John W. Houston

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John W. Houston
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Delaware's At-large district
In office
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1851
Preceded byGeorge B. Rodney
Succeeded byGeorge R. Riddle
Personal details
Born(1814-05-04)May 4, 1814
Concord, Delaware
DiedApril 26, 1896(1896-04-26) (aged 81)
Georgetown, Delaware
Political partyWhig
ResidenceGeorgetown, Delaware
Alma materYale College

John Wallace Houston (May 4, 1814 – April 26, 1896) was an American lawyer and politician from Georgetown, in Sussex County, Delaware. He was a member of the Whig Party and the Democratic Party, who served as U.S. Representative from Delaware and a Justice of Delaware Superior Court.

Early life and family[edit]

Houston was born on May 4, 1814 in Concord, Delaware, attended the country schools and Newark Academy, and graduated from Yale College in 1834. While at Yale he was initiated into one of the earliest gatherings of the Skull and Bones Society.[1] He studied law in Dover, Delaware and was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1837. He then moved to Georgetown, Delaware in 1839 and commenced the practice of law.

Professional and political career[edit]

Houston was Secretary of State of Delaware from 1841 to 1844, and was elected as a Whig to the 29th, 30th, and 31st Congress, serving from March 4, 1845 to March 3, 1851. While in the House he was chairman of the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds for the 30th Congress. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1850, and was appointed associate judge of the Delaware Superior Court on May 4, 1855, retiring in 1893. Houston was a member of the Peace Conference of 1861, held in Washington, D.C. in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending Civil War.

Death and legacy[edit]

Houston died at Georgetown, and is buried in the Lewes Presbyterian Church cemetery at Lewes, Delaware. His nephew, Robert G. Houston, was also a U.S. Representative from Delaware.

See also[edit]


Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. U.S. Representatives took office March 4 and have a two-year term.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
U.S. Representative Legislature Washington March 4, 1845 March 3, 1851
Associate Justice Judiciary Georgetown May 4, 1855 1893 Delaware
United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1845–1847 29th U.S. House Democratic James K. Polk at-large
1847–1849 30th U.S. House Whig James K. Polk Public Buildings and Grounds at-large
1849–1851 31st U.S. House Democratic Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1844 U.S. Representative John W. Houston Whig 6,229 51% George R. Riddle Democratic 6,023 49%
1846 U.S. Representative John W. Houston Whig 6,254 51% John I. Dilworth Democratic 6,007 49%
1848 U.S. Representative John W. Houston Whig 6,630 50% William G. Whiteley Democratic 6,026 49%
1852 U.S. Representative John W. Houston Whig 6,360 44% George R. Riddle Democratic 6,692 50%


  1. ^ Millegan, Kris (2003). "The Skeleton Crew". Fleshing Out Skull and Bones: Investigations into America's Most Powerful Secret Society. Walterville, OR: Trine Day. pp. 597–690. ISBN 0-9720207-2-1. "This list is compiled from material from the Order of Skull and Bones membership books at Sterling Library, Yale University and other public records. The latest books available are the 1971 Living members and the 1973 Deceased Members books. The last year the members were published in the Yale Banner is 1969."
  • Martin, Roger A. (2003). Delawareans in Congress: The House of Representatives, Vol. One 1789-1900. Newark: Roger A. Martin. ISBN 0-924117-26-5.
  • Wilson, W. Emerson (1969). Forgotten Heroes of Delaware. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Deltos Publishing Company.

Places with more information[edit]

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George B. Rodney
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Delaware's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1851
Succeeded by
George R. Riddle