John W. (John Wesley) Houghton.

The Houghton genealogy : the descendants of Ralph and John Houghton of Lancaster, Massachusetts; with an introduction giving the Houghton families in England from the time of William the Conqueror, 1065, to Lord Henry Bold Houghton, 1848 online

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Online LibraryJohn W. (John Wesley) HoughtonThe Houghton genealogy : the descendants of Ralph and John Houghton of Lancaster, Massachusetts; with an introduction giving the Houghton families in England from the time of William the Conqueror, 1065, to Lord Henry Bold Houghton, 1848 → online text (page 1 of 42)
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3 1833 01333 5648

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center


John W. Houghton, A.M., M.D.





Wellington, Ohio






Preface il 36.4 85 . ix

In Conclusion xvii

Explanation of Numbeeing xix

Ereobs XX

Sketch of the Late Loed Houghton .... xxiii

The Early Houghtons 1

Report of Agent to England, 1848 ... S

Genealogical Appendix to this Report ... 19

Houghton Association ^

Report of Columbus Smith 45

Location of the Conquest House .... 52

The Lancaster Records 54

Time of Arrival in America ..... 56

Investigations by Francis W. Houghton . . 58

The Identity of Ralph and Ratcliffe ... 65
Connection of John and Ralph With English

Ancestry 67

The Colonial Houghtons 73

Deed from Indians to Incoepoeation of Lancas-

TEE 74

Founding of Lancastee 76

Family of Ralph Houghton 83

Geneeation I 85

Generation II 90

Generation III 94

Generation IV 96

Generation V 102


vi Contents

Geneeation VI 115

Generation VII 142

Generation VIII 216

Generation IX 269

Family of John Houghton . 293

Generation I 295

Generation II 299

Generation III 302

Generation IV 307

Generation V ^. . . 315

Generation VI 334

Generation VII . 362

Generation VIII 409

Generation IX 466

Appendix 529

Index to Family of Ralph 535

Index to Family of John 556


John Wesley Houghton, A. M., M. D Frontispiece

Houghton Coat of Arms Facing page 3

Arms of Daniel Houghton 5

Hoghton Tower 36

Entrance to Houghton Tower, Lancaster, Eng 28

View of Court Houghton Tower 30

Another View of Court of Houghton Tower 32

Old Houghton Homestead at Milton 86

The James Houghton Garrison House ...... 92

Major Levi Houghton 104

Residence of Levi Houghton 106

Samuel A. Houghton 116

Sewell Houghton • 120

Homestead of Sewell Houghton 122

Asa Houghton 124

Henry Merriam Houghton . 148

Birthplace of Henry Merriam Houghton 150

Ross C. Houghton, D. D., Litt. D 156

Oscar A. Houghton, D. D 158

Dr. M. M. Houghton 164

Edwin W. Houghton and His Wife 180

George W. Houghton 183

Mrs. Mary H. Norton 184

John Wesley Houghton, A. M., M. D. 186

Mrs. Mary Hayes Houghton 186

Mrs. Julia H. Ross 188

William Wallace Ross, A. M 188

Charles C. Houghton 190

Rev. Willard J. Houghton 196

Houghton Seminary 198

Major Albert C. Houghton 240

Mrs. Angela H. Randolph, A. M 242

Mrs. Edith Houghton Buell, A. M 244

Marcus D. Buell, A. M., S. T. D., D. D 246


viii Illusteations

Residence of Mrs. Julia H. Ross 250

Leonard F. Houghton 257

Residence of Leonard F. Houghton 258

Abijah O. Houghton . 360

William Houghton 368

German D. Houghton 424

General James F. Houghton 428

Amory Houghton, Jr 432

W. S. Houghton 434

Mr. and Mrs. Edgar H. Houghton 438

Alonzo Curtis Houghton 450

L. T. Houghton -. . . 494

Orley C. Houghton and His Residence 518


For many years I have entertained a purpose to put in
permanent form as much of a record of the immediate ancestry
and collateral branches of the Houghton family as could be
obtained, but owing to the fact that my time has been twice
mortgaged by the kind of business I have followed, and to a
physical condition far from robust, the work has been greatly

As the matter has been investigated I have been increasingly
desirous of finding a connected hne of descent of Ralph and
John Houghton, the two cousins, as is supposed, who came from
England about 1647 to 1650 and settled in Lancaster, Mass.,
the following year, with their English ancestry, but up to the
present writing no solution of this question that has been
offered is quite satisfactory. I shall, however, include the
various theories that have been advanced and leave each reader
to accept or reject as he may think the evidence requires.

