Russell Walker Houston

Russell Walker Houston (Issaquena/Washington Counties)

State House: 1872-1873

Born: March 1851 in Tennessee
Died: 1907 in California

Appointed superintendent of education for Issaquena County in 1878. Houston is listed on the 1880 census in Issaquena County with his wife, Mary Louise Coffee, and two sons, and they lived in Vicksburg in the 1880s. At some point before 1895, the family moved to Bakersfield, California, where Houston was one of the leaders of the state’s Afro-American League. Houston died in 1907, but Mary Louise and their children are well documented in the census and other records for decades after. In 1907, the Bakersfield Californian called Houston “one of the most prominent men of the colored race in the state.”

“Here is a little fellow that everybody likes. The members look upon him as a sort of pet. He is about twenty-three years of age; short, but inclined to be stout; high forehead; black hair; a black and glossy moustache and imperial; a thin and nicely shaped nose; such a shaped mouth as I have heard ladies admire, (and you know what they mean by that;) light-brown complexion; and from his habiliments could well be called Beau Brummell. Mr. Houston is probably the youngest member in the House, but takes an active part in the matters of legislation, and is an attractive speaker. He generally speaks with a slip of paper held between his thumb and fore finger, and shakes it violently at the Speaker. He recently introduced a bill by which all teachers shall be paid in currency instead of warrants, as is now the case in many counties.”
(New National Era, February 27, 1873)

Memorial on Find A Grave

New National Era, February 27, 1873
New National Era, May 1, 1873
Daily Mississippi Pilot, September 25, 1875
Vicksburg Herald, February 16, 1878
Vicksburg Herald, October 30, 1884
Vicksburg Herald, October 31, 1886
San Francisco Call, July 31, 1895
San Francisco Call, October 18, 1895
Oakland Tribune, November 4, 1906
Bakersfield Californ-ian, Sep 9, 1907