Lee County Biography

Ithiel Albert Horton

Reynolds Township, IL



Thiel A. Horton, of Reynolds Township, has acquired a goodly amount of property by years of hard labor, notwithstanding the many discouragements that he had to encounter in the early years of his settlement in Northern Illinois. He is now enjoying the fruits of his labor in his comfortable home in company with his wife, who was so helpful in its upbuilding. In connection with the following biographical outline, his portrait is presented.

Mr. Horton was born in Sheshequin Township, Bradforc County, Pa., April 17, 1817. His father, Joshua Horton, was born in a settlement on the Jersey side of the Delawre River, and located in Pennsylvania before marriage. He had been reared on a farm and made farming his occupation. He bought a tract of timber land in Shehequin Township, and the log cabin that he built in the forests was the birthplace of his son, of whom we write. There were no railways for many years and before there were any public roads the father used to go in a canoe to Tanquehanie, on the Susquehanna River, which was the nearest market. He cleared a good farm, and made it his home until his death in 1870 in his ninetieth year. The maiden name of his second wife, mother of our subject was Lucinda Ellis. She was a native of Massachusetts, a daughter of Eleazer Ellis, and died on the old homestead in 1850.

The early years of our subject were spent amid pleasant scenes of his birth, and his education obtained in the subscription schools of that day, each family paying according to the number of scholars sent. The schools were held in primitive log houses, furnished with slab benches that were supported by wooden pins for legs. Our subject commenced to help in the labors of the farm when quite young, and continued to give his father the benefit of his services until he attained majority. He then stated out in the world with no other capital than brawn and muscle, re-enforced by sound sense and excellent habits.

After working out by the month for two years, with the earnings which resulted from his steady industry, our subject purchased a farm of one hundred acres, in company with his brother Ulysses. They farmed together for a time and then our subject sold his share of that place and bought sixty acres of land near by in his native township. He was busily engaged in its cultivation until 1854, and then disposed of that farm at a good price in order to avail himself of the many privileges offered to a farmer by the rich soil of this State. After his arrival in Illinois he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of wild prairie, located in Ogle County five miles northwest of Rochelle, paying for it at the rate of $5 an acre. He built on the place and lived there three years, at the expiration of which time be sold it at $20 an acre, and invested the money thus made in adjoining land.

This investment did not prove a fortunate one on account of poor crops and other misfortunes Mr. Horton lost that farm. He did not, however, despair, but came to Reynolds Township to begin anew on rented land. He did well by that venture, and a year later bought eighty, acres of prairie land in the same township and occupied it twenty years. Then selling that farm, he bought the one upon which he now resides, which comprises two hundred acres of land of exceeding fertility, under fine cultivation, and supplied with good modern improvements. Since settling here he has sold one hundred and sixty acres of the farm to his son, retaining forty acres for his own use.

April 22, 1840, was the date of the marriage of our subject ot Miss Polly Brink, who was born in the same Pennsylvania township as himself, and is a daughter of Daniel and Rachel Brink. Their wedded life has been of unusual duration, having already passed the golden milestone that marked its 50th anniversary. It has not been without its sorrows, but it has held many joys for them and among their blessings may be counted the six children spared to comfort their declining years, namly - Alonzo, Rachel, Albert, Theodore, Daniel and Emma. Mr. and Mrs. Horton are people of sincere practical piety and are valued members of the Free-Will Baptist Church,which they joined some years ago. In politics he is a Republican, and stands stanchly by his party.

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