After much correspondence I have, with the assistance of
several of our friends, been able to trace an unbroken line of
descent, from Ralph and John to many of the Houghtons of
the present time and to connect with them many families in
different parts of the United States.

It is found that nearly all of the Houghtons in America are
descended from one or the other of these two persons, and it is
hoped that by a general circulation of the facts already ob-
tained many more will be able to trace their relationship to
the parent tree.

It has seemed best, by way of introduction to the study of the
families of Ralph and John, of Lancaster, Mass., to reprint an
abridgement of the report of Mr. Rice made to the Houghton
association concerning his investigation of the Houghton
family, money and estates in England, in 1847. The parts

X Peeface

omitted have no special importance as matters of information
or history, and so may well be spared by reason of the expense
of introduction.

From the necessities of the case this work will be largely a
compilation, and I shall quote freely from all published ma-
terial that has come to our hands so that most that is known
concerning the family history shall be preserved for the benefit
of the present and future generations. Several of the dates
and incidents of the Rice pamphlet have been found to be in-
correct and will be noticed later. ^

It is my purpose to include much other matter published by
Columbus Smith, Francis Houghton, of New York, in " Colon-
ial Houghtons," the records of descendants of Eleazer Hough-
ton, a grandson of John, and the family of Timothy, in the
fifth generation of the family of John, and so gather together
all the literature we have concerning the families of John and
Ralph in one volume.

Our correspondence shows an increasing interest in the his-
tory of the Houghton family, and it is hoped that this effort
will lead to a more general study and a larger understanding of
the relationship we bear to each other. This study has been one
of intense interest to us, and we trust it may be found of equal
satisfaction to our numerous uncles, aunts and cousins. It
should not be attributed to conceit when we say that we have
reason to be proud of our ancestry, that we have come of noble
stock and have an exceptionally clean record, which we trust
this and succeeding generations will have an ambition to main-
tain spotless and pure. A man without pride of ancestry or
ambition for the best development of posterity along all right
lines, has not reached the plane of the breeder of fine horses and
cattle, and we trust there are few such in the Houghton family.

With no claim to unusual greatness it is not too much to
say that for sobriety, virtue, industry, energy and intelligence
they present a fair average that will not suffer by comparison
with other famihes of modern times.

In the following account written by Mr. Rice, we shall put
the different generations into separate paragraphs. It will aid

Peeface xi

to a better understanding if the reader will keep in mind the
English custom or law, by which the eldest son is made to suc-
ceed to the titles and estate of the father, and this will also
explain the reason for the absence of mention of any children
of a preceding generation except those of the first son. In case
of the death of the eldest son without issue the next son succeeds
to the titles and estate.

It would be impracticable to enumerate or individually thank
all who have contributed their assistance to this work. Some
members in nearly all the families represented have shown
commendable interest, for which I trust I am sufficiently

We have tried to impress upon all the desirability of fur-
nishing for each person named, date of birth, marriage, to
whom, death, residence, and biographical and historical items,
but in many instances the records show only the names, and
sometimes a few dates, and if some families seem to have fairer
treatment than others, it may be understood that either it was
on account of our personal knowledge of the individuals or
that the writers furnished a fuller account of their famihes and

Many of the old family records have nothing but the names
of the different members, and after two or three generations
have passed it is impossible to obtain the particulars of their

There will be found many errors in dates because the differ-
ent records often do not agree and there is no possible way of
reconciling them, since all having personal knowledge have
passed on.

For some famihes that undoubtedly descended from Ralph or
John we have been unable to find the connecting link, records
rot having been kept, or having been lost. These we have
inserted at the close of the book and trust that by this publica-
tion their relation to their ancestry may later be discovered.

