John Houston (1705-1769)

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John is believed to have immigrated from Ireland, landing in New Castle, DE, about 1725. He settled in the Pequea Valley, Leacock Township, then Chester Co, PA, now Lancaster Co. He owned a number of farm properties, but seems to have made his home at what is now called "Gap Station", His will also identifies a mill which he owned that some describe as being "near the Leacock Twp. line at the present intersection of St. Rt. 772 & Hershey Church Rd." John was Presbyterian, and during the New Side/Old Side schism of the 1740's he adhered to the conservative "old siders".

Martha is identified as John's wife in his 1769 will. Some have identified her as the "Martha Worke" who married Robert Houston in Philadelphia in 1734.


DOB: 1705
POB: Londonderry, North Ireland
DOD: 1 Aug 1769 this is probably the date of the will; other sources give his DOD as 6 Dec 1769
POD: Pequea Valley, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Burial: Seceder Graveyard, Pequea, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Spouse: Martha Stewart (1721-?) Will lists wife Martha; She is sometimes identified as Martha Worke who married a Robert Houston in Philadelphia about this time; Some interpret this to mean that John Houston's full name was John Robert Houston. That is probably unsound, and perhaps intended to allow a connection to be made to the line of General Samuel Houston
DOM: c1737 Other sources give 31 Oct 1734 as the DOM. This is the DOM for Robert Houston and Martha Worke, not John Houston and Martha Stewart See USGENWEB entry.
POM: Pequea Valley, Lancaster, Pennsylvania



Children of Martha Stewart (?-?) by John Houston (1705-1769) Edit This List
John Houston 18 FEB 1743 Pequea Valley, Lancaster, PA
Daniel Houston 1746 Leacock Twp., Lancaster, PA
Jane Houston 1750 Leacock Twp., Lancaster, PA
James Houston 1756 Pequea Valley, Lancaster, PA
William Houston MAY 1757 Pequea Valley, Lancaster, PA
Anne Houston 25 DEC 1760 Pequea Valley, Lancaster, PA
Thomas Houston MAR 1763 Leacock Twp., Lancaster, PA

Samuel Houston 9 AUG 1767 Leacock Twp., Lancaster, PA 9 OCT 1842 Gap, Salisbury Twp., Lancaster, PA Sarah Jane Clemson Hopkins 1784 Lancaster, PA

The lives of John's children are briefly described in Everts and Peck, 1883 "History of Lancaster County",

The family remaining in Lancaster County are the descendants of John Houston, who had six sons and two daughters, all born at the farm in Pequea Valley, immediately facing Gap Station, on the Pennsylvania Railroad. The sons were Daniel, Dr. John, William, James, Thomas, and Samuel. One daughter married the Rev. Dr. Proudfit, the other Mr. John Johnson, of Mercersburg, Franklin Co., Pa. Both daughters had large families. The Proudfits now live in New York and vicinity, and the Johnsons in Franklin County and farther west in Pennsylvania. The five elder boys (Samuel was too young) were soldiers in the Revolutionary army, and with the exception of James, who was killed at Paoli, fought through the war. After the war Daniel moved to Franklin, and afterwards to Washington County, Pa., William to Trumbull County, Ohio, and Thomas to Rockbridge County, Va.

