Bertwistles in the Bathroom

 

This is how genealogy works.  Family Legend as I remembered it said my great-grandfather was the Sheriff of Nottingham.

 

We also had ‘the Bertwistles’, three photos with inscriptions on the back, one of “Sam'l”, one of “Mary” and a second woman, ‘Olga’. The first two are stern photos of a couple who might run a boarding school in a Dickens novel.  The third portrait is a softer image of a handsome woman of mature years.  By tradition, they are hung in the bathroom.  My mother once told me, “If someone snooty mentions they have Rockefellers in their family tree, you can reply ,’Well, I have Bertwistles in my Bathroom.’”

 

 

“Samuel & Martha Bertwhistle

Mayor of Norwich, Eng

daughter m. Alfred Houghton”

- from a genealogical note by Sarah Houghton

 

Like many people, I made the mistake of becoming interested in my family history after my parents had died.  When I actually found the family record it said "Mayor of Norwich", not “Sheriff of Nottingham”.  And even this is apparently wrong. The note also said Alfred married a Birtwistle[1].  This also is wrong.  There is a Houghton family bible which lists Alfred’s two wives as Annie Hunter, my great-grandmother, and Annie Atherton, his second wife.  

 

So when I finally started investigating, what I knew was my father, Mer, his father Frederic and his grandfather, Alfred, by name.

 

Frederic was buried in Rose City Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. When I was looking through their records for grave locations, I found Alfred was buried there also, so I ordered his death certificate from the Oregon Department of Records.  Alfred's death certificate listed his father as Charles Houghton and his mother as Eliza “Birtwisle”, both of England.  I had added a generation to the tree and discovered the Birtwisle connection.

 

A closer examination of the name on the back of the ‘Olga’ photo showed that actually it said ‘Eliza’.  In the script used to write the name, the capital ‘E’ and little ‘L’ had almost connected at the top so as to look like an ‘O’.  The ‘i’ looked sort of like a little L and the little ‘z’ was the kind with a looped tail below the line. Much like the ‘g’.

 

Next I looked for Norwich in a list of English townships but found only Northwich in Cheshire. Years ago, a history professor, when he heard me pronounce my name, ‘How-ton’,  asked if I was Welsh.  Cheshire borders on Wales. So I looked for Birtwisles and Houghtons near Northwich.

 

I found the Cheshire Records Office online, which had a terrific searchable list of marriages and births (and, now, deaths). (I also found the Northwich email list, which proved a wonderful resource. And from there I found Penny’s Northwich pages, http://www.geocities.com/fountalnpen.)  I sent for Charles and Eliza's marriage certificate as well as birth certificates for Alfred and a brother, Charles Edwin.

 

 

Charles Houghton and Eliza Birtwisle

From their marriage certificate we know that Charles Houghton married Eliza Birtwisle, October 14, 1839. He was a Bachelor of "full age", his occupation a flatman. According to one list of genealogical terms, “a FLATMAN navigated a flat broad boat or barge." Charles lived in Leftwich. His father was John Houghton, occupation rockgetter. I initially assumed this was a quarryman or construction worker but the same terms list says it is a rock salt miner. Northwich is one the four salt 'wiches' or mining towns listed in the Domesday Book.

 

Eliza was 19, a Spinster from Castle Northwich. Castle Northwich is a western suburb of Northwich across the River Weaver. Her father was Samuel Birtwisle, a grocer. Charles signed with his mark. Eliza signed. Witnesses were William and Frances Pemberton, who signed with their marks. They were married at the Parish Church, Davenham District, Chester County, England, according to the rites and ceremonies of the Established Church by Tho. France.

 

Charles and Eliza had a son, Charles Edwin, born September 29th, 1840 in Leftwich, Northwich Sub-District, Chester County, England. By this time father Charles' occupation was WATERMAN, a boatman who plies for hire. He signed the registration on October 2nd with his mark.

 

Charles and Eliza had another son, Alfred, born June 2nd, 1843 in Leftwich, Northwich Sub-District, Chester County, England. The father Charles' occupation was now smith. Eliza also signed the registration on June 21st.

 

The next information on Charles comes from the 1881 census. He and his family are shown living at the Ship Street Lodging House in Frodsham, Chesire.  At that time he is 60 years old and a grocer. His wife, Eliza is still living and they have a grandson as well, Edward Critchley, born in Frodsham.  Frodsham was also the birthplace of one brother of Annie Atherton, Alfred Houghton's second wife.

 

I had learned by now that his father-in-law, Samuel Birtwisle was a provisions grocer.  Perhaps Charles worked at or took over his father-in-law's concern.

 

Household Record 1881 British Census:

Name:

Relation

Marital Status

Gender

Age

Birthplace

Occupation

Charles HOUGHTON

Head

M

Male

60

Davenham, Cheshire, England

Lodging House Keeper & Grocer Etc

Eliza HOUGHTON

Wife

M

Female

56

Oakmere, Cheshire, England

 

Edward A. CRITCHLEY

Grandson

S

Male

12

Frodsham, Cheshire, England

Scholar

1 servant and 17 lodgers also listed

 

Individual records for Charles and Eliza  from the 1881 census give Charles’ birth year as 1821 and Eliza is listed as born in 1825. [2]

 

 

Eliza Birtwisle, b. about 1825, Oakmere, Cheshire, England, (daughter of Samuel Birtwisle and Mary Woodcock). She married (1) Charles Houghton, m. 14 Oct 1839, in Northwich Parish Church, b. about 1820, Leftwich, Cheshire, England, (son of John Houghton). She married (2) Charles Houghton, b. about 1820, Leftwich, Cheshire, England, (son of John Houghton). Eliza died After 1900.

