Christopher Houston (c1743-1837)/Notes

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From: Bill Willis
Subject: Houston matters
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2005 21:44:22 -0400
Source: Rootsweb Houston Archives

I started this email almost a year ago, and let it lie dormant for lack

of progress on certain key questions. Those questions still lie fallow, but I thought it might be useful to give my views here...sort of a trial run. Mostly, given the way things go, if I don't post what I have, I may never pass this on. So consider the following a work in progress.

Also, when I refer to "Our Houston line" I'm referring to the line of

Ann Houston who married John Walker III. I'm fully aware that we have another Houston lineage in Rockbridge County that is usually assumed to belong to the Gen. Sam Houston line. I've nothing to add at this time concerning that connection. My focus here is strickly on the Houstons of the John III lineage.

Some time ago Cousin Jerry Penley of the Wigton Walker list, posted

concerning his finding with regard to the Houston's in SW Va and NW NC. Jerry's post was helpful for a number of reasons. One use to which his infortmation could be put was to help identify which Houston records were for family members related to Ann Houston=John Walker III---and perhaps point toward additional information on Ann Houston's family, their movements, and perhaps pointing back toward information on her father Christopher.

Of particular interest was the quote that Jerry provided from another


The following paragraph is from a letter of Christopher
2nd to is son Placebo in NC,: "Patience just now had a son, her
twelfth child. He is promising and his name agreed on. so that James
Houston, son of James, son of Christopher, son of Robert, son of
Christopher, born May 17, 1821, 10 O'clock.

Sorting that out a little bit, we have

1. James Houston, son of 2. James, son of 3. Christopher, son of 4. Robert, son of 5. Christopher.

Entry 3 above is clearly the Christopher Houston who settled on Hunting

Creek, NC c. 1755-1760, and who late in life moved to TN with most of his family.

The interesting question, which I believe Jerry left unstated, was

whether entry 5 above, is Christopher Houston d. 1726 in Mill Creek Hundred, and father of our Ann Houston=John Walker III. At least superfiscially, there's good reason to think so. In addition to the fact that Ann's father is known to have been Christopher, we also know that she had a brother Robert, who had a son Christopher, based on the will of her brother Samuel.

There is, however, a fly in this particular ointment. Namely, despite

the letter above, most genealogists identify the father of Christopher of Hunting Creek as John Robert, or simply John....Ancestry family tree, for example, identifies about 45 lineages for this Christopher Houston. Of those about 25 give his father's name as "John Robert", 10 as "John" and 10 as "Robert". There are also a scattering of lineages that give his father's name as "John (?) Robert" or variations on the theme that indicate some puzzlement over what his name really was.

A rather confused state. Makes one wonder what these lineages are

based on. What I suspect is happening here is that folks are trying to reconcile conflicting information. I think the core of the data (letters in the Southern Historical Collection at Chapel Hill, specifically the Mary Cecilia Dixon Papers, of which the letter cited above is an example) would probably show that the Hunting Creek Houston's thought their grandsire was Robert Houston. Others, however, have presented him as John Houston---for reasons that I suspect made perfect sense to them. A case in point is a 1933 article by William Sharp in the "Landmark", a newspaper from Statesville NC, dated 6 Oct 1933.

"John Houston, 'Scotch-Irish' emigrated from Dublin 1730 and settled

> in the valley of Virginia. He had tarried in Pennsylvania long enough > for his son and two daughters to marry....There were two branches of > the Houston family settled in Iredell County. One branch near the > vicinity of Mount Mourne, and the other on Hunting Creek. They each > claim descent from a common ancestor in John Houston and Martha Worke, > who died at the age of 1797 in Rockbridge County Virginia"

In this particular presentation The ancestor of the Hunting Creek

Houston's has become "John Houston=Martha Worke", not Robert Houston. I don't explicitly know why Smart has the grandsire as John Houston, instead of Robert. (I also don't know where he's getting the Martha Worke, but that's another question). But it would be a good guess that he's basing this on a family tradition, alluded to in the newspaper article, that the Hunting Creek Houston's were related the line of Gen. Sam Houston. The reasoning being that the grandsire of this line is supposed to be a John Houston who arrived in America ca. 1735, and then settled in Rockbridge County. Indeed, it appears that one of the Hunting Creek Houston's actually met Sam Houston in Washington. As the story goes, they compared notes and decided that they were 'cousins' though they couldn't say exactly how they were connected. I've been told that this incident is mentioned in the MCD papers, but that is the ONLY basis for the idea that the family is related to Gen. Sam Houston.