The youngest son, Samuel, remained in Pequea Valley, Lancaster Co., during his life.
Dr. John Houston, the second son, was born at Pequea in 1743. He finished his studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, graduating in 1766; studied medicine with Dr. Shippen, of Philadelphia; commenced the practice of medicine at York, Pa., then a frontier town; married Susannah Wright, of Columbia, June 17, 1773. He entered the army as a surgeon. Gen. James Ewing married Patience Wright, Mrs. Dr. Houston's sister. They were the only children of John Wright, the holder of large properties on both sides of the Susquehanna River, at Columbia and Wrightsville. After the war, Dr. Houston spent the remainder of his life at his winter home in Columbia or on his farm, on the west side of the Susquehanna, in York County, now a part of Wrightsville. His wife, Susanna Houston, survived him many years, and died in 1829. Their children were:
James married Nancy Wright. He erected the flouring-mill and first saw-mills near the mouth of Kreitz Creek, at Wrightsville. Their children were Susan E. and John W. Susan married James E. Mifflin. James E. Mifflin, now of Columbia, is their son. John W. married Mary B. Martin, of Lycoming County, Pa. They had sons and daughters,--George, now living in Missouri, and William, at Cincinnati, Ohio. His daughter Annie married Col. Lewis Merrill, of the United States army; Emily married Col. Alexander, of the United States army; and Eliza married Capt. Warner, United States army.
Martha married Joseph Mifflin, a prominent scholar, and for a part of his life a bank-officer in Philadelphia. Their children were Deby Ann, John Houston, James H., and Joseph. Deby Ann died in Columbia in 1829. James H. died at Eatonton, Ga., in 1838. J. Houston married Elizabeth B. Heise, of Columbia. He is still with us, a hale, hearty artist-poet-farmer. Though past the allotted space of threescore and ten, long may he live to enjoy the comfort and companionship of his four bright sons! Joseph married Julia Duncan Stewart, and is living on his farm in Cumberland County, enjoying the comfort of a well-spent life.
John and William F. both studied medicine. John died just after graduating.
William. having abandoned the practice of medicine for the pulpit, lived for many years a devoted minister of the Presbyterian Church. He married in early life Amy McCorkle, of Philadelphia. They had two children,--Christiana M. and John Frederick. Christiana married Rev. James L. Scott, of the Presbyterian Church, in 1837, and immediately sailed for India. After remaining ten years there, Mrs. Scott's health became impaired and she was ordered home. She died on shipboard just after passing the Cape of Good Hope. They had three children,--two (Amy and Edward H.) died after reaching man and womanhood. Anna E., the surviving daughter, is now and has been for many years in the mission-field in India. John Frederick married Catharine J. Fisher, of Pine Ford, Dauphin Co., Pa. He was one of the brightest young men of our country. He was born in Columbia, and lived there all his life. He graduated at an early age at Amherst College with high honor; adopted the profession of a civil engineer; was engaged on the construction of the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad, Gettysburg Railroad, the State works of Pennsylvania, in progress between 1834 and 1839. He abandoned the engineer service and studied law with his brother-in-law, Judge Robert J. Fisher, of York, Pa. He commenced the practice of law in the counties of York and Lancaster, continuing his home in Columbia, and was fast gaining prominence, when at the early age of thirty-five he was stricken with paralysis, after which he lived nearly thirty years, respected by all who knew him. He has three surviving children,--Georgianna F., at Harrisburg; William F., at San Francisco, Cal.; and Harry, at Denver, Col.<sp>1</sp>[1 The daughters, Eleanor W. and Anna S., who lived respectively eighty-two and eighty-four years, remained unmarried, during all those years living together and keeping house that was always a home for their nephews and nieces and their children. All their means and all their personal attention devoted to hospitality to their relatives and to their friends,--long lives of unselfishness and affectlonate care. Of Anna S., but for the constraint of this duty of her heart, her fondness for reading and her talents as a poetess would have distinguished her in literature. Both were zealous members of the Presbyterian Church. Even in her age, until physical infirmity forbade it, Eleanor especially visited the poor and the needy in their humble homes, prescribing food and medicine and Christian comfort, "going about doing good."]
Robert W. lived in Columbia all his life. He was an enterprising and highly respected citizen. For many years a merchant, and afterwards a contractor in the Columbia and Philadelphia Railroad and Pennsylvania Canal. He married Sarah Ann Jones, of Great Valley, Chester Co. She died in Columbia in 1834. They had two daughters,--Mary and Susan W. Mary died young. Susan married the Rev. Robert Gamble, of the Presbyterian Church; they are now living in Chanceford, York Co., Pa.
Samuel Nelson was born in 1791; finished his education at Burlington College, New Jersey; studied medicine and pharmacy in Philadelphia in 1811 and 1812; returned to Columbia on account of ill health; spent his time in the field and saddle for two or three years (we cannot refer to the exercise which restored the health of Mr. Samuel N. Houston without remarking that he was that he was of uncommonly handsome personal appearance; that in those days before fox-hunting was one of the lost arts, while he was distinguished for all manly and athletic exercises, he was especially noted as a magnificent rider); was an active member of Capt. Shippen's troop of horse of Lancaster County, in the war of 1812; entirely regained his health, and in 1816 married Susan Strickler, daughter of Col. Jacob Strickler; they had five children,--John, James, Henry Howard, Emily Strickler, Eleanor Wright, Martha Mifflin. He died November, 1878, aged eighty-seven years.
John James married Ann Blakiston, of Philadelphia. He was for many years engaged in transportation in Pennsylvania and Western States; lived the most of his life in Columbia, a few years in Pittsburgh, and died in Philadelphia in 1869. His wife survives him. They had no children. He was a wonderful man, and though with a slight frame and delicate constitution, he by determination and pure grit accomplished great results, and of him we can say he died as he always lived,--ready.
Henry H., the second son of Samuel N. Houston, was early at work in a mercantile house, and soon left it for that of transportation.
Emily Strickler died in Columbia, aged seven years.
Eleanor W. died at fifty-five years of age, in 1881.
Martha Mifflen, the youngest daughter, married Stephen Greene, in Columbia, in 1855. They went to Philadelphia in 1860, where they now reside with a family of six children.

