While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Jennifer Eckel and Bruce Allardice

CHRISTIAN, SAMUEL PATRICK (1835–1908). Samuel Patrick (or Patteson) Christian, steamboat pilot and Confederate officer, was born on October 22, 1835, in Richmond, Virginia. The family moved to Texas, where Samuel attended Rutersville College. By 1860 he resided in Houston, Texas, with his wife Elizabeth (Stotts) and brother William Duval Christian (1838–1929). In Houston, Christian's occupation was as a steamboat pilot.

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Christian was mustered into Company K of the Eighth Texas Cavalry on September 7, 1861. The Eighth Texas was also known as Terry's Texas Rangers. Upon organization of the unit, S. P. Christian was elected third lieutenant of Company K. In February 1862 Christian, by then a captain, helped Maj. Thomas Harrison retain command in the face of growing discontent among the enlisted men who were incited by a harsh punishment Harrison had handed out to two soldiers under his command. Christian fought notably at the battle of Murfreesboro and was wounded slightly. He was promoted to major on June 25, 1863. Christian was much more severely wounded on October 7, 1863, during an action at Farmington, Tennessee; he was hit in the face with a bullet and lost several teeth. Christian recovered and returned to the regiment. In November 1864 he was furloughed to Texas in order to collect members of Terry's Rangers who had overstayed their leave. After returning to the front, Christian was wounded again at Bentonville, North Carolina, in March 1865, and he did not recover until after the war ended. He and his unit surrendered to Union forces on April 26, 1865, and Christian was subsequently paroled on July 12, 1865.

Following the war, Samuel Christian returned to Houston where he returned to his primary vocation as a steamboat captain. In 1899 he attended the Terry's Texas Rangers Reunion and served on the committee that petitioned the Seventeenth Indiana Infantry for the return of the Ranger Flag. He died in Houston on September 9, 1908, and is buried there in Glenwood Cemetery.


J. K. P. Blackburn, L. B. Giles, and E. S. Dodd, Terry Texas Ranger Trilogy (ed. Thomas W. Cutrer [Austin: State House Press, 1996]). "Col. Pat Christian, Terry's Texas Rangers,” Confederate Veteran 21 (July, 1913)."Samuel Patrick Christian," The Online Archive of Terry's Texas Rangers: Sharing & preserving the history of the 8th Texas Cavalry Regiment, 1861–1865 (http://www.terrystexasrangers.org/biographical_notes/c/christian_sp.htm), accessed April 11, 2011.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Jennifer Eckel and Bruce Allardice, "CHRISTIAN, SAMUEL PATRICK," accessed May 25, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fch76.

Uploaded on April 14, 2011. Modified on July 30, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...