A selection of notable American Houghtons and Haughtons:
The famous, infamous, and some just interesting.
by Charles J. Vella, PhD (c)

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    • While there were Houghtons/Haughtons who were really infamously black sheep (involved and convicted of bigamy, prostitution, embezzlement, fraud, pornography, bill engraving fraud, medical over prescription, poisoning, theft, lynching, bank robbery, and murder), the more notable are...
    • Henry Haughton (~1629) was the first Haughton emigrant ot New England in 1629 to New Salem.
    • William Houghton (~1635) was the first Houghton emigrant to New England in 1635 to CT.

    • Ralph Houghton (~1624-1705) was the founding ancestor of the Ralph Houghton line of Lancaster, MA.
    • John Houghton (~1624-1684) was the founding ancestor of the John Houghton line of Lancaster, MA.
    • John Houghton (~1660-1709) was the founding ancestor of the John Houghton line of Stony Brooke, NJ. None of above 3 Houghtons were genetically related.

    • John Houghton (1668-?), in his legal testimony at the Salem witch trial, supported John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth, who were accused of witchcraft and were convicted; John Proctor was hanged.

    • Rowland Houghton (1678-1744) was a Boston mechanic who designed a new “theodolate,” a brass surveying instrument. He received a patent from the General Court of the Colony of Massachusetts in 1735. This was only the second patent for a mechanical invention issued in the British colonies of North America. It is the earliest brass surveying instrument to be patented and documented.  One of only two extant is an incomplete version that is housed in the Smithsonian.

    • Ezra Houghton (1722-1789) was a Tory loyalist in the American Revolutionary War. There were only 4 Houghtons (John Houghton 3d, Solomon Houghton, Nahum Houghton, and Ezra) to stay loyal to England. All had lands confiscated. 

    • Lt. Ralph Houghton (1729-1809) was one of the original Minutemen in the American Revolution from Milton, MA.

    • Elijah Houghton (1746-1830) was the founding ancestor of the Elijah Houghton line of Virginia.

    • Abijah Houghton Jr (1749-1831) was one of the original Minutemen in Rev. War and was wounded at Bunker Hill.

    • Daniel Houghton (1755-1775) and William French were shot in mass as the first proto-martyrs of the Revolutionary War, dying as a result of wounds in a fray with the "Yorker" Royalists in which Vermonters fired no shots.
    • Mrs. Ruth Houghton (1775-1844) is the only known Houghton to be the victim of rape and murder in 1844 (by Thomas Barrett who was executed in 1845)

    • Hon. Samuel Prentiss (1782-1857), husband of Lucretia Houghton, was a U.S. Senator from VT, 1831-1842 and a Supreme Court Judge of VT.

  • John W. Houghton (1789-1851) was a noted Augusta, GA shoe manufacturer; he left money in his will to build a school for poor children (1st public school there) and freed his slaves and left money for them to go to Liberia. 
  • Joel Houghton (1792-) held first patent for a mechanical dishwasher in 1850. Never commercially produced.

    • Eli Houghton (1797-1865) was a member of the Church of the Latter Day Saint at Nauvoo, IL, which Joseph Smith, Jr. founded. Blessed by Hiram Smith, older brother of the movement's founder, Joseph Smith.

    • Elijah Houghton (1801-1868) was a New York mahogany wood and lumber yard owner and a widely published poet in his day.

    • Mary Elizabeth Sawyer (1806-1889), daughter of Elizabeth Houghton, was the Mary of the poem "Mary had a little lamb".

    • Horace Hoskins Houghton (1808-1879) was a newspaper publisher in IL, author, and US Consul to Brazil and Hawaii.

    • Dr. Douglass Houghton (1809-1845) was a mayor of Detroit, MI and the 1st state geologist of MI.

    • David Houghton (1812-1874) and five of his sons served in the Union Army in the Civil War; the most soldiers from a single Houghton family.

    • Amory Houghton Sr (1812-1882) was the founder of Corning Glass and the ancestor of the wealthiest Houghton family in American history.

