Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 463] of Wilmington township has labored successfully in many fields. Though only a few years past fifty, his experience covers several trades, a faithful service for his country during the dark days of civil strife, and a prosperous mercantile career which he is at this writing pursuing at Fayetteville, Wilmington township, this county.

Mr. Houk came into the world June 22, 1842, at a place in Slippery Rock township, and on his father's farm in that township and in the district schools spent his boyhood days. When his education was completed, he was apprenticed to the trade of wagon-making, because of his natural bent for mechanical work. Later on he became very skilled in the carpenter's trade, and was known and in demand on all sides as a worker in wood. At the first call to arms, directly after Fort Sumter was fired on, Mr. Houk was a mere lad and young as he was he was fired with ambition to fight in the cause of his country, but his few years were against him. In 1864, however, he attained his heart's desire, and on Feb. 22, enlisted for three years. He saw active service under Col. Schoonmaker, and Capt. Jackson of Pittsburg, and continued to honorably and faithfully wear the uniform of blue till the last gun was fired and the fratricidal conflict brought to a close. He was captured at Mt. Jackson, Va., in 1865, and only paroled half a day in the hands of the rebels. Upon his return from the war, Mr. Houk turned his attention to farming, and rented a place where he lived for several years. In 1869, he moved to New Castle, and entered the employ of George Crawford & Co., lumbermen. He remained with them until he came to Fayetteville, and entered upon his commercial life. He succeeded to the business of Emma Baxter, and for several years past has conducted the enterprise with consummate skill and steady prosperity.

Mr. Houk was a son of William Houk, a native of Perry township, Lawrence County. The father received a liberal education in the common schools, and afterwards learned the tanner's trade, at which he worked for years, at the same time giving some little attention to farming. Later on he was able to purchase a piece of land, comprising about one hundred acres, of which only some twelve acres had ever been cleared of the timber that naturally covered it. On this farm in Slippery Rock township, Mr. Houk spent the rest of his life, clearing the land, and building two log houses, and necessary out-buildings. He died in the fall of 1869, aged eighty-five years. The wife of William Houk, and the mother of our subject was Eliza White, a daughter of James White, a well-known and leading farmer of Slippery Rock township. Ten children made up the Houk family, and they were named: James; Harriet; Phillip; David; Eli; William; Samuel; Reuben; Eliza; Anna; and Isaac R. They were reared in the Presbyterian Church. Politically Mr. Houk and his sons were old-line Republicans.

When still a young man our subject married Hattie Black, a native of Scott township, Lawrence Co., Pa., and one child has come to bless their home, Minnie B. Mrs. Houk died in 1876 and he married Mary L. Rhodes, and by this union Delmont R. was born. Mr. Houk and his family are regular attendants of the M. E. Church. In political views, Mr. Houk follows the teachings of his beloved father, and early cast his fortunes with the Republican party, of which he is a stanch and prominent supporter.

In all respects, Mr. Houk is a strong, a useful, and an influential member of society. Rich in experience and ripe in judgment, he has a store of knowledge that covers a multitude of subjects. Of an observant nature, through life he has been a student and a learner, not altogether in vain either, if we are to judge from his present attainments. He is a busy man, but withal a well-informed one on all topics of general and living interest. He has the welfare of his own country at heart, as his service in the army proves. As a friend he is highly valued in a large circle of acquaintances, for he is ever ready with counsel, help and encouragement, even to the extent of extending substantial aid from his own resources. His success has come from steady purpose and constant industry, and no one begrudges him the position of true worth and esteem which he has attained.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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Updated: 9 Jul 2001