GEORGE SMITH HOUSTON was born in Williamson County, Tennessee, on January 17, 1811. Around 1821, he moved with family to Lauderdale County, Alabama, and attended Lauderdale County Academy. He studied law with Judge George Coalter, in Florence, Alabama, completed his law studies in Boyle's Law School in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and was admitted to the bar in 1831. Houston entered politics in 1832, when he was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives. He was elected solicitor from 1837 to 1841, was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1841 to 1849, and 1851 to 1861, and resigned in 1861 because of the secession of Alabama. In 1866 Houston was elected to the U.S. Senate, but Alabama was denied representation. He also was a delegate to the 1866 National Union Convention. Houston was elected Alabama's 24th governor on November 3, 1874, and was sworn into office on November 24, 1874. He was reelected in 1876, serving until 1878, when his term expired. During Houston's two terms, the 1875 Alabama Constitution was ratified, the public school system was reorganized, and the Alabama State Board of Health was established. By the end of his second term, he managed to reduce taxes and bring state spending under control. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in August 1878 and served until his death on December 31, 1879. He is buried at the Athens City Cemetery, Athens, Alabama.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.