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WHAT IS IN A NAME? The I AM HOUSTON cast of characters

I AM HOUSTON is a work based on fact but purely of my imagination. I was surprised at the number of real persons I could actually learn about who existed in Sam Houston's early life, particularly his Cherokee Tribe. So this fictionalized story is very diverse. We keep saying we want diverse stories; the enjoyment I've had at the telling of the story demonstrates why we need them. The lost story of Chief John Jolly's tribe's removal was such a motivation and is why I feel so passionate about telling this journey of loss and redemption. It is why I've kept the possible alternate book name of "Your Irresistible Fate" -- which is Patroclus's death quote to Hector, important to Houston, and a broader title (just as the book is broader in scope).

Glance through the list and see the real people that populated our journey to become a country from sea-to-sea. These real persons deserve to be remembered, including the Native Americans. (One fun fact is that the infamous Will Rogers was a direct descendant of the Rogers family who were so important in all of this).

So without further ado, here is the list of characters in my novel who mostly were true persons, though of course my writing about them is absolutely fiction. I so wish we had preserved them more firmly in our history books.

LIST of Historical Persons and Book Characters*, including Mythology (* author invention)

Sam Houston, 1793-1863, – alias the Raven, Col-len-neh

Virginian who migrated to Tennessee, 1807

Runaway & Adopted by John Jolly, Cherokee, 1809-1812

School Teacher, 1812

Private, then Ensign, War of 1812, Creek War 1813-1814

Second Lieutenant, then First Lieutenant, US Army 1814-1818

Sub-Agent, Cherokee, 1817-1818

Lawyer, 1818-life

Adjunct General, rank of Colonel, Tennessee Militia, 1818

Attorney-General, State of Tennessee 1819-1820

Major General, Southern Division of the Militia, 1821-1823

US Congressman, Tennessee, 1823-1827

Political Attaché and Stump Writer for Jackson, 1823-1829

Governor of Tennessee, 1827-1829

Married Eliza Allen, January 1829

Separated, April 1829

Official papers declaring Cherokee Adoption, October 1829

Oral Cherokee tradition of marriage to Diana Rogers, late May 1830

Tah-Lohn-Tus-Ky / Standing Bear aliases, Articles for the Cherokee, (final 5th article in his own name), published in Arkansas Gazette, summer 1830

Oral Cherokee tradition of marriage to Diana Rogers, late May 1830

Not elected to Cherokee Council, summer 1831, strikes Chief John Jolly

Interviewee, Tocqueville and Beaumont, aboard the Louisville, on its way to New Orleans, December 27-31, 1831

Defendant, Congressional Trial on Privilege, and other trials, for beating Representative William Stanbery of Ohio based upon is comments quoted in National Intelligencer, April 17-May 7, 1832

Special Agent to Texas Indians for the United States, (passport signed August 6, 1832), December 2, 1832-1833

[Later, Major-General and Commander-in-Chief, Army for the State of Texan, President of Texas, Senator, Governor of Texas. Resigned Governorship upon cession vote in 1861]


Samuel Houston, Major, Father of Sam Houston – (d. 1806)

Daniel Morgan’s Rifle Brigade, Virginia Militia, Brigade Inspector, Major

Elizabeth Paxton Houston, Mother, (d. 1831)

Siblings: Paxton, Robert, John, James, William, Mary, Isabelle, Eliza Ann

James Houston, uncle, lawyer, legislator and builder of Jim Houston’s Fort in Kingston, Blount County, Tennessee

Mrs. James Houston, aunt

John H. Houston, cousin, lawyer, married to Gertrude, children: Mary (Sam Houston’s God-daughter), Sam

Gertrude Houston, cousin’s wife, see John H. Houston

Robert Houston McEwen, second cousin, lawyer

Houston Family Slaves: Polly,* Ben*, (historically listed as after Major Houston’s death: Peggy, Lucy, Jerry, Andrew, David)


Thomas Blue, purported slave of Houston's during Texas years. Larger than life reputation of being able to pass as white, with his blue eyes and speech/vocabulary, and doing so in support of the Texas Revolution. Houston reported that Blue ran to Mexico during Civil War with another slave. No exact history as to Thomas and his life, but this tidbit was too good for an author to ignore. If he could pass for white, why didn't he? Blue's role here takes on a great advocacy to show the deep wrong of Houston's life.

