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Andrew Jackson Van Horn


Andrew Jackson Van Horn was born on Nov. 28, 1834 near Grand Rapids, Wood County, OH, the son of Samuel and Sophia (Minard) Van Horn.

He was a corporal in an Indiana regiment during the Civil War, and was held as a prisoner of war. As well, a letter he wrote to a brother in 1904 demonstrates the Van Horn family connections with the Minerds.


As a young man, Andrew stood 5 ft., 11 in. high, with brown eyes and black hair. He worked as a carpenter and "joiner." Andrew and his brother Eli were active in the development of the United Brethren Church near Grand Rapids. According to the book Historical Record of Wood County:

The United Brethren Society, the first church body in Weston or Grand Rapid township, was organized at Henry Kimberlin's house in 1832, by Henry Kimberlin, John Crom, Sr., and Jacob Crom, who were local preachers. [In] 1850 the building on the Weston and Grand Rapids road, west of Beaver Creek, was erected. The names of the members, in 1856, were ... John, Jacob, Sally and Mary Kimberlin, ... Sabina Kimberlin, ... [and] Eli and Andrew Van Horn...:

On Feb. 11, 1858, Andrew married his first wife, Mary Ann Dealy (1839-1869), who was one of 14 children of Henry and Catharine (Rusk) Dealy. The ceremony was performed by Esquire "Jont" (?) Daniels. It took place on or near the Indiana-Ohio border, as the location has been described as both "Monroeville, Ind." and "Paulding County, Ohio," which are contiguous areas.

Andrew and Mary Ann together produced six children, born in or near Monroeville between the years 1858 and 1866 -- Samuel Henry Van Horn, Jane Van Horn, Fidelia Aretta "Retta" Winters, Andrew Newton Van Horn, Louisa Almena "Minnie" Parson and Ivona Jane "Iva" Van Brandtner Nixon Jones. Sadly, Samuel, Jane and Andrew Newton are believed to have died young.

Many members of Andrew's extended family also resided in the Monroeville area, including Minerd first cousins Barbara Ball, Mary Jane Dillon, Sarah Elizabeth "Betsy" Krick, James Minerd and Caroline Pring.

With the Civil War underway, Andrew joined the 74th Indiana Infantry on July 29, 1862, and was assigned to Company C. At the time, he was a few months away from his 29th birthday. In a chapter on Civil War veterans, the Commemorative Historical and Biographical Record of Wood County (OH), said that he "started from Indiana, but belonged to this township."

Andrew was captured and held as a prisoner of war within a few months of his enlistment. He was later paroled (exchanged) at Munfordville, KY on Sept. 17, 1862. The details are not known. He was absent without leave in the latter half of November 1862, but rejoined the regiment.

During the Battle of Stones River at Murfreesboro, TN, which claimed 23,000 casualties over the Christmas/New Year's holiday of 1862-1863, Andrew and his regiment were in the vicinity but did not take part. During that time, he became sick from "exposure" to bad weather.


Lima Republican Gazette, 1923

Andrew also suffered in the first half of 1863 from diarrhea, fever and "pleuratic adhesion" (lung inflammation). He was hospitalized in Nashville in mid-June 1863, and was transferred to the 2nd Regiment of the Veterans Reserve Corps on Sept. 7, 1863. 

In April 1864, he was detached to another regiment to serve as a guard in Louisville, KY. He was discharged from the Army in Detroit on Aug. 26, 1865, and returned home to his wife and family.

Tragically, Mary Ann died at age 30 in Monroeville on Feb. 23, 1869. The cause of death is not known, but her death left her husband alone with five young children.

On Sept. 23, 1870, after just a year and seven months as a widower, Andrew married Louisa Evangeline Dean (1851-1920). She is believed to be the daughter of Benjamin and Mary (Andrews) Dean. The ceremony took place at Decatur, Adams County, IN, and the details were recorded in the Van Horn family Bible. There was a 13-year-gap in their ages.

Andrew and Louisa went on to have seven more children -- twins Eva Bell Van Horn and Oscar Leroy Van Horn, Mary Myrtle ( "Yvette" or " Mertie") Radabaugh Smith, Walter Van Horn, Arthur Van Horn, Victoria Van Horn and Jesse "Franklin" Van Horn. They may also have had a son or otherwise raised George F. Van Horn. 

In the postwar years, Andrew followed his trade as a carpenter. However, he suffered from what he called "rheumatism and disease of eyes and lungs" as a result of his military service. He applied for and was awarded a federal pension for his service, in the amount of $6 a month.

As Andrew aged, he also was plagued by "Disease of Back and palpitation of heart, also severe Deafness of both ears caused by periodical gatherings in [my] ears which bursts and matters and Discharges and makes [me] almost totally deaf in both ears..." By 1904, at the age of 70, he added "partial loss of the use of [my] right arm and kidney trouble and piles" to his list of ailments, with his arm injured "by a cow." Surgeons who examined him that year observed that he:

... has a full head of light iron gray hair - prominent nose - florid complexion - full face of short iron gray whiskers and mustache. His hands show work. He does not look older than his stated age.

The Van Horns made their home in the 1880s in Belmore, Putnam County, OH. That year, the federal census shows that Andrew's occupation was as a brick and stone mason.


Andrew's faded 1904 letter, naming his Minerd uncles

By 1890, Andrew had moved the family to Lima, Allen County, OH, where Andrew had purchased a parcel of land at 525 East Findlay Street and later at 1043 North Jefferson Street. They remained there for at least a decade, with Andrew working as a carpenter.