    • Lawrence J. Haughton (1819-b1900) was one of the wealthiest farmers & slave holders in Chatham Co., NC; in the 1850 census, owned the most slaves (99) of any Haughton in US history 

    • Martha Maria Houghton (1819-1851) and her husband Rev. Joseph Woods Hancock were missionaries to the Sioux Indians.
    • Marie Louise Barney Shew Houghton (1821-1877), wife of Dr. Roland Steubens Houghton, was a close friend of Edgar Allen Poe. She nursed his wife Virginia before her death. Poe wrote several poems about her.

    • Rowland Hussey Macy, Sr (1822-1877), husband of Louisa Houghton, was the founder of Macy's Dept. Store.

    • Henry Oscar Houghton (1823-1895) was the founder of the Riverside Press in 1852 and then the publishing company of Houghton, Mifflin Co. in 1880. His son Henry Oscar Houghton Jr was the second president of the firm.

    • Marilla Houghton (1825-1894), sister of Henry Oscar Houghton, and wife of  Dr. John Chester Gallup; she and her husband were noted abolitionists and temperance reformers and founded Houghton Seminary in Clinton, New York in 1861.

    • Rev. Willard J. Houghton (1825-1896) was Methodist evangelist minister who founded the Houghton Seminary of Houghton, NY, which today is the Christian based Houghton College.

    • George Harper Houghton (1826-1870) was a photographer and went south to photograph the Civil War.  Many of his pictures are in the VT Historical Society in Montpelier. Some of his photos were used by Ken Burns in his documentary of the Civil War.

    • Henry Ludovicus Houghton (1826-1904) was one of the Bath, ME Houghton Brothers firm of shipbuilders (along with brothers Levi Warren and John Reed Houghton, and founded by their father Levi Houghton).

    • James Franklin Houghton (1827-1903) was a  president of the Home Mutual Insurance Company in San Francisco, CA.
    • Sherman Otis Houghton (1828-1914) was a member of the US House of Representatives from CA and Mayor of San Jose, CA and had  the Naval ship USS Sherman Houghton named after him. He married two sisters, Mary Martha and Eliza Poor Donner, who were survivors of the infamous Donner Party who resorted to cannibalism in order to survive.

    • Henry Stedman Nourse  (1831-1903), grandson of Polly Houghton, was the author of Lancasteria; Lancaster MA VRs; and the Early Records of Lancaster, MA.
    • Dr. John Wesley Houghton (1834-1924) was the author of the original Houghton Genealogy of 1912.

    • Nathaniel Haughton (1834-1899) was the founder, in 1890,  of the Haughton Elevator Co. of Toledo, OH, the largest midwest elevator company. His sons Harry Bush and Irving Nathaniel Haughton were the next two presidents.

    • Morgan Gardner Bulkeley (1837-1922), husband of  Fannie Briggs Houghton, was a U.S. Senator; Governor of CT; President of Aetna Insurance; and the first president of the National Baseball League.

    • Dr. Henry Clarke Houghton, MD (1837-1901) was physician and professor of homeopathic medicine.

    • Rev. Ross Clark Houghton, DD, Lit.D.(1837-1904) was a Methodist minister and author of multiple books.

    • Louise Seymour Houghton (1838-1929) was a prolific author of religious and historical subjects and a pioneer settlement worker.

    • Thomas F. Houghton (1840-1903) was an Irish born American architect who designed 10 Catholic Churches in NY and MA.

    • David J. M. Houghton (1840-1923) was a Union Army private in the Civil war who survived as a prisoner at the infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia .

    • Edward J. Houghton (1841-1865) was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for a Civil War Naval action.

    • George L. Houghton (1841-1917), a Canadian born American, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for a Civil War action in IL; his brother Daniel served in the Confederate Army.

    • Bvt. Major Charles Henry Houghton (1842-1914) was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Civil War and was also arrested and fined for financial mismanagement as customs collector at Perth Amboy in 1882.

    • Stella Houghton Scott (1844-1928), daughter of  Stella Houghton. With husband, Arthur Gilman, was one of the originators of the Society for College Instruction of Women, which they helped develop into what was first called Harvard Annex, and which finally became Radcliffe College.