The logic here seems to be
1. We know we share a common ancestor with Gen. Sam Houston
2. We know he is descended from an immigrant John Houston who arrived

here about 1735 (usual Sam Houston Lineage as given on the web)

3. Therefore we must be descended from John Houston the 1735 immigrant

as well.

All well and good, only this conflicts with the Christopher Houston

letter identifying his father as 'Robert'.

Some authors have apparently tried to resolve the conflict between

John Houston as the grandsire, (as demanded by the need to connect to the Gen Sam Houston lineage), and Robert Houston, as documented in the Christopher Houston letter.

I believe this was done by assuming that the grandsire's name was

simply "John Robert"---that way you can have both the tradition that the family is connected to Gen Sam Houston AND the data that their grandsire was Robert Houston.

This solution seems to have been accepted by a researcher Gertrude

Dixon Enfield (GED) who worked extensively with the MCD papers, and has published several works on the Hunting Creek lineage. She identifies the grandsire of the Hunting Creek Houstons as "John Robert", as cited by Cleburne Houston (1968:147) "John Robert and his brother Placebo took ship for Boston in the year 1734...took the stage southward to Philadelphia, and settled with relatives in Lancaster County...He had married Martha Worke of a prominant Philadelphia family...[son] Christopher had departed the family home in Pennsylvania in...1765...settling on the Catawba River. Later he moved his family to Hunter Creek."

[And this is about where I ended the email as I had originally set it

up. With the exception of the above paragraph, the foregoing is I think fairly well worked out. I'm reasonably satisfied that reasonable basis for everything above except for the last para. The rest of this is more problematic.]

The quote from GED appears to combine a number of independent

traditions of several different lines of Houstons, all based on the assumption that they are related to General Sam Houston. That includes, in addition to the General Sam Houston line, information from the Hunting Creek Houstons, and from the line of John Houston=Martha Worke.

Some of what's in the GED paragraph (a very little something) is

probably related to our line. I'm reasonably convinced that the Hunting Creek Houstons are indeed descended from Christopher, father of Robert Houston as listed above. Ann Houston, wife of John III being Roberts sister. I believe that the John Robert Houston who is supposed to have married Martha Worke in Philadelphia is in reality John Houston who is mentioned in Lancaster PA County Records as married to a Martha. This John Houston is sometimes said to have relocated to Rockbridge County, but I believe those researching this line feel he died there in Lancaster County. They also feel that there is no substance to the statement that there's a relation between their line and the general Sam Houston line---though they do believe that some of their family did also end up in Rockbridge county. (In that regard I've noted previously that there seemed to be more Houston's in Rockbridge than could be accounted for in gen. Sam Houston's line.)

I haven't really gone into any detail about the John Houston=Martha

Worke line. We can probably do that if there's a real need. For purposes of the Wigton Walkers, I think we can be reasonably comfortable that the Hunting Creek Houstons are indeed our family as Jerry intimated. I am also convinced that there's absolutely no connection to the General Samuel Houston line, or to the line of John Houston=Martha Worke---despite GED views to the contrary. My reasoning here is probably a bit convoluted, but the simplest element is the fact that we know our Houston line (the line of John III) was in Delaware prior to the appearance of the Wigton Walkers in 1726. That being the case, it would be hard to reconcile that observation with the idea that " "John Robert and his brother Placebo took ship for Boston in the year 1734...took the stage southward to Philadelphia, and settled with relatives in Lancaster County." That stroy is probably sound in some respects, but its also probably a mixture of stories about different families. At anyrate, if it were exactly true, than it can not apply to our line of Houstons who we know were here well before 1734. If its true, then we would not be related to the Hunting Creek Houston's which were the basis for Jerry's discussion.

I come down on the side that Jerry was right that we are related to the

Hungting Creek Houstons, and that the story about John Houston who married Martha Worke, has nothing to do with us.

