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Christopher Houston was born in Lancaster Co., PA on 18 February 1744. Many of his letters to his family have been preserved, and are found in the Mary Cecilia Dalton (MCD) Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In one of those letters he identifies his father as Robert Houston, his grandfather as Christopher Houston. Documents in the MCD Collection record that he left Lancaster Co, PA in 1765 at the close of the French and Indian War, crossing the Susquehanna and heading south to North Carolina.
Christopher initially settled near Fort Dobbs in Iredell County, where he met Sarah Mitchell whom he married on 23 April 1767. The couple then relocated to the northeast of Statesville, settling on the south side of Hunting Creek, near what was later known as "Houstonsville". Here Sarah bore him eight children. Christopher's son, James, moved to Tennessee when an adult, and urged his father to move there as well. By 1814 James had convinced him and at the age of 71, Christopher made the move from his long-time home on Hunting Creek, North Carolina to Tennessee where he purchased a piece of land from James. The Hunting Creek property passed to a grand-daughter (Mary Cecilia Houston - Dalton), and a portion of the land remains in a descendants hands to this day.
According to a letter written by Christopher and addressed to his son-in-law, Samuel Young, they settled on their new place, west of what is now Lewisburg in Marshall County, Tennessee on 17 April 1815 (p.62 Enfield, 1957). Here Sarah died on 18 May 1821 at age 79. Christopher remained a widower for a few years, but In 1825 at the age of 81, he married Elizabeth Simpson. She was in her 50’s, well respected, “exceedingly well spoken of,” and had never been married.
Christopher Houston died of a stroke at his home on 17 May 1837 and is buried in the Houston Cemetery on James Houston’s farm. He was 93 years old.
Fort Dobbs site in 2007. http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b142/roadkill141/FortDobbsToday.jpg
|DOB:||18 FEB 1744/45||Original and Military gravestone markers show 18 Feb 1744|
|POB:||Susquehanna River, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania|
|DOD:||17 MAY 1837||1) Original and Military gravestone markers show 17 May 1837
2) Letter from William London (son-in-law to Christopher) to Christopher's daughter, Sally, and her husband, Samuel Young. "Life and Letters of Christopher Houston; pp.146&147 Enfield, 1957
|POD:||At his home in a part of Maury County which is now Marshall County, Tennessee|
|Burial:||Houston Cemetery, West of Lewisburg, Marshall County, Tennessee|
|Spouse (1):||Sarah Mitchell b: 1742 d: 18 May 1821 She is buried next to Christopher||Sarah and Christopher share the same stone.|
|DOM (1):||23 APR 1767||Letter from Christopher to his son Placebo dated 23 April 1835 marking his 68th anniversary. "Life and Letters of Christopher Houston; pp141&142 Enfield, 1957|
|POM (1):||Bethany Church, later Fourth Creek Church, Rowan, later Iredell County, North Carolina|
|Spouse (2):||Elizabeth Simpson b: ABT 1775|
|POM (2):||Maury County, Tennessee|
|Father:||Robert Houston||Letter from Christopher to his son Placebo. "Life and Letters of Christopher Houston; p.85 Enfield, 1957|
|Mother:||Martha Work||Electronic Source:Philadelphia FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH Marriages 1702-1745|
|Grandfather:||Christopher Houston||Letter from Christopher to his son Placebo. "Life and Letters of Christopher Houston; p.85 Enfield, 1957|
|Martha "Patsy" Houston||5 AUG 1770||Rowan County, North Carolina||22 Feb 1837||Tennessee||1) Alvin Duval 2) William London Jr.|
|John Houston||ABT. 1772||Rowan County, North Carolina||1799||Tennessee|
|Lillias Houston||6 NOV 1774||Rowan County, North Carolina||26 Feb 1850||Marshall County, Tennessee||Isaac Newton Bills||12 Sep 1797||Statesville, Iredell County, North Carolina|
|James Houston||1775||Rowan County, North Carolina||26 May 1840||Marshall County, Tennessee||Patience Bills||12 Sep 1797||Statesville, Iredell County North Carolina|
|Samuel Houston||JUN 1776||Rowan County, North Carolina||1807||North Carolina|
|Placebo Houston||28 MAR 1779||Rowan County, North Carolina||2 Jan 1809||Iredell County, North Carolina||Elizabeth Ragsdale Young||17 Jan 1809||North Carolina|
|Christopher Houston||ABT. 1781||Rowan County, North Carolina|
|Sarah "Sally" Houston||28 JUL 1783||Rowan County, North Carolina||28 Dec 1853||Iredell County, North Carolina||Samuel Young|
The following Narrative was written by Dan Woodruff (a descendant).
