mexican beauty, a widow with three children, who reported excelled in all her “wifely duties.” She welcomed him enthusiastically when he came home, with a warm meal and a warmer bed.
Mexican sentries stopped Deef at the checkpoint outside San Antonio. Deef told the young captain that he had not been home in two months and he just had to see his wife. The young officer said his papers were not in order and he would have to wait three days. Smith, in a frenzy, explained that he could not wait three days, he just HAD to see his wife. The captain refused and Deef shot him, spurred his horse and made it back to the Texian lines. He joined the Texians on the spot and that night, slipped through the lines to see his wife. It did not take her long to trim his horns, and Deef returned to the army and did yeoman service. The Mexican officer lived, but never knew how much he hurt his country’s war effort by influencing Deef Smith to join the Texians.
On firmer ground, sexually speaking, we have William B. Travis. He only spent about five years in Texas, from age 21 to 26, and he did his best to screw someone every single day. Oh, I know he was a lawyer and lawyers do that, but I mean he had sex with females as often as he could arrange it. He kept meticulous records. He bragged about it, just like any other twenty-something male. He started calling himself “Buck,” possibly hoping to lead women to unconsciously wonder about his sexual prowess.
I did not accidentally mention the phrase “arrange it.” Travis did not obtain sex by seduction—he arranged it. If Buck Travis had limited himself to ladies he actually seduced, he would have been doing without more often than not. He was not especially handsome, certainly not witty, never lived in a city, and rarely travelled. He was boring, rural, and dour with a weird, some would say twisted, sense of humor. On the other hand, he was more than willing and less than picky. His seductive comments were most likely limited to, “How about a little, Baby?” and “Fifty cents—you got to be kidding”—or, “I didn’t want to buy that thing, Honey, just rent it for a while.”
Jane Long, in her forties at the time, claims that the 24-year-old Travis hit on her, but she turned him down. I have no trouble believing either of those statements—Travis hit on just about every female he brushed up against and if Jane had sacked out with him, he would have cataloged it in his notebook, and broadcast it from the rooftops.
With his non-discriminatory habits, it was only a matter of time until Travis contacted something he couldn’t wash off. He picked up a heavy dose of the clap, and commenced to spread it around the colony. He self-treated with quicksilver, but that didn’t help. With all his eloquence, he could not explain to his fiancé why he passed it on to her.
The busy boarding house owner, Jane Long, claimed marriage offers from Ben Milam, Mirabeau Lamar, William B. Travis and Sam Houston. I doubt if any of these gentlemen took her to bed, based on two pieces of evidence. One, I saw her picture. Two, it would have been common knowledge. I imagine the springs in those boarding house beds would squeak like rusty hinges, and broadcast the goings-on to everyone in the neighborhood.
If we accept the fact that Travis was a whoremonger, Austin may have been a bit less than manly, and Deef Smith took care of his horny spells at home with his wife, then Texans are hard-pressed to find some pioneer to admire for his sexual exploits. As usual, Sam Houston will come to our rescue.
The history books all tell variations of the same story. Sam Houston was 34 years old, tall, handsome, governor of Tennessee, and being groomed by Andrew Jackson to be president one day. In January of 1829, after a whirlwind courtship, he married 18-year-old Elisha Allen. After less than three months, Elisha packed her bags and moved back to her parents without explanation. Houston got drunk, resigned the governorship, and moved back to the Cherokee Nation. Neither party ever explained why the marriage dissolved, and Houston promised to kill anyone who said anything to soil Elisha’s reputation.
Looking past the history books and digging deeper into the story, I have pieced together a possible explanation. The following is all conjecture on my part, but it takes known facts and traces them to logical conclusions. At least the conclusions are logical in my mind.
Houston and his family moved from Virginia to Tennessee when Sam was a boy. His father was dead and everyone in the family was expected to work. When Sam was 14 or 15, he hated working as a clerk in his older brother’s store, so he ran away and was adopted by a Cherokee Indian chief. Sam lived with the Indians until he was 19, going back to civilization to visit his family only once or twice per year.