                        Children:

                 i      Charles Edwin Houghton, b. 29 Sep 1840, Leftwich, Northwich, Cheshire, England.

                 ii     Alfred b. 2-Jun-1843.

                 iii     Frank Wm Houghton, b. circa 1845, Witton, Cheshire, England.

                 iv    Lucy b. circa 1848.

                 v     Ann Eliza Houghton, b. 1851, Frodsham, Cheshire, England.

                 vi    Jessie Houghton, b. circa 1861, Frodsham, Cheshire, England.

.

 

Samuel Birtwistle and Mary Woodcock

 

                    

 

 

Once I correctly identified Charles and Eliza, the next step was to find her connection to the Birtwistle family.

 

In 1997 Donna Jean Paterson and I had a chance to travel to England for a conference in London.  We took the opportunity to spend some vacation time traveling around the country.  In particular, I wanted to visit the record office in Chester.  I spent a few hours there but did not find much.  Afterward, we drove over to Northwich just to see the town my family was from.

 

In the middle of town we found Birtwistles Butchers.  On a chance I went in an asked if the butcher was a Birtwistle, explaining I was an American cousin.  The man behind the counter wasn’t but he said Nick would be back in a minute.  When Nick arrived I asked if he knew anything about his family history.  He didn’t particularly but he knew an uncle who owned the car agency on the high road who was interested in that sort of thing.

 

We drove up to the Birtwistle Motors and went in.  The salesman we talked to explained that the company had been sold to a national firm years before and no one there knew the old owners.  But then another salesman remembered he had a customer named Walter Birtwistle so they called him up and Walter, being interested in genealogy, invited us to drop by.

 

When we arrived we were greeted by Walter and his wife, Mary.  They had just returned that afternoon from a short trip and were waiting for the gas man to show up for some needed repair.  They invited us in for tea and Walter got out his records on the Birtwistles.

 

What he had was a scroll a couple of feet high by 7 or 8 feet across showing a tree of all the Birtwistles listed in the Birtwistle Book in tiny writing.  After a few minutes searching, we found Eliza in the lower lefthand corner married to Charles but nothing else about the couple.  Walter showed where he fit in and we determined our branches had separated sometime in the 1600s.

 

I told Walter about the story that Alfred was a sea captain.  Walter said that some of the Birtwistles had interests in coal shipping.  He showed me a painting of one of their ships.  He thought my great grandfather could have gained an entrance into the trade there, but we have never found any further evidence of that.

 

I also mentioned the mysterious ‘Worsley’ which shows up as the middle name of my grandfather and my uncle.  My mother would substitute it in the boys’ names when she was really angry.  “Christopher WORSLEY Houghton, get over here this minute!”  No one in my family knew where it came from but we assumed it was a family name, perhaps a maiden name.  Walter knew there were Worsleys in Northwich.  The last ones he remembered were tailors in the 1940’s.

 

Eliza's Birtwistle ancestry is documented back to the 1600s in the Birtwistle book, by Billy Birtwistle.  I never saw the Birtwistle book.  Here is the descendancy as it was provided to me in email from Gary Burton.

 

Descendants of: Richard Birtwistle

 

1 Richard Birtwistle b. c 1639 d. 1670

 2 Richard Birtwistle b. c 1650 d. 1727 m. 1673 Sarah Billington

  3 John Birtwistle b. 1679 d. 1730 m. Mary Birtwistle

   4 Peter Birtwistle b. 1707 d. 1789 m. 1739 Mary Denning

    5 Peter Birtwistle b. 1742 d. 1812 m. 1764 Elizabeth Birtwistle

     6 John Birtwistle b. 1778 m. 1794 Elizabeth Birtwistle

      7 Samuel Birtwistle b. 1794 d. 1876 m. Mary Woodcock

       8 Eliza Birtwistle b. 1820 m. 14 Oct 1839 Charles Houghton

 

The 1820 date for Eliza's birth in this list differs from the 1825 date found in the 1881 UK Census records.

 

Back in Portland, I continued to use the internet to research the Birtwisles.  I have corresponded for several years now with my third-cousin, Ann Birtwisle Brown.  She has been able to provide a good deal of information about Samuel.  Here are excerpts from some of her emails.

 

I am a great- great granddaughter, Eliza Houghton was sister to my great grandfather Thomas Robinson Britwisle, the youngest son of Sam. and Mary. My grandfather was a son of Thomas R and Mary-Jane Birtwisle. His name was Clifford Ernest Birtwislle. He was born in 1879.My father was his youngest son Fred.

 

I am finally writing to you to tell you that the comment about Samuel being a mayor could possibly be near the truth. He was in fact on the Board of Guardians which was a forerunner of the Town Council. He served from in the 1860's and was named at meetings in the local newspaper, the Northwich Guardian. It appears that if he was actually chairperson, then that is in fact just the same as being voted as mayor.

I don't know when Eliza or Charles died, or what happened to any of their children. I have only recently found out what happened to Ann Birtwisle ( another sister of Eliza) and Joseph their brother just went missing after 1871

 

But it will explain the Worsley connection to your Houghton's. Mary Jane Birtwisle Eliza's sister married James Worsley in 1848.

 

Samuel was a grocer and provisions dealer. The premises where he did his business from are still standing , all be it over 200 years later. He left £2,000 in his will in 1876 which I think roughly comes out at about £220,000 now with inflation. So he did not do too badly for a grocer.