The family held a long feud with the neighboring McCabe family in the north end of town. Reported the Lima News, "Mrs. Van Horn does not like the Irish, and as her neighbors are mostly Irish they don't like her expressed contempt for the race, and the boys do not hesitate to annoy her considerably." In June 1890, their son Arthur, and the McCabes' son Jim, both of whom worked at Standish's hoop factory, got into a fight at a nearby swing. Andrew had the McCabe boy arrested on charges of profanity and fighting, and the youth ended up paying a fine in Mayor's Court.

The matter was not yet done. Within a few days, Jim McCabe insulted one of the Van Horn daughters. Said the News, "Arthur called Jim a liar. Jim retorted with an approbrious name, and Arthur struck Jim. Jim, who is about eighteen and a good deal larger and stronger than Arthur, threw the latter down and kicked him, bruising his arm pretty badly... If a charge is made, a counter charge is sure to follow; and the war will likely go on till the Van Horn's move from the locality they designate 'Irishtown'."

Andrew suffered through the indignity and pain of the well-publicized suicide of his troubled son in law, James A. Radabaugh, in November 1894. The Radabaughs resided under his roof, but interpersonal troubles ensued. With Radabaugh unemployed, he made up his mind to shoot himself in front of the Van Horn inlaws, although in reality the suicide took place between two houses, as he tried to elude police. The news made major headlines in the Lima Times-Democrat, with Andrew mentioned therein.

Writing from home in Lima on May 25, 1904, Andrew sent a letter to one of his brothers. In it, he penned: 

Received your letter stating that uncle Samuel Minerd was very low at present. I would have ritten them but you will not say where he lived or where the nearest station was to get off at so I thought best for you to let them no Burget Miner lives in Van Wert, no [illegible] delivery their. Henry Minerd lives near Monroeville, Ind. John Minerd is Dead. Son James lives near Dixon O. on state line. Those are their adreses. Arthur Van Horn 1652 Peoria Ave., Toledo O. We are well at present. Can't say when I can come down. If any of his folks come down I may meet them at the Depot as they will have to change cars here if they let me know they are coming. A.J. Vanhorn.

The letter must have reached Andew's uncle Samuel Minerd, for the letter was found in the possession of one of Samuel's great-granddaughters.

In 1906, Andrew migrated again to Gladwin, Buckeye Township, Gladwin County, MI, the same community where distant cousin and fellow Army veteran Daniel H. Knight resided. At some point, they moved on to Kalamazoo, Jackson County, MI.


Gladwin's main street at turn of the century


By 1910, however, the Van Horns were back in Lima. Andrew, age 75, had no occupation. Their 17-year-old granddaughter Rhea Radabaugh resided in their home, and at the time worked as a cigar maker in a cigar factory. 

In January 1920, the federal census shows Andrew and Lousia making their home on Sulphur Springs Road in Bath, Allen County. Their 29-year-old widowed son Frank and 20-year-old granddaughter Iva Van Horn lived under their roof. 

The couple's final address together was at 1041 North Jefferson Street in Lima. 

Suffering from dropsy, a buildup of fluids in the lungs, Louisa died on Nov. 13, 1920 in her home in Lima. An obituary was printed in the Lima News. She was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Andrew was examined again in 1921 by government surgeons to ascertain his physical condition for pension purposes. At the time, he was receiving $50 per month. The resulting reports show that at the age of 88, he had lost 3 inches in height, and that his hair was white. The physicians noted that he had hurt his right shoulder in a fall five years before, and had damaged his right knee in another fall a dozen years earlier. As a result, Andrew received a raise in his pension payments to $72 per month. Wrote one surgeon:

Senility ... is present in a degree far greater than found in a man of his age. Marked feebleness of body and mind... Can not count fingers [at a distance], but can distinguish light and darkness... [He] is unable to dress, undress or attend to calls of nature without aid.

After a little more than a year, he passed away in Kalamazoo on Feb. 6, 1923. Word was telegraphed to his son Frank, who was living in Lima at the corner of O'Connor and McKinley Streets. Said his obituary in the Lima (OH) Republican-Gazette, "Van Horn resided in Lima longer than 40 years. He moved to Kalamazoo 15 years ago. His body will be brought to the home of his son here..." Funeral services were held in the Jefferson Street Mission Church, led by Rev. Stolzfolt, followed by burial in Woodlawn Cemetery.


Busy Lima Square in Lima, early 1900s


~ Daughter Fidelia Arretta "Retta" (Van Horn) Winters ~

Daughter Fidelia Arretta "Retta" Van Horn (1860-1938) was born in Aug. 1860 in Indiana. 

In nuptials held in Wood County on Aug. 6, 1882, she married William Wesley Winters (Oct. 1854-1930)

They together bore three children -- Homer Winters, Myra Ethel Winters and Clare D. Winters, all born in Ohio. 

Circa 1892, they resided in Findlay, Hancock County, OH. During the decade of the 1890s, they migrated into the city of Chicago, where he went to work for a manufacturer of novelty products.

The Winterses remained in Chicago for many years. William is known to have sold office supplies in 1910.

By 1920, the family relocated to the Chicago suburb of Western Springs, making a home with their son Clare and his family. At that time, William was employed as a manufacturer of rubber stamps, with son Clare working as a rubber stamp compositor.

Sadly, William died in Cook County on April 27, 1930.

Arretta outlived him by eight years. She passed away in Cook County on March 4, 1938.

Son Homer Winters (1882- ? ) was born in Sept. 1882 in Ohio.

Daughter Myra Ethel Winters (1885- ? ) was born in Aug. 1885 in Ohio. She grew up in Chicago and in 1910, still single, lived at home with her parents. She earned a living at that time as a stenographer for a quilting company.