Tauny*, child slave, gift to Houston from Chief John Holly

CHEROKEE, Chickamauga, and Creek

Major Characters:

John “Diwali” Bowles, aka The Bowl or Bowls, Diwali, Cherokee / Chickamauga Chief, first at Running Water, leader of 1794 Tennessee River disaster like that in which Racheal Donelson Jackson’s family members were slaughtered. Fled with his tribe to Missouri until 1811 when the great earthquake caused him to move to Arkansas with Tah-lon-te-skee, where the Cherokee and Osage fought bitter wars. Bowles and his then wife Jennie Due Rogers moved to Texas in 1819 when the Cherokee were made to relocate again. [SPOILER, BUT WELL KNOWN FACT* Later, Bowles and Houston signed a treaty of peace in February of 1836, promising title to land for Bowles’ neutrality in the looming war with Mexico. When Houston was elected President after the Texas Revolution, the Senate refused to ratify the treaty. President Mirabeau B. Lamar was elected on a platform of expelling all Indians from Texas. When Houston was on a diplomatic trip to Washington, Lamar acted. Bowles refused to sign the peace treaty, gathered his village to leave, only to be run down and slaughtered. Bowles carried on his person a sword given him by Houston, and his copy of the treaty].

Doublehead, last Chief of the Chickamauga, purportedly executed by Ridge, Alexander Saunders, and Captain John Hellfire Rogers in 1807. James Vann was to have helped Ridge with the assassination, but was too drunk. Doublehead was a follower of Dragging Canoe, who led war on colonists with the British during the American Revolution and long after. Doublehead worked with Colonel Meigs, Cherokee Indian Agent, who offered bribes and secret agreements in exchange for land rights, leading to Doublehead’s execution by the Cherokee.

John Jolly, Ahuludegi, Oo-loo-te-ka, aka He-Who-Puts-Away-the-Drum (Or Puts-the-Drum-Away or the Man-Who-Beats-His-Own-Drum), brother to Tah-lon-te-skee, the Chief of the Cherokee of the West, Chief of Hiwassee Island, Cayuga Village, the peace-town at the edge of the Cherokee Nation, fought against Red Sticks in Creek War of 1814, moved West with his tribe in 1818. Extensive family, including Chicamauga Doublehead, and the Watts and Lowry families. Wealthy trader, planter, slave owner [Later, Chief of the Cherokee of the West, 1819-1838.]

The Ridge, (aka Major Ridge after the Creek War of 1814), Head of Cherokee Nation’s Lighthorse police, guest of Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun, called for death penalty for selling Cherokee land, appointed to execute Doublehead for selling Cherokee land. Cherokee leader who resisted voluntary removal, and stayed with the Cherokee of the East. [Later - Signed Removal Treaty in 1835, moved in 1837, killed in ambush for violating Ridge’s own law (along with his son John and Elias Boudinot) on June 22, 1839.]

John Ridge, son of Major Ridge and Susie Wickett Ridge. Cherokee of the East. Married Sara Bird Northup, causing an uprising in Cornwall so that they had to flee. [Later- also signed Removal Treaty of 1835, dragged from bed and stabbed to death in front of wife and children for signing treaty].

John Ross, Cherokee leader, opposed to removal of any sort, proponent of Cherokee Nation / Constitution. [Later became Chief of the Eastern Cherokee, hired lawyers in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, resisted removal treaty of 1836. In Washington when first forced removal of 15,000 occurred in the summer of 1836, but once he returned and saw the conditions of the removal, he asked that the rest be able to be in charge of their own removal. His wife, Quatie, died on the Trail of Tears.]

