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W. F. Houstman
Born November 5, 1866
W. F. Houstman, one of the native sons of Jones county, was born November 5, 1866, and is the son of M. H. and Agnes (Merritt) Houstman, who were among the early settlers of this locality. The father was a native of Ohio, while the mother was born in the Empire state, but in 1838 shortly after their marriage they came to Iowa. They took up a government claim in Jones county, where the father built a little cabin of logs which served his family at their first shelter in this new land. Here the parents lived until their death and here their ten children, only six of whom now survive, were started upon the journey of life.
W. F. Houstman received such an education as was obtainable by the farmers' boys of that period, working with his parents through all his school period and after his lessons were completed remaining at home to assist in the conduct of the agricultural labors that gave the family a livelihood. At the age of twenty-one he started to make his own way in the world unaided. He began as a farmer, renting land for one year, and then went to the Black Hills of South Dakota. where for two years he herded cattle. The experience served to render him satisfied with the life of a farmer and he returned to Jones county, buying some land in Jackson township. For three years he devoted himself to the tilling of the soil and then sold his farm and engaged in mercantile business in Olin. Commercial pursuits held him for only a single year, however, and he returned to farming, renting the land which he now owns and occupies. It embraces one hundred and twenty acres, is under good cultivation and Mr. Houstman has not had reason to regret his return to agricultural life.
Desirous of starting a home of his own, Mr. Houstman wedded Miss Jennie M. House, who was born in Jones county and is the daughter of George F. and Elizabeth (Dennison) House, of whom mention is made in the sketch of W. M. Walton, in another part of this volume. Seven children were born to Mr. Houstman and his wife: Chauncey R., George M., Arthur L., Oscar J., Alta Jeannette, Edgar M., and an infant, but the second and the youngest have passed away, the eldest of the family is a student at Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Mr. and Mrs. Houstman are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and have taken an active part in its work. Politically Mr. Houstman supports the Republican Party, feeling convinced of the wisdom of the policies it advocates. He is not active in public affairs, however, though for a period of five years he has served as a member of the school board. Industrious, unafraid of hard work, he has always been on the alert to grasp the means of attaining the greatest success. Having made trial of several other kinds of work, he has returned to farming and has found that his efforts have been generously rewarded, while the neat and thrifty appearance of the place indicates his careful supervision.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 628.


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