Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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HOUSTON, John, governor of Georgia, born in Waynesboro, Georgia, 31 August, 1744; died at White Bluff, near Savannah, Georgia, 20 July, 1796. He was a son of Sir Patrick Houston, and early distinguished in the revolutionary movement. In 1774 he was one of four citizens who called the first meeting of the Sons of Liberty in Savannah. This meeting, of which he was chairman, was held at the watch house, where letters from the northern committees were read, and a committee to draft resolutions was appointed. On 15 June, 1775, he was sent as a representative to congress, where he was a member of the first naval committee, he was again a delegate to congress in 1776, and would have signed the Declaration of Independence had he not been called to Georgia in order to counteract the influence of Dr. Zubly, a delegate from that state, who had left his seat in congress to oppose the movement. On 8 May, 1777, he was made a member of the state executive council. While holding this office he co-operated with General Robert Howe in an invasion of eastern Florida. When they arrived at the St. Mary's river, farther progress was prevented, and, as he was unwilling to relinquish the command of the Georgia militia to General Howe, a misunderstanding arose, which was one of the causes of the failure of the expedition. On 8 January, 1778, he was elected governor of Georgia, which office he held again in 1784. In 1787 he was appointed by the general assembly a commissioner for settling disputes respecting the boundary line between Georgia and South Carolina; but he differed with the other commissioners, and protested against their proceedings. This protest is contained in Marbury and Crawford's "Digest." He was an able lawyer, and was appointed judge of the state supreme court in 1792.
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