MISSOURI B. HOUPT
MISSOURI B. HOUPT, architect, builder, lumberman, etc., of the city of Wilkes-Barre, was born in Newport, Luzerne county, February 17, 1839, and is the youngest of ten children of Philip and Susan (Arnt) Houpt, who were both born in Northampton county, this State, in the years 1796 and 1797 respectively, of Pennsylvania-German parentage. They were married in that county in the year 1815, and in 1820 removed to Newport township, Luzerne county, where they followed the pursuit of farming with industry and success, until the year 1849, when they removed to Wilkes-Barre.
Here they happily and comfortably resided, in the enjoyment of the fruits of their early labors, until the death of Philip in the year 1880, when he was aged eighty-four years. His widow, Susan, still survives at the advanced age of ninety-five, in the full enjoyment of her mental faculties. Aside from the more than usual financial prosperity of this long matrimonial union, it deserves the honorable mention of having contributed to the world four sons and six daughters, who have severally attained the estates of respectable and estimable manhood and womanhood, and of whom all of the sons and four of the daughters are still living.
The son, Missouri B. Houpt, the subject of this sketch, was educated in the common schools and at the Wyoming Seminary. At the age of twenty-one years, following the bent of his business ambition to be a contractor and builder, and desiring to begin at the very bottom round of the ladder in that pursuit by practical experience to familiarize himself with all the intermediate steps to the top, he went to New York City to learn the trade of a carpenter, and four years later, at the age of twenty-five, returned to Wilkes-Barre, resolved to begin his chosen calling.
Very soon his preliminary training, his natural taste for that occupation, and his energy and strict business discipline, gave him both extensive employment and a prominent reputation as a contractor and builder, and for many years, not only in the superior character, but also in the amount of work he has performed, and in the dispatch and satisfaction to his employers, with which he has carried out his undertakings, he has justly ranked as the leader in this vicinity in his line of business. During the later years of his life he has successfully combined architecture with that of building, and has shown himself exceedingly efficient in this added calling.
A very large number of churches, public buildings, business blocks, and scores of elegant private dwellings, including his own residence on the corner of Ross and South Franklin streets, are standing monuments to his skill and extensive operations. He never builds a poorer, but always a better structure than his contract calls for. He justly enjoys the reputation of perfect business integrity, and always pays his bills with strict promptitude, whereby those who employ him never fear the entry of liens for material against their properties and those by him employed are sure of their promised recompense. His large building plant on South Franklin street, equipped with a constant supply of the best lumber, and all the modern machinery and appliances for rapid and yet perfect work, is another attestation of his perseverance and the large scope of his business industry.
He was also, for a number of years the senior member of the firm of Houpt, Frantz & Cook, painters, paper-hangers, etc., and has been engaged in various enterprises as auxiliary to his general business. Finally, and within the last year, he has purchased a valuable lot on North Canal Street, erected thereon large brick buildings for storage of lumber, stables, offices, etc.., immediately connected by a series of switches with the main line of railroad, at a cost of many thousands of dollars, and thus has converted this property into a lumber-yard, which for location, availability and perfection for receiving, stocking and selling lumber, has no equal in this part of the State. This has been stored with a large quantity of every kind of lumber and hardware pertaining to the lumber business, and so fully alive to the demands of the times, and the importance of supplying at a reasonable cost the wants of his patrons' own building and contracting enterprise, he has still further exhibited an almost unlimited business capacity, and will, no doubt, proportionately increase his present well-earned fortune.
Mr. Houpt was married March 28, 1865, to Sallie Garringher, daughter of Jesse and Catharine (Croup) Garringher, who were born in Hanover and Newport townships, respectively, of Pennsylvania-German parentage. Two children have been born of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Houpt, viz.: Edgar Missouri Houpt (aged sixteen years), now preparing for college, and Harry S. Houpt (aged twenty-six years), yet unmarried, who, with a view of adopting his father's line of business, and having for that purpose supplemented his academic studies by a course of training, first in The Pierce Business College of Philadelphia, and next in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has recently become associated with his father in the different business enterprises, above referred to, which are now and hereafter will be carried on under the firm name of M. B. Houpt & Son. With both his thorough theoretical training at college, and the lessons of practical experience which have been so generously supplied by his father, the son will no doubt greatly relieve the father of many of the latter's former business cares, and in due time, with his younger brother, carry on the extensive business operations to which we have referred.
Mrs. Houpt is a member of the First Presbyterian Church, with which her husband, while not a member, is identified, at least to the extent of assisting in its financial maintenance. Mr. Houpt is a liberal contributor to public and private charities; he is a prominent Freemason, and, as a stanch Republican, he gives freely in aid of party management, but has never been an office-seeker or holder.
This sketch was published in "History of Luzerne County Pennsylvania" by H. C. Bradsby, 1893