Located on 10th Avenue in front of the Eastham Thomason Park is a marker very similar to the many Historical site markers that the Historical Commission sanctions; however, this marker indicates that it was donated by the "Citizens of Huntsville" in recognition of the Sam Houston Bicentennial Birthday Celebration. The Marker is a tribute to Joshua Houston. The passage of time has a way of eroding the memories of the aged ones and oftentimes the historical curricula taught in many of today's schools omit this man and his contributions, so that the newer generations know very little about this wonderful man; hence the question:
Who was Joshua Houston???
Joshua Houston life span was 80 years, he lived from 1822 to 1902. He was the trusted former servant to General Sam Houston and his wife, Margaret. Joshua was one of the first Freedmen to purchase real estate from M.C. Rogers in the surrounding area that came to be known as "Rogersville." The Homestead at Avenue O and Tenth Street was purchased for $120 on January 15, 1866.
Joshua built a large two story house and a wood shop on the site. His son, the outstanding educator Samuel W. Houston, was born and reared in this house and later lived in it for a period after his father's death.
Joshua Houston's Blacksmith shop was located diagonally across the street, on the southeast corner. "Josh," as he was often called, also purchased a 54 acre farm that lay behind his homestead.
Joshua served as a city Alderman from 1867 until until the early 1870's. He was elected County Commissioner 1878-1880 and 1882-1884 terms and is credited with being a School Trustee. Deed records name him as a trustee of the first Freedmen's Church in Huntsville, the Interdenominational Union Church. In 1886 and of the St. James Methodist Church in 1869. A few years later he was an early Deacon of the First Baptist Church located west of his home. He was also a supporter of Bishop Ward College, founded in 1883 which was located near the corner of Pleasant Street and Old Madisonville Road.
To learn more, just make the trip to The Samuel Walker Houston Museum & Cultural Center where much more about this pathfinder, is on display.
Preserving the Legacy