Gone but not forgotten

Mason, historian on quest to restore headstones, bury daughter of John Fletcher Houston

Inset: Most Worshipful Brother John Hess, past Grand Master and librarian of the Masonic Library and Museum in Columbia is pictured with Lloyd Lyon, secretary of Hale City Lodge 216 A.F. & A.M. and Masonic historian, who donated circuit Judge George W. Dunn’s book of poetry, “The Temple of Justice and Other Poems,” to the library. Dunn was a Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge in the mid-1800s. (Submitted photo). Cemetery photo: Mason historian and author Lloyd Lyon is hoping to raise enough funds to bury the cremated remains of Edith Houston, daughter of John Fletcher Houston, next to the grave of Houston’s wife’s, to the right of John. The funds are also intended to place a headstone on the grave of Guilford Houston, whose grave is to the left of John’s. (Photo by Liz Johnson/Richmond News)

By Liz Johnson, Staff Writer

Once on a quest to pursue history on a particular subject, most historians branch out from the original search and find that putting all the pieces of a person’s life together is satisfying and fascinating all at the same time.

So it is for author and Mason Lloyd Lyon, who grew up in Richmond and now lives in Carrollton. Lyon serves as the secretary of Hale City Lodge 216 A.F & A.M., and has penned a book on John Fletcher Houston. (see Nov. 22, 2016, article on Houston in the Richmond News).

Houston was hailed as “the most brilliant past Grand Master we’ve ever had,” by prolific writer and 88th Grand Master of Missouri Masons (1931-32) Ray Vaughn Denslow. Lyon is continuing his research on various members of Houston’s family, namely, Houston’s daughter Edith A. Houston.

Edith was the youngest daughter of John Houston. Born June 12, 1861 (Accounts differ on her date of birth. Some census records show 1860, others 1861 and still another – her 1905 passport application states she was born in 1870, the year of John’s death, though the 1870 census shows Edith as age 7).

Regardless, Edith ended up in Chicago, Ill., and was well known as a prominent French teacher to the wealthy. She was also a theater producer and performer with the internationally renowned  LeCercle de l’Alliance Française de Chicago, which is still in operation today as a French cultural and learning center.

Edith died March 24, 1932, in Chicago, according to her death notice that ran in the Chicago Tribune, March 26, 1932. The notice indicated Edith died at her residence, 5014 Blackstone Ave., Chicago, Ill., and that she was survived by two nieces.  Edith’s service took place Saturday, March 26, 1932, but no burial information was included in the death notice.

As Lyon researched Edith’s life, he found himself in Chicago in 2014 looking for Edith’s remains.

“I determined Edith Houston’s cremated remains had never been claimed by any family member and were still in storage after 82 years,” he said.

Lyon was able to get Edith’s remains released to his custody and intends to inter those remains next to the grave of Edith’s father, John Fletcher Houston and her mother Sarah Stafford Houston, here in Richmond City Cemetery.

“It is my intent to bury Ms. Houston to the right of her mother,” said Lyon.

The complete story is in the Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 Richmond News.

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