Temple Lea Houston
|Temple Lea Houston|
|Texas State Senator from District 19 (based in Mobeetie in Wheeler County)|
|Preceded by||Avery Matlock|
|Succeeded by||John Hall Stephens|
August 12, 1860|
Austin, Travis County
|Died||August 15, 1905
|Resting place||Elmwood Cemetery in Woodward, Oklahoma|
|Spouse(s)||Laura Cross Houston|
|Alma mater||Baylor University|
Temple Lea Houston was the only one of the Houstons' eight children to be born in the Texas governor's residence. By the time he was seven, both his parents had died, and he lived with an older sister and her family in Georgetown, Texas. At age 13, he joined a cattle drive and later worked on a riverboat on the Mississippi River.
Aided by a friend of his father's, he gained an appointment as a page in the US Senate and worked in Washington, D.C. for three years. He returned to Texas in 1877 to attend the Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Texas A&M). He transferred to Baylor University, where he graduated in 1880 with honors in law and philosophy. He "read the law" with an established firm and was admitted to the bar. He was the youngest attorney in Texas when he opened his practice. That year he was appointed as the Brazoria County attorney.
In 1882, Houston was appointed as the district attorney of the 35th Judicial District of Texas, which then covered a large part of the Texas Panhandle, based in Mobeetie, Wheeler County. Houston was elected to serve in the Texas State Senate from District 19 from 1885 to 1889.
He concentrated his law practice on the Santa Fe railroad (the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway). He spoke French and Spanish, as well as seven Indian languages. In 1888, he gave the dedication address for the opening of the current Texas Capitol.
In 1894 Houston moved his family to the cattle town of Woodward in the Oklahoma Territory. He was legal counsel of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway; its Woodward depot became one of the most important points in the Territory for cattle shipping to the East. Houston became widely known and popular for his courtroom dramatics. He was charged with murder in the shooting of a brother of the outlaw Al Jennings, after an argument in the Cabinet Saloon, and was acquitted.
Houston won a reputation as a brilliant trial lawyer known for his courtroom dramatics. In 1899 he delivered his "Soiled Dove Plea" in a makeshift courtroom in Woodward's opera house. The argument on behalf of Minnie Stacey, a prostitute who worked at the Dew Drop Inn, became famous for winning her acquittal after ten minutes' consideration by the jury.
Temple Lea Houston died on August 15, 1905. His wife Laura Cross Houston died April 17, 1938. They are buried together at Elmwood Cemetery in Woodward, Oklahoma.
Representation in other media
- Edna Ferber modeled her main character of Yancey Cravat on Houston in her novel Cimarron (1929). (The novel was adapted as film versions under the same name, produced in 1931 and 1960.)
- Ross Elliott played Houston in "The Reluctant Gun" (1959) episode of the western anthology series, Death Valley Days.
- In the 1960 film Oklahoma Territory, Houston was played by Bill Williams. Gloria Talbott was cast as Ruth Red Hawk, Ted de Corsia as Chief Buffalo Horn, X Brands as Running Cloud, and Walter Sande as Marshal Pete Rosslyn. The film was written by Orville H. Hampton and directed by Edward L. Cahn.
- A 1963-1964 NBC television series entitled Temple Houston was co-produced by the actor Jeffrey Hunter, who also played the part of Houston.
Marriage and family
Established in his career, on February 14, 1883, Houston married Laura Cross, the daughter of a planter. They lived near Fort Elliott, which protected the border against American Indians, as well as the important cattle drives. The couple had seven children, only four of whom lived past infancy.
Houston family tree
|Houston family tree|
- Anderson, H. Allen. "Temple Lea Houston". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- Texas Capitol Building Dedication, Texas Bob website
- ""The Reluctant Gun", Death Valley Days, December 26, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- "Temple Houston: The Story Behind a Forgotten Television Western", Wildest Westerns website
- Grace Hunter Adams, Jack Love: Eighty Niner, Traditional, 1988.
- James D. Hamlin, The Flamboyant Judge: As Told to J. Evetts Haley and William Curry Holden' (Canyon, Texas: Palo Duro, 1972).
- Sallie B. Harris, Cowmen and Ladies: A History of Hemphill County (Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains, 1977).
- Louise B. James, Below Devil's Gap: The Story of Woodward County, Perkins, Okla.: Evans Publications, 1984
- Seale, William (orig. 1970; reprint 1992). Sam Houston's Wife: A Biography of Margaret Lea Houston. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-2436-0.
- Glenn Shirley, Temple Houston: Lawyer with a Gun (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980).
- Bernice Tune, Golden Heritage and Silver Tongue of Temple Lea Houston (Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1981).
- Houston Family Papers, 1836-1969 and undated, in the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University
- Beth Ann Doughty, "Houston, Temple", Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture
- Find-a-Grave, Temple Lea Houston and Laura Cross Houston
|Texas State Senator from District 19 (then 26 unorganized counties in the Panhandle based in Mobeetie)
Temple Lea Houston
John Hall Stephens