Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
JEROME A. HOUSTON. It was fifty years ago that Jerome A. Houston, foreman of the air department at the reclamation plant of the Frisco's South Side shops, in Springfield, began his career as machinist, and he has been active in railroad service ever since, having held many positions of responsibility with a number of different companies. His long and close devotion to one line of endeavor has made him an expert to be envied by the young machinist apprentice, but his advice to all such would doubtless be that there is no royal road to the goal of those with ambitions to become an expert in his line. It can only be won by earnest, hard, conscientious and long continued work.
Mr. Houston was born in Loudonville, Ashland county, Ohio, January 20, 1845. He is a son of James E. and Ann (Prutzman) Houston, the latter having died in 1865 at the age of forty-eight years. The father was born near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and there grew to manhood and attended school. When a young man he started out as a cabinet maker in Lancaster, later took up the railroad business at Lancaster, Ohio, with the Cincinnati, Wellington & Zanesville railroad as foreman of the paint shop, which position he held ten or twelve years, then went to Logan, Ohio, and formed a stock company known as the Logan Cabinet Manufacturing Company for the manufacture of cabinets, and his death occurred in that city at the age of sixty-six years. As a Republican, he took a lively interest in political affairs and was elected Mayor of Lancaster, Ohio, two terms. He belonged to the Masonic order, including the Royal Arch and all chapters. He was a member of the Lutheran church. His family consisted of the following named children: Jerome A., of this sketch, is the eldest; Sarah is deceased; Margaret, widow of Alonzo Belt, deceased, now lives at Winnipeg, Canada; George, deceased, was a locomotive engineer on the Frisco Lines, and met an accidental death; Ellen, who is married and lives at Galesburg, Illinois; Lelia married Homer Wright, who is an ex-judge and is now representative from Logan county in the Ohio legislature; Mrs. Mary Johnson lives in Danville, Illinois, where her husband is engaged in the coal business; Hattie, who has remained unmarried, lives at Columbus, Ohio; Ida and Frank are both deceased.
Jerome A. Houston attended the public schools in his native state until he was fifteen years of age, when he left school and began learning the machinist's trade in the shops of the Cincinnati, Wilmington & Zanesville railroad at Lancaster, Ohio, and there completed his apprenticeship. From there he went to Vincennes, Indiana, as machinist for the old Ohio & Mississippi railroad (now the Baltimore & Ohio). Remaining there eighteen months, he went to Lancaster, Ohio, and worked six months for his former employers at his trade, then went to Columbus, Ohio, with the Piqua railroad, known as The Columbus, Cleveland & Indiana Central railroad, and worked there as machinist for three years; then came to St. Charles Missouri, as machinist for the North Missouri railroad with which he remained for eighteen months; then returned to Columbus and continued his trade with his former employers there, but in time returned to Missouri and worked at the town of Pacific for the South Pacific Railroad Company from 1869 until 1871, in which year he came to Springfield as machinist for the old Atlantic-Pacific railroad, now the Frisco, and after working at his usual trade for six months, he was transferred to St. James, Missouri, as roundhouse foreman, which position he held two years; then worked at Dixon, this state, as roundhouse foreman; then held the same position at Newburg two years, after which he came back to Springfield and began working as machinist in the North Side shops. A few months later he was promoted to erecting foreman in this department, which position he held twelve or fifteen years, then was transferred to Sapulpa, Indian Territory, as master mechanic on the Frisco's Red River & Western division, and was there four or five years, when he was sent to Hugo, Oklahoma, as general foreman, then was ordered back to Springfield as foreman of the air department of the reclamation plant, South Side shops, which position he has held since 1912. He has twenty-two men under his direction. He has given honest and high grade service in all the above named positions and has been regarded very highly by all the roads for which he has worked, both as to his skill as a machinist and a man of executive ability and as a trustworthy gentleman.
Mr. Houston was married in 1872 to Julia Hufschmidt, a native of Pacific, Missouri, and a daughter of Frederick and Julia Hufschmidt, of Pacific, Missouri, and to this union one child was born, Archie. Mrs. Hous ton died in 1876, and our subject later married Martha Harris, a native of Dixon, Missouri, and a daughter of William Harris and wife. To this union six children were born, named as following: Mary married George Bailey, superintendent of the Western division of the Frisco; George is with the Long Belt Lumber Company at Cleveland, Ohio; Frank died when twenty years of age; Earl is with the Long Belt Lumber Company in Louisiana; Homer lives in St. Louis; Helen also lives in that city; the last two children are twins.
Mr. Houston resides on Washington avenue, Springfield, but his family is making their home at Newburg, Missouri. Politically, he is a Republican. He is a member of the Lutheran church. Fraternally, he belongs to the Masonic Order, the Knights of Pythias, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Woodmen of the World, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
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