Front view of the Steamboat House, the last residence and location where Sam Houston died on July, 26th 1863 of pneumonia.  The house has been relocated to the museum grounds from its original location in what, is now, Oakwood Cemetery.

Front view of the Steamboat House, the last residence and location where Sam Houston died on July, 26th 1863 of pneumonia.  The house has been relocated to the museum grounds from its original location in what, is now, Oakwood Cemetery.

Build in 1847 Woodland was home to Sam Houston, his wife Margaret and the birthplace of 4 of their 8 children.  The family continued to reside here until Houston became Governor of Texas in 1859.

Build in 1847 Woodland was home to Sam Houston, his wife Margaret and the birthplace of 4 of their 8 children.  The family continued to reside here until Houston became Governor of Texas in 1859.

Sam Houston Memorial Museum - The Steamboat House and Woodland 

The claims of hauntings on the Sam Houston Memorial Museum grounds are widespread.  I, recently, went in search of The Steamboat House and The Woodland House to see what I could find, K2 meter in one hand, digital recorder in the other hand.  I was fortunate enough to spend some extra time on the property, waiting for a large group to clear out to allow for quieter, more controlled conditions.

Sam Houston's Law Office was built apart from the family residence, Woodland.  

Sam Houston's Law Office was built apart from the family residence, Woodland.  

 

During my wait, I spoke extensively with several staff members who work on the property.  One of the staff members has worked on the property for over 5 years.  These great people were eager to chat and shared their dismay at the local legends.  None of them have ever experienced anything that seems to be unexplainable.  

 

We discussed the rumors of handprints of a young child on the windows of The Steamboat House, footprints mysteriously creating themselves near the Woodland House, doors opening by themselves, museum objects randomly moving or falling to the floor and the infamous rocking chair which rocks by itself.  Again, none of the staff has ever witnessed any of these occurrences but they admit that they are not there when night falls.  Everyone goes home during the evening hours…

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum's recreation of the funeral setting of Sam Houston.  The setting was based on period accounts and specific facts regarding Houston, such as his Masonic Apron which is at the head of the coffin.

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum's recreation of the funeral setting of Sam Houston.  The setting was based on period accounts and specific facts regarding Houston, such as his Masonic Apron which is at the head of the coffin.


I spent a couple of hours on the museum grounds and, after the large party left, only encountered 2 other visitors.  To insure open access to the museum without needing tour guides, all the doorways are glass.  Access to the rooms is disallowed and the doors are in an open position and unable to close due to the glass. No one, with the exception of staff, has access to these rooms. However, is it possible that objects were seen falling in the rooms behind the glass?  Is it possible that in these sealed off rooms, people witnessed the rocking chair rocking away behind the glass? I did note, as you will see in my photos, that the glass gets smudged and can lead to speculation about photos.  In fact, I shared some of  these photos with friends and family and had several people contact me about one in particular, where they suspected that I caught something.  I put it up on the digital monitor and, after a review of the location and conditions, can say that I did not catch anything paranormal.  All anomalies were debunked.

Interior photo of The Steamboat House.

Interior photo of The Steamboat House.

Interior photo of Woodland.

Interior photo of Woodland.

 

With that said, this location is one of particular beauty and history.  Sam Houston was the first President of Texas, before statehood was granted.  Later, he became the first Governor of Texas, but lost his position when he campaigned for Texas to remain part of the United States prior to and during the Civil War.  The grounds contain two houses, both of which Sam Houston lived in and the one which he died in and where his funeral was conducted - The Steamboat House.  The visitors center offers a great, short video on the life of Sam Houston, who it seems was an outdoorsman and interesting character prior to being tamed by his last wife.  Do take the time to enjoy the grounds and feed the chickens and roosters which have free roam of the place.  The birds are quite vocal if visitors do not have treats for them and the proceeds go to supporting the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum's explanation of General Sam Houston's funeral.

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum's explanation of General Sam Houston's funeral.


Still, one has to wonder about what happens after dark at this location… My visit here was much too short to draw a conclusion differing from so many local accounts.  Perhaps you should visit and see what you find?  Will you see objects move, or footprints randomly appear, or handprints show up on the inside of virtually inaccessible rooms?  Or will you see that lone rocking chair merrily rocking away?