Son Clare D. Winters (1892-1948) was born in Dec. 1892 in Ohio. He grew up in Chicago and learned the plumbing trade. He generated income in Chicago in 1910 as a plumber's apprentice. Clare is known to have registered for the military draft during World War I. On Aug. 21, 1915, in Chicago, he was united in matrimony with Ella V. Marshall (1893- ? ). Two known children born into this family were Marshall Winters and Wesley Winters. In 1920, at the age of 27, he earned a living working with his father in a rubber stamp business. Clare's parents lived under his roof in 1920 in Western Springs, a suburb of the Windy City. By 1930, Clare and Ella pulled up stakes and relocated their family to Texas, where he had obtained employment as a printer with a newspaper in Houston, Harris County, TX. The family address in 1930 was on Harrisburg Boulevard. Clare died at age 55 in Cook County on Feb. 9, 1948.

  • Grandson Marshall Winters (1916- ? ) was born in about 1916 in the Chicago area.
  • Grandson Wesley Winters (1918- ? ) was born in about 1918 in the Chicago area.


~ Daughter Louisa Almena "Minnie" (Van Horn) Parson ~

Daughter Louisa Almena "Minnie" Van Horn (1866-1944) was born on Feb. 9, 1863 or 1866, possibly in Michigan.

On March 4, 1885, in Allen County, OH, the 19-year-old Minnie married 21-year-old John B. Parson (Aug. 17, 1863-1937), son of William H. and Catherine (Sidilla) Parson of Ohio.

Six children born to this union were Frederick Wilbur Parson, Clarence Parson, Helen "Nell" Wirth, John Hobart Parson, Verness Parson and Andrew Norman Parson. Sadly, Verness is believed to have been deceased by 1910.

The pair lived in 1900 in Hamilton, Butler County, OH, with John laboring as a tinner.


Covington, KY and its famed suspension bridge spanning the Ohio River


The federal census enumeration of 1910 shows the family in West Covington, Kenton County, KY. At that time, their address was on Division Street. John earned a living as a tinner in a tin shop. In 1920, now on Covington's on Bond Street, he continued his trade as a tinner.

In 1937, their home was at 1211 John Street.

John suffered with hypertension. He went into heart failure in January 1937 and only lasted about a month and a half after that. He succumbed to death on Feb. 24, 1937.

Minnie's final home address was at the corner of 8th and Bakewell Streets.

Sadly, on Nov. 10, 1944, burdened with heart and kidney failure, Minnie died at home in Covington. Clarence Parson was the informant for the death certificate. On the document, he correctly identifed his mother's father as "Andrew Vanhorn" but somehow listed her birthplace as "Boston, Mass." Interment of the remains was in Highland Cemetery at Fort Mitchell in Covington.

Son Frederick Wilbur Parson (1886- ? ) was born in Oct. 1886 in Ohio. He learned the tinning trade from his father and dwelled in Covington, KY in young manhood. On Dec. 6, 1906, when he was 21 years of age, he entered into marriage with 22-year-old Stella McCaffrey (1885- ? ), daughter of James and Julia Ella McCaffrey. Father James A. Moore, a Catholic priest, officiated the wedding ceremony. The couple made a home with Stella's parents in 1910 in Cincinnati, with Frederick having no occupation. By that time, they had lost a baby. Fred is known to have resided in Indian Rocks Beach, Pinellas County, FL circa 1963.

Son Clarence Wesley Parson (1891-1963) was born in Sept. 1891 in Hamilton, Butler County, OH. During World War I, he served in the U.S. Army. He was joined in wedlock with Etta Mary ( ? - ? ). The couple did not reproduce. They dwelled in Covington, Kenton County, KY and labored as farmers over the years. The pair attended the Methodist church, and he belonged to the American Legion. In about 1953, the Parsonses relocated to Florida and spent their retirement years in St. Petersburg, FL. Their St. Pete address was 4512 43rd Avenue North. Sadly, after what the Tampa Bay Times called "an extended illness," he succumbed to death on Sept. 8, 1963. His remains were tranported to Ludlow, KY for burial.

Daughter Helen V. "Nell" Parson (1892-1988) was born in Nov. 1892 in Ohio. She wedded Lewis J. "Red" Wirth ( ? -1957). They together were the parents of Sylvia Flechvogt and Charles J. "Jack" Silver. Their address in the late 1950s was 7701 Hamilton Avenue in Mt. Healthy near Cincinnati. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and Eagles aerie of Reading, OH. Lewis passed away suddenly at the age of 51 on Feb. 17, 1957. An obituary in the Cincinnati Enquirer said he was survived by four grandchildren. The widowed Nell lived in Mt. Healthy in 1963. She passed away on May 18, 1988. Her obituary in the Enquirer named her son as Charles J. Silver.

  • Granddaughter Sylvia Wirth married (?) Flechvogt.
  • Grandson Charles J. "Jack" Silver was the father of Rudy Silver.