 

His link with the Board of Guardians would have been after working hours, somewhat of a voluntary occupation in those days and people from all walks of life would have been elected, mainly people who were held in some esteem and very much respected in their local community.

 

 

Penny's Northwich Pages list of Northwich residents 1828/9 has listed  under Grocers and Tea Merchants, “Birtwistle Samuel, Applemarket”.

 

Our family records originally listed Samuel’s wife as “Martha”.  Other than determining that her actual name was Mary Woodcock, I have one other note, again from Ann Brown.

 

As a matter of fact Mary Birtwisle  wife of Samuel used to bake pies too. Presumably to sell in their shop. On the 1861or 1871 census in the header pages it does mention Birtwisles bakehouse which was on the corner of Ryder Street parrellel with the line of the present corner building on Chester Road which was on the opposite side to Samuel 47 Castle Street which is now the Art shop. 47 Castle Street across to 3 Chester Road was called Birtwisles Corner on the 1871 census.

 

Samuel and Mary had eight children.  Edwin, the first born, died in childhood.  Eliza was the second child.  She was followed by two more daughters, Margaret and Mary Jane, a son Joseph Robinson and a daughter Ann.  Their seventh child, Lucy also died young.  The last born was Thomas Woodcock, Ann Brown’s great-grandfather.

 

At the time of Samuel’s original will, dated 1853, Joseph and Thomas were still minors and William Robinson, probably the source of Joseph’s middle name, is named executor.  Edwin and Lucy were both dead and the six remaining children are named.  In a first codicil, dated 1868, the two sons have reached manhood and are named as executors in place of Robinson. 

 

In a second codicil, dated March 22, 1876, the day of his death, Samuel changed the will as follows:

 

…I hereby revoke the appointment of my said son Joseph Woodcock Birtwisle as a trustee and executor of my said Will And I appoint William Heald of Castle Northwich aforesaid Builder to be trustee and executor of my said Will and the Codicil thereto in the place and stead of my said Son Joseph Woodcock Birtwisle but I also expressly declare that the sum of one hundred pounds advanced by me to my said Son Joseph Woodcock Birtwisle in my lifetime and the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds advanced by me to my said son Thomas Robinson Birtwisle shall respectively be deemed and taken to be payments to them on account of their shares respectively in the monies to arise from the sale and conversion of my real and household estates under the terms of my said Will…

The original will designated that his wife Mary should enjoy the rents and interests from his property until her death at which time the remaining estate was to be divided equally among the six children.  This would explain the adjustment of the shares.  Joseph was apparently out of the country with the army and so replaced by William Heald. 

Ann Brown has researched extensively and found no records of Joseph.  She speculates that he may have removed to South Africa, his wife’s birthplace.

Concerning the children of Charles and Eliza, I only have information on Alfred and some of his descendants.  I will list them out in register book order adding what information I have.

Second generation

Alfred Houghton

Alfred Houghton, born June 2, 1843, emigrated to the United States sometime in the 1860s or 1870. The 1910 census record appears to read either 1864 or 1866.  The 1900 Census clearly reads 1870.  The 1920 Census says 1869.  He is not listed in the 1870 US Census.

 

Of his life in England we know nothing except birth information.  Josephine Houghton says the family tradition was that he “was a ship’s captain who sailed around the world and had nine children.  At some time in America, he jumped ship”.  The Birtwistle family in Chester County had shipping interests moving coal along the coast according to Walter Birtwistle.   It is possible that Alfred got a seaman position through family connections. 

 

Alfred was first married to Annie Hunter. Our family records state Alfred and Annie had six children.  This proved to be inaccurate.  Annie Hunter died in Detroit in1886 according to the Houghton family Bible. 

 

Alfred first appears in America in Detroit, Michigan.  He worked in the boiler trade providing felt pads which were used as protective covers to prevent burns. 

 

The 1880 Census lists Alfred and Annie as living with her mother, Jane McNeil.  They had an 11 month old daughter named Jane. No other records of the daughter Jane have surfaced.  She may have died young.  The difference in family names between Annie Hunter and Jane McNeil may be explained by a second marriage for the mother but no records have been found to verify that theory.

 

Here is the information from the 1880 Census.

 

Name

Relation

Marital Status

Gender

Age

Birth-place

Occupation

Jane MCNEIL

Self

W

Female

60

ENG

Saloon Keeper

Jane MCNEIL

Dau

S

Female

22

CAN

At Home

Daisy MCNEIL

Dau

S

Female

6

MI

At School

Alfred HOUGHTON

SonL

M

Male

33

ENG

Felting

Annie HOUGHTON

Dau

M

Female

31

Eng

Keeping House

Jane H HOUGHTON

GDau

S

Female

11M

MI

 

 

The 1880 Census lists Jane’s mother and father as both born in Scotland.  The 1900 US Census lists Jane McNeil as a widow, born Sept, 1819, residing at 743 Franklin St.

 

After Annie Hunter’s death, Alfred married Annie Atherton sometime in late 1885 or early 1886.  The 1910 US Census, taken in June, lists them as married 14 years. More likely in 1886 since that is the year she immigrated and there is little reason to believe Alfred went to England to re-marry.  

 

Annie Atherton was the daughter of Joshua Atherton, a gardener and domestic servant from Alvanley, Cheshire.  This is very near Northwich.

 

From the 1881 English Census of Digg Lane, Frodsham Lordship, Cheshire, here is the entry for Annie and her family.

