Margaret Lea Houston - Later Years and Death

Later Years and Death

Margaret departed the Steamboat house to return to the home of her mother in Independence, who had begun to prepare for her eventual death as early as 1850. She built a tomb on her property and had a metal coffin built for herself, storing it under her bed. Nancy Lea died February 7, 1864.

Margaret bought the Root house in 1864 from Major Eber Cave, a family friend from Nacogdoches who had married the daughter of Sam Houston's friend Adolphus Sterne. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Washington County, Texas as the Mrs. Sam Houston House. Sam had always handled the finances, and Margaret found herself cash poor after his death. He had died in bad financial shape, and Margaret did not have money to erect a tombstone at his grave. The Texas legislature gave her Sam's unpaid gubernatorial salary. In order to enroll Sam Jr. in medical school, Margaret rented out Ben Lomond.

Margaret opened Sam's correspondence and records to Rev. William Crane when she arranged for him to write General Sam's biography, which was eventually rejected by the publisher.

Women of character, culture and staunch devotion to their families and church. Each in her own way greatly influenced the career of Sam Houston and the course of Texas History

“ ” Memorial slab at burial site of Margaret Lea Houston and Nancy Moffette Lea

Margaret died during a yellow fever epidemic on December 3, 1867. She was buried at 11 p.m. by her servant Bingley, family friend Major Eber Cave, and her two daughters Nettie and Mary Willie. No funeral service was performed. Margaret and her mother Nancy are buried together in the Houston-Lea Family Cemetery in Independence.

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