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John Mills Houston

Politician. Democrat. Born: September 15, 1890, Formosa, Kansas. Died: April 29, 1975, Laguna Beach, California. Served in U.S. House of Representatives, 5th District: January 3, 1935, to January 3, 1943.

John Mills HoustonBorn on a farm near Formosa in Jewell County, Kansas, on September 15, 1890, John M. Houston attended the Wichita public schools, Salina's St. John's Military School, and Fairmount University in Wichita. Prior to the First World War, in which Houston served as a noncommissioned officer in the Marine Corps, he engaged in the theatrical business from 1912-1917. After the war he entered the retail lumber business at Newton (Houston-Doughty Lumber Company, 1919-1934), served as the city's mayor (1927-1931) and secretary of the Democratic State Central Committee (1934-1935), and was elected as a Democrat to the Seventy-fourth Congresses in 1934. Jack Houston had been placed on the Democratic ticket after the primary election when incumbent Congressman William Ayres accepted appointment to the Federal Trade Commission. Somewhat unexpectedly, Houston easily defeated his Republican opponent, Ira C. Watson, and his margin of victory was even larger two years later, when he was reelected with 60 percent of the vote over challenger J.B. Patterson; but Houston was reelected in 1938 with a mere 500 vote margin of victory, over Republican Stanley Taylor, 43,990 to 43,480 (served, January 3, 1935-January 3, 1943). Houston was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1942, but his loyalty to the Democratic administration did not go unnoticed, and he received appointment as a member of the National Labor Relations Board on March 15, 1943. Reappointed to the NLRB by President Harry S. Truman to a second five-year term, Houston retired from the board on August 27, 1953. For the last fifteen years of his life, Houston and his wife Rita resided in Laguna Beach, California, where he died on April 29, 1975, after suffering a heart attack.

Entry: Houston, John Mills

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: May 2012

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.