 

Name:

Relation

Marital Status

Gender

Age

Birthplace

Occupation

Jackson ATHERTON 

Head 

M

44

M

Alvanley, Cheshire

Gardener Domestic Serv

Sarah A. ATHERTON

Wife 

M

42

F

Astmoor, Cheshire

 

Edwin ATHERTON

Son

U

21

M

Astmoor, Cheshire

General Labourer

Jesse ATHERTON

Son

U

18

M

Astmoor, Cheshire

General Labourer

Annie ATHERTON

Dau

U

16

F

Astmoor, Cheshire

General Domestic Serv

John ATHERTON

Son

U

14

M

Astmoor, Cheshire

General Labourer

Alice ATHERTON

Dau

 

10

F

Astmoor, Cheshire

Scholar

Emily ATHERTON

Dau

 

8

F

Astmoor, Cheshire

Scholar

Joshua ATHERTON

Son

 

5

M

Astmoor, Cheshire

Scholar

Harry ATHERTON

Son

 

2

M

Astmoor, Cheshire

 

William ATHERTON

Son

 

1M

M

Frodsham Lordship,
Cheshire

 

 

Astmoor is near Northwich.  If Annie was 16 in  1881 then she was born about 1865.  This matches a birth date of November 18th, 1865, which I have for Annie.  Her brother Jessie eventually emigrated to America and was living with her in Portland in 1920.

 

Edgar Gregory of Frodsham, Cheshire provided me the following regarding the Atherton family.

 

The 1881 Census for Dig Lane, Frodsham contains a transcription error. "Jackson" Atherton, the head of the family,should read "Joshua Atherton". Joshua Atherton was born at Helsby in 1836 and was baptised at St. John the Evangelist, Alvanley on 25 Sep 1836. His parents were Thomas Atherton (my 4 x great grandfather) and his wife Sarah (Davison). Thomas Atherton married Sarah Davison at St. Lawrence, Frodsham on 21 Feb 1815.

 

Joshua Atherton married Sarah Ann Nicholas at Frodsham on 31 Aug 1857. They had 11 children, 9 of them born at Astmoor, Runcorn. Sarah Ann was born at Astmoor c. 1837 and was a daughter of Thomas and Martha Nicholas.

 

Most of the 1890 US Census was lost in a fire at the Bureau of Records.  Researchers have compiled a number of alternate sources for that year.  One such record is the Detroit Michigan business directory for 1890.  It lists Alfred Houghton as being in the boiler covering trade with one Henson P Beall.  Alfred resided at 167 Franklin.

 

The directory also lists Clinton P Temple as a tinner living at 153 Chestnut.  Clinton Temple was the father of Mabel Temple, who married Frederic Houghton.

 

The 1900 Census lists Alfred at 346 Kercheval Ave. in Detroit.  He was with Annie and sons Charles, Fred, Frank, John and Robert and daughter Laura.  His trade was Boiler Coverer.  Son Charles was a Bacteriologist but unemployed for 3 months.  Annie is listed as the mother of 6 children, 4 surviving.

 

This record clears up one misconception.  Our family records all indicated that Annie Hunter was the mother of Charles, Fred, Frank John, Goldie and Laura, while Annie Atherton was the mother of Robert, Alta and Ava.  But once I began putting dates together it became clear that Annie Hunter died too soon to have born all six of the older children. 

 

The 1900 census shows a nine year gap between Laura and Robert.  I presume the two deceased children of Annie Atherton were born in that time.  But this would divide the children into two “generations”, the six older and three younger children.  Later, when the grandchildren tried to put together the family history from memory, they decided the older set all belonged to Annie Hunter and the younger set to Annie Atherton.

 

Sometime between 1900 and 1910, Alfred moved out to Portland, Oregon.  In Portland he worked as a concrete pipe contractor.  He was a Mason and I have his apron.  I remember seeing a photo of him in the apron.

 

In 1910, Alfred was in Portland, Oregon.  This is several years before his son Frederic moved out. The 1910 Census for Multnomah County is very hard to read, so some of this may be incorrect.

 

Houghton, Alfred, age 48, Married 29 yrs, Immigrated 1864 (or 66), Concrete Pipe, Contractor

Anna, wife, 44, Immigrated 1881

Chas W, son, 29, born MI, Salesman, Real Estate

(Illegible, probably Frank) son, 22, b. MI, Asbestos worker

John, son, 20, b. MI, Painter, Houses

Laura, dau, 19, b. MI

Robert, son, 10?, b. MI

Alta, dau, 4?, b. MI.

Ava A, dau, 2, b

 

The 1920 US Census lists Alfred at 766 Harvard St.  Here his immigration date is 1869 and his naturalization is 1870.  Annie, Robert, Alta and Ava as well as Annie’s brother Jesse Atherton were all living there.  Robert worked as a blacksmith at a cooperage plant.  Jesse immigrated in 1881, was naturalized in 1896 and worked as a lumber grader.  Alfred, now in his seventies was retired.

 

The Oregonian for May 21, 1922 ran this death notice. (The address appears to be a misprint, 706 for 766.)


Houghton - At his late residence,
706 Harvard St, Alfred Houghton, aged 75 years. He is survived by his wife, Annie H. Houghton, four daughters, Mrs. Jennie Halberstadt, Alta and Ava Houghton of Portland, Mrs. Nelson Dixon of Ridgefield, Wash., four sons, Fred John, Frank and Robert, all of Portland. Also father of the late Charles W. Houghton. Funeral services will be held at P. L. Larch funeral parlors, East Eleventh St at Hawthorne, Monday at 2:30 P.M. Friends invited.