Son John Hobart Parson (1896-1977) was born on May 23, 1896 in Hamilton, Butler County, OH. He was short and slender, with grey eyes and light brown hair. At the age of 21, in 1918, John was requried to register for the military draft during World War I. He disclosed to the registration clerk that he had a weak ankle. At the time, he lived at 26 Taylor Street in Covington, KY but was in New Jersey earning a living as a lamp worker for T.C. Wheaton Company in Millville, NJ. In fact he joined the Army and served during the war. He was twice-wed. His first spouse was Martha M. Harvey DeHart (1900-1923), daughter of Frances James and Martha J. (McCCaffrey) Harvey and stepdaughter of Ralph DeHart. They tied the knot on May 27, 1918 in Millville, NJ. Their marriage was announced in the Philadelphia Inquirer, which reported that it was "a pretty wedding" held in the bride's home, with Rev. David Berry officiating. Bridesmaids included Frances DeHart and Violet Lewallen, and the best men were Frank H. DeHart and Lirdle Berry. Together, they bore a daughter, Myrtle Margaret Sayres. Grief cascaded over the family when Martha contracted tuberculosis. Her health plummeted and she died on Nov. 1, 1923, in Millville, at the age of 23 years, six months and 28 days. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery, with a brief death notice appearing in the Millville Daily Republican. John then published a card of thanks in the Daily, saying "I wish to thank the many friends and neighbors for their kindness; also Rev. David Berry for his kind attention during the illness and death of my wife, Martha." On the sixth anniversary of her death, her parents published an "In Memoriam" article in the Daily, saying "They never quite leave us our loved ones who have passed through the shadows of death in the sunlight above. A thousand sweet memories are holding them first to the places they blessed with their presence and love." A little more than a year after becoming widowed, on New Year's Day 1925, in Millville, John married his second wife, Cora Spence Smith ( ?  - ? ), daughter of Charles Smith of D. Street. The Daily called the event "a pretty wedding" led by Rev. B.F. Rhoads, of the First Methodist Church, "surrounded by several friends and relatives... Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Smith stood for the couple." Among others who attended were Mr. and Mrs. Walter Spence, Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Cox, Mrs. Bertie Corson and Walter Sharp. Their only known child was William Charles Parson. John learned the art of glass blowing. He was employed as a blower at Hess Glass Works in Vineland, NJ. The family were members of Second United Methodist Church in Millville. He loved baseball, and for more than six decades, he was active with the Millville church and American Legion baseball and community softball leagues. As of 1948, said the Daily, he was president of the American Legion league, "head Umpire, schedule maker, sponsor getter, etc." During the Christmas season, for two decades, he played the part of Santa Claus in Millville. Their address in the 1940s was 24 McNeal Street, Millville. On the fateful day of Dec. 12, 1977, while at work, John suffered a serious heart attack. He was rushed to Vineland Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Interment of the remains was in Millville's Mount Pleasant Cemetery. An obituary was published in the Pottstown (PA) Mercury. About a week after the funeral, Jim Bolton's Fish & Game Report column in the Daily said this:

John was that unique type of person who does not come along often in our lifetimes. Dedicated, devoted, a friend to all, and mostly very unselfish. He just enjoyed seeing people play ball and have fun, and he never asked for anything else in return. He will be missed by many ball players for all the years of contributing his unselfish time and talent to the various leagues he was involved in. I personally feel something should be dedicated in [his] memory, for he really was Millville's Mr. Softball.

  • Granddaughter Myrtle Margaret Parson (1919-1992) was born on March 18, 1919 in Millville, Cumberland County, NJ. Her address as a young woman was 24 Race Street, Millville. On Sept. 16, 1939, she was joined in wedlock with Hollie Thomas Sayres Jr. (1916-1992). Rev. David W. Berry officiated the wedding, held at the local Presbyterian Church. In announcing the marriage, the Millville Daily Republican said that she "wore a white taffeta gown with a long veil of tulle and lace and carried a colonial bouquet consisting of white roses and gardenias." At the time, Hollie was employed by George Pettinos Inc. and in 1957 was manager of Pettinos Sand Company. Their marriage survived the ups and downs of 52 years. Myrtle is known to have been a member of the Cumberland County African Violet Society and the Countryside Garden Club. Her name often was published in the gossip columns of the local newspaper in connection with these organizations. Sadly, both died in the same year, nearly 10 months apart. He passed first, on New Year's Day 1992, in Camden, Camden County, NJ. At the age of 73, she died in Buena Vista Township, Atlantic County, NJ on Sept. 28, 1992.
  • Grandson William Charles Parson ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He was a 1943 graduate of Millville High School and had begun studying under a scholarship at Rutgers University when World War II erupted. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served for 31 months, including a tour of duty in China. Following his honorable discharge, he returned home to Millville and obtained work as a bricklayer. On June 7, 1947, he was united in matrimony with Amy Geiger ( ? - ? ), daughter of Roy Geiger of Pottstown, PA. The wedding was held in Coventry Brethren Church in Kenilworth, PA. Reported the Millville Daily Republican, the bride "was lovely in a gown of white French tulle, with a full skirt gathered on a fitted bodice and ending in a short self train. Her veil of fingertip length fell from a coronet headdress and she carried a white Bible, topped with a white orchid with cascading bridal streamers." Amy was a Pottstown High School graduate and at the time of marriage worked at the Pottstown National Bank. Circa 1977, he made his home on Saylors Mills Road in East Coventry Township.

Son Andrew Norman Parson (1904- ? ) was born in 1904 in Ohio. He grew up in Covington, Kenton County, KY and remained there in 1963. He was married to Ruth Mae Rawls ( ? -1965). They were parents of a son, Billy B. Parson. In the mid-1960s, Andrew worked as an accountant and operator of a cafe in Covington. Sadness blanketed the family when Ruth Mae died at the age of 53 on May 12, 1965. A funeral requiem high mass was held at St. Joseph Church in Covington, with burial in Mother of God Cemetery. Her death notice was printed in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Less than seven months later, in late November 1965, he obtained a marriage license with 34-year-old Maude Dotson of Cincinnati. Whether or not they actually married is not known. But on the fateful day of March 29, 1967, during an argument at the Corner Cafe, he shot and killed Floridian Joseph Mosolygo Jr. At the advice of his lawyer, Andrew pleaded guilty to first degree involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to a year in the penitentiary. After his release, in about May 1969, at the age of 65, he wed 43-year-old Hazel Mary Touchet ( ? - ? ). News of their marriage license was printed in the Enquirer. Their final home together was at 1416 Scott Street in Covington. He died at the age of 77 on March 28, 1981. Burial was in the sacred soil of Mother of God Cemetery.

