Currently, nothing is known about John Houston’s parentage. John Houston (11.04.1778 – 04.21.1835) married Polly Webster (04.04.1784 – 08.20.1842) on March 24, 1797. They had seventeen children and are buried near Enfield, NH in Lockehaven Cemetery off Shaker Hill Road near the site of Enfield’s first Shaker meeting house.
John Houston and Polly Webster
An old letter, written by Emma Houston Martin (granddaughter of John and Polly) to her nephew Harry Herbert Houston Sr. and his wife Emily, relates Polly Webster to Daniel Webster (1782-1852), a New England politician who led the Whig Party and served as Secretary of State. Emma also links John Houston to Sam Houston (1793-1863), who served as President, Senator, and Governor of Texas with the statement that they must have descended from the same “’stock.’” All Houstons, she explains, derive from five brothers “of English and Irish descent; three remained north, two went south, the progenitors of all our line.” A passage from New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial reiterates some of the family lore relayed in Emma’s letter:
He [Charles Harrison Cross] married, March 15, 1835, Caroline Webster Houston, born at Enfield, New Hampshire, February 12, 1812, died May 22, 1893, daughter of John and Polly (Webster) Houston, granddaughter of John Houston, who had two brothers, James and General Samuel Houston, the latter named the first governor of Texas, hero of the Mexican war. Polly Webster was daughter of Thomas and Polly (Goodhue) Webster, and niece of Ebenezer Webster, father of the great Daniel Webster. Thomas Webster settled in New Hampshire in 1736 and was soldier in the revolution in 1775; also in Captain Joseph Norris’ company, Fourth New Hampshire Regiment, mustered out February 13, 1777.
Further investigation, however, makes it unlikely that the famous Samuel Houston was John Houston’s uncle. If John Houston was indeed born in 1778, then he would be 15 years older than Sam. Still, they may be distantly related.
More on the Webster Family
Genealogical and Personal Memoirs . . . details some of the earliest Websters who originate from John Webster, who emigrated from Ipswich, England, and Thomas Webster, who emigrated from Ormesby, England in the mid-17th century. The passage quoted in the section above incorrectly names Polly’s parents. Their names were Levi Webster (2.20.1742 – 4.13.1818) and Rachel Morse (her first husband’s name), maiden name Goodhue (7.6.1742 – 5.9.1787), both buried in the Enfield Cemetery. An entry in an issue of the Daughters of the Revolution Magazine confirms Polly’s birth date and parentage.
Levi Webster and Rachel Morse Goodhue descended from English families who settled in Massachusetts, mostly in the 1630s:
- Thomas Webster (1631-1715) and his widowed mother, Margaret Margery (1609-1687) arrived from Ormesby, Norfolk England in 1634 and settled in Hampton, NH
- Daniel Brewer (1596-1646) from London, England settled in Roxbury, MA
- Nicholas Noyes (1615-1701) from Cholderton, Wiltshire, England settled in Newbury, MA
- Captain John Cutting (1586-1659) from London, England settled in Roxbury, MA
- William Goodhue (1612-1699) from Deptford, Kent, England settled in Ipswich, MA
- Francis Dane (1615-1696) from Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, England settled in Andover, MA
- Thomas Low (1631-1712) from Groton, Suffolk, England settled in Ipswich, MA
- Thomas Boreman (1570-1627) and son Thomas (1601-1673) from Claydon, Oxfordshire, England settled in Ipswich, MA
- William Story (1614-1702) from Norwich, Norfolk, England settled in Ipswich, MA
Polly’s father, Levi Webster, was born in Kingston, NH. His parents were Thomas Webster (1715-1781), son of John Webster and Abiah Shaw, and Judith Noyes. Thomas and Judith married on October 12, 1738 in Newbury, Massachusetts, about 20 miles from Kingston, NH.
Levi’s great-grandfather was Thomas Webster II (1631-1715). Thomas Webster II was baptized in Ormesby, Norfolk county, England and came to Hampton, NH with his widowed mother, Margery, in 1634. He married Sarah Brewer in 1657, had nine children, and died in Hampton, NH. His father, Thomas Webster I, died in 1634 in Ormesby, England.
Levi’s mother, Judith Noyes (1715-1790), was a Newbury, MA native, and a daughter of James Noyes (1683-1745), a housewright born in Newbury as well who married Sarah Coffin in 1713. James was the son of Timothy Noyes (born 1655 in Newbury, married in 1680 to Mary Knight) and the grandson of Nicholas Noyes (born 1615, likely in Cholderton (near Salisbury), England) who came to the New World in 1633 on the “Mary and John”, settled in Newbury, and married Mary Cutting, daughter of Captain John Cutting in 1640.
 William Richard Cutter, A. M., ed., New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, Volume 4 (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1914), 1863. Accessed February 16, 2011, http://books.google.com/books?id=itAUAAAAYAAJ&dq=early%20new%20england%20families&pg=PA1863#v=snippet&q=thomas%20webster&f=false.
 William Richard Cutter, A. M., ed., Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boson and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 2 (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1908), 810. Accessed February 16, 2011, http://books.google.com/books?id=kFoLBC2TwFYC&dq=%22thomas%20webster%22%20early%20new%20england&pg=PA565#v=onepage&q&f=false.
 “Rachel Goodhue Webster.” Find a Grave. Accessed July 23, 2011, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=60719046.
Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine 48 January-June 1916 (New York, NSDAR, 1916), 186. Accessed July 23, 2011, http://books.google.com/books?id=oHsmAQAAIAAJ&dq=%22levi%20webster%22&pg=RA1-PA186#v=onepage&q=%22levi%20webster%22&f=false.
Family Data Collection – Individual Records, Edmund West, comp. (Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000). Accessed July 23, 2011.
 The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volume 47 (New York: New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1916), 203. Accessed July 23, 2011, http://books.google.com/books?id=jNcUAAAAYAAJ&dq=judith%20noyes%20new%20hampshire&pg=PA203#v=onepage&q=judith%20noyes%20new%20hampshire&f=false.
 Vital Records of Newbury, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, Volume II (Salem: Essex Institute, 1911), 359. Accessed July 23, 2011, http://books.google.com/books?id=JilPAAAAYAAJ&dq=%22thomas%20webster%22%20%22noyes%22&pg=PA359#v=onepage&q=%22thomas%20webster%22%20%22noyes%22&f=false.
 Col. Henry E. Noyes and Henriette E. Noyes, Genealogical Record of Some of the Noyes Descendants of James, Nicholas and Peter Noyes, Volume 1, Descendants of Nicholas Noyes (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1904), 304. Accessed July 23, 2011, http://books.google.com/books?id=87s6AAAAMAAJ&dq=%22thomas%20webster%22%20%22noyes%22&pg=PA304#v=snippet&q=%22thomas%20webster%22&f=false.
 Col. Henry E. Noyes and Henriette E. Noyes, Genealogical Record of Some of the Noyes Descendants of James, Nicholas and Peter Noyes, Volume 1, Descendants of Nicholas Noyes (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1904). Accessed July 23, 2011, http://books.google.com/books?id=87s6AAAAMAAJ&dq=%22thomas%20webster%22%20%22noyes%22&pg=PA304#v=snippet&q=%22thomas%20webster%22&f=false.