Frederick M. Houghton
(1869 - 1950)
The Chapter is named in memory of Frederick M. Houghton who pioneered Western New York archaeology during his half-century of service as an educator and administrator in the Buffalo public school system.
The son of an English couple, Houghton was born on a small farm in south Buffalo in 1869. On graduating high school, he sold wholesale hardware for four years before passing the first civil service exam for principals. He was assigned first to school 29, in 1895, and, three years later, to school 28. This was the Polish community of Buffalo, and there he remained until his retirement in 1939, at age 70.
Houghton pioneered teaching English as a second language (ESL). He wrote two textbooks and established a revolutionary program which were adopted as national standards in the US and Canada. In addition to being principal of five public schools (41 years), and director of immigrant education for the Buffalo Board of Education (12 years), Houghton lectured in education (14 years) at Buffalo State (Teachers) College. He also taught English to immigrants, educated teachers of ESL, developed the first cooperative arrangement between a school and a museum (the Buffalo Museum of Science), an arrangement which has been copied throughout the United States. Houghton's love of nature lead him to establish a native wildflower preserve in the Zoar Valley near Springville, New York. He died after a brief illness in 1950 and is interred in Woodlawn Cemetary, Orchard Park, NY.
Houghton received training in geology at Harvard University (no degree granted), and for seven years he carried out geological and archaeological research for the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences in his spare time. Recognized for his contributions to the natural science of the Niagara Frontier, Houghton was active as an avocational archaeologist for close to three decades. Indeed, his publications remain some of the most authoritative works yet published on the region. As a member of the Board of Managers of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences (1898-1950) and third Vice President (1942-1950) of the Buffalo Museum of Science, he was a leading figure in the programs concerning archaeology and geology presented at the Museum.
Houghton conducted seminal research into the origins of the Seneca nation, tracing their village migration in western New York, as well as conducting geological and archaeological research that reached from Elmira, NY, south to the Pennsylvania border, northwest to Welland, Ontario, and westward to Cleveland, Ohio. Some of his Iroquoian research was especially important at a time when the Iroquoian peoples were pushing forward land claims with the governments of Canada and the US.
Houghton received an honorary M.S. from Alfred University in 1911, and the Cornplanter Medal for Iroquoian Research from the Cayuga Historical Society in Auburn, NY, in 1923. Houghton Academy (Buffalo School 69) and nearby fifty acre Houghton Park on Clinton Street in Buffalo were established through his efforts and bear his name.
(Most of these items are available at the Buffalo Museum of Science library, as are all of his field notes.)
1899 On the Occurrence on Iroquoian Village Sites of Stone Scrapers and Perforators.
1909 The Indian occupancy of the Niagara Frontier (aka Indian village, camp and burial sites on the Niagara frontier). Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 9(3):261-375
1909 Report on the Neuter Cemetary, Grand Island, New York. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 9(3):376-385
1911 First Lessons in English for Foreigners in Evening School. American Book Company, New York.
1912 The Seneca Nation from 1655 to 1687. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 10(2):363-464
1912 Report on an ossuary (Number Two) at Orangeport, Niagara County, New York. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 10(2):471-476
1914 The geology of Erie County. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 11(1):3-92
1916 The characteristics of Iroquoian village sites of western New York. American Anthropologist 18(4):508-520.
1917 Second Book in English for Foreigners in Evening Schools. American Book Company, New York.
1920 The History of the Buffalo Creek Reservation. Buffalo Historical Society Publications, v. 24, pp. 1-181.
1922 The archeology of the Genesee country. Researches and Transactions of the New York State Archeological Association 3(2) (Reprinted in 1970 by Kraus Reprint Co., New York.)
1927 The migrations of the Seneca Nation. American Anthropologist 29(2):241-250
1927 Immigrant Education: A Hand Book Prepared for the Board of Education, Buffalo, New York. Buffalo, New York.
1941 There's more than meets the camera's eye in photographic geology. Hobbies (Buffalo Society of Natural of Sciences) 21:51-52
1945 Dutch Hill Rock Exposures. Hobbies (BSNS) 25:107
1948 Iroquois village sites on the Niagara Frontier. Hobbies (BSNS) 28:75