HOUSTON, William Churchill (1746-1788)

HOUSTON, WILLIAM CHURCHILL, a Delegate from New Jersey; born in Sumter District, South Carolina, around 1746; pursued classical studies; was graduated from Princeton College in 1768; professor in the same college from 1769 to 1783, when he resigned; served as captain in the Second Regiment, Somerset Militia, during the Revolutionary War; deputy secretary of the Continental Congress in 1775 and 1776; member of the New Jersey Provincial Congress in 1776; member of the New Jersey house of assembly 1777-1779; member of the council of safety in 1778; Member of the Continental Congress 1779-1781; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1781 and commenced practice in Trenton, N.J., in 1783; elected as the first Comptroller of the Treasury in 1781, but declined to serve; receiver of Continental taxes 1782-1785; clerk of the supreme court of New Jersey 1781-1788; again a Member of the Continental Congress in 1784 and 1785; member of the Annapolis Convention in 1786; delegate to the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention in 1787; died in Frankford, Pa., August 12, 1788; interment in the Second Presbyterian Churchyard, Philadelphia, Pa.

Princeton University
Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Princeton, NJ
Papers: 1664-1785, 2.25 cubic feet.
The collection consists mainly of legal documents reflecting the career of William Houston as a lawyer and clerk of the New Jersey Supreme Court, as well as correspondence with Robert Morris and Michael Hillegas covering the period 1782-1785 when William Houston served as receiver of Continental taxes in the state. The collection contains such documents as land grants, copies of wills, notices of debt, boundary settlements, precedents, legal papers pertaining to John Hart, deeds, and documents from the Monmouth, Burlington, and Hunterdon County Common Pleas Courts. There are also documents relating to William Houston's estate. A finding aid is available in the repository and online.


Copley Press, Inc.
J. S. Copley Library
La Jolla, CA
Papers: 1780, 3 pages.
A transcription of a report from William Churchill Houston written on September 6, 1780. The report is from a congressional committee which requests that states with claims to western country "yield up a portion of territorial Claim for the general Benefit." The report ends with a resolution for those states to pass such laws, and "effectually remove the only Obstacle to a final Ratification of the Articles of Confederation."


Duke University
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library
Durham, NC
Papers: 1779, 1 item.
A letter from W. C. Houston, professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at the College of New Jersey, to James Ewing about railing troops, supplies, and money for the Revolutionary forces.


The New York Public Library
Manuscripts & Archives Section
New York, NY
Papers: In the William Livingston Papers, 1749-1782, 3 linear feet.
Other authors include William Churchill Houston. A finding aid for the papers is available in the repository.


Rosenbach Museum & Library
Philadelphia, PA
Papers: In the Philemon Dickinson Papers, 1778, 1 item.
A letter from Phileomon Dickinson to William Churchill Houston and James Mott written on July 29, 1778. Philemon Dickinson explains that all orders issued by him on the Treasury before August 21, 1776, were based on orders from the Council of Safety, and paid to militia officers whose regiments needed money before they could march. Philemon Dickinson never received any public money except his pay.


Rutgers University Libraries
Special Collections and University Archives
New Brunswick, NJ
Papers: In the New Jersey Correspondence, 1773-1954, 39 items and 1 envelope.
Correspondents include William Churchill Houston.


Yale University
Manuscripts and Archives
New Haven, CT
Papers: In the Ebenezer Alfred Johnson Family Papers, ca. 1760-1969, 7.5 linear feet.
Subjects covered in the papers include William Churchill Houston.

  • Houston, William Churchill. The Melyn Patroonship of Staten Island; Address. [N.p.], 1923.
  • Glenn, Thomas Allen. William Churchill Houston, 1746-1788. Norristown, Pa.: Privately printed, 1903.