HORTON, Thomas. — The retired population of Macomb, recruited from many callings and representing many types and nationalities, has among its members none who have more surely won the right to lay aside their accessories of labor and withdraw from the ranks of the workers of the world than Thomas Horton. Mr. Horton is one of the substantial men of the town, and owns a commodious and comfortable home on South McArthur Street. His busy hands have plied the tools of the shoemaker, the implements of the agriculturist, and the death-dealing weapons of the soldier. To all of these he has lent dignity and understanding.
From an English ancestry Mr. Horton inherits the strong and self-reliant traits which have assisted in achieving his merited success and won the confidence of his fellowmen. Born in the south midland county of Northampton, England, June 2, 1832, he is a son of Joseph and Jane (Haddon) Horton, who, after spending part of their lives in Southamptonshire, came to Schuyler County, Ill., in 1854, and lived there until their decease. The necessity for early self-support resulted in the retirement of the youth from the school-room and his apprenticeship at the shoemaker's bench. At the age of eighteen years, equipped with his useful trade, unbounded faith in the future and the physical endurance of the average English-bred youth, he immigrated to the United States, and soon after arrived at Littleton, Schuyler County, Ill. In 1850 this region was thinly settled, but its fertility promised much for both shoemaking and agriculture, to both of which the young man had turned his attention. Eventually he purchased forty acres of land near Littleton, to which he later added 160 acres more, making this his home until 1880, when, although still retaining ownership of this farm until 1886, he retired from active life, locating at Industry, McDonough County, where he lived ten years. He then spent some time in Iowa, afterward living for eighteen months in Blandinsville, McDonough County, finally, in 1893, settling in Macomb, which since has been his home.
On August 5, 1862, Mr. Horton enlisted in Company G, Seventy-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and while with the Army of the Cumberland in Kentucky, was taken prisoner, and after being paroled remained in Benton Barracks, near St. Louis, from December 29th until the following September. He then was exchanged and joined the Fourth Corps, First Brigade, Second Division of the Army of the Cumberland, under General Philip Sheridan, and during the remainder of his period of service participated in all of the principal engagements. He experienced practically all of the vicissitudes of war, and during July, 1864, while in Georgia, was wounded in the hand by the accidental discharge of a gun. He was honorably discharged with his regiment June 12, 1865.
In 1855, five years after arriving in Illinois, Mr. Horton married Elvira P. Middleton, who was born in Erie County, Pa., and was an early settler of Schuyler County, Ill. Mrs. Horton died in July, 1890, and on May 27, 1891, Mr. Horton was united in marriage to Nettie Maxwell, born in Harrison County, Ohio. Of this union there are two children, of whom Ruby N. was born July 3, 1893, and Garnet J., September 17, 1894. Mr. Horton is a stanch supporter of Republican principles, although he never has been willing to accept official recognition. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and finds his religious home in connection with the Baptist Church. As a farmer he established and maintained a high standard of labor, and as a man he has ever been respected for his honesty, high-mindedness and devotion to the best interests of the community.
Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 911-912, extracted 09 Mar 2019 by Norma Hass.
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