Joab Houghton (1811 - 1876) MP

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Nicknames: "Iva Houghton"
Birthplace: Sources disagree - Virginia or New York, United States
Death: Died in Las Vegas, San Miguel, New Mexico, United States
Managed by: Maria Edmonds-Zediker, Volunteer Curator
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About Joab Houghton

Joab Houghton (1811 – January 31, 1876) was the son of William Houghton and wife Margaret Sexton. There is no concrete evidence of his place of birth, but plenty of theories.

  • His parents lived in Pennsylvania but moved to New York sometime between 1808-1812, which could give him a Pennsylvania or New York birth place. There is no mention of them living in Virginia in the year Justice Houghton was born.
  • The Wikipedia article on Justice Houghton lists his place of birth as New York.
  • In the 1870 US Census for New Mexico Territory, he gives his place of birth as Virginia.
  • DNA studies show that there are three distinct Houghton families - New England, New Jersey and Virginia. Descendants of Justice Houghton fall into the New Jersey branch of the family.

Joab Houghton was an American lawyer and judge who served as the first Chief Justice of New Mexico. Houghton came to New Mexico when it was still a Mexican territory, and became a successful merchant. Though lacking any legal education, he was appointed Chief Justice when New Mexico was occupied by the United States in 1846 during the Mexican-American War. In 1850, Houghton led an anti-slavery faction in the drafting of New Mexico's proposed constitution during its first attempt at statehood. His service as Chief Justice ended in 1851, and he practiced law in Santa Fe, as he would during much of his life, and also served as a district attorney during the American Civil War. Houghton was again appointed a justice on the Supreme Court of New Mexico Territory from 1865 to 1869. He made numerous political enemies, and his rulings regarding property confiscated during the Civil War were widely criticized as contrary to basic legal principles. After his replacement on the bench, Houghton spent his last years in private legal practice.

Justice Houghton married Caroline Giles Shoemaker c.1857. She was born in c.1834 Pennsylvania (based on data in 1870 census). They had six children. He also had a liaison with Josefa Salazar, and had a son with her.

Children of Joab Houghton and wife Ann Caroline Shoemaker:

  • Clara Nickols Houghton+ b. 16 Jan 1858, d. 17 Jul 1883
  • William R. Houghton+ b. 30 Nov 1859
  • Edward Cone Houghton Sr+ b. 6 Nov 1861, d. 10 Apr 1928
  • Ellen Lea Houghton+ b. 1 Nov 1865, d. 28 Dec 1896
  • Elizabeth Gertrude Houghton+ b. 10 May 1867, d. 4 Nov 1953
  • David Huntington Houghton+ b. 1 May 1870

Child of Joab Houghton and partner Josefa Salazar:

  • Enrique Houghton Salazar

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Justice Joab Houghton's Timeline

United States
June, 1856
Age 45
Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM, USA
January 16, 1858
Age 47
Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
November 30, 1859
Age 48
Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
November 6, 1861
Age 50
Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States
November 1, 1865
Age 54
Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Age 65
Las Vegas, San Miguel, New Mexico, United States