  • Grandson Billy B. Parson ( ? - ? ) was the father of Angelia Parson, Griffin Parson, Stevie Parson and Patricia Parson.


~ Daughter Yvette Mary Myrtle "Mertie" 
(Van Horn) Radabaugh Smith ~


Lima Daily News, 1894

Daughter Yvette Mary Myrtle Van Horn (1867-1970) was born in 1867 in Indiana. 

She first married James A. Radabaugh (1872-1894) in Allen County in about 1893. 

A year or so into the marriage, James ended his own life in November 1894 with a gunshot to the head, an act headlined in the Lima Daily News.

The horrific turn of events left Myrtle with a six-week-old daughter, Rhea Irene Radabaugh. 

Myrtle later married laborer Edward W. Smith (1859- ? ).

They made their home in Crawford Township, Wyandot County, OH in 1900, but by 1910 had moved to Columbus, Franklin County, OH, where they lived at 1355 River Street. 


Columbus Dispatch, 1970

Myrtle and Edward went on to produce four more children of their own -- Russell Smith, Bessie P. Smith, Maude D. Smith and Edward William Smith Jr. 

By 1910, when the federal census was taken, Edward Sr. was working as a well drilling contractor in Columbus. 

Edward's fate is unknown. 

Myrtle passed away at the age of 100 at the Bryden Manor Nursing Home, Columbus, on Aug. 29, 1970. She was survived by 12 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and 22 great-great grandchildren. She was laid to rest in the Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, having lived in the state capitol city for seven decades. Her obituary was published in the Columbus Dispatch.

Daughter Rhea Irene Radabaugh (1893-1987) was born in 1893. She married Joseph Emanuel Reed (1887-1977), the son of William and Ida M. Reed of Lima. In 1920, the Reeds lived in Gladwin, MI, where Joseph was a farmer. By 1930, they had moved to Midland, Midland County, MI, where James was employed as manager in a pickle factory. The Reeds had two daughters, Mary J. Reed and Ruth E. Reed. Later in life, Rhea and Joseph moved to Florida. He died in Lake County at the age of 90 on Dec. 23, 1977, and she passed away at the age of 93 on June 19, 1987, in Marion County, FL. 

Son Edward William Smith Jr. ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). He lived in Grove City, Franklin County, circa 1970.


~ Son Walter C. Van Horn ~

Son Walter C. Van Horn (1874- ? ) was born in November 1874.

He and his brother Arthur are known to have attended the Third Ward School in boyhood in Lima, Allen County, OH. Circa February 1889, the brothers were suspended from school, Walter for "disobedience to Superintendent, Principal and Janitor," said the Lima Times-Democrat.

When he was age 21, on March 16, 1896, Walter married 21-year-old Ida M. Snow (1875-1906). Their nuptials were held in Allen County, OH.

They had four known children -- William Henry Van Horn, Zelma R. Van Horn, Leon Van Horn and Herbert P. Van Horn. 

The federal census of 1900 shows the family living on North Jefferson Street in Lima. That year, Walter made a living as a day laborer. They may have moved into Indiana during the next decade, as their son Herbert was born there about 1906.

Family lore states that tragedy struck the family shortly after the birth of their youngest son Herbert in 1906. A fire swept through their house, claiming Ida's life. This is confirmed in the Dec. 13, 1906 edition of the Lima News, which said that Ida, "formerly a resident of Lima, died ... yesterday morning at Robinson, Ill., the result of terrible burns sustained the preceding evening. The deceased was the eldest daughter of Mrs. Louisa Snow, who resides in this city, to which place the remains will be brought for interment."

Walter reputedly was so distraught that he abandoned the family and moved west. 

In Chicago in 1910, he married widow Elizabeth (Mahon) Pelham (1877-1955), a native of Illinois. Formerly wed to Charles Pelham ( ? -1908), she brought a son to the second union, Lawrence F. Pelham. During her period of widowhood, she and her son lived with her parents in Braidwood, Witt County, IL.

The couple together produced several more children, among them Victor L. Van Horn, Paul H. Van Horn and Margaret Duval.

The couple's trail led to South Dakota, where they made a home in 1920 in Sioux Falls, Minnehana County. His occupation that year was as a laborer in a local stockyard.

Then in 1923, still in Sioux Falls, he was named in his father's newspaper obituary. The federal census enumeration of 1930 shows them remaining in Sioux Falls, with Walter eaking out a living as a laborer performing odd jobs. He also worked as a house mover.

Elizabeth passed away at the age of 77 on the Fourth of July 1955 in a Sioux Falls hospital. Her requiem mass was sung at the Little Flower of Jesus Church, with burial in St. Michael's Cemetery. An obituary in the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader said that she "had resided in Sioux Falls since 1910. Pallbearers were Ed Devitt, John Breen, William Murphy, Ed Barnett, John Riley and Dick Burggraff."

Walter died at the age of 86, on Sept. 4, 1959, in a Sioux Falls nursing home. Burial of the remains was in Sioux Falls' St. Michael Catholic Cemetery. An obituary in the Argus-Leader said he was survived by a daughter, Marge Duval of Grayslake, IL.

Son William Henry Van Horn (1896- ? ) was born in October 1896. He was about age 10 when his mother was killed.

Daughter Zelma Van Horn (1898- ? ) was born in September 1898.

Son Leon Van Horn (1904- ? ) was born in about 1904 in Ohio. His mother died when he was very young. At the age of 16, having moved to South Dakota, he dwelled with his father and stepmother in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, SD.

Son Herbert P. Van Horn (1906- ? ) was born in about 1906 in Indiana. After the untimely death of his mother, he is believed to have been taken into the home of grandparents Luther and Emma L. Ellis in Lima. He is shown there in the 1920 federal census, when he was 13 years of age.