Christopher Houston was born 18 February 1744 on the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to Robert and Martha Houston. He was the fifth son of eight children. Little is know of his early years but it is said that he was well educated and raised in a devout Presbyterian home. Leaving behind his childhood he set off on his life’s journey crossing the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on 5 October 1765. He traveled with others of his family arriving at the settlement near Fort Dobbs, in good time to settle in before winter.
Christopher Houston and Sarah Mitchell married on 23 April 1767. Christopher built their home on Hunting Creek about 14 miles north of Fort Dobbs. By the onset of the Revolutionary war they had four children, Martha, John, Lillias and James. Their sons Placebo and Christopher were born before the end of the war. Samuel and Sarah were born after. Education was very important to Christopher and his wife Sarah but as this was not Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where excellent tutors could be easily hired for educating the children, he built an additional room to the house that was used specifically as a school. Fortunately a fine young schoolteacher, Moses Waddell, moved to their area and accepted the position of schoolteacher. Other local children attended classes here as well.
Christopher had become well respected and by the onset of hostilities between the Colonies and England, he had the rank of Captain in the militia. He was a Captain in the North Carolina Rangers throughout the Revolutionary War. There is one report, which shows that he had lost his horse in one battle and briefly rejoined another group of Patriots as a Private.
He was at the battle of Ramseur’s Mill where his brother, James, was killed. There was another James Houston at Ramseur’s Mill (believed to be a cousin) who was injured in the leg. Christopher is also reported to have been at the battle of Guilford Courthouse. Some accounts have Christopher Houston guarding captured Tories to prevent them from joining the troops gathered at Kings Mountain where the Patriots gained a great victory against Major Patrick Ferguson, which caused the turning point in the war. Christopher lost most of his hearing during the war.
In spite of his handicap, after the Revolutionary War, Christopher was prominent in the affairs of the area, both public and private. He was often called upon to help resolve disputes between others. He was instrumental in organizing the town and was first Postmaster of Houstonville. This was the second post office in Iredell County. Christopher and his descendants held this office for over 100 years.
At Christmas in 1809 Christopher and his wife Sarah planned a large gathering of friends and family for a Christmas party. Among the guests were Andrew Carson and his family. Andrew’s brother Lindsay Carson and his wife Rebecca along with their four boys had come to visit Andrew’s family for Christmas that year and, of course, were invited as well. Rebecca Carson was expecting her fifth child anytime. Sarah had been keeping an eye on her guests and noticed the look of pain in Rebecca’s expression and led her to the sleeping quarters a few yards away from the house. Within a short time a newborn infant’s cry was heard. Quickly the announcement was made that Lindsay and Rebecca had another son. Out of respect to her host, Rebecca Carson presented her newborn son as, “Christopher Houston Carson, but he’s so little, I guess we’ll call him Kit.” As small as he was at birth he became big as an adult and is the famous “Kit Carson” who became a legend of the West as a trapper, scout, soldier, and Indian Agent. Our Christopher Houston was Kit’s godfather.
Christopher Houston’s son, James, had moved to Tennessee and urged his father to move there as well. By 1814 James had convinced him and at the age of 71, Christopher made the move from his long-time home on Hunting Creek, North Carolina to Tennessee where he purchased a piece of land from his son James. According to a letter written by Christopher and addressed to his son-in-law, Samuel Young, they settled on their new place, west of what is now Lewisburg in Marshall County, Tennessee on 17 April 1815.
Christopher lost his precious Sarah on 18 May 1821. Sarah disliked Tennessee and never ceased urging her husband to move back to their place on Hunting Creek. Christopher writes in a letter to his daughter, Sarah Young, that his wife’s last words to him were urging him to give their land back to Jamey. Her illness was brief and she went quietly. She was 79.
Christopher remained a widower for a few years and did not feel people should marry in (his own words) “the eleventh hour” and had a “prejudice against old people’s folly in marrying again.” He admitted to receiving many “hints” to take another wife but not making “any attempt toward it, though the constitution of my affairs require a woman’s care.” He continues in his letter to ask for God’s care and guidance in that and all matters.
In 1825 Christopher was 81 years old and married Elizabeth Simpson. She was in her 50’s, well respected, “exceedingly well spoken of,” and had never been married.
Christopher Houston died of a stroke at his home on 17 May 1837 and is buried in the Houston Cemetery, which is on James Houston’s farm. He was 93 years old.
