Pictorial and Genealogical Record
of
Greene County, Missouri

Together with Bibliographies of Prominent Men of Other Portions of the State, Both Living and Dead


S. M. HOUSTON. One of the prominent officials of Greene County and an honored citizen of Springfield is Judge Houston who springs from an old Colonial family, a member of which was the famous Gen. Sam Houston. The great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch came from Ireland, was of Scotch-Irish descent and a Covenanter in his religious views. Two brothers came to this country with him, one settling in Maryland and the other in Virginia, and from these two descends the Southern branch of the family, many of whom have become distinguished men. The grandfather of the subject of this sketch settled in Maryland, near Baltimore, and there paid the last debt of nature. His son, Robert, the father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Maryland, and when a young man was present as a teamster, at the battle of Havre-de-Grace, being too young to serve as a soldier. He went to Hamilton County, Ohio, and was there married to Matilda McMillan, daughter of Daniel McMillan, a prominent and extensive flour manufacturer, who finally settled in Indiana, in Fountain County, on the Shawnee Plains. Here he followed the occupation of a miller and the trade of a millwright, and was successful in the accumulation of a competency. He and his wife were the parents of three children: Sampson M., Ellen and Matilda; but after the death of the wife and mother in Ohio, Mr. Houston went to Indiana and was married there to Nancy Rock, who bore him three sons: William, Robert and James. The older Houston family were members and attendants of the Presbyterian Church, but Robert Houston and wife became members of the old Christian Church, in which Mr. Houston was a leader of the choir and a clerk. He held the rank of major in the Indiana Militia for a long time, and was a man of exceptionally upright and honorable character. Sampson M. Houston, his son and the subject of this sketch, was born in ________ County, near Cincinnati, Ohio, July 14, 1826, and there is a tradition in the family that the maternal grandfather once owned 160 acres of land on the site of that city. He was but two years of age when taken by his parents to Indiana, and at the age of ten years he went to live with his aunt, Mary Rogers, his mother's sister, by whom he was brought up on a farm near Crawfordsville, and during this; time he attended the district schools and learned the details of farm work. Not being satisfied with the education thus obtained he began devoting his evenings to study, and in this manner he gained a good education and became the teacher of the district school in his neighborhood before he was twenty-one, years of age. After pursuing this occupation for some time with commendable success, he prepared himself for the academy at Crawfordsville, which he attended one year, his expenses being paid with money, obtained by his own labor; in fact, he supported himself and gained his education from the time he was seventeen years of age. Having fitted himself for a higher course of education he entered Wabash College at the age of twenty-four years, where he pursued his studies for two years. Following this he taught in the public school at Crawfordsville, where he received a salary larger than that of any other teacher there, owing to the fact that he was a fine disciplinarian, and an intelligent and thorough instructor. After a time he turned his attention to general farming and stock raising, and at the opening of the great Civil War, having declined the nomination of representative to the State Legislature, he dropped the plow and harrow to assist in the organization of the State Militia, and received the appointment of colonel of the Montgomery Regiment, succeeding Gen. Lew Wallace, filled this position during the war and did effectual and valuable service in keeping order during these distressing times in his part of the State. Having been an earnest member of the Christian Church for some years he was ordained a clergyman in 1848 and began evangelical work, and when the war opened he was district evangelist. After the close of the war he engaged in the manufacture of brick and became a contractor, and erected many of the handsomest and most substantial buildings in Crawfordsville. in which business he continued until his removal to Indianapolis in 1873, in which city he turned his attention to the purchase and sale of real estate. During the eleven years that he remained there he held the office of active mayor of Irvington, a suburb of Indianapolis, and was justice of the peace and chairman of the committee that removed Butler University from Indianapolis to Irvington. In 1880 he was appointed, through the personal knowledge of Gen. Garfield, to organize and make effective the religious element of the Christian Church in Indiana, and act as controlling chairman in the interests of Garfield for his election to the presidency, and in this he succeeded, and received the personal thanks of Gen. Garfield after his election. In 1881 he came to Springfield, Mo., and bought both residence and business property, and as a means of livelihood engaged in the coffee and spice business and has also been engaged in the manufacture of apple products. In 1890 he was elected by a large majority to the position of associate county judge, a position which he still fills with credit. While making the race for second term he ran ahead of his ticket. Judge Houston has been a presiding elder in his church and is called the "father" of the south side Christian Church, as he was one of its prominent founders. In 1848 he was married to Maggie McCollough, daughter of James and Margaret (Maxwell) McCollough, a sister of Prof. McCollough, of Irvington College, California. To the judge and his wife four children have been given: James H., Alice C., May T. and Edward M.

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