After the death of United States senator Morris Sheppard on April 9, 1941, Governor W. Lee O'Daniel wanted to replace Sheppard as senator himself, but was required to appoint an interim senator to serve until election time. He had to find someone of some prominence who would like to be senator but would not run against him in the special election. O'Daniel selected Houston, who was two months short of his eighty-eighth birthday and disabled by illness. At that time Houston was the oldest person ever to serve in the United States Senate. There was some doubt that he would even enter the Senate chamber, since his daughters did not want him to risk the long trip. He did, however, travel to Washington a few weeks after his appointment. There he died after attending one committee meeting. On June 26, 1941, Houston's body was returned to Texas and buried at the State Cemetery in Austin. He had been married twice-to Carrie G. Purnell, who died in 1884, and to Elizabeth Hart Good, who died in 1907. Three daughters survived him.
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Texas State Cemetery