Person:William Huston (4)

Facts and Events
Name William Huston
Alt Name William Houston
Gender Male
Birth[2] 1729 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Marriage Irelandto
Death[1] January 1803 Washington County, PA

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Document:Will of William Huston of Catfish Creek, 1802
Notebook:William Huston of Catfish Camp
Source:Crumrine, et al, 1882
Source:Beers, J.H., 1893


This article is for William Huston of Catfish Camp.

William Huston was the first white man who settled in the immediate vicinity of where the borough of Washington now stands. In 1774, Michael Cresap stopped at the house of William Huston at Catfish Camp, when on his way from Wheeling to Redstone. Huston's land was taken up on a Virginia certificate, and was surveyed to him as "Huston's Pleasure." On this farm he lived until the latter part of 1802. His will was made December 7th of that year. He had three sons, James, Dixson, and Hamilton, and four daughters, Ann, Jane, Peggy, and Polly. The farm was divided before the death of their father, Hamilton receiving a deed for two hundred and thirty acres. Ann married John Bollen, who was a shoemaker, and settled in Washington, Pa., opposite Joseph Huston's (who was a cousin of William) tavern on Main Street. Here they lived until 1811, when they moved to Amwell township. Mrs. Jane B. Prall, of Washington, is their daughter. Hamilton settled on the home farm. He had a son William, and Mrs. Samuel McFarland is a daughter. Jane Huston, daughter of William, married John Smith. Peggy married John Paxton, and Polly married Archibald Kerr. The old homestead and spring is now owned by Mrs. Henry Swartz, and part of the farm is now owned by Mrs. Nicholas Wade and others. [3]

William "Catfish" Huston was probably born about 1729 [4] William is known to have been in the Washington County area of PA as early as 1774. According to Source:Crumrine, et al, 1882, William gave an affadavit in 1798 releated to the Masscre of Chief Logan's family on Yellow Creek in April of 1774 [5]

I, William Huston, of Washington County, in the State of Pennsylvania, do hereby certify to whom it may concern: That in the year 1774 I resided at Catfish's Camp, on the main path from Wheeling to Redstone; that Michael Cresap, who resided on or near the Potomac River, on his way up from the river Ohio, at the head of a party of armed men, lay some time at my cabin...

It seems likely that others were living in the area of Catfish Camp in 1774. Abraham Hunter, for example, took up a tract immediately adjacent to tthat which William Huston would later taken out a warrant in 1785. Source:Crumrine, et al, 1882 believes that the Hunters never settled on this tract. Whether Huston was present at the time the Hunters had the property surveyed in 1769 is not known. [6]

These parcels lie in South Strabane Township, Washington County, PA, withn the Chartier Creek Watershed. Williams parcel lies at the head of Catfish Creek The parcel immediately to his west is identified as "Catfish Camp", probably in reference to "Catfish", the native american who lived in this area, and is said to have had a campsite on Catfish Creek. [7]

Williams land lay in the upper reaches of Catfish Creek, a tributary of Chartier Creek in an area where the Native American known as "Catfish", had a camp, and where the later community of Washington would be eventually established.


  1. See Analysis:DOD for William Huston of Catfish Creek
  2. Source:Kellogg, 1917:425 Gives the results of a 1779 court martial for William Huston for refusing to do service during the Revolution. Huston was stated to be 50 years of age at the time, and therefore not required to serve. If this is the same William Huston who lived on Catfish Run in Washington County, then he was presumably born in 1729. Since Kellogg 1917 is concerned with the area that included Washington County area, it seems likely that this is indeed the same person. Also, some of the other persons mentioned in this record are believed to have come from this same area. It is not known what basis there is for identifying Williams POB as Philadelphia, though baptismal records of the Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, are suspected. ~~~~
  3. Crumrine, Boyd 1882. "History of Washington County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men" (Philadelphia: L. H. Leverts & Co., 1882). Transcribed by June Buller of Chicago, IL in July 1998. Published in July 1998 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at _ (, extracted May 2011 by Lori Selway-Mounts.
  4. Revolutionary War era records that show that in 1779 he was aquitted of refusing service because he was 50 years of age.
    William Huston came into Court and Satisfied the Court that He was of the Age of fifty years and obtaind an exemption from Future Service according to law Source:Kellogg, 1917.
    The names of others persons mentioned along with William are also in land records for property near William. The more distinctively named Brice Virgin, for example, was a co-defendant with William, and owned land on Chartier Creek, to which Catfish Run is a tributary. It seems reasonable that the William Huston who was aquitted, is the William Huston of Catfish Run
  5. See also Analysis:William and James Huston of Catfish Camp for additional background.
  6. When warrants were issued in 1769 for land in this area, most of the survey's were done almost immediately, with patents following shortly thereafter. This may indicate that the Hunters had no intention of actually settling on the property, but were laying claim to it as a speculative venture, hopeing for profit by resale to later settlers. If they were not in fact occupying the land, they probably would not have been so quick to survey and patent the property, as occupation alone would have served to establish their claim to the land. But if they didn't settle on the property, the warrant would have been useless unless they had the land surveyed and patented. In that way they could fully preserve their claim, without ever setting foot on the land. Another indication that this was speculation lies in the shape of the tracts as surveyed. Like many other tracts surveyed in this area in 1769 the boundaries of the Hunter tracts were perfectly rectangular. That suggests that they did not care exactly what land was designated their property. Later settlers were much more careful in selecting their boundaries, making sure that it included areas that they would need for survival, and not wasting their warrant on land that had little value to them. William Huston's property, for example, carefully skirts around the upper boundaries of the Catfish Creek watershed, excluding the highest, steepest, portions areas. This selection process, ensuring that they had the best land for their needs, seems to be characteristic of persons actually intending to live on the land. The retangular boundaries of the Hunter's suggests that this was never their intention.
  7. In his testimony regarding the Yellow Creek Massacre, William refers to his property at "Catfish's Camp". This seems to confirm that the term "Catfish Camp" used for this area, was taken from the name of an Amerindian known as "Catfish".

Regarding Footnote #2 Williams birth. According to his granddaughter's biography (Jane B. Prall - Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania) she states that her grandfather William was born and married in Ireland. He & his wife (unk) came together. She lists the children so I know for sure that this woman belongs to 'Catfish" William Huston.