 

Concerning Alfred’s children other than Fred, I know most of them ended up in the Washington-Oregon area and I have a few names and dates of marriages and children.  Fred and my father were not particularly close to the rest of Fred’s family.  I remember meeting Ava once at a picnic at her property near Molalla, Oregon. 

 

Alfred Houghton, b. 2-Jun-1843, Leftwich, Northwich, Cheshire, England.  He married (1) Annie Hunter, b. 11-Dec-1846, Liverpool, England, UK, (daughter of Jane McNeil) d. 6-Apr-1886, Detroit, Michigan, USA.  He married (2) Annie Atherton, m. circa 1886, b. 18-Nov-1865, Astmoor, Cheshire, England, (daughter of Joshua Atherton and Sarah Ann Nicholas). Alfred died 19-May-1922, Portland, Oregon, USA, buried: 22-May-1922, Rose City Cem., Portland, OR.

                        Children:

                 i      Jane H Houghton, b. 1879.

                 ii     Charles William b. Jan 1881.

                 iii     Alfred Houghton, b. Oct 20 1882, Detroit, Wayne Co, MI, d. 4 Aug 1883, Detroit, Wayne Co, MI.

                 iv    Frederic Worsley b. 19-Jun-1884.

                 v     Goldie Houghton.  She married *UNKNOWN Halberstat.

                 vi    Frank Houghton, b. July, 1887, Michigan.

                 vii    John b. July, 1891.

                 viii   Laura E b. April, 1891.

                 ix    Robert L b. Jul/Aug 1891.

                 x     Alta Houghton.

                 xi    Ava.

 

Lucy Houghton, b. circa 1848, Fordsham, Cheshire, England.  She married *UNKNOWN Critchley.

                             Children:

                      i      Edward Alfred Critchley, b. circa 1869, Frodsham, Cheshire, England.

Third Generation

Charles William Houghton, b. about 1881, Michigan.  He married Florence Lewis.  Charles died pre-1922, Stillicum, Washington, USA.

                             Children:

                      i      William Houghton Jr..

                      ii     Helen Houghton.

 

Frederic Worsley Houghton and Mabel Temple

 

Frederic was born June 19, 1884 in Detroit Michigan Son of Alfred and Annie Hunter Houghton.  He married Mabel Temple, daughter of Clinton Plummer Temple and Sarah Dunlap, on August 18, 1904 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.  Windsor is just across the river from Detroit.  Today Ontario has no waiting period or blood test requirements for marriage.  Perhaps it was as convenient back then.  They had two sons, Spencer and Merwin, in Michigan.

 

Around 1910 Fred had a job driving new cars out from Detroit to the Pacific Northwest.  On one occasion a car overturned and, rather than try to hammer out the dented roof, they simply filled in the dent with lead and repainted it.  In 1913, Fred moved out to Portland, Oregon.  Once in Portland, I believe he eventually worked as a carpenter or cabinet maker.  He also may have worked in the shipyards.  Portland and Vancouver, Washington across the Columbia River, were a major ship-building site during World War II. 

 

I remember Fred and Mabel had a house out on the east side of Portland with grape arbors.  We would go over there for family dinners.

 

After Fred died in 1955, my father, Mer, moved my grandmother Mabel to a small house on our property in Milwaukie.  Most nights one or more of the kids would go over to visit.  We played canasta and watched Lawrence Welk.  Mabel could bake a Lemon Meringue Pie.

 

When Mer’s family moved to Ashland in 1964, Mabel moved in to an apartment in Portland.  After a year or so on her own, she moved down to an apartment in Ashland, where she passed away in 1967.

 

     Frederic Worsley Houghton, b. 19-Jun-1884, Detroit, Michigan, USA.  He married Mabel Temple, m. 18-Aug-1904, in Windsor, Canada, b. Feb 28, 1884, (daughter of Clinton Plumber Temple and Sarah Charlotte Dunlap) d. 1967, Ashland, Oregon, USA, buried: 1967, Portland, Multnomah, OR.  Frederic died 12 Apr 1955, Portland, Multnomah, Oregon.

                             Children:

                      i      Spencer Worsley b. 12 May 1905.

                      ii     Merwin Lloyd b. 21-May-1911.

 

John Houghton, b. c 1890, Michigan.  He married Ethel Houghton.

                             Children:

                      i      Fern G Houghton.

                      ii     Alfred Earl Houghton.

                      iii     Melba Houghton.

 

Laura Houghton, b. circa 1891, Michigan.  She married Nils Dixon.

                             Children:

                      i      Billy Dixon.

                      ii     Bobby Dixon.

 

Robert Houghton.  He married Dorothy Houghton.  He was soldier in the 186th Field Artillery.

                             Children:

                      i      Robert.

                      ii     *UNKNOWN.

 

Ava Houghton.  She married Ernest Vrooman.

                             Children:

                      i      Josie Vrooman.  She married Larry Pope.

                      ii     Dick Vrooman.

Fourth Generation

Spencer Worsley Houghton and Lillian Basberg

 

My father’s brother, an uncle I never knew.  When he was 18, around 1923, he moved back to Detroit to work for his uncle, Frank Temple.  He met Lillian Basberg there and they were married in 1934.

 

Spencer moved back to Portland around 1940.  He died suddenly from an illness (‘brain-fever’) in 1943.  He left his wife and two children. 

 

Lillian worked as a doctor’s assistant after his death.  In 1947 she married Mickey Vail, who had a daughter, Suzanne. They had two more children, Kenneth and Martha.  It was this family that I remember from the 1950s.  Mickey died in 1957.  Lillian died August 27th, 2003.

