Houston was born in 1811 in Franklin, Tennessee. Houston was born in Williamson County, Tenn. in 1811, the son of David Houston, a farmer, and his wife, Hannah Pugh Reagan. Houston's father's family was one of many which left Ireland in the eighteenth-century migration, his paternal grandparents having come to North Carolina about 1750 from County Tyrone. His mother was of Welsh ancestry. In 1821 David and Hannah Houston moved to Lauderdale County, Ala.