We are glad to be able to state that since the foregoing was
written we have succeeded in tracing the connection with their
ancestry of every family but two with whom we have had cor-

xii Prefack

respondence. If time was unlimited, a long lease of life assured,
and finances sufficient, more extended and satisfactory results
might be attained, but in view of our limitations it is imperative
that we bring our work to a close.

Having this for a basis, we hope that some future genealogist
may be able to interest a larger number in this study and be
able to compile a more complete history of the Houghtons in

The burdensome number of appeals to one's time, patronage,
services and purse, brought by the mail, which to acknowledge
or respond to would leave one with no resources for the obliga-
tions imperative and near at hand, makes me charitable toward
those who have not considered my genealogical invitations
seriously, and have been accessory to the latter's reaching the
obHvion of the waste-basket.

The foregoing has been written many years and now, after
a year of thorough canvassing for subscribers, during which
we have sent out nearly 2,000 letters and subscription blanks,
I am moved to add to what has already been said.

This work was first undertaken at the suggestion of my
brother, E. W. Houghton, who was greatly interested in this
subject, but with no expectation of including more than the
descendants of our grand-father, Nehemiah Houghton, of
Vernon, Vt., with many of whom we had personal acquaintance,
and to trace our ancestry, if possible, back to Ralph, from
whom it was supposed we had descended.

The scope of the work was gradually enlarged until it finally
embraced the descendants of both Ralph and John. Beginning
about twenty years ago, what time could be spared from busi-
ness was devoted to securing material and tracing lines of
ancestry, and since I have been out of business, practically all
ray time has been given to this work. With health, time and
unlimited means, together with the assistance and co-operation
of the relatives, I have no doubt that nine-tenths of all the
descendants of Ralph and John in America might be embraced
in this genealogical scheme.

I have not observed such method in this work as would

Preface xiii

enable me to state how many letters have been written, but they
must have run into the thousands, and with them several thou-
sand genealogical blanks prepared for inserting family and
ancestral records.

Many have shown genuine interest and given all the assist-
ance possible, and in my correspondence I have made the
acquaintance of many choice spirits, which I shall try to renew
when we get to that country to which we are all hastening.

One who has had no experience cannot have any conception
of the amount of time and money involved in such an under-
taking as this. In order to bring each family into its proper
place, and make connection with ancestors and descendants, the
records have been written, and as often as additions have been
received rewritten in form of charts, diagrams, family trees and
later in genealogical form or order, so that there are very few
records that have not been rewritten a half dozen times or more.
Records are generally received in narrative form, names not in
order as to time, without classification as to dates of birth,
marriage and death.

This work was not undertaken as a money-making scheme,
but purely as a labor of love and in order to preserve the family
records for the benefit of future generations. It was expected,
however, that the project would have the cordial support of
everyone who bore the name of Houghton, thinking that if they
were not as heartily interested as the writer they would be glad
to furnish what information of their family and friends they
could, and so preserve their names, and deeds, and memories,
and would moreover be thankful for the gratuitous work under-

Then the months of waiting for answers to letters ; the effort
to find some missing link in the chain ; how to find a family
whose residence is not known, or to settle conflicting records
when different dates are given for the same event, has been a
serious tax on a badly overworked nervous system.

The work has been a great source of enjoyment and satis-
faction with the results attained. Few things bring greater
pleasure than after long and apparently hopeless search, one

xiv Preface

is able at last to establish a complete line of descent from the
original emigrant down to the present time. It is something
like finding a mine or making a discovery.

It has also been a source of surprise and regret that a few
who appeared greatly interested at the outset, furnishing
records and biographical and auto-biographical sketches, ap-
parently lost all interest after they had been furnished with
the result.

Such a work cannot be published without great sacrifice on
the part of some person, but it was hoped and expected that
many more than have done so would be glad to contribute at
least the price of a book, which is not only a private but a
public benefit, and will be increasingly valuable as the years
go on.