    • Louis Albert Houghton (1846-?) graduated from Gallaudet College and was a professor at the Tennessee School for the Deaf.

    • Merritt Dana Houghton  (1846-1919) was a noted American painter.

    • George Washington Wright Houghton (1850-1891) was an author and one of the incorporators of the society of Sons of the Revolution, and was its second secretary.

    • William Addison Houghton, MA (1852-1917) was a philologist, author, and Winkley professor of Latin, language and literature Bowdoin College.

    • Samuel Edgar Houghton (1852-1904) was a circus dwarf with Thumbiana & Lilliputian Opera Company. Known as Major Samuel Edgar Houghton, he was 31 inches tall. He performed before Queen Victoria.

    • Edward Walker Houghton (1855-1927) was an English born Houghton who was a noted theater architect in the US.

    • Frank Atherton Houghton (1855-?) supervised the building of Commander Peary's North Pole ship, the "Roosevelt"  for the successful 1909 North Pole expedition.

    • Charles Newell Houghton (1859-1922) was a Winnebago Native American (maternally), who lived with the Winnabagos on their NE reservation most of his life, and authored multiple Native American mythological tales. 
    • Albert Parker Houghton (1859-1944) was a rider a marksman in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

    • Jesse Houghton Metcalf (1860-1942), grandson of Eunice Dench Houghton, was an industrialist, philanthropist, and United States senator from RI.
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    • Marquis Mills Converse (1861-1931), a John Houghton descendant, founded the Converse Rubber Co., the eventual maker of Converse shoes.

    • Dr. Arthur D. Houghton (1861-1938), an English born Houghton, who practiced medicine in CA, was one of 11 soldiers who founded the American Legion in 1919.

    • Charles David White (1862-1935), husband of  Mary Elizabeth Houghton, was chief geologist of the US Geological Survey, president of the Geological Society of America,  and an associate curator of paleobiology of the Smithsonian.
  • Alanson Bigelow Houghton (1863-1941) was was the chief United States diplomat to Germany and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James's 1925-1929 (Britain) between the World Wars and was the only Houghton ever to be on the cover of Time Magazine. 
  • 1864 Civil War: Only 4 Houghtons were Union Army prisoners at the infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia: J. Houghton of TN, Henry Houghton of IL, David J. M. Houghton of VT & IA, and John Houghton of PA & OK

    • Augustus Seymour Houghton (1866-1949) was an American lawyer and wildlife conservation leader.
    • Arthur A. Houghton, Sr. (1866–1928), son of Amory Houghton Jr, was a former president of Corning Glass.
    • Dr. Elijah Mark Houghton, MD, PhC (1867-1937) was an internationally known pharmacologist and bacteriologist, and a director of medical research and biological labs of Parke, Davis & Co.

    • Frederick M. Houghton (1869-1950) was an archaeological researcher of New York State, with multiple publications, and pioneered English as a second language teaching in the US and Canada.
    • William J. Tully (1870–1930), son-in-law of Amory Houghton Jr.; father of philantrophist Alice Tully; New York State Senator 1905 to 1908

    • Edward Rittenhouse Houghton (1871-1955) was a president and  chairman of the board of Houghton Mifflin Company.

  • Dr. Harris Ayers Houghton, MD (1874-1946) was a dedicated physician, author, and Houghton genealogist, but also is known for bringing about the English translation and publication in the US of the infamous anti-Jewish fraudulent forgeries, the Protocols of the Elders  of Zion; one of the grossest and most damaging libels in history.
  • Percy G. Haughton (1876-1924) was a famous college athlete and head football coach at Cornell University, Harvard University, and Columbia University. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. 
    • Katherine Martha Houghton (1878-1951) was a birth control and Suffrage movement leader and mother of Katharine Hepburn, the actress. She joined her friend Margaret Sanger in building the American Birth Control League (today it is the Planned Parenthood Federation of America).