 

     Spencer Worsley Houghton, b. 12 May 1905, Detroit, Michigan, USA.  He married Lillian Basberg Vail, m. 29-Jun-1934, in Detroit, Michigan, USA.  Spencer died 14-Oct-1943, Portland, Oregon, USA.

                             Children:

                      i      Spencer Houghton Vail.

                      ii     Nancy Burns Houghton Vail Freedman.  d. 1997

 

Merwin Lloyd Houghton and Sarah Margaret Hunt

 

This is my direct family, my father, Mer, and my mother, Sally.   Mer was born in Detroit, Michigan but his family moved when he was 2 years old to Portland, Oregon.  He graduated from Lincoln High School just at the start of the Depression in 1929.  He studied bookkeeping at the University of Oregon Extension School and he was active in the Junior Traffic Club, an association for young men in business.   

 

He was also active in amateur theatrics and met his future wife, Sally Hunt, during one of the productions. They were married on her 21st birthday in 1934.  They had five children, Molly, Josie, Dann, Stuart and Chris.

 

Mer was in the lumber industry most of his life as a sales representative and financial controller.  In 1940 or early 1941 he went to Montana for a job and Sally stayed with her parents. By Memorial Day (June) of 1941 he was disgusted with the work and came back to Portland.  He was active in the Junior Traffic Club, an association for young men in business.   

 

He worked for the Joseph B Knapp Co for many years.  They sold wholesale lumber by the boxcar.  Part of the business was arranging the shipping so Mer had close ties to the railways.  He always had notepads that had maps of the railways and cartons of matchbooks which were shaped and decorated like railcars.

 

When Mr. Knapp died around 1960, Mer and the other remaining partner split the business.  Mer then started up a company, Panel-Weave, to produce fencing from plywood. I remember going out to Linnton, just north of Portland, to the factory, which had a big machine to score the panels, then bend them and insert cross pieces. 

 

The early 60’s were a recession period for the housing industry and he had to close the company after a few years.  In 1964 he took a job with Gold Rey Plywood Sales in Medford, Oregon.  The family moved to Ashland, a smaller town about 12 miles south of Medford.  Ashland had a state college and held a well-known Shakespearian Festival every summer.  We lived there from 1964 to 1968.

 

His job moved from Medford to Redding, California, about 200 miles south of Ashland after a couple of years.  For the next two years he spent the weeks in Redding at weekends in Ashland.  In 1968 the firm relocated to Portland and Mer and Sally moved into an apartment there.  By then I was the only one of the children left at home.  I moved out shortly thereafter.

 

Mer and Sally stayed in Portland until he retired in 1980.  They then returned to Ashland where they had kept their house as a rental.  Mer died in 1984 after a short illness.  He was 73 years old.  Sally moved back to Portland where she had many friends.  She remained active until her death in 1988

 

My mother Sarah was always known as Sally.  She was born and raised in Portland.  Her parents were Harold and Florence (Hi and Flossie) Hunt.  Her father was a journalist covering entertainment.  Her mother was a school teacher, and later edited a local entertainment magazine.

 

Sally was an active girl.  She helped organize the neighborhood parades that grew into Portland’s annual Junior Rose Festival.  She sang in choirs and liked to dance.  In the summer of 1933, she and several others rode from Portland to the Oregon coast, a distance of 90 miles, by horseback.  While they were on the trail, the Tillamook Burn started.  This was a famous fire in the Coast Range that lasted for 4 weeks and covered nearly 1000 square kilometers.

 

As a wife and mother, Sally remained active and socially involved.  While her children were in school she worked for the PTA, serving as president on at least one occasion.

 

       Merwin Lloyd Houghton, b. 21-May-1911, Detroit, Michigan, USA.  He married Sarah Margaret Hunt, m. 10-Oct-1934, in Portland, Oregon, USA, b. 10-Oct-1913, Portland, Oregon, USA, (daughter of Harold Everett Hunt and Florence Juanita "Flossy" Marquiss) d. 21-Jun-1988, Portland, Oregon, USA, buried: Pacific Ocean.  Merwin died 28-Feb-1984, Medford, Oregon, USA, buried: Pacific Ocean.

                             Children:

                      i      Molly Hunt b. 29-Sep-1940.

                      ii     Josephine Temple b. 29-Oct-1943.

                      iii     Rev. Daniel Oakes (Dann) b. 6-Oct-1944.

                      iv    Stuart Foster b. 4-Jan-1948.

                      v     Christopher Vincent b. 15-Mar-1950.

 

Josie Vrooman.  She married Larry Pope.

                             Children:

                                    i           Jill Pope.

Appendix A – Descendants of Eliza Birtwisle and Charles Houghton

 

1.  Eliza Birtwisle, b. about 1825, Oakmere, Cheshire, England, (daughter of Samuel Birtwisle and Mary Woodcock). She married (1) Charles Houghton, m. 14 Oct 1839, in Northwich Parish Church, b. about 1820, Leftwich, Cheshire, England, (son of John Houghton). She married (2) Charles Houghton, b. about 1820, Leftwich, Cheshire, England, (son of John Houghton). Eliza died After 1900.

                             Children:

                      i      Charles Edwin Houghton, b. 29 Sep 1840, Leftwich, Northwich, Cheshire, England.

            2.       ii     Alfred b. 2-Jun-1843.

                      iii     Frank Wm Houghton, b. circa 1845, Witton, Cheshire, England.

