Letitia C. Houston (née Burr) (c. 1841-1870)
Letitia C. Burr was the oldest child of John Emory Burr, a barber, and Elizabeth Burr, a homemaker. Born in 1841, Burr lived in the Third Ward of Philadelphia with her parents and younger brother, Raymond J. Burr (Class of 1860). Burr’s great-grandfather was Aaron Burr, Vice President of the United States under Thomas Jefferson, who had fathered children with his mulatto servant, Mary Emmons. Burr entered the Institute for Colored Youth in 1855 and won a prize for Latin in 1859. On October 15, 1860, Burr graduated from the Institute and received a $10 prize for “diligence” in her studies. Following graduation, Burr did not find immediate employment but wanted to teach. By 1862, Burr’s wishes were fulfilled when she was hired as a teacher of African-American children in Philadelphia. However, Burr’s historical record becomes sparse after 1862. In 1863, Burr was listed as a member of the Alumni Association of the Institute for Colored Youth and helped to write a memorial to recently deceased classmate, Mary E. Ayres. Some time in the 1860s, Burr married becoming Letitia C. Houston. In 1867, Burr gave birth to a daugher, Elizabeth Curtis Houston, who died shortly after birth on Decemeber 25, 1867. Little is known about the remainder of Burr's life. She died on June 17, 1870 at age 29.
1860 Federal Census, Philadelphia Ward 3, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Roll: M653_1153, Page: 317, Image: 323, Family History Library Film: 805153, Ancestry.com; "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803–1915," Ancestry.com; “John Pierre Burr,” Ancestry.com; Murray Dubin and Daniel Biddle, Tasting Freedom: Octavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War America, Philadelphia, 2010; Objects of the Institute for Colored Youth, with a list of the officers and students, and the annual report of the Board of Managers, for the year 1859, Philadelphia, 1859; Objects of the Institute for Colored Youth, with a list of the officers and students, and the annual report of the Board of Managers, for the year 1860, Philadelphia, 1860; Objects of the Institute for Colored Youth, with a list of the officers and students, and the annual report of the Board of Managers, for the year 1862, Philadelphia, 1862; “At a special meeting of association of Alumni of the Institute for Colored Youth,” The Christian Recorder, May 30, 1863.
Image: Death Record for Letitia C. Houston
Source: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records, Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Letitia C. Burr
Born: c. 1841 - Philadelphia, PA
Died: June 17, 1870 - Philadelphia, PA
Graduated: 1860 (October)