    • Dr. Henry Spencer Houghton, MD (1880-1975) was a graduate of Johns Hopkins and a medical missionary to China where he directed a number of medical schools. Was paleontologist Davidson Black's superior at Peking Union Medical Center in China and did not support his attempts to excavate the famous Homo erectus fossils at Zhoukoudian, China. Played a major role in the loss of the original Peking Homo erectus fossils at beginning of WWII.

    • Dr. Herbert Pierrepoint Houghton, PhD (1880-1964) received a doctorate in Greek and Sanskrit in 1907 from Johns Hopkins and was a priest, philologist/professor of classical languages, and president of Carroll College.
    • Dr. Montafix Wilson Houghton, MD (1880-1951) was a US Public Health physician and surgeon.

    • Tod Browning (1882-1962), husband of Alice Lillian Houghton, was the Hollywood director of the famous films Dracula (1930) and Freaks (1932). 

    • William Morris Houghton (1882-1960) was an journalist and editor for the New York Herald Tribune.

    • Dr. James Tilly Houghton, MD (1885-1931) graduated from Harvard Medical School, was a physician, and survived the sinking of the RMS Lusitania on May 7, 1915.

  • Philip Alan Houghton (1885-1949) was founder of Houghton Chemical Company, whose president is now his grandson Bruce E. Houghton. 
  • Earnest Albert Hooton (1887-1954) was First American professor of physical anthropologist at Harvard

    • Rev. Dr. William Henry Houghton (1887-1947) was Baptist minister, author, and 20th President of Moody Bible Institute.
    • Dr. Sidney Henry Haughton (1888-1982), and English born geologist and paleontologist, was one of the greatest geologist of Africa.

    • Brigadier General Junius Henry Houghton (1892-1980) was a graduate of West Point and a Brigadier General in USAF.

    • Ernest Baker Houghton (1893-1941) played basketball for Union College, NY in 1914-1915 and was awarded The Helms Foundation College Basketball Player of the Year and was eventually inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

    • Lt. Arthur Reginald Houghton (1893-1925), was an English born US Navy aviator who lost his life in the crash of the Shenandoah, the first dirigible built in the US.

    • Mansfield Freeman (1895-1992), husband of Mary Louise Houghton, was one of the founders of American International Group  (AIG) insurance and a noted Chinese scholar.

    • Amory Houghton, Sr (1899-1981) was president of Corning, Inc., US ambassador to France, 1957-1961, and was a National President of the Boy Scouts of America.

    • Ruth E. Houghton (1899-1967) was the only woman president of a mutual fund in the US for decades; she and her husband Emerson Wirt Axe, both well-known economists, formed E. W. Axe & Co., and managed four Axe-Houghton mutual funds.

    • William Henry Ernest Houghton (1900-1976) was a president of the Muzak Corp. 
    • Alice Bigelow Tully (1902-1993), granddaughter of Amory Houghton Jr., a professional mezzo-soprano singer and philantrophist. Funded the Alice Tully Hall, a 1000 seat chamber music hall of Lincoln Center.

    • Lessing Lanham Engelking (1902-1980), husband of Hess Pringle Houghton, was the legendary city editor of the New York Hearld Tribune for 39 years.

    • Dr. Walter Edwards Houghton, Jr, PhD (1904-1983) was a professor at both Harvard University and Wellesley College and a noted Victorian period scholar.

    • Marshall Loring McClanahan (1904-1990), son of Ethel Maria Houghton, wrote the second most comprehensive Houghton Genealogy in 1957.

    • Dr. Henry Garrett Houghton (1905-1987) was the chairman of Meterology Dept. of MIT for 35 years and a president of the American Meterological Society.
    • Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. (1906–1990), philantropist, former president of Steuben Glass Co., a former division of Corning Glass. Harvard University's Houghton Hall was named after him. In 1957 Fortune magazine  place him in a list of the 76 wealthiest Americans; his estimated worth was $800 million to $1.6 billion. Over its 150-year history Corning invented a process for rapid and inexpensive production of light bulbs, including developing the glass for Thomas Edison's light bulb. It was an early major manufacturer of glass panels and funnels for television tubes. Corning invented and produced Pyrex, CorningWare, Pyroceram glass-ceramic cookware, and Corelle durable glass dinnerware. Corning manufactured the windows for U.S. manned space vehicles, and supplied the glass blank for the primary mirror in the Hubble Space Telescope.

