Houston, William (1766-1842) (DNB00)

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HOUSTON, Sir WILLIAM (1766–1842), general, is described by Burke as representative of 'the Houstons, hereditary bailies and judiciaries of the barony of Busbie, Wigtonshire, and Coldenhall, Midlothian.' He was born on 10 Aug. 1766, and entered the army as ensign, 31st foot, 18 July 1781, and became lieutenant of an independent company in 1782, and captain 19th foot 1785. After service in the West Indies, at Gibraltar, and at home, he became major in 1794, and commanded the 19th in Flanders under the Duke of York. He was gazetted lieutenant-colonel 84th foot in 1795, and exchanging to the 58th foot, commanded that regiment at the capture of Minorca in 1798, in the Mediterranean in 1800, where the regiment was prominently engaged on the British left at the famous battle of 21 March before Alexandria. Houston subsequently commanded a brigade at the capture of Rosetta and Cairo and the siege of Alexandria, and received the second-class decoration of the Turkish order of the Crescent. He held brigade commands in Malta and at Brighton and in the Walcharen expedition, after which he again commanded at Brighton as a major-general. He commanded the 7th division in the Peninsula from 10 Jan. 1811 until invalided in the autumn that year, and was present with it at the battle of Fuentes d'Onoro and the attack on Fort Christoval, Badajoz (Gurwood, Well. Deep. iv. 512, 796, v. 89,183). He subsequently commanded the south-western district at home. He appears to have applied for re-employment under Wellington, who replied that he had no vacancy (ib. vi. 376). Houston was lieutenant-governor of Gibraltar from 8 April 1831 to 28 Feb. 1835. He became a full general in 1837.

Houston was G.C.B and G.C.H., and was created a baronet by William IV. in 1836. He was a colonel in succession of the 4th garrison battalion and the 30th. foot. He married in 1808 Lady Jane, daughter of James Maitland, seventh earl of Lauderdale and widow of Samuel Long. She died at Gibraltar in 1831, leaving issue by both husbands. Houston died at Bromley Hill, Kent, on 8 April 1842, and was burried at Carshalton, Surrey.

[Burke's Baronetage, 1840 ed.; Narrative of the Expedition to Egype in 1801; Gent. Mag. 1842, pt. ii. 93.]

H. M. C.