WILLIAM H. HOUGHTON is the owner of four hundred acres of land in Tallula precinct that is rich and productive and his undivided attention is given to farm work with the result that a gratifying measure of success has attended his efforts. He is one of Menard county's native sons, his birth having occurred in Petersburg on the 20th of September, 1849. His father, William C. Houghton, was born in Kentucky, July 15, 1814, and was of English lineage. The paternal grandfather, Charles Houghton, who was born in England, became one of the early residents of Menard county, arriving here with his family about 1821. He established his home on Rock creek and here followed farming. On reaching manhood William C. Houghton was married in this county to Miss Julia Ann Maltby, who was born in New York, February 5, 1818, and came to Menard county about 1827 with her parents, Jesse and Sylvia (Holley) Maltby, who were also natives of the Empire state, the former born March 27, 1784, and the latter March 31, 1791. The Maltby family first settled in the Sangamon river bottom, but after residing there for several years took up their abode upon the farm just across the road from where our subject now lives. There Mr. Maltby died about 1859, at the age of seventy-five years, and his wife passed away February 7, 1846, when about fifty-five years old. After his marriage William C. Houghton located on the old homestead now occupied by our subject and resided there until his death, which occurred in 1893. He was a faithful member of the Christian church and a prominent Republican holding most of the county offices. His widow is now living with our subject, who is the only survivor of their seven children.
Reared under the parental roof, William H. Houghton acquired his education at the Farmers Point district school in Menard county and when his attention was not occupied by his text books his time was largely devoted to the work of tilling the soil on the old family homestead. He has always carried on farming on this place and in connection with the raising of grain he has made a specialty of the raising of stock, including draft and road horses. He is thoroughly familiar with the best methods of cultivating the soil and improving the grades of stock and in both branches of his business is meeting with gratifying and creditable success. His farm comprises four hundred acres of land, much of which is under a high state of cultivation and gives evidence of his careful supervision and progressive methods.
On the 26th of October, 1876, at the home of the bride's mother, two miles north of Petersburg, occurred the marriage of William H. Houghton and Miss Agnes Park. Her parents were James and Rebecca (Purdon) Park, who were born, reared and married in Scotland and continued to make their home in that country until after the birth of all of their children. In 1863 they brought their family to America and settled near Petersburg in Menard county, where the father at first rented land, but afterward bought a farm which he continued to operate up to the time of his death in 1873. His wife long survived him and passed away in 1893. They were Presbyterians in religious belief and he was a Republican in politics, but always refused public office. In their family were nine children, of whom five are still living, namely: Rebecca, now the widow of William Finley and a resident of Menard county; Anna, wife of Anthony Clark, of Bement, Illinois; Andrew, who lives two miles north of Petersburg; Margaret, widow of George Hollis and a resident of Menard county; and Agnes, wife of our subject.
Six children have been born unto Mr. and Mrs. Houghton; Kate Ann, born March 26, 1878, was married December 30, 1897, to Alvin Miller, who travels for a hardware firm and makes his home in Centralia, Illinois; James William, born November 21, 1880, was married October 11, 1902, to Hattie Juhl, a daughter of Andrew Juhl, and resides on the first farm east of his father's home, the land belonging to his father; Frank Leslie, born March 7, 1882, was married January 7, 1904, to Gail Campbell, a daughter of John Campbell, and is now living in Sangamon county near Pleasant Plains, where he follows the occupation of farming in connection with his father-in-law; Charles, born November 7, 1883, is attending school at Farmers Point; Mary Verneena, born August 23, 1887, has completed the common school course in the home district and is now a student in Millikin University at Decatur, Illinois; and Helen, born February 8, 1895, is attending the district school near her father's home.
Mr. Houghton exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Republican party and keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day. He has served as highway commissioner and as school director. He does not belong to any church, but attends the services of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. His entire life has been passed in the vicinity of Petersburg and he has a wide acquaintance in the county seat and throughout the surrounding district where his genuine worth has won recognition in the high regard that is uniformly extended him by his many friends.