Son Victor Lawrence Van Horn (1913-1979) was born on July 25, 1913 in South Dakota. He made a home in 1931 at 810 North Blauvelt Avenue and was arrested that spring for public intoxication. Evidence suggests that in 1932, he and two friends stole gasoline followed by an automobile in Sioux Falls near the South Dakota School for the Deaf. The three were arrested and jailed, and were found to be in illegal possession of alcohol, as reported in the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader. He was found guilty of his crime and in July 1932 sentenced to the South Dakota Penitentiary for a term of two years. He escaped from the state hospital in Yankton in January 1934 but within a few hours was recaptured at Fordyce, NE. Then in September 1935, while taking part in a picket line at the John Morrell & Co. packing plant, he was arrested for resisting an officer. "Police said Van Horn didn't belong there," reported the Lead (SD) Daily Call. "He was arrested in accordance of the police policy of clearing the line of persons not connected with the meat cutters organization." He relocated to Southern California and is known to have been in Los Angeles circa 1955. Death swept him away in Los Angeles on Aug. 15, 1979.

Son Paul H. Van Horn (1916- ? ) was born in about 1916 in South Dakota. In young manhood he spent time in California and was a racing car driver. As with his brother Victor, Paul led a life of run-ins with law enforcement. In November 1928, at the age of 22, he and others were arrested by police for nighttime burglaries in Sioux Falls. The group confessed to a series of thefts in small towns in Minnesota and South Dakota. Reported the Rapid City (SD) Journal, the "gang worked on a well-mapped plan. Sallying into rural sections, they struck at filling stations, garages, pool halls, night clubs and other small businesses. They hauled away merchandise and sold it either to second-hand stores in Sioux Falls or Sioux City." When he was extradited to Minnesota in December 1938, he also was facing charges for a break-in in Alcester, SD.

Daughter Margaret Van Horn ( ? - ? ) was born in (?). She was joined holy wedlock with (?) Duval ( ? - ? ). In 1955, she was in Chicago and in 1959, they lived in Grayslake, IL.

Stepson Lawrence F. Pelham (1908-1992) was born in about 1908 in Illinois. At the age of 11, he lived with his mother and stepfather in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, SD. He dwelled in Sellersburg, IN in 1955. He died in Jeffersonville, Clark County, IN on June 1, 1992.


~ Son Arthur F. Van Horn ~

Son Arthur F. Van Horn (1875-1961) was born on Feb. 14 or 23 in 1875, 1877 or 1878.

He and his brother Walter are known to have attended the Third Ward School in boyhood in Lima, Allen County, OH. Circa February 1889, the brothers were suspended from school, Arthur for "refusing to accept from his teacher and carry home a notice of absence, the sentence to be in force so long as he and his parents refuse to comply with the rules and regulations of the schools," said the Lima Times-Democrat.

Arthur made news again in June 1890 as part of a simmering feud with the neighboring McCabe family in the north end of town. At the time, he worked at Standish's hoop shop, as did the McCabes' son Jim. The two got into a fight at a nearby swing. Arthur's father had the McCabe boy arrested on charges of profanity and fighting, and the youth ended up paying a fine in Mayor's Court. The matter was not yet done. Within a few days, Jim McCabe insulted one of the Arthur's sisters. Said the News, "Arthur called Jim a liar. Jim retorted with an approbrious name, and Arthur struck Jim. Jim, who is about eighteen and a good deal larger and stronger than Arthur, threw the latter down and kicked him, bruising his arm pretty badly."

On April 8, 1896, in nuptials held in Allen County, OH, Arthur entered into marriage with Mary Elizabeth "Lizzie" Reese (June 22. 1877- ? ), whose parents were Welsh immigrants. Their marriage license was announced in the Lima's Allen County Republican-Gazette.

Three offspring produced by this couple were Ruth H. Kaercher, Ivah Cline Buchan and Clarence Van Horn. They also lost a young child during the decade of the 1900s.

The Van Horns dwelled in 1899 at 523 Findlay Street in Lima. In July 1899, Arthur was arrested when law enforcement officials found about 100 lbs. of brass at his home, on suspicion that it had been stolen from the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad.

The federal census enumeration of 1900 shows that the young family had moved to Columbus, Franklin County, OH. At that time, Arthur earned a living as a blacksmith. Elizabeth's brother John Rease also lived in their household.

By 1904, they had moved to 1652 Peoria Avenue in Toledo, Lucas County, OH. On the go again, they migrated to Michigan by 1910 and dwelled on a farm in Buckeye, Gladwin County, MI


Jackson, MI at night -- Arthur Van Horn's residence circa 1920


They picked up stakes again during the decade of the 1910s and relocated to Jackson, Jackson County, MI. Arthur's occupation in 1920 was as a foreman in a wheel works. Their 20-year-old daughter Iva was living with Arthur's parents in Bath, Allen County, OH.

Circa 1923, at the death of Arthur's father, he remained in Jackson.

The couple divorced during the 1920s. Arthur kept custody of their son Clarence, and the two moved to Point Place, Lucas County, OH by 1940. Father and son both worked as carpentry contractors as shown in the 1940 census, while Elizabeth was a servant of the home of 52-year-old widower Edward Gardner and his son and daughter in Leoni, Jackson County, MI.

Now single again, Arthur continued his work as a carpenter and dwelled at 3115 125th Street in Toledo.

On Nov. 8, 1932, the 57-year-old Arthur married again to 43-year-old widow Gertrude Marie (Schoen) Farrell, of Toledo, daughter of Joseph and Anna Schoen. Rev. John R. Patterson officiated. On their marriage license, he stated that he was only age 49. Her first husband, Dominick J. Farrell, was deceased.

