HORTON (Rehoboth-Attleboro branch). This branch of the Horton family has furnished to Attleboro, Mass., three generations of business men. Gideon Martin Horton, who was a well known merchant there a half century ago, and his four sons, Everett Southworth, Edwin Jackson, Gideon Martin and James Jackson Horton, all became successful jewelry manufacturers and prominent citizens. The eldest and last surviving brother, the late Maj. Everett S. Horton and his nephew, Raymond Martin Horton, were the only male representatives of the name residing there at the time of the Major’s death.
The Horton family is a very old one in this section. Several authorities on the first settlers of New England refer to the emigrants of this name (which in the early records is spelled without the “H”) as here as early as 1640, among them Barnabas of Hampton, 1640, thence to Southold, Long Island, 1662; Benjamin and Caleb, of the same place and time; and Joseph, of Southold, 1662. All of them, says Savage, perhaps, were brothers.
The published lineage of members of the Massachusetts Horton family sets forth that:
John Horton, with two brothers, came from England to New England at an early date, John settling in Rehoboth, Mass., where he married Mehetable Gamzey, and their children were eight in number, the five sons being:
- John Horton
- Jotham Horton
- Nathaniel Horton
- Jonathan Horton
- David Horton
No record of his death has been found. His home was in the south part of the town of Rehoboth, where his grandson, Lieut. James, lived during the early part of his life.
Jotham Horton, of Rehoboth, married (first) May 29, 1729, Hannah Martin, and (second) Penelope Bounds. He died in 1797. His children by the first marriage were:
- Mercy Horton, born May 5, 1730
- Nathan Horton, Oct. 1, 1733
- Sarah Horton, Nov. 11, 1735
- Hannah Horton, Dec. 19, 1738
The children of the second marriage were:
- James Horton, born July 10, 1741
- Barnet Horton, May 6, 1744 (served in the war of the Revolution)
- Rhode Horton, July 10, 1747
- Jotham Horton, July 30, 1753
- Nathan Horton, born Aug. 30, 1764
- Mercy Horton, Nov. 20, 1766
- Lydia Horton, Nov. 24, 1768
- Freelove Horton, Feb. 26, 1773
- Cromwell Horton, Feb. 23, 1777
- Rhode Horton, July 27, 1779
- Jarvis Horton, Sept. 9, 1781 (grandfather of Halsey E. and Jarvis S. Horton, of Providence, and Benjamin T. Horton, of East Providence)
- Phebe Horton, June 11, 1785
Cromwell Horton, born Feb. 23, 1777, followed the occupation of farmer in Rehoboth, and there died in February, 1861. He was twice married, first in September, 1801, to Pearcy Martin, who was born Oct. 28, 1780, daughter of Hezekiah and Mary (Pierce) Martin, granddaughter of Hezekiah and Hannah
Martin, and great-granddaughter of John and Mercy (Billington) Martin. Cromwell Horton married (second) Feb. 18, 1836, Lydia West. His children, all of whom were born to his first marriage, were:
- Ellis Horton, born April 7, 1802, was the father of Horace F. Horton, of Providence
- Gideon Martin Horton, born May 4, 1804, is mentioned further on
- Mary (or Polly) Horton, born April 15, 1808, died young
- Freelove Horton, born Feb. 5, 1810, married, Feb. 25, 1834, Hon. Lyman Pierce, of Providence, where she died, the mother of the following children
- Adeline F. (who married James Tiffany, of Providence)
- Sarah J. (who married Nathaniel M. Burr, of East Providence)
- Freelove A. (who is Mrs. Charles H. Williams, of Providence)
- Vienna B. (who married John M. Plummer, of Providence)
- Percy B. Horton, born April 28, 1812, died young
- Belinda Horton, born Jan. 6, 1814, died in Providence, March 18, 1872, unmarried
- James A. Horton, born March 26, 1815, was a mason by trade and died in Rehoboth (he was married, but had no descendants)
- Sylvanus Horton, born April 28, 1818, died young
