Anna Raguet Irion: Writing a woman's life into Texas history
Anna Raguet Irion (1819-1883) came with her family from Pennsylvania by way of Cincinnati, Ohio to Nacogdoches in 1833. Her father, Henry Wynkoop Raguet, and Sam Houston became friends and political allies during the tumultuous years of the Texas Revolution and Republic of Texas. Houston, a frequent visitor with the Raguet family, became infatuated with Anna, the eldest daughter of Marcia and Henry Raguet. Smitten Sam Houston, twenty-six years her senior, sent Anna Raguet his personal token from the battlefield of San Jacinto, oak leaves, the symbolic "laurels of victory." For more than five years Houston, an inveterate letter-writer, sent gifts and letters to "the peerless Miss Anna," delivered by his close friend and Secretary of State, Robert Anderson Irion. Letters exchanged between them discussed politics, horses, poetry, all "the beauty and fashion" in society as well as Houston's divorce. Houston's unreserved, often eloquent letters to a young, unmarried woman are a rare view into the private life of the "Hero of San Jacinto" and into a pivotal era in Texas history. The courtship failed, however, and Anna Raguet eloped with Robert Irion in 1840. Anna remained close to her family in the Redlands of East Texas where she raised her five children and was active in her community until her death in Overton, Texas in 1883.