    • Katherine Houghton Hepburn (1907-2003) was the noted American actress; she is in the John Houghton line. The only winner of four academy awards, all for Best Actress. 
    • Chauncey M. Haughton (1909-1987) was an American jazz saxophonist (alto) and clarinetist, active from 1927 to 1958: Played with Cab Calloway And His Orchestra, Chick Webb And His Little Chicks, Chick Webb And His Orchestra, Don Redman And His Orchestra, Duke Ellington And His Orchestra, Ella Fitzgerald And Her Famous Orchestra.

    • Charles Norris Houghton (1909-2001) was a noted Broadway stage director, author, and teacher.

    • Dr. Karl Herbert Houghton, MD (1911-2008) survived the Bataan Death March in WWII and was on the Atomic Energy Commission.

    • Daniel Jeremiah Haughton (1911-1987) was president of Lockheed  Aircraft Corporation.

    • Edith Grace Houghton (1912-2003) was a baseball prodigy, playing professional baseball from the age of 10 in 1922. She was the first woman Major League baseball scout and is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    • Robert Allen Houghton (1913-1997) was an LAPD Ass. Chief of Police and author who investigated assassination of Robert Kennedy and Charles Manson murders.

    • Archibald (Buck) Houghton (1915-1999) was an American TV and film producer; produced Rod Sterling's Twilight Zone TV series.
    • Ronald Waring Haughton (1916-2005) was a noted Canadian American labor mediator whose long career included mediating a dispute between the United Farm Workers and a major California grape grower in the 1960s and serving as chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority during the air-traffic controllers' strike in the 1980s.

    • Proctor Willis Houghton (1916-2012) was the president of Houghton Chemical Company.
    • Donald Bruce Houghton (1917-1990) was a noted mathematician and computer specialist.

    • Firman Andrews Houghton (1919-1985) was one of New England's best- known poets and playwrights.

    • Major General Kenneth John Houghton (1920-2006) was a Marine Corp legend, distinguishing himself in three wars, in some of the most important campaigns in Marine Corps history.

    • Mary Alice Murphy (1921-2002), wife of Junius Henry Houghton, Jr, was a chemist who worked on the Manhattan Project and witnessed first atomic bomb blast.

    • William R. Haughton (1923-1986) was one of the great horse harness race drivers.

    • Charles Henry Houghton, Jr. (1924-2000) was an attorney and former Army colonel credited with capturing Nazi war criminals after World War II,

    • Frederick Waldo Latrash (1925-2002), husband of Patricia Houghton, a daughter of Henry Oscar Houghton III, was a CIA operative; a station chief in Chile (1971-1973) during overthrow and assassination of democratically elected Salvador Allende.

    • Florence Elaine Marshall (née Houghton) (1925-) is a major genealogical author of Kalb Co., IL.

    • Dr. Raymond Warren Houghton, PhD (1926-2010) was a noted professor of education of Rhode Island College and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland .

    • Gerald Haines Houghton (1926-2002)  was an American football offensive tackle in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and the Chicago Cardinals. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 1950 NFL Draft and played 14 games.
    • Dr. Arthur Vincent Houghton III, PhD (1926-1992) was a professor of mechanic engineering at University of New Mexico.

  • Amory Houghton Jr (1926-) was president of Corning, Inc., and a member of the US House of Representatives, 1987-2005. 
  • Dr. John Theodore Houghton, PhD (1931-2020) was an internationally famous climate scientist; lead editor of three groundbreaking IPCC studies on climate change for the United Nations’ climate science advisory group when it won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 alon with VP Al Gore. "Climate change is a weapon of mass destruction." He was Welsh born and worked in England.
    • David A. Houghton (1932-1992) was suspected of being one of two art thieves who stole $1 billion worth of art by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet in 1990 from the Stewart Gardner Museum. Considered the greatest art theft of all time.

    • Benjamin Thomas Houghton (1935-2001) was a founder of  Enidine, formerly known as Integrated Dynamics.