Gideon. Martin Horton was born in Rehoboth May 4, 1804, and when a young man learned the trade of mason, at which he worked for a number of years in Providence and vicinity. About 1840 he engaged in the grocery business with his brother-in-law, Lyman Pierce, their place of business being located on Canal street, Providence. Later they disposed of the business, Mr. Pierce removing to Rehoboth, while Mr. Horton located at Attleboro, where he engaged at his trade and did contract work, erecting a number of houses, several of which are still standing there. A few years later he and Mr. Pierce again became associated in the grocery business, their establishment being on Canal street, near their former location. They did not remain together very long, as Mr. Horton disposed of his interest and removed to Attleboro, embarking in the grocery business, which he conducted for several years, until his health failed. He was succeeded by his son, Everett S. From this time until his death, which occurred on March 7, 1861, he lived retired. Mr. Horton was married (first) Nov. 4, 1832, to Mary Southworth Smith, born April 3, 1811, in Middleboro, Mass., daughter of Southworth and Hannah (Jackson) Smith, and a descendant of “Mayflower” stock. She died Sept. 2, 1844. For his second wife Gideon M. Horton married Mrs. Julia (Vaughn) Jackson, of Middleboro, Mass. His children, four sons, Everett Southworth, Edwin Jackson, Gideon Martin and James Jackson, were all born to the first marriage. In political sentiment Mr. Horton was an Andrew Jackson War Democrat, and his religious connection was with the Second Congregational Church at Attleboro. He was an honest, upright citizen, ever ready to forward any good enterprise, and was highly respected and esteemed for his industry, true charity and Christian devotion. He was never possessed of much of this world’s goods, but he gave his children the wealth of good advice and the example of honest industry, coupled with the beneficent spirit of a true Christian life – a legacy more precious than gold.Maj. Everett Southworth Horton, eldest child of Gideon Martin Horton and Mary S. Smith, was born at Attleboro, Bristol Co., Mass., June 15, 1836. He attended the public schools of his native town until he attained the age of sixteen, when he entered his father’s store as assistant. After his father’s health failed he took charge of the business and successfully continued it until April, 1862, when he sold out. Then for a few months he was engaged in the grocery business with his cousin, Horace F. Horton, at Providence. In September, 1862, he enlisted in the service of his country. With others he recruited a company of nine months’ men, who elected their officers Sept. 18, 1862, as follows: Lemuel T. Starkey, captain; Frank S. Draper, first lieutenant; Everett S. Horton, second lieutenant. They were soon commissioned by Governor Andrews. Lieutenant Horton took hold of military matters with the earnestness and enthusiasm so characteristic of him, and he rapidly became familiar with the drill and his official duties. He displayed true soldierly qualities. The company went into camp at Boxford, Mass., and was mustered into the United States service Sept. 23, 1862, and organized as Company C, 47th Mass. V. I. Shortly afterward they were ordered to New York and went into camp on Long Island. On Dec. 21, 1862, the regiment embarked on the steamer “Mississippi” for New Orleans, which it reached Jan. 1, 1863. About this time Captain Starkey resigned and Lieutenant Horton was chosen to succeed him by a large majority of the votes of the company. They were assigned to provost duty in and around New Orleans, and remained in service after their term of enlistment had expired, leaving for home via the Mississippi river Aug. 5, 1863. At Cairo they took cars for the East, and were enthusiastically met and feted at every stopping place along the route. Arriving home, the whole town gave the soldiers a grand ovation. The following letters show the estimation in which the Captain was held by his superior regimental officers:
Boston, Sept. 14th, 1863.
Capt. Everett S. Horton,
Co. 0, 47th Mass. Vol.
Dear Captain: It gives pleasure for me to certify to your good conduct and prompt obedience of orders, and I most cheerfully recommend you as one well qualified to command a company, being well posted in Casey’s Tactics, with good natural as well as acquired abilities as a commander, and trust that the country may still have your services. I remain
Very truly yours,
Lucius B. Marsh, Colonel,
47th Mass. Vol.
Boston, Sept. 16th, 1863.
Captain: In parting from you permit me to express my appreciation of your services while under my command. Generals Banks and Emery have both authorized me to say the same for them in regard to the 47th regiment and its conduct while in the Department of the Gulf. May the choicest of Heaven’s blessings ever rest upon you and those who have been under your command is the prayer of
Your Ob’t servant,
Lucius B. Marsh, Colonel,
47th Mass. Vol.
To E. S. Horton, Captain,
Company C, 47th Mass. Vol.
