It started, as good quests always do, with a family tale.
Nelson Houston (Sarah, James, William) was born April 20th 1813 in Middletown, Orange Co, New York to parents Sarah Faulkner and Thomas Houston.
Nelson married Sarah Townsend (born September 22nd 1819) on June 30th 1841 in Orange Co, New York.
The couple had the following children:
- Mary Townsend Houston b. 19 Jul 1842 d. 12 Nov 1923 m. (1)Robert G Steele (2)Walter Case Anthony
- James Henry Houston b. 5 Jun 1845 d. 28 Jan 1901
- Nelson Townsend Houston b. 3 Aug 1849. d. 11 Mar 1913 m. Katherine A Hines
Seems Nelson got Gold Fever and sailed to California sometime in 1849. His passport is dated March 15th 1849. Here's a good account of what travel from New York to California was like for those following the gold in the mid-1800's. Written first-hand and published in 1882.
At any rate, Nelson was most likely at his destination by mid-summer, just about the time his youngest son was born.
He was on Mr Norris' ranch (an account can be read in the newspaper article in the link above) in October or November of 1851 when he was taken with 'remittent fever', an actual condition of vague origin.
Nelson died November 15th 1851 in Sacramento, CA, having never met his youngest son.
He is buried in the Sacramento City Cemetery in an unmarked grave.
He never saw his wife and children again.
Sarah lived 35 more years. She never remarried. Sarah is buried in Friends Cemetery in Orange Co, New York with sons James and Nelson.
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