Analysis:Family of James Huston (4)



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James Huston Pension RecordHouston Land WarrantsWill of William Huston
Person:James Huston (4)Person:William Huston (4)Where was James born?
Settlement of Washington CoAnalysis:Family of James Huston (4)Houstons in Old Chester

The person we have assigned to the card person:James Huston (4) reported (See: Pension Record) that he had been born in Cumberland County, PA in 1760, and enlisted in the revolution in 1778. He also states that where he enlisted was then in the area claimed by Virginia, but is now within Washington County, PA. After the revolution he remained in Washington county, from where he made his pension application in 1832.

In 1786 a James Huston took out a land warrant on Catfish Run, a tributary of Chartier Creek in the vicinity of the future "Washington Boro". Living nearby was William Huston who also took out a warrant for land on Catfish Run in 1786 (See Houston Land Records in Old Chester County, PA#Juanita.

The land of James and William Huston lay in the upper reaches of Catfish Creek, in South Strabane Township, Washington County, PA. James sold his property soon after receiving a patent for it. William, who we know had been in the area since 1774 or earlier, held his property until 1793. (See: Settlement of Washington Co). William died in 1803, leaving a will (See: Will of William Huston) naming his children, including a son James.

Proximity alone makes it highly likely that the James Huston who owned land on Catfish Run is related (and probably the son of William Huston who owned adjacent land. The question of concern is whether James on Catfish Run is in fact Person:James Huston (4) who left the pension application referred to above.

YDNA Results

YDNA tests have been performed for individuals who trace their descent from James and from William Huston. The test results for the descendant of James Huston of Washington County, PA, conform to the YDNA signature believed to be characteristic of the Mill Creek Hundred Huston's. This seems plausible since there are family lines in Old Cumberland County by 1760 believed to belong to this group. However, the test results for a descendant of William do not match the Mill Creek Hundred Houstons, or any other known Houston group. This later point is a supposition which needs to be verified. Several explanations can be considered:

1. James who owned land on Catfish Run IS Person:James Huston (4), but is unrelated to Person:William Huston (4) who also settled on Catfish Run.
2. James who owned land on Catfish Run IS NOT Person:James Huston (4); presumably he is the son of William, but did not leave the pension application stating he was born in Cumberland County.[1]
3. James who owned land on Catfish Run IS Person:James Huston (4), AND is the son of Person:William Huston (4). In this view, William came from Cumberland County sometime before 1774. In this view his son James grew to manhood, enlisted in the Revolution, and eventually left the pension application stating that he was born in Cumberland County.

Possibility 1 is consistent with the YDNA test results. Possibility 2 means that there must be two separate James Hustons in the area, one the son of William, the other the one who left the pension application. Possibility 3 means that there is probably only a single James Huston in the area, living on Catfish Run, AND leaving the pension application. In this latter case, the difference in YDNA test results may be due to an error in the lineage of one or the other YDNA test subjects.

Currently, we do not have enough data to distinguish between these three possibilities.


It is reasonable to speculate that James Huston (4) is the son of William Huston (4). William (4) is known to have been in the area by 1774, but we do not have evidence of an earlier presence, and it seems unlikely that he was in the area as early as 1760. Conceivably William could have previously lived in the eastern portions of Cumberland County. There we find several Williams who could be candidates for James father: There are two Williams in the Juanita basin, and one known to have lived on Conococheague Creek. There could have been others in this region for whom we have no data, but these three currently seem to be the most likely candidates for William (4), and hence the likely father of James (4). A difficulty with this possibility is that YDNA test results for a supposed descendant of William (4) do not match up with a supposed descendant of James (4). Neither lineage, however, seems to have been formally verified, and its entirely possible that one or the other is in error. Errors are common enough in genealogy, and a common result in YDNA tests is that people learn that they do not descend from whom they say they descend. Often, multiple test results from other descendants can help verify or refute a given lineage. A formal vetment of the lineage can also help reach conclusions about its validity.

The test results for the James (4) are said to match with those for a descendant Christopher Huston of Iredell County, NC. Christopher is believed to be in the Mill Creek Hundred study group, and is probably a descendant of Christopher Huston of Mill Creek Hundred, through his son Robert. Some of the study groups in Cumberland County are suspected of being related to the Mill Creek Hundred group. In particular, the Conodoguinet Creek Hustons are especially likely candidates, primarily because their naming way pattern resembles that of the Mill Creek Hundred Hustons. The fact that the YDNA signature of the James (4) descendant matches that of a descendant of Christopher Huston of Iredelll County does not prove that the lineage of the James (4) descendant is correct, but its consistent with the known facts. That is, its an inherently plausible result. Currently, not enough is known about the lineage of the William (4) descendant to comment about its inherent plausibility.

By 1786 there are several Houstons in Washington County. Most are not far from where James' property lies, though none so close as that of William (4). If it should be established conclusively that William (4) is NOT related to James (4), the research into the other Houston's in this area is needed.