But the war was not ended. Governor Andrew called for more troops, and Captain Horton’s patriotic spirit again responded. In October, 1863, he was commissioned second lieutenant and made recruiting officer for the 58th Massachusetts Volunteers. He opened an office in Attleboro, but was soon ordered into camp to take charge of recruits for the regiment, and was commissioned captain and mustered into service as commander of Company C, 58th Massachusetts (3d Veteran) Volunteers, one of the four veteran regiments raised in the Commonwealth during the war. They remained in camp at Readville, Mass., until April 28, 1864, when they went to the front to participate in the battle of the Wilderness. Reaching the field May 6th, they were in the long and bloody march from the Wilderness to Petersburg, where almost every hour was marked with battle. After the battle of Cold Harbor, Lieut. Col. J. C. Whitton, commanding the regiment, recommended Captain Horton for promotion, and he was commissioned and mustered in as major. The regimental commander was wounded in the charge June 3d, and the command devolved upon Major Horton from that time until Sept. 30, 1864, when he was taken prisoner while leading his regiment in action a few miles south of Petersburg. He reached Richmond and Libby Prison Oct. 3d, and was successively in Libby, Salisbury and Danville, where he was selected as “hostage” and sent back to Libby Jan. 8, 1865. He remained in that terrible confinement until Feb. 22d, when with a number of others, he was paroled. Afterward, in describing his feelings, when once more under American colors, he said:
“I can never forget that day – never, never, never! No one can know who has not experienced the same sensations and thoughts that came in throngs in seeing and knowing that once more I was under the Star-Spangled Banner. Under their influence I wrote this letter to my family from the deck of the flag-of-truce boat where each of us was handed a sheet of paper and envelope – my family had not heard from me for five months, and the newspapers had reported me dead: ‘On board God’s flag-of-truce boat, James River, Feb. 22, 1865. Dear Wife, – Once more in the land of liberty. Once more in the land where the spirit of the Lord dwelleth. Out of the jaws of death, out of the gates of Hell. Well. Love to all. Everett.'”
Major Horton was granted a furlough of thirty days, and was soon exchanged; he left Attleboro to rejoin his regiment on the day that Petersburg was captured, was ordered to Washington, and was there on duty until mustered out of service in July, 1865. On June 12, 1865, he was detailed as division inspector, 2d Division, 9th Army Corps, by command of Brevet Maj. General Wilcox and John D. Bartolette, Assistant Adjutant General. The following letter speaks for itself:
Headquarters 1st Brigade, 2d Division, 9th Army Corps,
Near Alexandria, Va.
July 13, 1865. This is to certify that Major E. S. Horton commanded his regiment (58th Mass. V. I.) in all the battles and on all occasions from June 3d to the engagement of Peeble’s Farm, Sept. 30th, 1864, when he was captured by the enemy.
Dear Major: It is with pleasure I extend to you my high appreciation for the very efficient and successful manner (in) which you on all occasions commanded your regiment, and the promptness and cheerfulness with which you have performed your every duty whilst under my command. Wishing you success, I remain,
Very truly yours,
Jno. C. Curtin, Br’t. Brig. General.
During the war Major Horton had received seven commissions and was mustered into service on six of them. He was a soldier of unquestioned gallantry and bravery, doing all his duty with unflinching courage, and winning the esteem and confidence of his comrades. As an officer he was strict in discipline, universally popular, and careful of the comfort of his men. During the latter part of his service he was detailed as inspector of the 2d Division, 9th Army Corps, and served on the staff of Generals Potter and Griffin.
Returning from the war Major Horton was employed as manager for Daniels & Cornell, of Providence, R. I., proprietors of the largest wholesale grocery house in the State. He continued in that capacity until after the death of his brother, Edwin J., when he succeeded to the latter’s interest in the manufacturing establishment of Horton, Angell & Co., at Attleboro. This concern was organized in 1870, by Edwin J. and Gideon M. Horton and Benjamin J. Angell, under its present firm name, and it is now one of the largest and most important in the country for the manufacture of gold-plated goods, consisting of men’s jewelry, ladies’ sets, etc. The product is all strictly first quality, of rolled gold plate, and finds a market in every part of this continent and in many European countries. Mr. Angell and Gideon M. Horton died in 1887, and after that Major Horton was the senior partner, his associates being Thomas S. Carpenter, C. J. McCautchey, and others. Several years before his death he retired from active participation in the affairs of this company, devoting most of his time to the Attleboro Savings & Loan Association.