Sequoyah (George Gist or George Guest), nephew of John Jolly. Fought in Creek War of 1814 with Jackson, invented the Cherokee Alphabet at Dwight Mission in Arkansas in 1821.

Tah-lon-te-skee, aka Te-skee the Chief of the Western Cherokee, brother-in-law of Doublehead, brother of John Jolly, signed treaty of 1807. After Doublehead was executed, he moved to Arkansas Territory, joined by Bowles in 1811, died 1819, Cherokee capital city named after him.

James Vann, signer of Treaty of 1806, was selected along with the Ridge and Alex Saunders to execute Doublehead for taking a bribe to sign a land treaty. Was too drunk to participate. Killed in early 1809, creating the initial stir among the Cherokee when Sam Houston arrives at Hiwassee.

Woman-Killer, known Cherokee who fought in Creek War of 1814 with Jackson, listed as a casualty of war


Utopia, White man, living on the isle, perhaps an adopted Cherokee. Real name and particulars unknown, referred to with utopian leanings.

Cherokee Rogers Family, in familial order

John “Hellfire” Rogers, aka Captain Hell-Fire-Jack, Captain Rogers, Scotsman who was John Jolly’s right hand man, trader, Tory Captain in American Revolution, Veteran of Battle of Horseshoe Bend under Jackson. Married to Elizabeth Due, (Sons: John and James / she was a niece of John Jolly). Then married her daughter Jennie Due (Daughters: Dianna and Martha). In the book he is also married to the wee queen* with a son named Mathew*)

Elizabeth Due Rogers, wife of Captain John “Hellfire” Rogers and mother of John and James.

Jennie Due Rogers / Bowles, step-daughter, then wife of Captain John “Hellfire” Rogers, and eventual wife of Chief Bowles. Mother of Dianna and Martha Rogers.

John “Nolichucky” Rogers, son of Captain John “Hellfire” Rogers and Elizabeth Due, brother of James, Half-brother of Jennie Due, Diana Rogers. Sam Houston’s friend among the Cherokee, became Captain Rogers at The Battle of the Horseshoe Bend, Creek War, 1814. Moved to Arkansas and then what became Oklahoma with his Uncle John Jolly. Trader, Planter, Wealthy businessman [Later, Chief of the Western Cherokee, grandfather of W.C. Rogers, Chief of Cherokee Nation, great grandfather of Will Rogers, entertainer].

Elizabeth Coody Rogers, Bette,* wife of John Rogers, mother of Washington, William Coody Rogers, great grandmother of famous actor Will Rogers. Relative Charles Coody married into the Doublehead family. Bette is what I used to distinguish her from the many other Elizabeths.

James Rogers, son of Captain John “Hellfire” Rogers and Elizabeth Due, brother of John, Half-brother of Jennie Due, Diana Rogers. Sam Houston’s friend among the Cherokee. Trader / Interpreter for Indian expeditions to the Capitol and for Captain Armstrong at Fort Gibson. Moved to Arkansas and then what became Oklahoma with his Uncle John Jolly.

Diana Rogers, daughter of Captain John “Hellfire” Rogers and Jennie Due, Half-sister of John and James. Sam Houston’s second wife. Moved to Arkansas and then what became Oklahoma with her Uncle John Jolly. Died in the 1830s. Famous beauty. First married to David Gentry, who died in a Cherokee raid on the Osage.

Mathew Rogers* (aka Crawling Snake, Little Opossum) fictional son of Captain John “Hellfire” Rogers and the wee queen

Wee-Queen* fictional third wife of Captain John “Hellfire” Rogers, mother of Mathew, adopted niece of John Jolly.

Washington Rogers, son of John and Elizabeth Rogers

Lizbet* (Elizabeth) Rogers, daughter of John and Elizabeth Rogers, Lizbet is my distinguishing nickname for her.

