Today@Sam Article

"12 Plus One" Exhibit To Open At The Sam Houston Museum

Jan. 18, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Megan Buro

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum and Republic of Texas Presidential Library presents the exhibit, “12 Plus One.” This exhibition reveals the ongoing research by the museum of the twelve individuals listed on Sam Houston’s probate inventory in 1863, plus the one who ran away to Mexico and later returned to live the rest of his life in the city of Houston. Each of these people were born into slavery and though their journeys were different, all eventually found themselves working and caring for the Houston family. They performed duties that were essential to the success of Sam Houston’s legacy until becoming freed citizens after emancipation. wall of quotes from letters for 12 Plus One Exhibit

“The museum would like to further our research and expand our knowledge on all the enslaved people that were associated with the Houston family,” said Jude Routh, the museum’s curator of exhibits. “Last names were excluded on the inventory making research very difficult, but we refuse to accept that it is an impossible task.” 

Most recently, the 1870’s US Census revealed that the person referred to as “Purlee” in Sam Houston’s personal correspondences and as “Pearl” on the probate inventory, is Pearl Lee found in Robertson County with his family. “Genealogy research is needed now to verify his family history and try to curate an image,” Routh said. 

“This exhibit highlights two things to me,” said Derrick Birdsall, museum director. “First, sharing what we already know of Joshua, Eliza, Jeff, Tom and the others. Secondly, it highlights just how much we have yet to learn, and hope to learn, about the other enslaved people who lived and worked on the Houston farm.  It’s my hope that each year this exhibit grows in size and scope as we learn new information.”

The museum could not undertake this task without help from the community. “We owe a special thanks to Don Williams, PhD, history students of Zach Doleshal, PhD:  Naomi Baum and Cobi Jones, the SHSU Thomason Room and the Huntsville Public Library for their contributions to this research project and exhibit,” Routh expressed. timeline

“12 Plus One” will be on display until Feb. 26, at the museum’s Katy & E. Don Walker, Sr. Education Center located at 1402 19th Street.

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum and Republic of Texas Presidential Library is a part of Sam Houston State University and dedicated to preserving the memory of Sam Houston and his times. The museum complex is open Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit the museum website or call the museum at 936-294-1832.

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