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Huston Family Stories

Source: From The Toronto Sun Sunday April 5, 1987 sent to me by Barry Taylor

"...My name is Margaret Walters, and I am the last of the Toronto Hustons... It was in 1840 that Alexander and Margaret Huston...came out to Canada from Tobermore, Ireland. They settled on a farm near Orangeville, which eventually passed to their son, Robert Moore Huston and his wife Elizabeth (McGibbon - my note).
It was on that farm that three of their four children were born: Anne (1873-1963), known as Nan, never married. She moved to New York, became a pianist and occasionally accompanied her sister Margaret in recitals. Alexander (1875-1947), Mrs. Walters' father, never left Toronto. More on him below. Margaret (1877-1942), who became a distinguished concert singer and diction coach.
Eventually Robert Huston, fed up with working a thankless farm, moved to Toronto and became a building contractor. Among his projects was a row of houses on Major Street in the College-Brunswick area, and it was there, at number 11, that his fourth and final child was born in 1884... Walter Huston... who became the famed stage and screen star and father of John. (in 1984, the Toronto Historical Board placed a commemorative plaque in a nearby park.)
All of which indeed makes Mrs. Walters, a charming lady with a great sense of humour and a wonderful laugh, "the last of the Toronto's Hustons." (Two brother died as teenagers, leaving Mrs. Walters as director John's only cousin.
...As a young man, Mrs. Walters' father went to work for George Booth and Son, sign painters, on Adelaide Street, ending his career as a senior partner.
Alexander Huston loved to paint. He studied for a time with the Group of Seven's Franz Johnston, and did so all his life, purely for the pleasure.
The farm was bequeathed to his son Thomas who in 1919, married Mary King, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Walton King of Orangeville. A family of five children was born of the union...four daughters and one son, who died in infancy.
Mr. Huston sold the farm in 1922 to Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Potter of Orangeville and moved to Toronto. During Mr. and Mrs. Potter's period of ownership the barn was burned. Shortly after they sold the farm to Mr. and Mrs. Mathew Ferns of Garafraxa. Mr. Ferns built a new barn. Soon after he sold to Mr. E.C. Clarke of Orangeville, who added an "L" to the barn. It remained in his possession for a few years until he sold it to Mrs. Robert E. Jones, a daughter of the late Robert Huston. Mrs. Jones lived in New York City and for sentimental reasons wanted the old Huston home. She gave Mr. and Rms. McEwan a 99 year lease, and she remodeled the house and made other improvements. Mrs. Jones was singer of note. The Huston connection had a musical ability. Mrs. Alexander Huston died at the old home in December 1939.
Mrs. Jones died in New York City in August 1942. Shortly after her passing Mr. and Mrs. E. McEwan bought the farm from the Jones estate. Later they sold the house and three acres of land to Miss Harley, a daughter of the late Judge Harley of Toronto, and she got possession on the first day of May 1946.

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Last updated: March 13, 2001