William Cody Rogers, son of John and Elizabeth Rogers, Chief of Cherokee, grandfather of the famous Will Rogers, actor.


Tecumseh, Shawnee with a Creek Mother, came with a war party to the Chicksaw, Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee in the fall of 1811 preaching an Indian Confederation to battle the Americans out of their land Inspired the Creek Civil War when the Red Sticks (mostly Upper Creek lead by Weatherford) determined on war but he lower Creek (lead by McIntosh), sided on peace. Allied with the British in the War of 1812 to help them capture forts, killed in the Battle of the Thames, in Ontario.

The Prophet, sometimes synonymously used for Tecumseh, but also referred to as another Indian, maybe Shawnee, maybe Tecumseh’s brother, maybe a native of northern tribes. Foretold the earthquake and comet seen in America in the fall of 1811. Sources claim he had learned from scientist that it would happen. Inspired many would be prophets among all of the tribes.

William McIntosh, Creek Chief who opposed the Red Stick faction of Creeks, fought with Jackson in the Creek War, 1814. Related to Jolly. Was removed to Indian Territory along with the rebels. Killed on his plantation in Georgia in 1825 by a band of Upper Creek.

William Weatherford, Creek Chief—Red Stick leader, fought against the Americans, but Jackson did not execute him when he was found after The Battle of the Horseshoe. Called a reluctant strategist because he saw the futility of Tecumseh’s battle cry yet felt they had no choice. He planned and probably carried out the Fort Mims attack, though he is rumored to have urged the warriors to spare the women and children. He lived out his life not far from the attack and was later much respected by his white neighbors, known for raising fine horses (a family tradition). He is reputed to have owned as many as 300 slaves on his plantation. He died in 1824 after predicting his death on a hunting party, due to seeing an albino stag.


Major Characters:

Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, 1829-1837, Congressman and Senator for Tennessee, Colonel United States Army, Major General Tennessee Militia, Service in: Revolutionary War, War of 1812, including Creek War campaign, First Seminole War.

Racheal Donelson Jackson, wife of Andrew Jackson, her second husband. Divorce from first husband was botched so that Federalist attacked her character as living with Jackson before they were legally married. Her family were the Donelsons who were attacked on the Cumberland in 1780 by hostile natives. She died shortly after Andrew Jackson was elected President of the United States. Sam Houston was her Chief Pallbearer.

William B. Lewis, Quartermaster and officer under Andrew Jackson through the War of 1812, 2nd Auditor of the Treasury, 1828-1849, life long friend and advisor to Jackson, stayed out of politics.

Joseph McMinn, Governor of Tennessee, 1815-1821

Return J. Meigs, Revolutionary War Colonel, Cherokee Indian Agent, 1801-1823

Gideon Morgan, Colonel Cherokee Regiment, War of 1812, Creek War campaign, married to a Cherokee woman.

James Knox Polk, 11th President of the United States (1845-1849), Congressman 1825-1833, many more offices.


John Cusak, militia leader in Maryville, and Calvary leader in Creek War with whom Robert Houston fought. Punished with Sam Houston for disorderly conduct (Houston’s drumming), in December of 1809 outside of court for a militia gathering. Cusak’s fine was higher than Houston’s at ten dollars to Houston’s five.

Dante*, black freeman, runs flatboat down Tennessee. Gulf Isle decent.

Albert Jackson, Grandson of Hannah. Opted to remain as caretaker after Emancipation Proclamation, buried near the Jacksons in their family plot.

Betty Jackson, household slave, Hannah's daughter.

Hannah Jackson, Jackson household slave. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation and left the house to reside in Nashville.

Jake Shaw*, Handyman slave, gift from Chief Jolly to Jackson.

William Wallace, aka Wally, friend of Sam Houston, casualty at the Horseshoe Battle of the Creek War

Willoughby Williams, friend of Sam Houston, eventually a Colonel, Sheriff of Davidson County, Tennessee, where Nashville is located.