            3.       iv    Lucy b. circa 1848.

                      v     Ann Eliza Houghton, b. 1851, Frodsham, Cheshire, England.

                      vi    Jessie Houghton, b. circa 1861, Frodsham, Cheshire, England.

 

Second Generation

 

2.  Alfred Houghton, b. 2-Jun-1843, Leftwich, Northwich, Cheshire, England.  He married (1) Annie Hunter, b. 11-Dec-1846, Liverpool, England, UK, (daughter of *UNKNOWN McNeil and Jane McNeil) d. 6-Apr-1886, Detroit, Michigan, USA.  He married (2) Annie Atherton, m. circa 1886, b. 18-Nov-1865, Astmoor, Cheshire, England, (daughter of Joshua Atherton and Sarah Ann Nicholas). Alfred died 19-May-1922, Portland, Oregon, USA, buried: 22-May-1922, Rose City Cem., Portland, OR.

                             Children:

                      i      Jane H Houghton, b. 1879.

            4.       ii     Charles William b. Jan 1881.

                      iii     Alfred Houghton, b. Oct 20 1882, Detroit, Wayne Co, MI, d. 4 Aug 1883, Detroit, Wayne Co, MI.

            5.       iv    Frederic Worsley b. 19-Jun-1884.

                      v     Goldie Houghton.  She married *UNKNOWN Halberstat.

                      vi    Frank Houghton, b. July, 1887, Michigan.

            6.       vii    John b. July, 1891.

            7.       viii   Laura E b. April, 1891.

            8.       ix    Robert L b. Jul/Aug 1891.

                      x     Alta Houghton.

            9.       xi    Ava.

 

3.  Lucy Houghton, b. circa 1848, Fordsham, Cheshire, England.  She married *UNKNOWN Critchley.

                             Children:

                      i      Edward Alfred Critchley, b. circa 1869, Frodsham, Cheshire, England.

 

Third Generation

 

4.  Charles William Houghton, b. Jan 1881, Michigan.  He married Florence Lewis.  Charles died pre-1922, Stillicum, Washington, USA.

                             Children:

                      i      William Houghton Jr..

                      ii     Helen Houghton.

 

5.  Frederic Worsley Houghton, b. 19-Jun-1884, Detroit, Michigan, USA.  He married Mabel Temple, m. 18-Aug-1904, in Windsor, Canada, b. Feb 28, 1884, (daughter of Clinton Plumber Temple and Sarah Charlotte Dunlap) d. 1967, Ashland, Oregon, USA, buried: 1967, Portland, Multnomah, OR.  Frederic died 12 Apr 1955, Portland, Multnomah, Oregon.

                             Children:

            10.     i      Spencer Worsley b. 12 May 1905.

            11.     ii     Merwin Lloyd b. 21-May-1911.

 

6.  John Houghton, b. July, 1891, Michigan.  He married Ethel Houghton.

                             Children:

                      i      Fern G Houghton.

                      ii     Alfred Earl Houghton.

                      iii     Melba Houghton.

 

7.  Laura E Houghton, b. April, 1891, Michigan.  She married Nils Dixon.

                             Children:

                      i      Billy Dixon.

                      ii     Bobby Dixon.

 

8.  Robert L Houghton, b. Jul/Aug 1891, Michigan.  He married Dorothy Houghton.

                             Children:

                      i      Robert.

                      ii     *UNKNOWN dau.Houghton.

 

9.  Ava Houghton.  She married Ernest Vrooman.

                             Children:

            12.     i      Josie.

                      ii     Dick Vrooman.

 

Fourth Generation

 

10.  Spencer Worsley Houghton, b. 12 May 1905, Detroit, Michigan, USA.  He married Lilian Basberg Vail, m. 29-Jun-1934, in Detroit, Michigan, USA, (daughter of Nicholas Basberg and Catherine Rogers). Spencer died 14-Oct-1943, Portland, Oregon, USA.

                             Children:

            13.     i      Spencer Houghton.

            14.     ii     Nancy Burns Houghton b. b. Sept-1942.

 

11.  Merwin Lloyd Houghton, b. 21-May-1911, Detroit, Michigan, USA.  He married Sarah Margaret Hunt, m. 10-Oct-1934, in St Michael & All Angels Church, Portland, Oregon, USA, b. 10-Oct-1913, Portland, Oregon, USA, (daughter of Harold Everett Hunt and Florence Juanita "Flossy" Marquiss) d. 21-Jun-1988, Portland, Oregon, USA, buried: Pacific Ocean.  Merwin died 28-Feb-1984, Medford, Oregon, USA, buried: Pacific Ocean.

                             Children:

            15.     i      Molly Hunt b. 29-Sep-1940.

            16.     ii     Josephine Temple b. 29-Oct-1943.

            17.     iii     Rev. Daniel Oakes (Dann) b. 6 Oct 1946.

            18.     iv    Stuart Foster b. 4-Jan-1948.

            19.     v     Christopher Vincent b. 15-Mar-1950.

 

12.  Josie Vrooman.  She married Larry Pope.

                             Children:

                      i      Jill Pope.

