Ross Houck who died in 1867, was one of the substantial farmers of Bunker Hill township. He was born in Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, March 1st, 1804. His grandfather emigrated from Germany to America at an early date, and settled in Pennsylvania. Mr. Houck was raised in Huntingdon county, and received an ordinary common-school and business education. When eighteen or nineteen years old he started west. He crossed the Allegheny mountains, and when he reached Zanesville, Ohio, had only twenty-five cents in his pocket. At Zanesville he learned the carpenter's trade and worked a couple of years. He was a young man of steady habits and persevering and industrious disposition, and these qualities struck the attention of a gentleman who was engaged in selling books, who hired him as an agent. Mr. Houck for four years was in the employment of this gentleman, and then struck out in the business on his own account. His headquarters were at Cincinnati, where his books were published. He traveled through all the southern and western states settled at that time, looking after his agents and delivering the books. He accumulated considerable money in this business. He came to Madison county in this state in 1828, and lived mostly there for several years. On the 3d of May, 1832, he married Lucinda Ann Gonterman. Mrs. Houck was born in Christian county, Kentucky, November 27th, 1811. Her grandfather was one of the earliest settlers of Kentucky, in which state her father, Jacob Gonterman, was born. Her mother, whose maiden name was Hannah Stark, was from New Jersey. Jacob Gonterman emigrated from Kentucky to Illinois in 1816, and settled four miles east of Edwardsville.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Houck spent one year in Pennsylvania, and in 1834 went to farming on Smooth prairie, in Madison county. They moved to Upper Alton in 1840, and lived there till 1846, and then moved on the farm in Bunker Hill township, where Mr. Houck died, and where Mrs. Houck and other members of the family still reside. He had built on this place in 1845, a two-story brick house, which occupies a beautiful and commanding situation. Mr. Houck had a farm of three hundred acres, and eight acres of timber. He also improved a section of valuable land three miles from Raymond in Montgomery county. He was a man of great industry and energy, of good business qualifications, and of a character for honesty and integrity beyond question. He was a democrat in politics. he died on the 26th of December, 1867. the seven children of Mr. and Mrs. Houck are all living. William R. the oldest son, is living near Raymond. Maria Ann, is the wife of George L. Williams, who is in the photographic business at Edwardsville. Julia M. is the wife of James Rider of Nilwood. Hannah P. married Daniel Richards, and is living near Raymond in Montgomery county. James Houck lives on the old homestead. Ellen is the wife of Edward Dorsey of Montgomery county. Mary E. married McCambridge, and is living at Witt, Illinois.