Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Catherine Fitch, wife of Ovid Houston, at Nashua, New Hampshire

This tombstone was photographed at the Old Dunstable Burying Ground on the Daniel Webster Highway in Nashua, New Hampshire

Memento Mori
of Mrs Catherinah
Houston 2d wife
to Mr. Ovid
Houston who
departed this Life
Novr. 17th 1778 In
ye 45th year of her age.
Blessed are the dead
which die in the Lord.


Catherine Fitch died 17 November 1778 at age 45.  She married Ovid Houston, as his second wife, at Lincoln, Massachusetts on 25 December 1770.  The first wife, Jemima Colburn,  the daughter of Ezra Colburn and Thankful Richardson, born on 19 September 1747 in Dracut and died on 26 December 1765 in Dunstable, aged 27, is buried next to Catherine.  Jemima married Ovid Houston on 6 May 1762. 

Ovid Houston owned a tavern in Dunstable, near what is now the Tyngsborough depot.  The building was previously built by Henry Farwell, Jr. in 1727.   He had two children with Catherine, Lucy born in 1771, and Grant, born in 1772, who removed to Ashburnham, Massachusetts.

There is a surviving letter from Ovid Houston to Cyrus Baldwin, written from Dunstable on 4 August 1780 in the papers of Loammi Baldwin (1740 – 1807), held at the Houghton Library at Harvard University under the call number MS Am 1811.   I have previously written about Loammi Baldwin, soldier and civil engineer from Woburn, Massachusetts, at this link:

Ovid Houston’s name is mentioned several times in The Diary of  Matthew Patten of Bedford, NH: from 1754 - 1788, published 1903. Most of the mentions are of business transactions.   He is listed in the 1790 census of Tyngsborough as “Ovid Hewstin”. 

 A PDF from the Nashua Public Library of The History of Nashua, 1897  epitaphs from the Old Dunstable Burying Ground are on pages 175 – 183. 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ Catherine Fitch, wife of Ovid Houston, at Nashua, New Hampshire", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 14, 2017, ( http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2017/03/tombstone-tuesday-catherine-fitch-wife.html: accessed [access date]). 


  1. Hi Heather, my mom and I have been researching Ovid Houston for many years now. Do you have anymore information on him beside what you mentioned above?
    Looking forward to hearing from you,
    Michelle Chipman

    1. Sorry, that is all I could find after photographing this tombstone.