John Houston was born circa 1690 in Scotland, United Kingdom to John Houston (c1650-bef1735) and died 1754 Virginia, United States of unspecified causes. He married Mary Cunningham (-aft1748) in United Kingdom.



Offspring of John Houston and Mary Cunningham (-aft1748)  ¢
Name Birth Death Joined with
James Houston (c1718-c1736)
Robert Houston (1720-1761) 1720 (Ireland) 1761 Rockbridge County, Virginia, United States Margaret Davidson (c1725-c1755)
John Houston (1726-1798)
Samuel Houston (1728-1797)
Matthew Houston (1730-)


James Houston (?-?) c1718 Ireland c1736 Ireland Houston, 1882:7. Was studying for the clergy when the when the family moved to America. Remained behind in Ireland, and died soon thereafter. DOB based on assumption that he was under 20 years of age when his parents emigrated, and two years younger than his younger brother Robert b. 1720
Robert Houston (1720-1761)‎ 1720 Ireland 1761 Margaret Davidson, dau. of Samuel and Ann Dunlap He married Mary Davidson, dau of Robert Davidson and Ann Dunlap. She is named in both the will of her father and the will of her husband: From Chalkey's Vol III p 387: Will of Robert Davison wr 10 Jan 1751, proven 29 Aug 1751. Wife Ann, son John, dau Mary Huston. Teste: John Mackey, Wm Lusk. And the will of Robert Houston: Augusta Co Wills, BK 3 p 20: 11 Sep 1760: Robert Huston's will, farmer, wife Mary, son John (infant) 95 A on Collier's Creek; son James (infant) 200 A adjoining place testator lives on; son Samuel (infant) plantation of 307 A that testator lives on; daughter Elizabeth 5 shillings already provided for; daughters Ann, Esther, Margaret, Mary. Brother Samuel Huston and son John and wife Mary; executors. Teste: Daniel Lyle, Moses Trimble, Saml McCoskey. Proved 19 May 1761 by Lyle and Trimble and executors qualified (Mary's mark), with Daniel Lyle, John Huston, Jno Lowry (Lowny).

Infant means between the birth and age 14. John the son was 12.

c1740 PA Houston, 1882:22; Based on datum that the marriage occurred prior to the move to VA, and that this move must have occurred between 1740 and 1742
Isabella Houston (c1722-?) c1722 Ireland 1) John or George Henderson
2) William Gillespie (?-?)
c1740 PA Houston, 1882:220; Based on datum that the marriage occurred prior to the move to VA, and that this move must have occurred between 1740 and 1742
Esther Houston (?-?) 1724 John Montgomery c1740-1742 PA Houston, 1882:103]; DOM based on datum that the marriage occurred prior to the move to VA, and that this move must have occurred between 1740 and 1742; but if it occurred in 1740 she would have been just 16 years of age.
John Houston (1726-1798) Sarah Todd (?-1795) Houston, 1882:120. Houston, 1882 gives conflicting information about his DOB. On p. 120 he says he was 9 years old when the family came to America in 1735, implying a DOB of 1726. On p. 121 he tells us that he was born in 1716.
Samuel Houston (1728-1797) 1728 Ireland 1797 Elizabeth McCroskey May 20 1753 or 1754 Borden's Grant Houston, 1882:209; Came to America at age 7 in 1735. POM based on datum that the family moved to Virginia from PA between 1740 and 1742. In 1742 John would have been 14 and too young to have married.
Matthew Houston (1730-?) 1730 Ireland Martha Lyle Houston, 1882:233; was about five when he came to America; POM based on datum that the family moved to Virginia from PA between 1740 and 1742. In 1742 Mathew would have been 12 and too young to have married. Moved to TN, about 1790, first settling on the French Broad, then on Nine Mile Creek in Blount County. His wife was a Lyle, and there are numerous Lyle families on Borden's Grant c1740-1750, in the immediate area where his elder brother Robert Settled.

History of several generations

Sam Houston Birthplace Marker in Rockbridge County, Virginia

The famous Sam Houston was the fifth son of Major Samuel Houston and Elizabeth Paxton. Houston's paternal ancestry is often traced to his great-great grandfather Sir John Houston, who built a family estate in Scotland in the late seventeenth century. His second son John Houston emigrated to Ulster, Ireland during the Ulster plantation period. Under the system of primogeniture, he did not inherit the estate. A historic plaque near Larne in County Antrim, Northern Ireland tells the story of the Houston family. It is located in Ballyboley Forest Park near the site of the original John Houston estate.

After several years in Ireland, John Houston immigrated in 1735 with his family to the North American colonies, where they first settled in Pennsylvania. Houston decided to migrate south with other Scots-Irish, who settled in the back country of lands in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.[1] Scots-Irish newcomers included the Lyle family of the Raloo area who helped found Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church, and the Houston family settled nearby. Gradually, John Houston developed his land and purchased slaves.[1] His son Robert inherited his land, and the youngest of Robert's five sons was Samuel Houston.