 

Appendix B - Last Will and Testament of Samuel Birtwisle

This is the last Will and testament of me Samuel Birtwisle of Castle Northwich in the County of Chester shopkeeper.  First I Will and Deed that all my just debts funeral expenses and charges of proving this my Will be paid and discharged and subject thereto I do give and bequeath unto William Robinson of Marston in the said County of Chester Farmer all and every my real and leasehold estates that I may die seized of or possessed  To hold the same unto the said William Robinson his heirs executors and administrators for ever or for and during all my estate term and interest therein upon trust to permit and suffer my dear wife Mary Birtwisle to take and receive the rents issues and profits of the same for and during her natural life she keeping the same in good tenantable repair and condition and at her decease upon trust to sell the same either by public auction  or private contract and the money to arise therefrom after paying all expenses connected therewith to pay and divide between and amongst my children Eliza, Margaret, Mary Jane, Joseph, Annie and Thomas in equal shares.  And I do declare the receipt or receipts of the said William Robinson his heirs executors and administrators shall be a good and sufficient discharge to the purchaser or purchasers of my real and leasehold estates or any part thereof and that such purchaser or purchasers shall not be bound to see to the application or nonapplication of such purchase money.  And in case any one or more of my said children should happen to die in my lifetime of before the death of my wife leaving lawful issue I do declare that the issue of such one or more of my said children so dying shall take the share or shares their respective parent or parents would have been entitled to had they been then living such parents share to be paid to the respective issue amongst themselves equally share and share alike if more than one if but one then wholly to such one child.  And I do give to my said dear wife all my household goods furniture ready money and all other personal estate that that I may die seized of or possessed To hold the same to and for her own use absolutely  And in case of her death in my lifetime I do give and bequeath the same to my said six children equally share and share alike And I appoint the said William Robinson and my dear wife Executor and Executrix hereof hereby revoking all Wills by me heretofore made and do declare this to be my only true last Will and Testament  In witness whereof I the said Samuel Birtwisle have hereunto set and put my hand this tenth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty three

Samuel Birtwisle - Signed published and declared by the said Samuel Birtwisle as and for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us both present at the same time who in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto set our names as witnesses - William Newton of Northwich Auctioneer - Thomas Wilson of Northwich Gas fitter.

 

This is a codicil to the last Will and Testament of me Samuel Birtwisle of Castle Northwich in the County of Chester Shopkeeper which bears date the tenth day of October one thousand eight hundred and fifty three  Whereas by my said Will I have appointed William Robinson of Marston  in the County of Chester Farmer to be one of the trustees and executors thereof Now I hereby revoke the appointment of the said William Robinson as such trustee and executor  And I appoint my two sons Joseph Woodcock Birtwisle of Chatham in the County of Kent a corporal in Her Majesty's Army and Thomas Robinson Birtwisle at present residing with me to be trustees and executors of my said Will in the place of the said William Robinson And I declare that my said Will shall be construed and take effect as if the names of the said Joseph Woodstock Birtwisle and Thomas Robinson Birtwisle were inserted in my said Will throughout instead of the name of the said William Robinson and in all other respects I confirm my said Will  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty eighth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty eight - Samuel Birtwisle - Signed published and declared by the said testator as and for a codicil to his last Will and Testament in the presence of us present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses - James Briscoe Castle Northwich Attorney's Clerk - Wm Pickering Castle Northwich Stone Mason

This is a second codicil to the last Will and Testament of me Samuel Birtwisle of Castle Northwich in the County of Chester Shopkeeper which bears date the tenth day of October one thousand eight hundred and fifty three  Whereas by a codicil to my said Will dated the twenty eighth day of November one thousand eight hundred and sixt eight I have appointed my two sons Joseph Woodcock Birtwisle and Thomas Robinson Birtwisle trustees and executors of my Will in the place of William Robinson named in my said Will  Now I hereby revoke the appointment of my said son Joseph Woodcock Birtwisle as a trustee and executor of my said Will And I appoint William Heald of Castle Northwich aforesaid Builder to be trustee and executor of my said Will and the Codicil thereto in the place and stead of my said Son Joseph Woodcock Birtwisle but I also expressly declare that the sum of one hundred pounds advanced by me to my said Son Joseph Woodcock Birtwisle in my lifetime and the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds advanced by me to my said son Thomas Robinson Birtwisle shall respectively be deemed and taken to be payments to them on account of their shares respectively in the monies to arise from the sale and conversion of my real and household estates under the terms of my said Will and in all other respects I confirm my Will and the codicil thereto  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty second day of March one thousand eight hundred and seventy six - The mark of X Samuel Birtwisle as and for a second codicil to his last Will and testament in the presence of us present at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses the same having been read over and explained to him prior to his making his mark thereto = Algernon Fletcher Solicitor Northwich - Alfred Heald his clerk

Proved at Chester with two codicils the 2oth day of November 1876 by the oaths of Thomas Robinson Birtwisle the Son the Executor named in the first codicil and William Heald the Executor named in the Second Codicil to whom administration was granted power reserved of making the life grant to Mary Birtwisle Widow the Relict the Executor named in the Will

The testator Samuel Birtwisle was late of Castle Northwich in the County of Chester Provision Shopkeeper and died on the 22nd day of March 1876 at Castle Northwich aforesaid

Under L2000 including Leasehold

A Fletcher Solicitor Northwich              Charles TW Parry  District Registrar

 

 

 



[1] Alternate Spellings

Eliza signed as Birtwisle. Her father, Samuel, used Birtwisle in hie will.  Most Northwich families used Birtwistle. I don’t know when our branch changed the spelling.  My mother wrote it Bertwhistle.

 

Frederic Houghton also appears as Fredrick and Frederick. On a 1925 photo it is written Frederic and my father told me when I named my Son Nathaniel Frederic to be sure to spell it that way.

 

[2] Source Information: Dwelling Ship Street Lodging House

Census Place Frodsham, Cheshire, England

Family History Library Film 1341843

Public Records Office Reference RG11

Piece / Folio 3518 / 73

Page Number 48