A genealogical writer many years ago wrote that " In the
great struggle of life there is little room for sentiment; but
wherein is man above the ' beasts that perish ' if he has no
sacred family instincts, no veneration or regard for kindred
and ancestors, no pride at the recital of noble deeds ; no love
for ancestral home and blood, those ties that connect him with
the generations of the past; no holy memories, no tender
thoughts of the fathers whose name he bears and whose blood
courses in his veins? "

" Esau was accursed for selling his birth-right for a mess of
pottage; we have inherited a good name from a long Hne of
noble ancestors ; let us not despise our birth-right by indifi^er-
ence and cool neglect ; for ' a good name is better than great
riches ' and the lineage of a man is of more importance than
the pedigree of a horse."

My great satisfaction is in the fact that I have in some
measure aided in saving a large amount of family history from
certain destruction in a few years, which in its present form
will be preserved for many generations to come.

To all who in any way have contributed to the completion of
this work, by kind words, by gathering and arranging records,
by clerical labor or by financial assistance, I hereby make
grateful acknowledgment. May their criticism or blame, if



any, be tempered by the remembrance of the great difficulties
unavoidably connected with such a work. No one can be more
conscious of its defects than myself, and at this stage one feels
as though, if there were a certainty of a continuance of life
and health, he would like to rewrite it from the beginning.
I am not a book maker and the work should not be judged by
that standard. This is entirely a side issue, taken up as diver-
sion from a very laborious and exacting business life, and the
work should be judged by the fraternal spirit that inspired it,
and not by literary standards.



That this work was not completed earlier is as greatly re-
gretted by myself as by the subscribers. I had no concption
of the endless details connected with putting the manuscript in
form for the publisher. Then the delays occasioned by failure
to send records as promised may account for several weeks
delay. That the work is less complete than I had hoped is a
matter of sincere regret but this fault may be set down to
difficulty of obtaining the necessary information to secure com-
pleteness and accuracy. For the purpose of eliminating errors
and supplying omissions I will undertake to prepare type-
written pages, the same size as page of book, containing any
additional matter that subscribers will furnish which pages
can be gummed and inserted between the leaves in connection
with any given record. A duplicate will be inserted in my own
copy and in this manner a more complete record will be made
for the use of future genealogists and historians. I shall take
pleasure in looking after this as long as I remain, and after-
ward the duty will be bequeathed to a member of my family.
In each case the following information is desired — Name in
full ; dates of birth ; death ; marriage ; to whom ; and dates
as above ; residence ; occupation ; school ; biography or brief
sketch such as may be of interest to future generations. I
predict that no similar genealogical work will be attempted in
the next five hundred years and never if its financial possibilities
are apprehended.

I should have been glad to corral all the Houghtons in
America but some did not wish to be corraled and time and
money have limits.

Thanking again all who have in any way contributed to the

success of this enterprise, I am.

Cordially yours,

J. W. Houghton
Wellington, Ohio,

January \st, 1912.


1. The name of each member of a family introduced into
the record is given a number in the margin in consecutive
order, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc.

2. Those marrying into the family are indexed by the mar-
ginal number of the husband or wife to whom they marry.

3. Those persons who have descendants are given a * sign
in the margin preceding their names, indicating that their
names will appear in the next generation as the head of a family
followed by the names of their children, each in their order
preceded by Roman characters, i, ii, iii, iv, v, etc.

4. Exception is made to this rule in case of a family whose
line does not extend beyond the next generation and there is no
history or biography concerning them, in which case the names
of the children are made to appear in parenthesis immediately
following those of their parents, and the names of each of the
children will appear in the index with the same number of the
father or mother, as the case may be.

5. Records received too late to be entered in connection with
their ancestry are carried forward to the close of the list, and
a foot note in connection with their immediate ancestor directs
to the serial number where the records of the descendants will
be found.

6. Lines of ancestry may be traced to preceding generation
by taking bracket number preceding parent's name, and finding
the same number in the margin ; the descendants by taking the
number of any person with the * sign and finding the same
number in the following generation inclosed in brackets.

Example: Nehemiah Houghton and Eunice Curtice, family
of Ralph, are preceded by number (165) in bracket. To find
his father, Edward, find 165 in margin in preceding generation,

XX Explanation

where will be found sketch of Nehemiah and record of all the
children of his father, Edward.

