HENRY S. HOUGHTON is capably conducting important business interests and also carrying on agricultural pursuits in township 19, range 7 west. He is a native son of Menard county, born on the 15th of September, 1861, his parents being S.M. & Cherry (Lemar) Houghton, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. The father, who was born December 1, 1810, was brought to Illinois in his early boyhood days and worked at farming in his youth, assisting in the arduous task of developing new land. His boyhood was largely a period of earnest toil. He helped to support the family and later, when he found opportunity, he bought land at Little Grove and afterward purchased the trace of land upon which his son, Henry S., now resides. This he improved, transforming it into a cultivable tract, which yielded to him good harvests. He owned three hundred and ninety-six acres at the time of his demise, having almost the entire amount under cultivation. He raised and fed many cattle and hogs for the market. He led a very busy and useful life, while in all his business transactions his dealings were characterized by the strictest integrity. He was the owner of the first spring wagon in Menard county and ever manifested a progressive spirit, which prompted him to use the latest improved machinery and to adopt new ideas that would prove of practical benefit. His death occurred on the 15th of January, 1889, while his wife, who was born on the 18th of February, 1818, survived him for more than fifteen years, passing away March 30, 1904. They were married in Sangamon county, Illinois, and they became the parents of ten children: John and Harriet, who died in infancy; Eliza and Catherine, also deceased; Anna, who died at the age of eight years; Emma, the wife of John Waring; Walter, who is married and resides in Bradley, Illinois; Mary Ellen, who is married and makes her home in Missouri; Henry S.; and Elvira, who is the wife of B. H. Hutcherson and resides in Petersburg.
At the usual age Henry S. Houghton entered the public schools and when not engaged with the duties of the school room he performed such labor upon the home farm as his age and strength would permit. He continued to reside on the old homestead until his marriage, when he began working for himself and later he took charge of the old home property, being at that time about twenty-five years of age. He has since carried on general farming and stock raising and annually feeds and ships to the market about two carloads of cattle and two hundred head of hogs. He owns as fine a team of Norman three year old colts as can be found in Menard county, bred by Gaines Green. He bought out the interest of the other heirs in the old home place and now owns three hundred and seventy-six acres of land, which is very valuable and productive. He administered his father's estate, acting without a bond and in August, 1904, was discharged from that office, having settled up the business. His father trusted him entirely with the property valued at twenty thousand dollars. He has always been progressive in his farm work and he introduced the first corn cutter and binder in the northern part of the county. In addition to his farming interests he is the superintendent of the Sand Ridge Pole and Line Telephone Company. In connection with C. W. Shipley and W. D. Masters he organized the company and Mr. Houghton built the lines and pushed the work to successful completion. He is also inspector and collector for the Central Union Telephone Company in the Sand Ridge district and he is the secretary of the Concord Cemetery Association.
Mr. Houghton was married February 15, 1882, to Miss Emma Rutledge, a daughter of James M. and Margaret (Harris) Rutledge, the former a native of Tennessee and the latter a native of Kentucky, born on the 8th of October, 1821. They were married in Sangamon county, Illinois. Mr. Rutledge had come to Menard county with his parents when a mere land, the family home being established about four miles north of Petersburg. There he continued to reside until twenty-six years of age, when he was married and began farming for himself. He also engaged in stock raising. He carried the chain for Abraham Lincoln when he was making the surveys in this part of the state and worked with him many days. On one of his trips to St. Louis with Abraham Lincoln and his uncle John Rutledge they saw a white man whipping a negro and Mr. Lincoln remarked that if he had the power he would put a stop to that, little thinking that some day it would be within his power to loosen the bonds that fettered three million slave people. While driving hogs from his home to the Beardstown market on one occasion Mr. Rutledge, then but a boy, was chased by wolves, but he succeeded in driving the animals away and returned to his home in safety. For many years he carried on general farming, but about six years prior to his death he left the farm and removed to Petersburg, where he lived retired until called to his final rest. Unto him and his wife were born fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters, of whom six are now living: Mary, the wife of John Moore, a resident of Petersburg; James B., who is married and resides in Missouri; Harriet, who is the wife of Andrew Park; Catherine, the wife of John Clary; Mrs. Houghton; and Harvey, who is married and resides in Springfield. The home of Mr. and Mrs. Houghton has been blessed with one son and three daughters: Charles E., who married Mrs. Daisy Dowell; Celestine M., Kittie C., and Ruth F., all at home.
A stanch Republican in his political views, Mr. Houghton has served for one term as county commissioner, filling that office for a term beginning in 1898. He has been chairman of the county board for two years and he has been school director and trustee for twelve years, while at the present time he is one of the directors of the old Salem Chautauqua. He belongs to the Petersburg Driving Club, is a member of Clinton lodge, No. 19, A.F. & A.M., of Petersburg, and is a charter member of the Court of Honor there. He and his family hold membership in the Christian church and he is a most liberal and public spirited man. He possesses the qualities of a successful business man and a desirable social companion, and among his more strongly marked characteristics is his unswerving fidelity to duty. His private interests must always give way to the public good, and thus he has become honored and esteemed by all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance or who have met him in a business way.