Ann Houston Walker, Daughter of Who?
Posted by: Jerry A. Penley
Date: August 20, 2000 at 16:38:51
Hello to all you researchers, We on the Wigton-Walker board wish for you to have some of the evidence we have found through our research of Ann Houston Walker on the Wigton-Walker board.
We have determined who Ann Houston Walker's parents were! Ann Houston was the one who married John Walker of Wigton, Scotland.
I am descended from John and Ann Houston Walker myself.
Here is a tid-bit to get your interest:
The Robert Houston mentioned as the father of James Houston in this will was the son of Christopher Houston and the brother of Ann Houston.
SO the James whose will is excerpted here is actually the nephew of Ann Houston Walker:
Also notice that Patrick Porter, son-in-law to Ann Houston Walker, is also mentioned in this will of James Houston, the grandson of Christopher Houston of Delaware and lastly of Pennsylvania!
Will of JAMES HOUSTON. 2 Aug. 1776. prb. 1782.
Father, Robert Houston.
Oldest bro. Samuel to have my interest in the tract where he lives.
Brother Robert to have the clothes I left and Robert Edmondstands.
Brother Christopher.
Brother Samuel's children: JAMES, Peter (oldest son), Martha (eldest dau., to have horse bought from William Sharp now in the care of Patrick Porter).
Brother Robert's two sons, not named, to have the land bought from John Lowry.

Brother Christopher to have my negro boy James.

We have also determined that William Houston, the owner of Houston's Fort on the waters of the Clinch River, was also a nephew of Ann Houston Walker. This is the fort where Samuel Cowan was killed by Indians.
So Samuel Cowan was not merely riding to warn the people of the fort about Indians being in the area.
Samuel Cowan was riding to warn his family members of the trouble headed their way!!
Here is the will of Christopher Huston of Delaware. Notice the daughter named ANN and the names of his sons. Then in the excerpt of Samuel's Houston will, Christopher Huston's son, notice the name ANN WALKER and his brothers, sisters and their children's names. It will be easy to see that in Samuel's will, the people he mentions are not his children but his brothers and sisters:
December the 6th 1726
Mill Creek Hundred

In New Castle County (Delaware)

The last will and testament of Christopher HUSTON
I leave my soul to God who gave it and my body to be buried where my friends think


I Bequeath and leave to my wife the little house which is now a shope to Dwell in and

one third part of all my movables Excepting one horse out of the whole which I leave to my son Samuell.

I Leave to my son Robert two pounds ten shillings.
I Bequeath to my son Samuel the plantation and the horse before excepted with the

plow and Takling and to enter to possess next March.

I apoint and order that Samuel shall pay to his sisters the sums of fifteen pounds

current money of this government that is to say Jean Four pounds to Martha five pounds and to Ann Six pounds all to be paid within four years after the Date here of in Every year of the four one fourth part of the sd fifteen pounds I leave to my son-in-law Hugh LINN Ten Shillings which is owing to me of John Porter BAKER.

I do appoint and order that Samuell my son Shall maintain and keep one cow Summer

and Winter for the use of his mother enduring her life time and shall give to his mother yearly six Bushell of wheat and Ry.

I do leave my son Samuell to pay to his Brother Robert the above sd two pounds ten


I do Leave to my grandchildren Christopher and James HUSTON a bond which I have

of Charles SIMONS of three pounds.

I do Leave my wife and my son Samuell to be my executors of this my last will and

testament being in the perfect use of my Reason as witness my hand and seal the Day and year above written.

Signed and sealed in

the presence of William McDOWELL Hugh CLARK

Probated January 6, 1726/7.
Christopher HUSTON (seal)

Excerpt of Samuel, son of Christopher Huston:
Samuel Houston, Chester CO., Pa, E. Nottingham farmer wrote a Will in 1739, listing

wife Esther, Mother Martha, with his personal estate later going to Robert, Christopher and James Houston, ANNE WALKER, Margaret Linn, Jennet Linn, and Martha Linn. Dr. Martin has in parenthesis.

We have lots more evidence of Ann Houston and her parents but there is to much to present here.
If you would like, you may go to the Wigton-Walker archives at this URL address and look at all the evidence and our research to the conclusion yourself.
The address is:

then type in Wigton-Walker and go to the next screen and type in Chrisopher or Houston.
If you then have any questions, please let me know.

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