Lemuel Montgomery, (d. March 27, 1814). First Lieutenant US Army, War of 1812, Creek War Campaign, 1814. Jackson named Montgomery Alabama after him.


Colonel John Allen, father of Eliza

Eliza Allen, first wife of Sam Houston

Robert Allen, uncle of Eliza, Regimental Commander, War of 1812, Congressional Representative


Junius Booth¸ English and American Stage Actor, father of John Wilkes Booth, patriarch of Booth Family of actors

John C. Calhoun, 7th Vice President of the United States, 1825-1832 (under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson), 10th Secretary of War, December 1817-1825 (under James Monroe), Congressman and Senator for South Carolina, known for his theories of State Sovereignty and the “Calhoun Doctrine” which fueled the flames for the Civil War / Confederacy

Francis Scott Key, lawyer, author of the Star Spangled Banner

William Stanbery, Congressman, Ohio, 1827-1835

Andrew Stevenson, Speaker of the House, 1827-1834, Congressman from Virginia


Gustave de Beaumont, Tocqueville’s traveling companion on commission from King Louis-Phillipe to inspect American prison system, ran into Sam Houston on the steamboat to New Orleans in December 1831 and quizzed him as to American Indians and slaves.

Marquis de Lafayette, Gilbert du Motier, Commander and leader in many Revolutionary War battles, friend of General Washington, French Noble, leader of the French National Guard during some of the French Revolution, political prisoner

Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America, on commission from King Louis-Phillipe to inspect American prison system, ran into Sam Houston on the steamboat to New Orleans in December 1831 and quizzed him as to American Indians and slaves.

GREEKS, TROJANS, AND GODS (Literary figures of The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid)


Achilles, son of Peleus and the goddess Thetis, greatest Greek Warrior

Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, leader of the Greeks (the invaders)

Ajax, strongest Greek Warrior (there were two, the Greater and the Lesser. The Greater knocked Hector down with a stone.)

Helen, daughter of Zeus, wife of Menelaus, ran away with Paris to Troy, cause of the Trojan War, most beautiful woman

Menelaus, King of Sparta, husband of Helen and brother of Agamemnon

Odysseus, King of Ithaca, Greek Commander

Patroclus, Achilles’ best friend


Andromache¸ Hector’s wife and mother of his young son

Aeneas, Trojan who escaped, credited in The Aeneid with founding Rome, carried his father on his back, saw his dead wife while fleeing, basically went through hell to get to Rome after fleeing Troy.

Briseis, captured Trojan woman, slave of Achilles, turned over to Agamemnon in the quarrel that begins The Iliad

Cassandra, Priam’s daughter who can foretell the future, with the curse that no one believes her

Hector, son of King Priam and greatest Trojan Warrior

Paris, son of King Priam, lover-abductor of Helen

Priam, aged King of Troy


Aphrodite, goddess of love, equivalent to Roman goddess Venus, daughter of Zeus—for the TROJANS

Apollo, basically the symbol of the ideal athletic man. God of art, archery, knowledge—for the TROJANS

Athena, goddess of wisdom, courage, war strategy—for the GREEKS

Bacchus, (Roman) god of agriculture and wine

Hades, god of the underworld—NEUTRAL

Hera, goddess of women and marriage, wife and sister of Zeus—for the GREEKS

Iris, goddess messenger of the gods

Poseidon, god of the sea—for the GREEKS

Thetis, goddess of water, daughter of ancient sea god Nereus—for the GREEKS

Zeus, god of sky and thunder and earth, Chief of the Gods—NEUTRAL


Gaius Marius, Roman general and statesman, purportedly rose from the ranks, but had landed family. Championed the common soldier. Defeated invading Germanic tribes and was called the “third founder of Rome.” Painted amid the ruins of Carthage in 1807 by John Vanderlyn. Sam Houston’s favorite Roman General.

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