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Forsaken Patriot

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About the author:

Marshall Riggan
Marshall has been a professional writer for more than thirty years. He has written documentary projects for National Geographic, The Smithsonian, the History Channel, Arts and Entertainment and PBS. Many of his scripts have been centerpiece films or videos for museum displays, including traveling exhibits for Catherine The Great, Ramses II, and the history of Soviet Space Flight.

Twice, Marshall’s scripts on the environment were selected as Best Nature Film of the Year by the Outdoor Writers Association. Two years running, films he wrote were selected for the PBS Eudora Welty Americana Award as the best short American films of the year. Another film he researched and wrote for ABC was awarded an Emmy.

Gordon Blocker
Gordon’s work with the Galveston Historical Foundation, creating a living museum in the Samuel May Williams Home in the 1980s, sparked his fascination with Williams, his life and his times. It was the beginning of a decades-long project of original research that became the heart of Forsaken Patriot.

Since Gordon began his career in 1970 at CBS (KHOU-TV) in Houston, he has combined his love of story-telling with a wide range of communication skills, including photography, editing, videography, and film-making. He is especially known for his cutting-edge techniques involving interactive high technology for Macromedia, American Airlines and Coca-Cola. Over the years, his films, interactive products and creative solutions have earned him recognition at numerous film festivals, both national and international.

The Author's Together
Gordon, as producer, director and cinematographer, Marshall, as writer, have collaborated on many award-winning projects over the years. Among these films was Broken Rhymes, produced for a national PBS audience and narrated by Richard Burton, and a sequel, Journey From Flanders. The films focused on the struggles of young people who suffered severe brain injury in accidents, and their courageous fight to regain their physical, intellectual and emotional capacities. Both films were awarded top prizes at multiple national and international film festivals.

Forsaken Patriot

The Strange Life and Times of Samuel May Williams of Texas

Authored by Gordon S Blocker, Marshall Riggan
Edition: Texas Navy


He came to the western frontier under a cloud and under an assumed name, a man seriously in debt, fleeing a murder indictment with nothing but the clothes on his back and a beautiful woman some called a “Devil” on his arm. His name was Samuel May Williams. And in time, although he would risk all in the service of Texas, he would become the most controversial, the most hated, and the most misunderstood character to walk the pages of Texas history.

Sam was the son and grandson of sea captains, and as a young man, sailed as Supercargo on his family’s Baltimore Clipper, venturing to Buenos Aires where he stayed for awhile learning Spanish and the perils and possibilities of doing business in a country torn by revolution - skills that would serve him well later when he would find himself center stage in the conflicts between Texas and Mexico. Still in his early twenties, he settled for a few years in New Orleans where he became fluent in the French language, made and lost a fortune speculating in land recently obtained from France in the Louisiana Purchase. It was in New Orleans that he was rumored to have killed a man in a dispute over a woman, perhaps the woman that historians have identified as either an actress, the wife of a circus owner or a high-born Cuban lady. Together, pursued by the law and debtors, he and this woman escaped to the wilderness of mid-19th century Texas.

Because of his adventurous spirit, his business acumen and his gift of languages, Sam Williams became indispensable to Stephen F. Austin, first as his assistant, then later as Austin’s partner. Together, they created what has been called the “most successful colonization movement in American history.” As time passed, Williams became the major bureaucrat in Anglo-American Texas, a man of considerable substance.

During the Texas Revolution, Williams continued his entrepreneurial ways and to many it seemed he was lining his pockets at the Colony’s expense. Yet, behind the scenes, he was purchasing warships and recruiting officers and men for the Texas Navy, ships which assured victory over Santa Anna at San Jacinto and without which Texas could never have won and maintained its Independence. Williams purchased the ships and armed them on his own credit, a debt that would not be repaid in his lifetime. His life was interwoven with some of the great men of the time, the gentleman pirate Jean Laffite, Sam Houston, Stephen Austin, José Navarro, Juan Seguín, Antonio López de Santa Anna. After the Mexican general was defeated at San Jacinto, Williams saved him from an angry mob and hid him away, even though Santa Anna had earlier placed a price on Sam’s head for seeking to steal away Texas from Mexico.

Forsaken Patriot is the story of a remarkable life, a man who was viewed by many as a scoundrel and by others as a patriot. Father of the Texas Navy, he also built a mercantile empire, created the first bank in Texas, and spearheaded development of the port city of Galveston which, in his time, was the richest city per capita in the United States. Yet, while so many of his peers, like Sam Houston, Stephen Austin, even Jean Lafitte, went on to be memorialized, Sam Williams went on to be forgotten. After all he accomplished for Texas, it is ironic that no street, Even the pirate Laffite has an elementary school, several streets and a city named after him. Unlike the other major players in Texas history, Sam Williams passed from our memory into the shadows from which he came.(089)

Publication Date:
1514185377 / 9781514185377
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White with Bleed
Related Categories:
History / United States / 19th Century

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