James Huston and Mary Grey

James Huston and Mary Grey were lucky to leave Ireland a few years before the start of the potato famine. They made their way to the rolling hills of Huntingdon County, which must have reminded them of the hills around Plumbridge and Gortin. There they married and started a family. Although they were not wealthy, they had enough money to invest in land out west in Illinois. Their luck perhaps ran out when James died when the youngest child was only two, leaving Mary to cope alone.

James was born around 1810 in Parish Bodoney, Tyrone County, Ireland, according to a record in the family Bible of his son-in-law David Long. Mary was supposedly from the same place. Perhaps they knew each other before immigrating. They came before 1844, and missed the start of the potato famine when the blight struck in September 1845. They were part of a large Scotch-Irish emigration to Pennsylvania which flowed continuously since the 1700s and provided many of the settlers of central Pennsylvania.

James and Mary were Protestants, and were married on May 4, 1844 in McConnelstown, a small town in Huntingdon County. They soon moved to Woodberry Township, Blair County, just across Tussey Mountain from McConnelstown, where James worked as a weaver. Did he work at the large woolen mill in Williamsburg there? They had two children by 1850, and soon added more. By 1860 they have moved to Walker Township, Huntingdon County, where they were farming.

James died on December 21, 1862; he was only 52. He was buried at McConnelstown Cemetery. Mary did not remarry, but lived with her oldest son Robert, a laborer. As the children grew older they scattered, and none stayed in Walker Township. Of the seven, only the two girls were known to have married, suggesting that the sons did not earn enough money to support a family.  Thomas, the twin brother of Elizabeth Huston Long, ended up in Mercer County, Illinois. When James died, the guardian of his estate petitioned the court for permission to sell real estate in Mercer County in order to settle the estate. Thomas would have been too young to buy that property, but perhaps there were other family connections that led him to settle there. The name Huston is too common among Irish immigrants to be sure.

Mary lived in Walker Township until 1885, when she was about 67. Then she moved in with her daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law David Long in Tyrone, when she lived until her death on March 16, 1892. She was buried in Tyrone cemetery, but apparently has no tombstone there.


James Huston, born about 1810 in Parish Bodoney, Tyrone County, Ireland; immigrated before May 1844; married Mary Grey on May 4, 1844 in McConnelstown, Walker Township, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania; died December 21, 1862; buried at McConnelstown Cemetery

Mary Grey, born about 1817 in Tyrone County, Ireland; married James Huston on May 4, 1844; died March 16, 1892 in Tyrone, Blair County, Pennsylvania; buried in Tyrone Cemetery (Grandview)

Children of James and Mary:

Catherine, b. June 21, 1846, died unmarried in Huntingdon in 1900

Robert, b. 1848, unmarried in 1880, living in the “far west” in 1892

Thomas, born Oct. 20, 1851 (a twin), living in Walker Township in 1870, in Alexis, Illinois in 1923, a miller, apparently unmarried; from his picture he had a rakish mustache.

Mary Elizabeth, born Oct. 20, 1851 (a twin), died May 25, 1923, married 1882 David Long, lived in Tyrone, Blair County; buried there

John, born 1853, no further definite record

James, b. 1856, living in Walker township in 1870, a stone mason, died before 1892 (possibly 1884)

Martha, “Mattie”, b. 1860, married Horace Caldwell about 1889, lived in Wilmerding, Allegheny County. Had a daughter Catherine who became a foster daughter to Elizabeth and David Long. Mattie died in 1905 in Joliet, Illinois.



Family Bible of David Long

Federal census records 1850 to 1880

Huntingdon County Orphans Court Dockets, on Ancestry

Huntingdon County marriages and deaths, Huntingdon County Historical Society card file

Tyrone Daily Herald, March 17, 1892 and 1923, on Ancestry

Pennsylvania Dept. of Health Death Certificates

Findagrave, Huntingdon County

Clark, History of Blair County

Township map of Walker Township, 1873, on the USGenWeb site

Burial records for McConnellstown, Huntingdon County PAGenWeb site







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