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Samuel Dexter Houston

Samuel Dexter HoustonConstitutional delegate. Born: June 11, 1818, Columbus Ohio.  Married: Mary Jane Rankin. Tabatha Kimble, 1852. Died: February 28, 1910, Salina, Kansas.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, on June 11, 1818, Samuel D. Houston moved with his parent to Illinois in 1830 where he finished his common school education. With his first wife, Mary Jane Rankin, who died in 1850 after seven years of marriage, Houston moved to Iowa where he worked a farm for more than a decade. He married Tabatha Kimble in 1852, and the following December removed to the as yet unorganized Kansas Territory in anticipation of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, settling in the Manhattan area. In March 1855 Houston was elected to the first territorial legislature as a free-soil candidate but resigned his position amidst the expulsion of all free-state legislators. He was elected to the state senate under the Topeka Constitution in 1857, as a delegate to the Wyandotte Convention in June 1859, and as a member of the first state senate under the Wyandotte Constitution in December. Houston was appointed receiver of the Junction City (or Concordia) land office in 1861 and late in that decade moved to Salina, where he was active in local affairs and an avid prohibitionist. He died at Salina on February 28, 1910, and was buried on March 2 at the city's Gypsum Hill Cemetery.

As chair of the amendments and miscellaneous committee, Houston introduced, among others, the "homestead exemption" provision, which he argued would do "more for the ultimate benefit of the people of Kansas" than most anything else the convention might implement. It "exempted from forced sale under any process of law . . . a homestead to the extent of one hundred and sixty acres of farming land, or of one acre within the limits of an incorporated town or city, occupied as a residence by the family of the owner." And Houston believed "the adoption of this provision . . . [would] give to the agricultural interest a prominence and permanence in this State, that will soon be known and appreciated throughout the whole country." 

Entry: Houston, Samuel Dexter

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2011

Date Modified: January 2015

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