Samuel Houston became a member of Morgan's Rifle Brigade and was commissioned a major during the American Revolutionary War. At the time, militia officers were expected to pay their own expenses. He had married Elizabeth Paxton and inherited his father's land, but he was not a good manager and got into debt, in part because of his militia service.[2] Their children were born on his family's plantation near Timber Ridge Church, including Sam Houston on March 2, 1793, the fifth of nine children and the fifth son. The senior Samuel and Elizabeth's children were Paxton (b. 1783), Robert (b. 1787), James (b. 1788), John Paxton (b. 1790; first clerk of Izard County, Arkansas, 1819–1838), Samuel (b. 1793), William (b. 1794), Isabella (b. 1796), Mary Blair (b. 1797), and Elizabeth Ann (b. 1800). Today, Timber Ridge Plantation maintains a log building which tradition claims was constructed from logs salvaged from the Sam Houston birthplace cabin.[3]

Planning to move on and leave debts behind, the elder Samuel Houston patented land near relatives in Maryville, the county seat of Blount County, Tennessee. He died in 1807 before he could complete the move, which Elizabeth subsequently undertook, along with their five sons and three daughters. She took them to the eastern part of the new state, which had been admitted to the Union in 1796.[1]


Taken from Houston, 1882:7 et seq. The following quotation is exerpted from different passages of Houston 1882, as the information about John Houston (c1680-?) was placed at several different points in the original, with considerable repetition.

The following is copied from a manuscript found among the papers of Rev. Samuel Houston, of Rockbridge County, Va, the father of the writer:
John Houston, my grandfather came from Ireland with is family when my father was nine years of age, about seventeen hundred and thirty-five (1735), bringing with him his mother, and wife, and all his childrn excepting the oldest son (James), who had received an education and was studing divinity, but died soon after the family left him of consumption.
My grandfather's children [excepting James] were as follows:
1. Robert Houston
2. Isabella Houston,
3. Esther Houston,
4. John Houston,
5. Samuel Houston,
6. Mathew houston.
He remained after landing, in Pennsylvania, until his three oldest chilren were married; then removed to Virginia, and settled on 'Burden's Land;' and, with his son (and son-in-law-, John Montgomery), was a principal founder of the congregation of 'New Providence' to which he gave the name. In the cemetery of the dame, his mother, aged nienty seven (97), his wife, and himself, with several of his descendants, lie entombed.
My grandfatherwas killed by a limb falling from a burning tree, as he walked under it, which with its point foremost, penetrated his skull, and in a moment dispatched his life."
My mother (her maiden name was Todd), died in seventeen hundred and ninety-five (1795), and was buried near Maryville, Blount County. My father died in Kentucky, and was buried in a churchyard near Whipperwill Creek, Logan County.
(Signed) "Samuel Houston.
May 3, 1820

Houston, 1882:10 continues:

John Houston...emigrated to America about the year seventeen hundred and thrity-five (1735). Some of the company of those who came with him, haveing a considerable amount of money with them, and believeing from the donduct of the captain and crew of the vessel in which they sailed, that they designed robbing and murdxdering them, held a consultation, and determined to seize, and put in irons, the whole number. This they did; and some of the emigrants being skilled in navigation, took command of the ship, and after a sail o eight days, theywere all safely landed in the port of Philadelphia.
...the Houstons settled, when they removed fro Pennsylvania, in Virginia, on what was then known as the "Burden Tract", between the years seventeen hundred and forty-two, and fifty (1742-50).

Houston, 1882:14 continues:

His house stood near the place where "Old Providence Church" now stands. In its immediate vicinity the settlers erected a stockade fort, for their defense, in the case of invasion by the Indans. The father of the writer remembered having seen this fort when he was a boy (as early as 1760-1765), and having heard most thrilling accounts of the alarms and, not unfrequently (sic) of the curel massacres to which the early settlers were subjected from the inroads and assaults of the Indians.
John Houston was one of the first elders of the New Providence Church, and seems to have had a controlling influence over the people, as may be inferred from his success in removing the difficulties which attended the locating of their church edifice. Rev. Samuel Houston, a grandson, gives an account of this in a letter about the year 1820 to Rev. James Morrison, a former paster of the church.
Nothing...could be done in the way of building until the questsion of location should be settled. Several ineffectual meetngs were held. At last many became alarmed, lest it should end like the tower of Bable. Another meeting, however, was called, at which my grandfather attended, and he employed such conciliatory argument as brought the stiff to yield and to agree to the site where the church now stands. After agreement, it was propsed to give the church a name. My aged ancestor said: 'Neighbors, we have heretofore had unpleasant and fruitless meetings; but to-day, we have had an agreeable and successful one. We are indebted to Divine Providence for it. Let us call the Church Providence.' To this all assented.
(There is another origin of the name given by some, but the above seems to be the true one.)
John Houston's name stands first on the list of subscribers. He signed, also, a call for the services of their first pastor, in the year 1753 (seventeen hundred and fifty-three). The church had been organized in the year 1746 (seventeen hundred and forty-six)...The call is not only signed by John Houston "first", but by John Houston, Samuel Houston, Robert Houston, and Matthew Houston, who were, in all probability, the sons of John Houston, Sr., since these were the names of his four sons...The name of John Montgomery is among the names of the signers also, no doubt the son-in-law of John Houston...


