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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Houghton

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1213-1215 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

This family is of English descent, and may have descended from John Houghton, of Lancaster, Massachusetts. The connection cannot be established and the family history starts with Eli Houghton, who, if not born in Albany county, New York, came here at a very early date. His father's name is not recorded. The family home was at Pumpkintown, now known as New Salem, on the New Scotland road familiarly known to the old settlers as the Indian footpath. Along this "footpath" the early Houghton family lived and there the first settler died.

(I) Eli Houghton, the first on record of his line in the Mohawk Valley, grew to manhood in the first home of the family. He married Laura Gilbert, of the same neighborhood, a descendant of the New England Gilberts. Children:

  1. William, see forward.
  2. Calvin, died young, unmarried.
  3. David, died December 2, 1903; his widow, Louise Houghton, resides in Duanesburg, New York; they had sons, Robert and Alvin, and a daughter Sarah.
  4. John, married Lily Mufford; they reside in Schenectady and have children: George W., Blanche (Mrs. La Grange), and Jesse, who married Laura De Baud.
  5. Henry, married Jennie Debody; children: Lillian, Harry and Laura.
  6. Charles, died in Knox, New York; married Maggie Colwell.
  7. Hannah, married Nicholas Oliver, both dying in Albany county, without children.
  8. Harry, married Mrs. Jessie Mufford, a widow with one son, John Mufford; another son, Leonard, deceased; she survived her second husband and resides in Schenectady.
  9. Sarah, married, but died shortly after.
  10. George, died in the service in civil war.

(II) William, eldest child of Eli and Laura (Gilbert) Houghton, was born in 1832, died September 3, 1890. He was reared in Schenectady, but followed farming in different localities until 1877, when he settled in the town of Florida and farmed there for several years, afterward removing to Amsterdam, where he resided until his death, which occurred in Schenectady while there temporarily. He married, in Schenectady, at a place familiarly known locally as "The Smoky Tavern," in 1856, Libby White, born at Half Moon, Saratoga county, New York, in 1834, died in Albany county, September 5, 1884, a daughter of early Saratoga county settlers who were born in the state of New York, where they lived to extreme old age. Children of William and Libby (White) Houghton:

  1. Smith A., born in 1858; a farmer near Frankfort, Oneida county, New York; he married (first) Annie Saunders and had Albert, drowned in the Erie canal at age of three, Levina and Clarence, the latter deceased.
  2. H. Arthur, see forward.
  3. Norman, a business man of Amsterdam, New York: he married Ada Wright, deceased, as is their son, William, who died at age of twenty-four.
  4. John, a farmer near Amsterdam; married (first) Celia Vunk, who bore him a son Herbert; married (second) Mary ————, who bore him a daughter Dorothy.

(III) H. Arthur, eldest child of William and Libby (White) Houghton, was born in the town of Rotterdam, Schenectady county, New York, August 22, 1860. He was educated in the public schools of the different towns in which his parents resided, and secured a good education nevertheless. While yet a young man he began operating for himself. He established a teaming and express business that was a marked success from the very beginning, so thoroughly had he won the confidence and respect of the community. He maintained his business in Amsterdam until he was possessed of sufficient means to warrant the purchase of a good farm of one hundred and twenty-eight acres in the town of Florida, on Terwilliger creek, a famous stream that waters the farms of a large section of the town. This farm he operates as a model dairy. The appointments are all modern, and the entire farm is conducted on the most approved, up-to-date methods. To the farm he devotes his special attention and energetic supervision. He has devised a new system for the construction of farm fencing by means of concrete posts which he manufactures himself, he being the first to engage in this method of farm fence building in this part of the country. He proposes to fence his entire farm in this manner. He is a Republican, but not an office seeker.

Mr. Houghton married (first) December 31, 1884, in Amsterdam, New York, Cornelia Cunningham, born in Utica, New York, May 2, 1861, died at her home in Amsterdam, March 25, 1891. She was a daughter of Robert, born in New Hartford, Oneida county, New York, April 5, 1836, died in Schenectady, February 11, 1909, and his wife, Helen (Ritter) Cunningham, also a native of Oneida county. Robert Cunningham was a son of James and Agnes (Dorthy) Cunningham, both natives of Glasgow, Scotland, and of the same good old Scotch family that produced Albert Cunningham, the well-known Scotch poet. Both James and Agnes had been married previously. Shortly after their marriage they emigrated to the United States, in the early fifties, and settled in Oneida county, New York, where they died at an advanced age. Helen Ritter, wife of Robert Cunningham, was the daughter of Henry and Margaret (Lobdell) Ritter, both born in Newburg, New York, where they were married, settling soon after their marriage in Little Falls, New York, where they died at the ages of seventy and sixty-eight. Henry Ritter was the son of Captain Frederick Ritter, a soldier of the revolution, serving from New England, where he was captain of a company recruited through his own efforts. Mrs. Helen (Ritter) Cunningham survived her husband and is a resident of Newport, Rhode Island; she retains her health and vitality in a wonderful degree. A sister of Mrs. Cunningham, Mrs. Elvira (Ritter) Davis, resides in Amsterdam, the widow of Theodore Davis. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Cunningham:

  1. Cornelia, who was the first wife of H. Arthur Houghton.
  2. Cora, widow of E. E. Snyder, of Newport, Rhode Island; has a son, Hallie Eugene Snyder.
  3. Nellie M., married Samuel MacCordy, of the MacCordy Manufacturing Company, makers of machines and machinery, and has a son Earl.
  4. Jessie, married Norman Hicks, an insurance agent of Schenectady, and has Harold, William and Noble C. Hicks.
  5. Robert, a hardware dealer in New York City; unmarried.

Children of H. Arthur and Cornelia (Cunningham) Houghton:

  1. Charles, born November 20, 1886; is an electrician, residing in Amsterdam, New York; unmarried.
  2. Robert C., born November 8, 1887, died January 18, 1892.
  3. Gladys L., born March 24, 1891, died same date as did her mother.

Mr. Houghton married (second) January 18, 1893, in Amsterdam, Mrs. Nellie (Boice) Westervelt, born at Coeymans, New York, May 22, 1862, widow of George Westervelt, who died in 1885, leaving a son, Melvin B. Westervelt, born December 26, 1885, a resident of Albany, New York, an iron worker, married Florence Cramer, of Amsterdam, New York. Children of second marriage:

  1. Floyd B., born August 6, 1895.
  2. Earl B., July 16, 1899.

Mr. and Mrs. Houghton take an active interest in all that pertains to the welfare of the Methodist church in their city. The family on both sides have been for generations past members of that religious denomination.

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