Major Horton was long one of Attleboro’s most public-spirited and enterprising citizens. In politics he was an earnest Republican. He served in the Massachusetts Legislature House, 1891-92, and Senate, 1893. He was chairman of the board of selectmen of Attleboro several times, commissioner of the Attleboro Sinking Fund for many years, and was president of the board of trustees of the Attleboro Public Library from its organization until 1909, when he resigned, having been one of the principal founders. He was serving at the time of his death as a member of the commission having charge of the important work of establishing the fine new sewer system of Attleboro. He was long a trustee and the secretary, and eventually president, of the Richardson School Fund, and was one of the organizers in 1870 of the Attleboro Savings and Loan Association, which he served continually as a director, and of which he became president. He was also a vice president of the Jewelers’ Board of Trade (whose headquarters are in Providence, R. I.) for several years, until his resignation in 1904 because of poor health. From the close of the war he took an active interest in G. A. R. matters, becoming a charter member of William A. Streeter Post, No. 145, of Attleboro, of which he had several times been commander, serving also as commander of the Bristol County Association of the G. A. R. two years. He was a member of the Society of the Army of the Potomac, and of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, and was a thirty-second degree Mason (he had held nearly all the offices in that fraternity). He was a member of the Congregational Church for many years. He was a leader in town affairs, a patriotic and progressive citizen, a strong friend, and universally respected and esteemed. He was a member of the Pomham Club of Providence, the West Side Club of Attleboro, and the Jewelers’ and Silversmiths’ Association.
Major Horton owned one of the finest and largest collections of curios and antique relics in New England in the possession of an individual. He began accumulating objects of interest when only a boy of eight years, and spent considerable time and money in this pursuit. He not only had many mementoes of his own interesting and eventful career, but numerous articles of value as representing the various periods of Colonial history, many of his specimens being extremely rare and valuable. His interest in such matters was fully demonstrated when the present edifice of the Second Congregational Church in Attleboro was constructed. The plan of bringing from Attleboro, England, a stone from the old church there, to be placed in the vestibule of the new house of worship was original with him and carried out at his private expense.
On June 12, 1861, Major Horton was married to Mary Ann,, only daughter of Jesse R. and Mary Carpenter, of Attleboro. She died June 12, 1871, leaving one child
- Mary Edith Horton, born June 22, 1862, now the wife of Thomas D. Gardiner, of near Pasadena, Cal., and the mother of two children
- Ethel Horton
- Everett Southworth Horton
Major Horton married (second) Sept. 24, 1873, Eliza Dutton Freemont, of Amesbury, Mass., and they had two children:
- Gertrude E., born May 29, 1876
- Addie D., who died in infancy
Major Horton spent much time in travel, and with his experience in the Civil war he gathered a vast fund of information and was an engaging conversationalist, with kindly wit. He also devoted some attention to genealogical research, and was one of the best posted members of the Horton family along that line. He had a wide acquaintance, and no man was more deservedly popular. He died June 3, 1911, at his home in Attleboro, No. 106 Pleasant street, after a few days’ illness, at the age of seventy-four.
Edwin Jackson Horton, second son of Gideon Martin and Mary (Smith) Horton, was born Nov. 10, 1837, in Attleboro. Of his boyhood and youth there is little to be said. He attended the public schools of the town, receiving no further advantages in the way of instruction, but he possessed an active mind – one bent on inquiry – and realizing the benefits of a good education he determined to do the best he could in that direction for himself. With him a determination was also an accomplishment, and he improved every opportunity for reading, study and observation and “became in reality a thoroughly informed man.” On Aug. 17, 1862, he enlisted in Company H, 40th Mass. V. I., and for three years was a good soldier. He served as corporal, then color-bearer, and also as sergeant, during the last year of the war serving as sergeant in the commissary department. His honorable discharge bears date of June 17, 1865. With the exception of this time he spent his entire life in his native village. A few years after the war the well known firm of Horton, Angell & Co., was organized and started in manufacturing. Of this firm Mr. Horton was the senior member-may properly be called its originator – and to him, no doubt, its marked success and continued prosperity were in a large measure due. He was a member of many organizations and at various times held important offices in them. He was deeply interested in the Young Men’s Christian Association, and was its president at the time of his death; he was especially attached to the G. A. R. and to his own Post, faithful in the discharge of its duties, earnest in labors for its well-being, and a loved member of Ezekiel Bates Lodge of the A. F. & A. M., and of the Royal Arcanum; at the time of his death he was noble grand of Orient Lodge, I. O. O. F. He was a member of the Second Congregational Church, thoroughly interested in its welfare and foremost in its benevolent enterprises.
