Robert E. Houston

Source: Rowland, Dunbar, ed. Mississippi, Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form, in three volumes. Vol. 3. [Contemporary Biography] Atlanta: Southern Historical Publishing Association, 1907. pages 357-359

Houston, Robert E., has for many years been engaged in the practice of law at Aberdeen, Monroe county, and is known as one of the representative members of the bar in this section of the State. He rendered gallant service in the Confederate ranks during the Civil war and rose to the rank of captain. He has held various public offices and is at the present time (1906) a member of the State senate. Captain Houston was born in Madisonville, Monroe county, Tenn., May 27, 1839, and is a son of Joseph E. and Eliza (Haire) Houston, the former of whom was born in Blount county, Tenn., Jan. 1, 1812, and the latter of whom was born at historic old King's Mountain, S. C., April 16, 1814. Both were residents of Madisonville, Tenn., at the time of death, the mother having passed away in 1888 and the death of the father having occurred Aug. 7, 1903, at which time he was ninety-one years of age. One of his uncles was the only man killed in Sevier's command in the battle of King's Mountain, in the War of the Revolution. Both the paternal and maternal grandfathers of the subject of this sketch were soldiers in the War of the Revolution, and near the home of the paternal grandfather, Gen. Sam Houston, a close relative, was reared. Joseph E. Houston was a prominent and influential citizen of Tennessee, where he held the offices of county sheriff, circuit clerk and chancery clerk, having been incumbent of the last mentioned position for twenty-seven years. After the Civil war he took up his residence in Monroe county, Miss., where he was an officeholder for half a century. He was an ardent supporter of the Confederate cause during the Civil war, and because of his uncompromising loyalty he was several times imprisoned. Two of his sisters also were arrested and placed in prison, for singing Confederate songs. Robert E. Houston, the subject of this sketch, was afforded the advantages of Hiwassee college in Monroe county, Tenn., after which he entered the law department of Cumberland university, at Lebanon, that State, where he was graduated in 160, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. Since 1860 he has been engaged in the practice of his profession in Aberdeen, Miss., where he has attained to pronounced success and prestige. He was one of those loyal sons of the South who promptly tendered their services in defense of the cause of the Confederacy at the initiation of the War between the States. On April 17, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Company I, Eleventh Mississippi infantry, with which he proceeded to the front, his regiment becoming a part of the Army of Northern Virginia. While at Camp Fisher, Va., he was accidentally wounded and by reason of the resulting disability he was granted an honorable discharge in the winter of 1862. He started for his home, but at Knoxville, Tenn., he met Gen. John H. Morgan, in whose command he enlisted. He became a member of Company A, of Duke's regiment, with which he participated in all the engagements from Gallatin to Augusta, at which latter place he was wounded in the groin. On account of his injury he was sent to Lexington, Ky., where he remained two months, at the expiration of which he returned home. After the escape of General Morgan from the Federal prison he made his way to the home of the subject of this sketch, who accompanied him to Richmond, Va., where, through the influence of General Morgan and Colonel Phelan, Mr. Houston was appointed adjutant and inspector-general, with the rank of captain. He then joined Gen. John C. Vaughn, commanding a Tennessee brigade, and later he proceeded to Grenada and finally to Vicksburg, Miss., where he arrived on Christmas day, 1863. He was present during the memorable siege of that city and July 4, 1863, surrendered to General Grant. He was given a parole with two months' furlough, was given charge of a parole camp in Atlanta, Ga., where he remained until the time of the battle of Chickamauga, when he was ordered to discharge the paroles and was sent with General Longstreet's command to East Tennessee. Thereafter he served under Generals Early, Breckenridge and Jackson, and he was with his command within three miles of Lynchburg, Va., when the news of Lee's surrender was received. He was with a portion of his regiment at Raleigh, N. C., where they met President Davis, to whom they acted as center guard for a time. At Washington, Ga., they were informed of the capture of the President and they then surrendered and were granted paroles, after which Captain Houston returned to Aberdeen, Miss., where he has since been engaged in the practice of his profession. During his military career he took part in the many engagements in which his command was involved and he proved a mot loyal and valiant soldier of the Confederacy. Captain Houston has been prominent in the work of his profession and stands to-day as one of the leading lawyers of his section of the State. He is numbered among the loyal supporters of the principles and policies of the Democratic party and he has held various offices of public trust. He was prosecuting attorney of Monroe county in 1867-8, and was a representative of the county in the State legislature for four terms, having been elected to this office in 1884, 1890, 1894 and 1904. In 1905 he was elected to represent his district in the State senate and is a member of that body at the present time (1906). He and his wife hold membership in the Presbyterian church and he is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and the United Confederate Veterans; he also holds membership in the Mississippi historical society. For the past twenty-two years he has been commander of the local camp of the United Confederate Veterans and for two years he was commander of the Second brigade of the order in Mississippi. He has extensive plantation interests and in all the relations of life he is known as a loyal and progressive citizen. On March 10, 1871, Captain Houston was united in marrige to Miss Mollie Weaver, daughter of William B. Weaver, of Columbus, Miss. Of this union were both five children, namely: Ellen, who died at the age of eighteen months; Joe E., who was graduated in the law department of the University of Mississippi and who is now associated with his father in practice; Lulu, who died at the age of twenty-two years; Mary, who died in childhood; and Robert, who likewise died young. Mrs. Houston died Jan. 1, 1895, and on Dec. 2, 1901, Captain Houston contracted a second marriage--he wedded Mrs. Helen E. Stoddard, of Aberdeen. She was born and reared in Mississippi and is a daughter of the late David Rush, a Confederate veteran and well known resident of Lowndes county, Miss.


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