Houghton’s pond is located in Milton, MA, about 30 minutes south of Boston, MA. It is a 24 acre, spring fed kettle hole pond. It is 42 feet deep and was formed by receding glaciers over 10,000 years ago. To the Native Americans of the area it was known as Hoosic-Whisick.
Around 1690 Ralph Houghton moved with his family from Lancaster, MA to the area of Houghton’s pond, in present day Milton, MA. There he erected Houghton House, which was built 1690 and demolished in 1896. Today the pavilion and refreshment building, which were erected in 1920, stand in its place, and is pictured below.
In 1722 Houghton House and 150 acres were conveyed to Ebenezer Houghton Sr., by his father Joseph Houghton. In 1754, Nathaniel Houghton, second child of Ebenezer Houghton Sr., along with his father and two other men; Benjamin Crane and Ebenezer Tucker, petitioned the legislature to be annexed to the town of Milton from the town of Braintree. The section of land was annexed when the act was passed later that same year.
Ebenezer Houghton Sr. was born on 24 Aug 1695 in England, to Joseph Houghton and Jane Vose, he died on 24 Jan 1783 in Milton, MA. He was married to Sarah Evans on 17 Sep 1722. Sarah was the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Evans. Joseph Houghton was a son of Ralph Houghton, the builder of Houghton House.
Ebenezer Houghton Jr, son of Ebenezer Houghton Sr. married Prudence Vose, and together they had 8 children.
- Prudence Houghton – b.5 Oct 1751 in Braintree, MA
- Nathanial Houghton – b.18 Jan 1753 in Braintree, MA
- Hannah Houghton – b.27 Apr 1755 in Milton, MA
- John Houghton – b.6 Aug 1757 in Milton, MA d.23 Apr 1758 in Milton, MA
- Oliver Houghton – b.30 Mar 1759 in Milton, MA
- Patience Houghton – b.5 Nov 1761 in Milton, MA
- Rachel Houghton – b.9 Mar 1765 in Milton, MA
- Reuben Houghton – b.1 Jul 1767 in Milton, MA
Ralph Houghton and his wife Jane Stowe are both said to have been born in Lancaster, England. Though some accounts and records can be found stating they were born in Massachusetts. This seems unlikely as his birth/baptism is given as 1 May 1623, the first batch of pilgrims arrived in 1620, on the Mayflower, before his birth. None of his family, extended or otherwise, were passengers on the Mayflower. Ralph and Jane are said to have arrived on the Abigail in 1647, with passenger logs confirming this. He arrived with his cousin, John Houghton. His wife Jane was born in 1626, the exact date is unknown. Together they had 8 children, with some sources listing more, but any children after number eight become questionable.
Ralph Houghton was said to have exceptional penmanship, and held a number of town offices that had to do with record keeping. Above is pictured his signature, scanned from one of many documents from town records, it could have come from a record in either Lancaster, MA or Milton, MA as he kept records for both towns during his life.
Children of Ralph Houghton and Jane Stowe:
- Ralph Houghton Jr. 1648-1692
- Hannah Houghton Lewis 1649-1718
- James Houghton 1650-1711
- Mary Houghton 1653-1679
- John Houghton 1655-?
- Joseph Houghton 1657-1736
- Sarah Houghton 1661-1757
- Abigail Houghton 1664-1697
The pond acquired it’s name upon the building and occupation of Houghton House, first being called Houghton’s Ford. Over the ensuing years and decades there would be many deaths at the pond from drowning incidents, including two sons of Jason Houghton. On 27 Nov 1800 Jason Houghton has sent his two sons; Charles Pierce aged 11, and Warren aged 8, to bring back a duck that had been shot while hunting. The ice gave way, and both boys drowned in the icy water with their father watching.
Houghton, John W., A.M., M.D. Houghton Genealogy. NY: Frederick H. Hitchcock Genealogical Publisher , 1912.
Houghton, William D. Houghton Ancestors: A 1000 year Historical Adventure. 2nd ed. 2010.
Genealogical & Personal Memoirs Relating To The Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. Vol. 1. NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1908.