    • James Richardson Houghton (1936-) is the retired CEO and Chairman of the Board of Corning Inc.

    • Dr. David Drew Houghton (1938-) is a noted professor of meterology, author, and ex-president of the American Meterological Society.

  • Dr. Edward Francis Houghton (1938-) is a noted UCSF professor emeritus, Dept of Music, and was Dean of the Division of Arts, UCSC.
    • Arthur Amory Houghton III (1940-) is a renowned numismatic specialist (co-author of the definitive catalogue of the Seleucid period), as well as an former State Dept. Arab specialist, and a novelist.

    • Charles Lavelle Houghton Sr (1941-2003) received the 2002 award for the world's largest giant pumpkin; 1337 pounds.  He is in the 2004 Guiness Book of World Records.

    • Dr. George Gerald Houghton, ThD (1941-) and Dr. Myron James Houghton, Ph.D., ThD (1941-) are twin brothers who are both Baptist ministers and theology professors.

    • Mary A. Houghton (1942-) serves as the President of the ShoreBank Corporation.

    • Dr. Richard Arnold Houghton III, PhD (1943-) is a senior ecology scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center, an expert on  the global carbon cycle and was part of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 that won the Nobel Prize with ex-Vice President Al Gore.

    • Dr. Alan Nourse Houghton, Jr., MD (1947-) is a cancer immunology professor and researcher at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

    • James Houghton (1948-) is an American actor and writer. He has appeared on The Young and the Restless and Knots Landing. 
    • Dr. Michael Houghton, PhD (1949-) is an English born Canadian virologist who won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus in 1989.

    • Dr. Charlotte Marie Houghton, PhD (1950-) is an art history professor at Penn State University.

    • William Douglas Houghton (1951-) worked for the FBI for 30 years as a senior Intelligence Analyst who identified Russian and American spies. Author of Houghton Ancestors

    • Dr. John William Houghton, PhD (1953-) is a prize-winning medieval historian with degrees from Harvard, Yale, Indiana and Notre Dame universities. He is an Episcopal minister, medieval scholar, and Tolkien expert.
    • Mundy Hepburn (1955-), grandson of Katherine Martha Houghton, is an American artist who designs and builds glass sculptures filled with luminous electrified inert gases

    • Kris Khardasian (née Houghton) (1955-) is ex-wife of Robert Khardasian, O.J. Simpson's trial lawyer, and ex-wife of Bruce Jenner, of Olympic & transgener fame; she is an American celebrity, author and reality television personality (Keeping Up With the Kardashians)
    • James Houghton (1958-2016) was the founding artistic director of the New York's Signature Theater, and the Richard Rodgers Director of the Drama Division at the Juilliard School.
    •  William Houghton (1959-) was murdered in 1987 by Scott Hain, who was 17 at the time. Hain was last person ever executed in the United States for crimes committed as a minor in 2003.

    • Radcliffe Franklin Haughton (1966-2012) was a Jamaican born U.S. mass murderer, having committed a murder-suicide, shooting 7 women and killing 3 and himself.
    • Schuyler Grant (1971-), great niece of actress Katherine Hepburn, is an American actress best known for supporting roles in television and is studio director at the New York Kula Yoga Project.

    • Israel D. Houghton (1979-) is an American Christian music singer.

    • Aaliyah Dana Haughton (1979-2001) was an African American musical rock star.

    • Laura Mersini-Houghton (née Mersini) (b. ?) is a cosmologist and theoretical physicist, and associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has developed (together with collaborators) a theory for the birth of the universe from the landscape multiverse that included five predictions proposed in 2006, four of which have since been observed.
    • Daniel Houghton is the executive director of NC2 Media, which recently purchased the Lonely Planet guidebook company for $77 million. 

  • Christopher Colin Houghton (1988-) and Shane Michael Houghton (1985-), brothers, are Indie Comic book authors of Reed Gunther and the Steak-Snacking Snake 
  • David Houghton is president of National Wildlife Refuge Association


Use citation "Houghton Surname Project, authored and compiled by Charles J. Vella, PhD, 2020"