Gertrude brought a daughter to the second marriage, Dolores C. Farrell.

When the census again was taken in 1940, the family residence was in Toledo. Arthur's occupation was shown as "corp. foreman" in a "waterway pro."

Arthur passed away at the age of 83 on July 18, 1961. Interment of the remains was in Ottawa Hills Memorial Park.

Daughter Ruth Van Horn (1897-1988) was born on Feb. 27, 1897 in Ohio. She was united in matrimony with George A. Kaercher (1892-1961). Together, the couple produced a brood of offspring -- Ruth Adeline Borders, Gerald Lee Kaerecher, Shirley A. Russler and Gwendolyn June Taggart. The couple settled in Jackson, Jackson County, MI, where Ruth had resided in childhood. Circa 1920, federal census enumeration records show George laboring as a machinist in a local tool factory. They remained in Jackson as of 1930, with an address on South Jackson Street, with George continuing to earn a living as a machinist in a machine tool factory. By 1935, the couple moved within Jackson County to the town of Napoleon. George's occupation in 1940 was as a kiln worker in a forge or factory. Sadly, George died in 1961. Ruth outlived him by 27 years. She surrendered to the spirit of death at age 91 on July 18, 1988. Her remains were laid to rest in Oak Grove Cemetery in Napoleon.

  • Granddaughter Ruth Adeline Kaercher (1916-2002) was born on April 16, 1916 in Michigan. She married Arnold Melvin Borders (July 30, 1917-2001). They stayed together for an extraordinary 65 years. Two known sons born in this family were Randy Lee Borders and Larry Borders. Arnold was employed for many years by Oldsmobile. At one time they lived in Napoleon, Jackson County. Arnold held membershiops in the Masons lodge in Napoleon and the Jackson Commandery of the Knights Templar. Their final residence was at 1710 Rolfe Road in Mason, MI. Arnold passed into death on Dec. 3, 2001, in Ingham County Medical Care Facility, at the age of 85. Rev. Robert J. Freysinger led the funeral service. His obituary was published in the Lansing (MI) State Journal. Ruth only lived for another six months. Death swept her away at age 86 on June 15, 2002. They sleep for all time in Roseland Memorial Gardens in Jackson, Jackson County, MI.

Great-grandson Randy Lee Borders (1949-2009) was born on Dec. 18, 1949 in Jackson County, MI. He was a 1968 alumnus of Napoleon High School. In young manhood he liked to fish, hunt and play guitar with local blues bands. He and Linda Busch were the parents of Jason Timothy Borders and Melissa Lee Nelson. For many years, he sold flooring for New York Carpet World and Misco-Shawnee in the Jackson area. He resided in Napoleon, Jackson County. At the age of 59, believed to have been stricken with diabetes, he died in Allegiance Health on April 10, 2009. Burial was in Roseland Memorial Gardens in Jackson, with Pastor Larry Rubingh presiding. His obituary was printed in the Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Great-grandson Larry Borders was in Mason, MI in 2001.

  • Grandson Gerald Lee "Jerry" Kaercher (1918-1968) was born in 1918 in Michigan. At the age of 21 in 1940, he resided at home in Napoleon, Jackson County, MI and was employed as a radio serviceman in a retail store. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II with the Headquarters Battery of the 135th Field Artillery Battalion. He died at the age of 50 on Dec. 3, 1968. Burial of his remains was in Oak Grove Cemetery in Napoleon, MI.
  • Granddaughter Shirley A. Kaercher (1925-2006) was born on Jan. 25, 1925 in Jackson, Jackson County, MI. She wedded Wayne Ellis Russler (Nov. 8, 1923-2009). Their union stood for more than six decades until cleaved apart by death. Together, the couple bore two daughters -- Teresa Devall and Robin Russler. Wayne was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, having attained the rank of staff sergeant. The Russlers made a home in Napoleon Township, Jackson County. Shirley made a living as a part-time teller at the Napoleon branch of Comerica Bank. She belonged to the Napoleon United Methodist Church, where she sang in the choir and sang solos for weddings. She held a membership in the Order of Eastern Star in Napoleon, played bass drum in the Napoleon Lions Community Band and liked to make crafts, bake and decorate cakes for special events. At the age of 80, as a patient in W.A. Foote Memorial Hospital, she passed into the arms of the angels on Jan. 21, 2006. Rev. Bob Stover led the funeral service. The remains were interred in Oak Grove Cemetery. Wayne outlived his wife by three years, dying on Valentine's Day 2009.

Great-granddaughter Teresa Russler married (?) Devall. Her home in 2006 was in Ann Arbor, MI.

Great-granddaughter Robin Russler resided in Michigan Center, MI in 2006.

  • Granddaughter Gwendolyn June Kaercher (1930-2017) was born on Feb. 1, 1930 in Jackson, Jackson County, MI and grew up in Napoleon, Jackson County. In nuptials held in Monterey, CA on March 14, 1952, the 22-year-old Gwendolyn entered into matrimony with 20-year-old John Ladd Taggart (May 19, 1931-1968). Four daughters born to this union were Kathy Barber, Sharon Taggart, Cynthia Berggren and Patricia Hoag. Sadly, John died on July 15, 1968, bringing their marriage of 16 years to a close. The cause and location of his untimely death are not known. Gwendolyn survived her husband by nearly half a century. She eventually relocated to Brooklyn, MI. She was a fan of the Detroit Tigers and Michigan State University Spartans teams. Her hobbies included playing piano and singing with her daughters, casino gambling and gardening. On Nov. 17, 2017, she passed away in Michigan. Interment was in Cement City Cemetery in Jackson County, MI. An obituary appeared in the Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Great-granddaughter Kathy Taggart married Arthur "Bill" Barber. Their home in 2017 was in Jackson, MI.