DOB: c1690 Houston, 1882:18
DOD: 1754 Houston, 1882:18
Spouse: ____ Cunningham Houston, 1882:14
Father: John Houston (c1650-bef1735) Houston, 1882:12-13
Mother: Unknown Unknown (c1650-1747) Houston, 1882:12-13, estimates DOB as 1650, probably based on her age at death of 97, and therefore inferring that she died about 1747

Family Dispersion

The following is based on Houston, 1882

1735 John Houston (c1690-1754) came to America from Ireland, bringing with him his wife and six children, plus his mother. The family initially settled in PA, Three eldest children, John, XXX, and XXX married in Pennsylvania
c1742the extended family, including married children, relocated to what is now Rockbridge County, in the Shannandoah Valley in Virginia. John Sr. settled near the Great Road on the boundary between Borden's Grant and Beverly's Manor.

His soninlaw John Montgomery settled adjacent to him.
son John settled on Hays Creek about 1 mile from Brownsburg, and roughly XX from his father's home.
son Robert settled in the southern portion of Borden's grant, in the Timber Ridge area, and about one mile from Lexington, on the Great Road.

1754At John's death his home-place property passed to his youngest son Matthew. Matthew would later be among those Houston's who moved to Blount County.
1761 At the death of Robert, son of John, his homeplace in Timber Ridge passed to his son Samuel.
1790Matthew, youngest son of John (c1690-1754) relocated to TN, settling first on the French Broad, and later in Blount County, near Houston's Fort on Nine Mile Creek.
1797Samuel son of Robert son of John died in 1797. His wife relocated at that time, with their children, to settle near her Houston kin in Blount County TN.

John Houston male lines.jpg


The accompanying figure shows the approximte location of Houston land holdings on Borden's grant during the early settlement era (c1740-1750). The immigrant ancestor, John Houston (1680-1754) (1), settled close to the boundary between Borden's grant and Beverley's Manor. His son Robert Houston (1720-1761) (3) settled further south, near the Timber Ridge Meeting House. Son [[John Houston (1726-1798) settled somewhere on Hays Creek. The exact location of his property is not known. The relationship between John the immigrant and James Houston (4) who settled in the northeastern most corner of Borden's grant has not been deteremined. Supposedly John the immigrant did have a son James, but this son is said to have remained in Ireland, dying of consumption shortly after the family's migration in 1735, It is possible that he is a grandson of John the Immigrant, but he's clearly an adult c1740, and the sons of John the immigrant would just have reached marriagable ages at that time, and so would not have adult children.
Houston Land Holdings (c1740-1750).jpg


Item Will of John Houston (c1690-1754)
Secondary Source Houston, 1882:19
Primary SourceAugusta County, VA Will Book 2, p 40.
Will Date24 April 1748-49
Probate DateMay 15 1755
Main BodyI give and bequeath unto my dearly beloved wife the full and free possession of all my movable estate; do allow her the full and uninterupted liberty, toghether with the advice of John Moore, to give and dispose of the same unto my sons Samuel and Matthew, as she shall think proper and meet; and at the the end of her life to divide all that she possesses among the rest of my children as she shall judge most convenient, and likewise that Mary Blain have a share with the rest; and likewise I order her to possess the estate or plantation I now live upon until my son Matthew comes of age, and at the expiration of which time, she is posessed of the following particulars, namely: she is to have the west end of the house, toghether with the keeping of two cows, and one horse, and bread during her time of life.

Item--I give and bequeath unto my son Matthew the estate or plantation whereon I now live, and do order him fully and freely to possess the same as soon as he is of age; and, likewise, I constitute, make and order my well beloved wife and John Moore my only and sole excutors of this my last will and testament....

SignedJohn Houston
Witnesss present:James Eakin, Joseph Kennedy, Walter Eakin


  1. ^ a b c James L. Haley, Sam Houston, Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004
  2. ^ Haley (2002), p. 6
  3. ^ Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission Staff (May 1978). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Church Hill". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. 

Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General
  • This John was the second son of the "Sir John Houston, who built a family estate in Scotland in the late seventeenth century".
₪ Wedding
  • Either Scotland or what is now called Northern Ireland.
¢ Children
  • Copied from the dispersion chart

WMWillis, Robin Patterson

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