35.4283, Longitude: -86.8744
See Discussion page
Sources (See Note):
- Enfield, 1957
- Headstones in the Houston Cemetery, near Lewisburg, Marshall County, Tennessee;
- U.S. Census records;
- Land Records – Maury and Marshall Counties, Tennessee;
- Land Records – Iredell County North Carolina;
- Marriage Records - First Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
- Marriage Records - Rowan County, North Carolina;
- Marriage Records – Iredell County, North Carolina;
- Bible Record of James Houston and Patience Bills
Christopher Houston's Original Headstone http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b142/roadkill141/HoustonChristopher032-1.jpg
Houston Cemetery - Marshall Co., Tennessee http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b142/roadkill141/HoustonCemetery-MarshallCoTennessee.jpg
Christopher Houston's Home in Iredell Co., NC - taken about 1936 http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b142/roadkill141/ChristopherHoustonsHometakenabt1936.jpg
Christopher Houston's Estate RecordEdit
|Original Source:||MARSHALL COUNTY, TN - COURT- Minutes SEPTEMBER 1837 SESSION, Pages 55-57|
|Electronic Source:||Rootsweb fide Dana Hill.|
|Text||Carey T. KELLY one of the administrators of the Estate of
Christopher HOUSTON dcest [sic; deceased] this day Exhibited in open Court an amount of sales of said Estate which was received by the Court and ordered to be entered upon the records of this Court.
|Thomas ROSS and James
McCONNEL of John B. FOWLER Commissioners appointed at the August Term of this Court to set apart one years provisions for the widow of Christopher HOUSTON [deceased?]. made the following report
|Viz- we the undersigned Freeholders of the County of Marshall after
being duly sworn have proceeded to set apart to Elizabeth HOUSTON widow of Christopher HOUSTON [Deceased?] so much of the Crop and provisions on hand as will be sufficient in our opinion to support and her family one year from the death of her husband as set apart to her for said purpose the following articles to wit- We have
|25 Barrels of Corn||400 Bundles of oats or fodder|
|9 Bushels Wheat||1 lb Pepper|
|150 lb. Bacon||1 lb Alspice|
|200 lb. Beef||1 lb ginger|
|700 lb Pork||40 lb. soap|
|15 lb Lard||10 lb. Tallow|
|25 lb. sugar||10 lb. wool Rolls|
|15 lb Coffee||25 lb. Ginned Cotton|
|150 lb. Salt||5 pr. good shoes|
|Given under our hands and seals the 30th day of August 1837.|
|John B. FOWLER, Commissioners.|
|Family Trying to Save Iredell Plantation|
|STAFF REPORTS SALISBURY POST|
|The LandTrust for Central North Carolina has gained another conservation coup: the 622-acre Daltonia Plantation north of Statesville.|
|This week, the LandTrust said that Frederick Sidney Conrad Jr. and his wife, Mary Cecelia Kennedy Conrad, along with Mary Conrad’s sister, Dr. Edmonia Amelia Kennedy, have taken steps to conserve the site, located near the community of Houstonville.|
|The plantation, home to hardwood forests, working farm fields and spectacular vistas, has been in the same family since Christopher Houston received it as a land grant from the state of North Carolina between 1783 and 1787.|
|The two-story frame plantation house, an architectural gem built in 1857, is surrounded by log and frame outbuildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.|
|The site borders Hunting Creek and harbors the Kennedy Bog, cited as the best example of a ‘‘deep bog’’ in Iredell County.|
|The Conrads have donated a permanent conservation easement on 198 acres of the plantation to the LandTrust. Kennedy and Mary Conrad also have taken steps to preserve the remainder of the property as part of their estate plan.|
|‘‘We want to preserve the land and continue farming it,’’ Kennedy said in a written statement. ‘‘Our father was a born farmer. It is what he and my mother would have wanted ...|
|‘‘We can’t help but care about it. It is such a historic area, with the old stagecoach road, the log house, the plantation house, the Revolutionary War cemetery and the site of the Young Fort on Hunting Creek nearby.’’|
|The conservation easement placed on part of Daltonia Plantation permanently protects the property from future commercial development and from all but limited residential development. It preserves the land for use as farm and forest land and protects the rare natural areas and creek frontage.|
|It does not permit public access to the property and does not prevent the owners from selling it or passing it along to their heirs. This approach is often employed as an estate planning tool, enabling the owner to keep family lands instead of selling them to pay inheritance taxes. It also confers substantial state and federal income tax advantages.|
|Statistics show that in 1982 Iredell County had 96,830 acres in crops. By 1992, crop land had dropped to 93,292 acres.|
Philadelphia Houston MarriagesEdit
|Original Source: Pennsylvania Archives. Second Series. Vol. IX.|
|Published under direction of Matthew S. Quay, Secretary of the Commonwealth.|
|Edited by John B. Linn and Wm. H. Egle, M.D.|
|Harrisburg: Lane S. Hart, State Printer, 1880.|
|"Marriage Record of the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, 1702-1745," pp. 3-78|
|Fide Electronic Source:Philadelphia FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH Marriages 1702-1745|
|May 27, 1721,||Houston, James||Mary Crasford.||?|
|November 31, 1732,||Houston,Hugh||Jane Mearnes||L.|
|November 23, 1732,||Houston James||Mary Mahaffy.||?|
|January 21, 1733,||Houston, George||Anne Fullerton||L.|
|October 31, 1734,||Houston, Robert||Martha Work||L.|
see Enfield, 1957