History’s Mysteries : General Houston (part four) : the rest of the story

Forty-four year old General Houston, having been pardoned on murder charges and divorced by his wayward wife, married for a third time February 28, 1884 in Burlington, Iowa. Sarah (Proctor) Leslie had a child, Ada, from her previous marriage. The three became a family and didn’t return to the Davenport area until the late 1890’s.

 General Houston chose to take up a new profession as a chiropodist and all evidence indicates he was quite successful in his new business; the newspaper touting him as “one of the best known and most familiar figures in Davenport”.   A 1908 Davenport Democrat article states:

“He is now crippled with rheumatism which was contracted in the army through exposure and for this reason is not seen on the streets now as much as in former days. But he still practices his profession at his home, 1806 North Street, near the end of the Mt. Ida car line in East Davenport, where he has callers every day. General Houston owns his home and is a most interesting person to talk to. “

That seems like an understatement.

General Houston died of “dropsy”- edema or swelling often caused by kidney or heart disease – at his home in 1910. He is buried in Oakdale Cemetery. 


Sarah’s daughter Ada married in 1900 and had a child, Ione. The marriage didn’t last, and in 1902 Ada, only 23 years old, contracted typhoid fever and died. Her brief obituary mentions that she was the step-daughter of the well-known General Houston, but names no one else.

Houston left his estate to his wife, Sarah, “so long as she remains my widow. In the event of her death or remarriage then I devise and will to my granddaughter Ione McClellan all my property of all kinds.” The will was made out in November of 1906.

Indeed, Houston’s widow married not once, but twice more-in 1913 and in 1922. She continued to live at 1806 North Street and became an ordained deaconess of Bethel A. M. E. (African Methodist Episcopal) church of Davenport. She lived until 1945, surviving four husbands, the death of her only child, the Civil War and two World Wars. She is buried next to General Houston.

Ione McClellan lived with her grandmother and served as witness for Sarah’s fourth marriage. She is listed in Sarah Proctor Leslie Houston Hart Mason’s obituary as Mrs. Ione Hopkins of Chicago.

Read More: Part 1  // Part 2 // Part 3

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1 Response to History’s Mysteries : General Houston (part four) : the rest of the story

  1. Emma says:

    This is a very interesting story!

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