Sherman Otis Houghton (1828-1914) served in the Mexican War and the American Civil War, as mayor of San Jose in 1855 and 1856, and in the U.S. Congress from 1871 to 1875.[i] In 1859, Houghton married Mary Martha Donner, one of the survivors of the Donner Party. After Mary’s death the following year, he married her cousin, Eliza Poor Donner. Houghton built this house in 1881.
Eliza wrote collaborated on History of the Donner Party in 1879, and published her own book, The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate in 1911. She died on February 19th, 1922, exactly 75 years after the arrival of the First Relief party at Donner Pass.
[i] HOUGHTON, Sherman Otis, (1828 – 1914); Biographical Directory of the United States Congress; http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=H000815