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By Joseph Wallace, M. A.
of the Springfield Bar
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

WILLIAM K. HUSTON - William K. Huston is perhaps the oldest contractor and builder of Springfield in years of connection with the business in this city. He has been almost continuously identified with building interests here since 1855, and yet follows his trade, now doing job carpenter work. Pennsylvania is the state of his nativity and Westmoreland county is the place of his birth, which occurred on the 27th of January, 1830. His grandfather came from the north of Ireland and established the family in the Keystone state. Samuel and Elizabeth Huston, the parents of our subject, were both natives of Pennsylvania and were farming people. The father died at the age of seventy-three years and the mother reached the advanced age of ninety-five years. In their family were five children; Nancy, who died in Pennsylvania at the age of sixty years; Robert, who resides on the old homestead in Westmoreland county; John, a retired farmer of New Florence, Pennsylvania ; William K.; and Mary, who is a widow and resides in Fairfield, Pennsylvania.

In one of the primitive schools of an early period William Ii. Huston pursued his education. The little "temple of learning" was built of logs and seated with slab benches. He afterward served an apprenticeship to the carpenter's and builder's trade in West Fairfield, Pennsylvania, and afterward followed his chosen pursuit in his native state until 1853, when he removed to Griggsville, Illinois, remaining there and in Morgan county until 1855, when he came to Springfield. Here he worked as a journeyman carpenter for James C. Sutton, and for many years they were the leading carpenters and contractors in Springfield, making a specialy of stair-building. Mr. Huston became an expert in this line and was employed to do such work in many of the best homes in the city, receiving a liberal patronage in that line. While thus engaged he was for a time in partnership with D. G. Harkness. He was also a partner of I. P. Hansell and they did a general contracting business for some years. He has worked on many hundred homes in Springfield, and while engaged in stair-building was called into adjoining counties. Since 1896 he has engaged in job carpentering, working especially in Springfield, and his connection with building interests of this city is perhaps of longer duration than that of any other carpenter here. In 1888 Mr. Huston went to California for the benefit of his health and worked at his trade in San Diego until 1889, when he returned to Springfield and has since occupied his home at No. 1100 Soutb Fourth street, which he erected in 1882.

In 1861 Mr. Huston returned to Pennsylvania for his bride, and on the trip east rode in the same car with Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, who was then on her way to join her husband in Washington. He wedded Nancy B. Donaldson, who was born in Lawrence county, Pennsylvania, in 1830. Three children have been born unto our subject and his wife: Millicent E., Alice M. and William Elmer, the last named being employed in Leaverton's wholesale shoe store. The daughters were educated in private schools and the son attended the Stewart school.

Mr. Huston has always been a party worker in the interest of Republican principles and has firm faith in the ultimate triumph of the organization. He belongs to the Second Presbyterian church, and since 1878 has been a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and has filled all the chairs in the local lodge. Mr. Huston has witnessed the growth and development of Springfield through almost half a century and has contributed in no small degree to the improvement of the city through the exercise of his business qualifications. In other ways, too, he has also labored for the welfare of the city and well does he deserve representation in this volume, whose purpose is to preserve a faithful history of the builders and promoters of Illinois' capital city.

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