If you ever venture to Greenlawn cemetery on the Grant Street side you may see the grave of William Huston, Jr. – Birth 1772, Maryland, USA – Death 1822 (aged 49–50) – Death in Texas – Burial: Greenlawn Cemetery – Portsmouth, Ohio – Plot / Section – Robinson LOT # 125. (Wiki Tree) He was a Portsmouth native and fully a man of vision. As I discovered more about him, I became intrigued at the adventurous life he lived. As I researched Capt. Huston, it was as if I was studying the script of an adventure movie. He was a very active and straightforward man who died in a manner that was regretful, that of a knight-errant – a man who traveled widely in search of adventures, to exhibit military skill, to engage in chivalric deeds. To me that was Captain William Huston, Jr.
According to findagrave.com – He was the son of William Huston and Susannah (Woodruff) Huston Taylor. He was a veteran of the War of 1812. He was the Captain of Capt. William Huston’s Mounted Company from Scioto Co., Ohio. He arrived in 1801 and was the 4th settler of Portsmouth. In 1809 he was a Member of the Board of Trustees. In March 1815 he was city councilman. William Huston was quite prominent in the early history of Scioto County. In 1809, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of Wayne Township, at the organization of the township. He was Overseer of the poor in Wayne Township in 1812. He was one of the nine city fathers of Portsmouth March 1, 1815; but the position of councilman not being to his taste, he neglected to attend its meetings. So on May 1, 1816, he was dropped from council for nonattendance; and his place was filled by Philip Moore.
At one time, he was engaged in keel boating on the Ohio and Scioto rivers, and he took much specie (coined money,) from Chillicothe to Pittsburg. Afterwards he boated considerable on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. His last trip is related as follows: He brought a boatload of salt from the Kanawha and went down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. He was then engaged by emigrants to take them to Texas, by way of the Gulf of Mexico. He made the trip in safety, but on returning, his vessel encountered a storm in the Gulf and the boat was foundered. He managed to get ashore at a desolate island. After being shipwrecked due to the terrible storm, he died of starvation on a desolate island in the Gulf of Mexico. This was in the hurricane season of 1822. It is not known if the island was off the coast of Louisiana or Texas. At this point in time Texas was part of Mexico. (Compiled from History of Scioto County [Ohio]…Pioneer Sketches, p. 739-740.)
According to the – “Climate Adaptation Science Centers,” historical Records Shed Light on 19th-Century Gulf Coast Hurricane Activity – On July 8, 1822, the Gulf Coast of the United States was battered by rain and “heavy winds which increased to great violence,” according to a record from Fort St. Philip, Louisiana. The storm was so bad that it drove another ship the “Lady Washington” – aground on a barrier island off the coast of Mississippi. In 1822 the Gulf Coast, between Corpus Christi and Galveston, was hit by a series of hurricanes. The early Tropical Storm of 1822 and a hurricane struck the central Gulf coast between July 7 and July 9.
From – The History of Scioto County [Ohio]…Pioneer Sketches, his wife was born in 1772, and died in 1854, at the house of her son, Captain Samuel J. Huston. Mr. William Huston, Jr. was a man of great energy and enterprise, a family characteristic; but it was his extreme daring which lost him his life, in the zenith of his physical and mental powers.
The story of Capt. Huston lives on for those of us; who search the fidelity of the early Portsmouth pioneers. If it were possible for him to look upon this place as it is now – would he recognize the city he helped create! I wonder.
Bob Boldman is a local historian. He can be reached by email: [email protected]