Mr. Horton in 1879 represented the town in the Legislature, and served as a member of the committee on Health. In all municipal affairs he was an active participant, ever urging forward works of progress and reform. His principles were known of men, and he was firm in his adherence to them. Having made up his mind to the right of a position or course of action, he boldly advocated the one, and unswervingly followed the other. Such a man must make bis mark in his community, but he inevitably gains, at least, political enemies, as was the case with Mr. Horton, though the fact that he was elected to one of the highest offices in the power of his fellow citizens to bestow – an election ”won in one of the severest political contests ever recorded for this town” – is undeniable proof that he possessed the respect and confidence of a majority.
Mr. Horton was a passenger from New York, and was drowned in that awful disaster which followed the collision of the sound steamers “Narragansett” and “Stonington,” on June 11, 1880. His funeral occurred on June 15th. During the time of the service there was a general suspension of business, all shops and stores being closed; flags were displayed, at half-mast, buildings were draped in black; and crowds far beyond the capacity of the home to accommodate were gathered together. Rarely, if ever, has there been seen a more saddened assemblage, or more sincere and widespread mourning. The then pastor of the church, Rev. W. A. Spaulding, and two former pastors, the Revs. F. N. Peloubet and Samuel Bell, were the officiating clergymen. All the orders of which Mr. Horton was a member were in attendance, and there were delegations from similar orders in other parts of the town and from others places, and the offerings of flowers were varied and most beautiful. The sympathy was heartfelt and the sorrow sincere for this untimely death. Many friends followed the funeral procession to Woodlawn cemetery, where kind hands had gone before and spread a fair covering of evergreens and roses over the unsightly surroundings of the open grave. On Memorial Day, just previous to his death, Mr. Horton had expressed a wish to be buried by the G. A. R. This wish was remembered, and he was lowered to his last resting-place by the hands of his former comrades-in-arms, and received the burial rites of their order. A fitting summary of his life and character may be found in the following extracts from the written words of various friends:
“That man is an exception who so lives that at his death all classes in the community where he was born and has spent all his days will sincerely mourn his departure and pay tribute to his memory in unfeigned sympathy. That life which can and does command universal respect must, indeed, have much of merit in it. That character which, while from positiveness makes enemies, can stand squarely before all their, attacks, has more than ordinary strength. Such a man was Edwin J. Horton; such a life he lived, and such a character was his. He was an uncommon man in many ways, as a business man with wonderful fertility of resource and skill of execution, as a deeply conscientious and highly religious nature, and a man of unbounded charity. It seems almost unaccountable that just in the prime of life, when the activities of his being were accomplishing so much good, the chapter of his life should close so sadly and abruptly, leaving many to mourn his untimely death, but to the question ‘Why?’ comes no answer. He grew from boyhood to manhood and entered business with a determination to succeed, and he did succeed. He was always foremost in matters of public enterprise, and ready to assist in private undertakings where help was needed. No one ever went to him for advice or assistance and was turned away without a hearing. If he could give the one, and furnish the other, both were cheerfully granted. It may safely be recorded that no business man of Attleboro bestowed more of his material substance for the support of public institutions, and for the friendly succor of individuals, than Mr. Horton. Perhaps the society that will most miss his aid and counsel is the Young Men’s Christian Association, of which he was president during the last year of his life, and which looked to him for the larger portion of the money needed for its support. The same liberality was manifested in his gifts to the church, the Grand Army of the Republic, and other organizations of which he was a member. He was emphatically a self-made man. He arrived at a position of wealth and influence by dint of indomitable energy and perseverance in the short space of ten years. Few men have prospered so rapidly, and few men have shared their prosperity so freely and unstintedly with the community in which they lived.”
This work of charity and liberality has by no means ceased, but is nobly and loyally carried on by his widow and son, though often so quietly as to be known only to those who were personally benefited.
“No member of the House of Representatives shared more largely in the esteem and confidence of the other members of that body than Mr. Horton; and no speaker was listened to with closer attention.”
