The Story up to now: Sam Houston buys 13-year-old Jeff
Hamilton, a slave boy, from an owner he feels is uncaring, and perhaps,
abusive. The General takes quite a “shine” to Jeff and teaches him how
to handle his horses which pull the buggy, eventually making Jeff his
driver. Jeff’s life, though tragically still a slave, has changed: he is
well-fed, well-treated, clothed properly, and is taught to read and
cipher, as the Houstons encourage learning.
Sam has been elected governor of Texas, so the Houston
family is moving to Ausin, with Jeff driving Sam in the buggy while the
rest of the family rides in their yellow coach.)
As they ride along the road, Governor Sam asks Jeff to
recite his ABCs and to read a few lines in a newspaper. When the young man
(now 19 years of age) performs satisfactorily, the Governor comments that
Jeff will be a learned man yet! Jeff is very proud.
At the Governor's Mansion, Jeff becomes eyewitness to
many events - not all politically oriented. Some involve the Houston
When Jeff is not performing his chores, he often plays
“stick horses” with Andrew Jackson Houston, the youngest of the
Houston children. Andy, as he is called, is a favorite of Major E. W.
Cave, Governor Houston’s Secretary of State, who offices next door to
the Governor. Major Cave always gives Andy paper and pencils with which to
draw and “write” when he visits.
One day during a visit, Major Cave speaks rather
sharply to the five-year-old; Andy’s feelings are hurt. Angrily, Andy
goes up the stairway to where the Senate is meeting and finds the
sergeant-at-arms away from his usual post at the door. Seeing a key in the
lock on the door, Andy turns the key, takes it out of the lock and
proceeds back to the Mansion. Before entering the house, he throws the key
When the locked door is discovered, a frantic hour is
spent trying to find a spare key but to no avail. At first, the Senators
take being “prisoners” with good humor but finally become angry
thinking some Houston sympathizer has played a joke on them. The Senators
open a window and call for help, attracting an amused crowd. Poor Andy,
someone “rats” on him, saying they saw him tampering with the key in
the door to the chamber.