Why would a young white boy go off to live with the Indians? Sam was not an avid hunter or fisherman. There were no books to keep him occupied in the wilderness. What on earth would keep a fifteen-year-old boy out in the woods for five years? Fifteen-year-old girls. The same thing that keeps modern teenage boys standing in front of a mirror, mashing pimples and combing their hair for hours.
Adolescent Indian girls were encouraged to experiment sexually. The tribe wanted them to be prepared to deliver pleasure to their future husbands, so along with cleaning, cooking and tanning leather, they were expected to work on their sexuality. If they saw an appealing young buck, they tried him out. If they discovered something that felt good, they practiced it. They did all this when they were single. When they got pregnant, or otherwise chose to marry and settle down, they stayed strictly true to their mate, or he cut off their nose.
Imagine a young Sam Houston in such a target-rich environment. He was a good looking, strapping youth, nearing six feet in height. His fame spread through the tribe, and single girls were coming from miles around just to see what the pale-faced boy had to offer. Why on earth would he ever go back and sweep out his brother’s store.
On the other hand, consider Elisha. She was 18 years old and her mother had taught her all she knew of the birds and bees, which probably wasn’t much. Her mother may have explained that sex was painful, a curse that a woman must endure, along with a monthly period and childbirth. Elisha could not have looked forward to her wedding night.
Sam and Elisha were married in her parents’ palatial home near Gallatin. They spent their wedding night in separate bedrooms, and left early the next morning for the two-day wagon trip to Nashville. On the second night of their marriage, they stayed in the guest bedroom at the home of the bride’s aunt. The next morning, the bride confided to the aunt, “I hate that man. I wish Sam Houston was dead.”
What happened? How could a fresh young bride turn sour so quickly? What had Sam done to cause this sudden change of heart? Most of his sexual experience was with the Cherokee, and that had been as a juvenile. He certainly must have gone to brothels as he matured, but that does little to prepare a young man for the patience and tenderness sometimes required in marriage.
I expect, on the long wagon ride that day, Sam had remembered some of the Indian girls and some of the moves that had turned them on. He may have playfully grabbed a boob or patted a backside. He may have playfully tried so often that Elisha felt she was fighting an octopus. He was surely nursing a woody, and may have shown it to her. He may have even asked her to pet it. Or rub it. Or kiss it.
In their bedroom that night, Sam probably wanted to keep the lights on, while Elisha wanted it to be pitch black. She complained to her aunt of a hideous scar on Sam’s leg, near the groin area, so Sam had surely stripped. The wound was left over from the war of 1812, and bothered Houston for the rest of his life. He probably paraded around the bedroom naked, displaying his masculinity. He must have scared her more than anything in her life up to that point.
During the next few weeks, while living in the governor’s mansion, Houston complained to some close friends that Elisha was “cold” to him. He was not specific, and did not elaborate. Elisha told her parents he was insanely jealous, and accused her of having a lover. Because of his experience with Indian maidens, Houston was certain that all women enjoyed sex and could not understand his wife’s reluctance in the bedroom.
After their split, Sam Houston moved back to the Cherokees and married (in an Indian ceremony) a beautiful widow, Tiana. Sam stayed drunk most of the time they lived together. After four years, Houston dissolved the marriage, moved to Texas and, as they say, the rest is history. He and Elisha finally divorced after Texas became a republic. Both remarried.
Houston, at long last, found marital bliss. In 1840, at age 47, he married Margaret Lea, 21, a religious girl with fragile health. Margaret defined the term “long –suffering-wife,” staying at home in Texas while Sam went off to Washington as a Senator for most of the year. He wrote often, but only came home between sessions. During these yearly visits home, he met his new baby, impregnated Margaret, and went back to Washington. They had eight children. Sam managed to remember most of their names.
This only scratches the surface of sex in Texas history. Perhaps, one day, I’ll dig deeper into the subject.