Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Thomas Hogg recently visited Maryville, Tennessee to attend a weekend of events in commemoration of Sam Houston, the 19th century American statesman.
Sam Houston was, and still is, an iconic figure in the United States as a result of his political achievements in Tennessee - his military leadership role in securing the independence of Texas from Mexico, and his position as the first President of Texas, eventually leading Texas into the United States of America.
Houston’s Ulster-Scots forebears hailed from the Ballyboley/Ballynure/Ballybracken area of County Antrim, signifying the clear connection with the borough of Antrim and Newtownabbey.
Speaking at the event, Councillor Hogg commented: “It is an immense privilege for me to represent Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council at the unveiling of this magnificent statue in honour of Sam Houston. The weekend provided a unique and perfect opportunity to make connections with Tennessee based on our shared heritage.”
The weekend was attended by a range of civic dignitaries from Maryville, as well as elected officials from the state and federal levels, representing both Tennessee and Texas.
The Mayor was accompanied by respected journalist and Ulster-Scots author, Billy Kennedy, who is a noted authority on Sam Houston and the Scotch-Irish community in general.