Sunday, July 12, 2020

Captain Christopher Houston, Biography by Dan Woodruff

Captain Christopher Houston served his country and created a long-standing impression on our culture:
Christopher Houston was born 18 February 1744 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to Robert and Martha Houston. He was the fifth of eight children. Christopher was well educated and raised in a devout Presbyterian home. He traveled with others of his family, settling near the Clinch River in VA before moving to North Carolina.

Christopher Houston and Sarah Mitchell married on 23 April 1767. Christopher built their home on Hunting Creek about 14 miles north of Statesville. By the onset of the Revolutionary War, they had four children, Martha, John, Lillias, and James. Their sons Placebo and Christopher, were born before the end of the war. Samuel and Sarah were born afterward. Education was essential to Christopher and his wife, Sarah. He built an additional room explicitly used as a school on to the house. Fortunately, an excellent young schoolteacher, Moses Waddell, moved to their area and accepted the position as the school teacher. Other local children attended classes here as well.

Christopher had become well respected in the area, and by the onset of hostilities between the Colonies and England, he held the rank of Captain of the militia. He was a Captain in the North Carolina Rangers throughout the Revolutionary War. He wrote in one of his letters that his horse suffered an injury, so he sent it home with another man and briefly rejoined another group of Patriots as a Private.

He was at the Battle of Ramseur's Mill, where his brother, James, was killed. There was another James Houston (believed to be a cousin) injured in the leg at Ramseur's Mill. Some accounts have Christopher Houston guarding captured Tories to prevent them from joining the troops gathered at Kings Mountain, where the Patriots gained a great victory against Major Patrick Ferguson, which caused a turning point in the war. He is reported to have been at Guilford Courthouse. Christopher lost most of his hearing during the war.

After the Revolutionary War, despite his handicap, Christopher was prominent in public and private affairs of the area. He was often called upon to help resolve disputes between others. He was instrumental in organizing the town and was the first Postmaster of Houstonville. This post office was the second in Iredell County. Christopher and his descendants held this office for over 100 years.

Christopher Houston's son, James, had moved to Tennessee and urged his father to move there as well. By 1814 James had convinced him, and at the age of 71, Christopher moved from his long-time home on Hunting Creek, North Carolina to Tennessee, where he purchased a piece of land from his son James. According to a letter written by Christopher and addressed to his son-in-law, Samuel Young, they settled on their new place, west of what is now Lewisburg in Marshall County, Tennessee, on 17 April 1815.

Christopher lost his precious Sarah on 18 May 1821. Sarah disliked Tennessee and never ceased urging her husband to move back to their place on Hunting Creek. Christopher writes in a letter to his daughter, Sarah Young, that his wife's last words to him were urging him to give their land back to Jamey. Her illness was brief, and she went quietly. She was 79.

Christopher remained a widower for a few years and did not feel people should marry in (his own words) "the eleventh hour" and had a "prejudice against old people's folly in marrying again." He admitted to receiving many "hints" to take another wife but not making "any attempt toward it, though the constitution of my affairs require a woman's care." He continues in his letter to ask for God's care and guidance in that and all matters.

In 1825, at the age of 81, Christopher married Elizabeth Simpson. She was in her 50's. In one of Christopher's letters, he describes her as "well respected, exceedingly well spoken of, and had never been married."

At the age of 93, Christopher Houston died of a stroke at his home on 17 May 1837. His grave is in the Houston Cemetery on James Houston's farm.  
- written by his 6th great-grandson, Dan Woodruff


Citations include:
see Houston 
 Military/War Veteran Lineages

Sources: Find a Grave