“He had his failings, and none knew them better than his friends, but his virtues far out-weighed them, and endeared him to the hearts of most with whom he came in contact.”
His death occurred in an awful tragedy, and it left a wide, gap in the ranks of the active and worthy citizens of Attleboro, a vacant place “hard to fill.”
Mr. Horton was married, May 8, 1862, to Rhoda Adelaide Lee, and two children were born to them:
- Edwin Jackson Horton, Jr., born Jan. 23, 1869, who died Dec. 22, 1878
- Raymond Martin Horton, born Aug. 28, 1875.
Mr. Horton spared neither time nor money to make his home attractive and to the influences emanating from that home the position he attained in the community was in no small measure due.
Gideon M. Horton, the third son of Gideon M. and Mary (Smith) Horton, was born Sept. 26, 1839. Like his brothers he attended the town schools, which were his only means of instruction, and like the two older ones he entered the army, serving in the 10th Rhode Island Battery. He was one of the original members of the firm of Horton, Angell & Co., and became a prosperous business man. He manifested his public spirit by erecting, at the cost of $36,000, the business block bearing his name, which added greatly to the attractive appearance of Attleboro. A few years before his death his health began to fail, and he took extended journeys in all directions, seeking in the winter seasons the climate of such places as Mexico, California and the Sandwich Islands, in preference to the rigors of the climate of New England. His health continued to fail and he was ordered to leave New England, but delays from one cause or another occurred, and at last, when ready for the necessary journey, it was too late to expect any lengthy or decided improvement. Mr. Horton himself was aware of this, but, realizing it is every one’s duty to live as long as he possibly can, he made all the necessary preparations, arranged his business affairs, and bravely started to meet the death he felt soon awaited him, but might be a little longer delayed in a milder climate. The man who cheerfully speaks parting words with his dearest friends, and, looking for the last time on familiar scenes and loved faces, turns from them hopeless, yet with a smile, to seek the almost impossible lengthening of his life, has in him something of the heroic, and this Mr. Horton did. He had attained success at middle life; he had made for himself a beautiful home, and he could rightly look forward to many years of enjoyment in it, and to years of usefulness in his community, in the sharing, as he did generously, of the results of his industry with those about him. To give up such hopes requires courage, and he possessed it, for he fought out the fight, and could say to his friends calmly, even cheerfully, in view of the end, that it was well. He went to San Antonio, Texas, and there his death occurred Dec. 16, 1886. His remains were brought to Attleboro, and were laid away ‘mid grief and sincere mourning.
Mr. Horton was highly esteemed as a public-spirited and useful man, and he possessed many friends. His nature was retiring, and he was entirely without ambition for public preferment, but always contributed liberally in whatever way he could in the advancement of both his community and town. He was generous in the societies to which he belonged, and in supplying the wants of the needy around him. Probably no man in town did more quiet unseen deeds of real charity than he. One writes thus:
“It is easy to say the familiar words, that it is hard to find a man that will be more missed when departed, but in the case of Gideon M. Horton the words will have a literal application. It is hard to speak too strongly of Mr. Horton’s excellence, or of the estimation in which he was held by all who knew him. He made all feel as though he was interested in them, and he seemed to be eager for an opportunity to help. A good and useful man is gone. It will be a long time before the town will have a better man, or a better citizen.”
On Nov. 29, 1865, Mr. Horton married Helen P. White, of Attleboro, who died in that town Aug. 28, 1885. Two children were born of this union:
- Mary Helen Horton, born March 21, 1869, married Samuel H. Smith
- Mabel Josephine Horton, born Aug. 22, 1871, married Dr. Jose Ourdan, of Providence, and died Feb. 26, 1895.
Gideon M. Horton was a member of Bristol Lodge, A. F. & A. M.; Attleboro Council, R. & S. M.; and Bristol Commandery, Knights Templar. He was also a member of Orient Lodge, I. O. O. P., its first noble grand, and a member of Naomi Encampment of Taunton; and he also belonged to William A. Streeter Post, G. A. R. He was a trustee of the Farmers and Mechanics Association, and an active and efficient member, a director of the First National Bank, and belonged to the Merchants and Manufacturers Association.