To find the descendants of Nehemiah take the name of any
of his children with a star (*) sign, say son of Nehemiah, with
marginal number 250 and go forward, finding the same num-
ber in brackets (250).

7. Marriages and descendants of daughters are given under
their father's name, though some exceptions are made to this
rule, and the daughters made to appear as the head of their
families in a subsequent generation the same as the sons.

8. Abbreviations : b. born ; d. died ; m. married ; res. resi-
dence ; ch. child or children.


There will be found many errors in this, in the earlier gen-
erationSj on account of the different methods of reckoning time,
explained elsewhere, and also owing to a difference in dates
furnished by correspondents, to correct which, if it were pos-
sible in every instance, would add unnecessarily to a correspond-
ence already sufficiently burdensome.

The difference of a few days or a month, or even a year,
especially in the earlier generations is not a matter of vital

Other errors will be found in the marginal numbering, some
by reason of new names having been furnished after the record
was made up ; others from carelessness or stupidity, but after
writing and rewriting in order to eliminate those errors we con-
cluded that it would make no confusion as each name will be
found indexed by a number corresponding with that in the
margin, and so it was decided that it would be an unnecessary
addition to our work to correct them.

Other errors occur because it was not possible in every in-
stance to determine the family to which some of the names
given belonged. Sometimes it was a question of probabilities.
We hope that all errors that may be discovered by any of our

Explanation xxi

readers will be reported to us promptly. The corrections will
be written on the blank leaves at the close of the book inserted
for that purpose. This will enable any future genealogist,
who has a surplus of time, and a small fortune which he wishes
to invest, for glory and the good of the family, to make the
record more accurate.

This is a case in which no individual prepares a second
edition of his work. He leaves this for the next man who has
not had his experience.


We find the following sketch of Lord Houghton which we
think is of sufficient interest to warrant pubHcation :

" Richard Monckton Milnes, son of Robert Pemberton
Milnes, a wealthy gentleman of good family, in the West
Riding, Yorkshire, his mother being the daughter of a Vis-
count. There was nothing that a gentleman ought to have
from youth to age that was not within his reach. He had only
to wish, to have. Carefully educated in childhood, shortly
after completing his eighteenth year he was entered by his
father at Trinity College, Cambridge, where the master was
Dr. Wordsworth, brother of the poet. Whewell, whose fort
was science and whose foible was onmiscience, was the senior
tutor; and his fellow students were such young men of genius
and talents as John StirHng, Richard Trench, Julius Haire,
Thackeray, Arthur Henry Hallam, the three Tennysons, Fred-
rick, Charles, and Alfred, whom his friends called Alfred the
Great before many years. The latter took a fancy to young
Richard on the day Alfred entered college. ' There is a man I
should like to know,' he said to himself. ' He looks the best
tempered fellow I ever saw.' They spoke to each other and
were friends ever after. Milnes soon began to distinguish
himself by his abihty as a debater, a circumstance which must
have gratified his father, who had not only been the first man
of his time at Trinity, but was famous for a speech which he
made in the House of Commons, where he represented the
Borough of Pontefract, a speech which causd him to be ofi^ered
a seat in the Cabinet, either as Chancellor of the Exchequer or
Secretary of War, both of which positions he promptly de-
clined, declaring that with his temperament he would not live
a year. Young Milnes was a great orator.

" Thomas Wentworth Higginson says of the late Lord

xxiv Sketch op the Late Lord Houghton

Houghton : ' The recognized host of literary Americans in
London, during the latter half of the last century . . . was
unquestionably the late Lord Houghton, for his friendships
were as lasting as his Hfe, and almost as numerous as his letters.
Responding to all introductions with more than even the cus-
tomed London promptness. Lord Houghton was often the first

Online LibraryJohn W. (John Wesley) HoughtonThe Houghton genealogy : the descendants of Ralph and John Houghton of Lancaster, Massachusetts; with an introduction giving the Houghton families in England from the time of William the Conqueror, 1065, to Lord Henry Bold Houghton, 1848 → online text (page 1 of 42)