Monday, June 10, 2019


My 7x great grandfather James Houghton returned to Lancaster, Ma. after the Indian raids and settled in the part of town now known as Harvard, Ma. He built a garrison house that was still standing when Ellery Bicknell Crane wrote the following:

(lll) James Houghton, son of Ralph Houghton (2), born in Lancaster, in 1661. (This date is given in the American Ancestry.) It is stated by some writers that he was born before the family came to Lancaster. Ralph Houghton's family was among the first to come, and was doubtless living there by 1650. James Houghton settled first on the Neck but removed to Still river before the massacre in 1697. with his brother-in-law, Caleb Sawyer, and built upon lands given him by his father, Ralph Houghton. He had eight children. The second son, Ralph, was a soldier in the Acadian expedition to Canada and died in 1710, in the service. His brother James was his administrator.

James Houghton died in 1711. His will was proved September 11, 1711. His widow was the Widow Mary Houghton mentioned in the list of those in the garrison house in 1711. The garrison house of James Houghton has descended from father to son for five generations, and has been occupied the longest of any in old Lancaster, continuously in the same family. The present house is a capacious farm house, including at least three structures, all ancient. The west end is the original garrison house which sheltered the families of the neighborhoods from Indian raids. It was built from 1692 to 1704. The first chimney was of stone, and the huge foundations still fills half the cellar. It was early replaced by the present many-flued brick pile, with eight fire places, ovens, cupboards, and smoke closet, where there is room enough to cure simultaneously the hams and shoulders of a dozen swine. Many of the little windows remain, though the sash has been renewed, at nearly double the height now thought convenient. The walls are filled with brick and stone so as to be bullet proof. The huge oak beams and plates show for a third of their length below plaster and laths. These timbers are 12x14 inches. Once when it became necessary to remove some of the panels of the wainscoting, during renovavations. the wood was found to be unpainted soft pine without knot or check, of excellent workmanship, thought to be from the hand of James Houghton. himself a carpenter, and builder of his own house. The house passed to Thomas Houghton, his son, also ancestor of Stillman Houghton. It passed to his son Elijah, to his son Thomas, to his son Cephas and then to his son now or lately the owner, Edward Warren Houghton, of Harvard, Massachusetts, as that section of Lancaster is now known.

Children of James and Mary Houghton were:
1. James, born 1690; married Sarah (called James Houghton, Sr., to distinguish him from James Houghton, son of Jonas Houghton, a younger man). 2. Ralph, died in service in Canada, his brother James administered his estate. 3. John. 4. Thomas (see forward). 5. Edward (see Houghton family under Knapp family). 6. Ephraim, joined in deed, with Edward and James, to Jonas. 7. Hannah. 8. Experience. In 1723 Ephraim, Edward, Thomas and John, sons of James, lived in the vicinity of the old house in Harvard. James Houghton, who married Sarah, was not there at that time

Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts: With a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity, Volume 1  Lewis Publishing Company, New York, New York 1907

James' wife was Mary Sawyer is not only my 7x great grandmother but also a distant cousin because I am also descended from her grandfather John Prescott on the Barker side of my family.

James' and Mary's son Ephraim is my 6x great grandfather.

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