The only other branch of the original John Houston, first referred to, that remained and grew up in Lancaster County, was Esquire Samuel Houston, of Pequea Valley, of which family we regret we cannot give a full account. He married Miss Hopkins, of Lancaster, and had children--John, James H., Franklin, William, Samuel, Horatio, Sarah Jane, Martha, and Louise.

John married Gertrude Truxton, daughter of Commodore Truxton, and had sons and daughters. Several of the boys were in the navy, and daughters married officers in the United States army. One of the sons, James Buchanan Houston, is president of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.
James H. married Miss Henderson, and had sons and daughters. One of the sons, J. Hopkins Houston, was rapidly becoming prominant as a railroad officer, but died young at Prairie du Chien, Wis., while occupying an important position.
Franklin lived and died in Lancaster County, was married, and most of his children are settled in this county.
Gen. William married Miss Jacobs, of Lancaster County. He was engaged for many years in the manufacture of iron in Centre County. He had several sons. Part of the family went to California, and part to Missouri. He died in California.
Dr. Samuel married Agnes Humes, of Lancaster. They had sons and daughters. The doctor died in Washington, where his family now resides. One of his sons, a prominent army officer, died young of yellow fever in Havana.

Horatio was an officer in the navy, and died young.

Sarah Jane married Dr. Harris, of Bellefonte, Pa., and after his death married Mr. Yardly, a prominent merchant of Cincinnati. He lived but a few years. She lived several years a widow, and died in 1881, and is buried in the family burying-ground, Pequea Valley, Lancaster Co.

Dr. John Houston was a man of mark and belonged to a fighting family. He was born in Salisbury township, in this county, in 1742. His father sent him to Edinburgh, Scotland, to be educated for the ministry. Not liking that profession he chose that of medicine. On the 6th day of May, 1773, he married Susanna Wright, daughter of John Wright, Jr., who owned the ferry and lived on the west side of the river at Wrightsville. In 1775, when hostilities broke out between England and America, he was appointed a surgeon in the Continental army, and remained in it for seven years. After the war he removed with his family to York borough, where he practiced medicine. A few years thereafter he removed to Columbia. Governor Mifflin appointed him one of the justices of the peace for this district about the year 1793 or 1794, an office which he held until his death, June 9, 1809. He was an accomplished gentleman, and was considered in his time the best educated and read physician in the county. His widow died in August, 1829. The doctor had three brothers in the Revolutionary army, viz.: James was killed at Paoli; William married a sister of Dr. Watson, late of Donegal. He was taken prisoner on Long Island by the British. There was another brother killed in the Revolutionary army. The doctor left a large family. Dr. William F. Houston, Robert Houston, Samuel N. Houston, Mrs. Mifflin, and the Misses Houston were his children.

Dr. William F. Houston, son of above, practiced medicine in Columbia, kept a drug-store, and published a newspaper. In 1826 he abandoned a large practice and entered the ministry. It was, however, the spoiling of a good doctor to make a poor preacher.

Family historyEdit



JOHN HOUSTON'S WILL John Houston, August the tenth one thousand seven hundred and sixty nine I being in my ordinary health. Thanks be to God for it. And all his Mercies to me, but considering here I have no abiding or certain time of abiding known by me, but must die, And so as for settling my Worldly affairs, I do it in the manner after ward mentioned

First I allow all my just-debts and funeral charges to be payed by my Executors

2nd I leave to my beloved wife Martha, the place I now live on, until my son William comes of age for to work for the most advantage she can with six horses or mares six cows and twenty head of sheep with all the hogs & all utensils belongin g to me for the carrying on the farming Business and my Negro Friday for to help him to work. For this benefit she must pay to my Executors .one hundred & twenty pounds every year until the expiration of the above time, and keep four children clear of charges for boarding schooling for the above time, and they must work for the said time. To Wit, William, Ann, Thomas & Samuel. 3rd I leave to my son John two hundred pounds to be payed him in two yearly payments after my debts are all payed off.