James Jackson Horton, youngest son of Gideon Martin and Mary (Smith) Horton, was born Oct. 19, 1841, in Providence, during a temporary residence of his father in that city. He was about one year old when his parents returned to Attleboro. Like his brothers he received his education in Attleboro, being a pupil of Messrs. Bailey and Allen, well known instructors of that time. After leaving school he was employed for a year in his father’s store and working on the farm, but for some time subsequent he was unable to engage in work of any kind, owing to the failure of his health. However, his courage and determination to conquer his feebleness and the disease that attacked him were remarkable in the face of the universal prediction of failure. Upon recovery in a measure Mr. Horton went to Providence, and for a time was employed as a bookkeeper with a mercantile concern. He was too energetic and independent to work for others, and thought the insurance business would be a good line for him to enter, as it would afford him considerable outdoor work, which his health needed. He embarked in that line in the spring of 1873, in Attleboro, and continued in it for a few years, when he became a member of the firm of Short, Nerney & Co., the other members being Mace B. Short and Peter Nerney. He showed good qualities for a salesman, and was head salesman for the concern until 1890. The firm made chains and continued in that line until 1897, when they engaged in the manufacture of optical goods, and the name was changed to the Bay State Optical Company. Mr. Horton attended to the office work, and did the buying and selling, his partners giving their attention to the mechanical department. Mr. Horton was one of the first members of the Jewelers Board of Trade of Providence, and was for many years a member of the board of directors. He was also a director of the First National Bank of Attleboro. His secret society affiliations were few. He was a member of Orient Lodge of Odd Fellows, Attleboro, and Howard Encampment, at North Attleboro, and the local council of the Royal Arcanum.
As before stated, from his early boyhood Mr. Horton was handicapped by ill health. His trouble was largely of a pulmonary nature. Where other men who were afflicted would have given up the struggle he persevered, and made for himself a name highly respected in the trade and in the social world. He was prominent in the affairs of the Murray Universalist Church, being one of the original members of the society and a generous contributor in a financial way. He was naturally of a retiring disposition, and did not desire prominence. Mr. Horton was a very affable and courteous man, and was a most agreeable social companion and friend. Among the trade he had an excellent reputation for integrity and reliability in business affairs. Mr. Horton died suddenly July 22, 1900, and was buried in Attleboro. His death was a distinct loss to the city.
On Jan. 12, 1869, Mr. Horton was united in marriage with Emily Howland Clark, a native of Middleboro, Mass., daughter of Samuel W., and sister of the late Maj. Herbert A. Clark.
It was somewhat singular that these four brothers – the entire family – should all have settled for life in their native town, all finally engaged in the same business and all attained such success. It is also singular that all made homes for themselves on the old homestead tract, within a “stone’s throw” of the old homestead and of each other. The site of this homestead was the home of James Horton, but now the residence of Raymond M. Horton, the old house having been moved away, but not destroyed. It is still kept and well cared for, valued as a relic of the past, and especially prized for its many personal associations.
Raymond Martin Horton, son of Edwin J. and Rhoda Adelaide Horton, was born Aug. 28, 1875, in Attleboro, and attended the public schools of his native town and Mowry and Goff’s English and Classical School at Providence. He entered Amherst College in 1894, but was compelled to give up his studies soon after entering, owing to illness.- After a period spent in regaining his health he became treasurer and secretary of the Attleboro Steam and Electric Company, which position he has since held. In 1902 he purchased an interest in the firm of W. E. Richards & Co., manufacturers of gold brooches and scarf pins, and in January, 1905, he purchased the interest of his partner, being now sole owner of that thriving establishment. Mr. Horton is treasurer of the Sun Publishing Company; director of the First National Bank at Attleboro; and director of the Attleboro Mutual Fire Insurance Company. Fraternally he is a member of Ezekiel Bates Lodge, A. F. & A. M., King Hiram Chapter, R. A. M., Attleboro Council, R. & S. M., and Bristol Commandery, at North Attleboro. He is a member of the Second Congregational Church, where he is serving on the standing committee.
On March 27, 1901, Mr. Horton was united in marriage, in Pawtucket, to Una Clarissa McGregor, a native of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, daughter of the late Rev. Alexander McGregor, who was pastor of the Pawtucket Congregational Church at the time of his death.
Mr. Horton is one of the best known and a most successful representative of the younger class of business men of Attleboro. He early reached a position of influence, and he is an excellent representative of the honored name he bears, a worthy son of a distinguished father.