4th I leave to my son Daniel and his Heirs all that tract of land where John McGarrey lives known by the name of London Lands. With the one half of my wood land I have on the Octorara hill, to the southern of this farm of which is about thirty acres, for which he must pay what is coming to Isaac Taylor for part of said land and likewise pay Seven Hundred pounds to Christian Bumbarger, and the Trustees at the College of Philadelphia which I owe them, and for which sums he must keep al l my Children clear of any Charges by non payment.

5th I leave to my Son James the Mill and all the land I had of William Hamilton and William Blythe and that nine acres of land which I bought of Benjamin Blythe, being in the North side of the mill race together with all the water privilege I ha d of the Blythes for conveying the water to said Mill for which he must pay three hundred pounds to Sebastian Droves' heirs which I owe them for which sum he must keep all the rest of the Children clear of any charges on account of nonpayment.

6th I leave to my son William all the place I now live on to him and his Heirs with the incumbrance that his Mother is to have that room we lay in with the back siller opposite to the room and fire wood laid to the door and put on her fire whe n she wants it with all necessary provisions of every kind for her and the Children till they come of age but the Children must work on the place to help him or he must not be at the expense with them, only his Mother. And if they stay with hi s Mother and him to work he must clothe them clear of charges until they come of age and further he must pay out of the place to my daughter Ann four hundred and fifty pounds in the manner after mentioned one hundred pounds to be paid to her whe n she comes to the age of nineteen years and then one hundred pounds after that and then he must pay to my daughter Jean or her heirs two hundred and fifty pounds in two equal payments in two years after Ann gets her two hundred and then he mus t pay to Ann the remaining four hundred and fifty pounds in two yearly payments and further he must pay out of the place two hundred and fifty pounds in two equal payments to my Executors.

7th I leave to my Son Thomas them two places where Moses Beard and William Scott now lives on, to him his Heirs, him to come into it when he comes of age, and to pay at four Equal payments four hundred and fifty pounds to my Executors, and the n to pay to my Son James or his heirs a hundred pounds a year for two years, in all six hundred and fifty pounds.

8th I leave to my Son Samuel' that place I had of Benjamin Blythe where son Daniel lives now except about nine acres mentioned to son James above to him his Heirs. Him to come to the benefit of it or rent when he comes to the age of seventeen yea rs, and what land is to deed of said place I allow it to be done of my whole estate. After my debts is paid and what land I have on Octorara hill, Samuel to have the half of it and Daniel is to have the other half as above mentioned. The half co ntaining 30 acres.

9th I allow that track of mountain land that lies on the Welsh Mountain containing 345 Acres which I had of William Clark, one hundred and thirty acres for son James, one hundred and fifty acres for Son William, and sixty five acres for Son Thoma s and if the tract should fall or advance I allow each Son to have less or more as I have divided it. 10th When Son William comes of age I allow that my wife may get a horse or mare, the best bed and furniture in the House and to provide for her as before mentioned but if she should marry then I allow here to get a horse & saddle & bridle and furn iture and two hundred pounds to be payed her by son William in two equal payments the first to be payed in one year after marriage and the other one year after that, and she must leave the place whenever she marrys either before William comes of age or after. All former benefits ceases. Only the two hundred pounds mentioned before and the bed furniture. The remainder of the furniture of the house and what stock of cattle of every kind be divided among my four children to wit: William, Ann, Thomas & Samuel and all the utensils belonging to the farm and the Negro Friday. All to be equally divided in the presence of six men and then be equally divided as mentioned before.

11th I allow that after the debts and legacies above mentioned be paid of my Executors, I leave one hundred pounds of my Estate in my Son James hands that the interest of it may come yearly to support the Gospel in the Congregation at Pequea where of I have been a member or if the Congregation should be vacant then the interest of the above sum should be to pay for supplying this Congregation and then to the minister under the inspection of the Associate Synod of Scotland but should son James or his Heirs should be for leaving this Congregation then let the above money be given to some safe hands in this Congregation that the interest may be paid yearly for the above benefit above mentioned and the money to be taken care of by the session of the Congregation, and lastly whatever money rises out of my Estate after paying the debts and legacies, above mentioned I order all such sums to be equally divided among my Children for to share & share alike And if any of them shoul d die before they come of age or without lawful heirs then there share to be equally divided among the surviving children or their heirs and I constitute and appoint my sons Daniel and James to be my Executors and this to be my last Will and Testa ment and do revoke all former Wills I ever had.

Signed Sealed and delivered in the presence of:

John Bare (mark)

Gattarin Artice (mark)

Before signed I order all my stock of every kind to be sold immediately after my decease except what is above mentioned.

John Houston (mark)



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