Great-granddaughter Sharon Taggart put down roots in Cement City, MI.

Great-granddaughter Cynthia Taggart wedded John Berggren. Sadly, John was deceased by 2017. Cynthia has resided in Minnesota.

Great-granddaughter Patricia Taggart was joined in wedlock with Robert Hoag. The couple settled in Brooklyn, MI.

Daughter Ivah Van Horn (1899-1985) was born on Sept. 16, 1899 in Columbus, Franklin County, OH. She was married at least twice. Her first husband was Clarence Cline ( ? - ? ). The couple together produced two sons -- Wayne K. Cline and Kenneth Cline. The pair divorced circa 1923-1924. Ivah lived after the divorce in Jackson County, MI. Then on Oct. 26, 1926, in Lucas County, OH, when both were age 27, Ivah wedded railroad fireman Donald Gray "Don" Buchan (July 13, 1899- ? ), son of B.E. and Fannie (Taylor) Buchan. Rev. P.D. Lehman officiated. Donald was a native of Manchester, TN but at the time of marriage was in Jackson. The Buchans bore at least one daughter -- Joyce Eileen Harris. The federal census enumeration of 1930 shows the mixed family in Grand Rapids, Kent County, MI, with Donald continuing his work as a fireman with the railroad. Grief blanketed the family when Donald died in 1969. Ivah lived on for another 15 years. She died at the age of 85, on Jan. 21, 1985 in Manistique, Schoolcraft County, MI. The pair rests for all time in New Garden Cemetery in Delta County, MI.

  • Grandson Wayne W. Cline (1921- ? ) was born on Dec. 5, 1921 in Jackson, MI. He eventually took the "Buchan" surname of his stepfather. He spent his childhood hears in Grand Rapids and Jackson, MI and in 1941 graduated from Fort Wayne's Central High School. During World War II, he joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to the European Theatre, with deployments to North Africa and Italy. After the war, dwelled in Columbus, OH and earned a living as a railroad brakeman. On April 1, 1946, when he was 24 years of age, he married 24-year-old Inez E. McCotter (April 5, 1941- ? ), daughter of George W. and Florence E. (Stropes) McCotter of Columbus. Officiating was Rev. Clayton Lutz. Two children born to this couple are believed to have been Kim Foley and Wayne Buchan Jr. His career included work as a freight and passenger conductor for the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Amtrak and Conrail, primarily in Columbus and West Jefferson, OH. He belonged to the Franklin post of the American Legion in Columbus. After a divorce, Wayne in 1976 married again to Charlotte "Bobbie" Braughton-Baird ( ? -2000), with the nuptials held in Manistique, MI. She brought three sons of her own to the union, Michael Baird, John Baird and timothy Baird. Wayne and Bobbie resided at Gooseneck Lake. He retired in Feb. 1982, followed by a relocation to the Manistique area. Their union endured for 23 years until her passing on Jan. 14, 2000. He held a board seat for a dozen years on Manistique's Schoolcraft Delta Intermediate School. Wayne spent his final years in Cooks, MI. He taught pre-school in the Big Bay de Noc School in Cooks and served on the school's board of directors for 16 years. He held memberships in the Manistique lodge of the Masons, Congregational Church of Cooks and the Nahma Golf Course. In his free time, he liked to fish, golf and hunt. Sadly, on Aug. 25, 2013, at the age of 91, Wayne died in Marquette General Hospital in Michigan. Pastor Lon Hider led the funeral service, followed by burial of the remains in New Garden Cemetery, Garden Township.
  • Grandson Kenneth Dale Cline (1923-1999) was born on March 1, 1923 in Jackson, Jackson County, MI. He eventually took the "Buchan" surname of his stepfather. In 1948, he wedded Phyllis Louise Ehrman (May 20, 1925-2004). They planted roots in her hometown of Fort Wayne, Allen County, IN. The couple's only known son was Daniel K. Buchan. The spirit of death whisked him away at the age of 75, in Fort Wayne, on Feb. 8, 1999. Burial was in Fort Wayne's Greenlawn Memorial Park. Phyllis endured for another five years. She passed away on June 18, 2004.

Great-grandson Daniel K. Buchan (1949-2019) was born on St. Patrick's Day 1949 in Fort Wayne, IN. He graduated from Concordia Lutheran High School. He was united in matrimony with Lori ( ? - ? ). Three sons borne by the couple were Zachary Buchan, Jason Buchan and Chad Buchan. They dwelled in Fort Wayne, with the marriage eventually dissolving in divorce. Daniel is known to have served in the U.S. Air Force. He liked the out-of doors, boating, fishing, golfing and hunting. Sadly, at the age of 70, he died on Nov. 21, 2019. His remains were lowered into eternal repose in Greenlawn Memorial Park in Fort Wayne.

  • Granddaughter Joyce Eileen Buchan (1929- ? ) was born on Dec. 30, 1929 in Grand Rapids, Kent County, MI. She lived at 2736 Steele Avenue in Columbus, OH as a young woman. At the age of 17, on May 16, 1947, she wedded 25-year-old Dale E. Harris (April 9, 1922- ? ), a native of New Plymouth, OH and the son of Harry F. and Grace B. (Graham) Harris. Rev. Clayton F. Lutz officiated the nuptials. At the time of marriage, Dale was employed in Columbus as a shipping clerk.

Son Clarence Raymond Van Horn (1910-1999) was born on May 8, 1910 in or near Buckeye, Gladwin County, MI. He entered into marriage with Mildred E. Thomas (July 18, 1912-1982). Evidence suggests that they made a home at Pleasant Lake, MI. Mildred passed away at age 69 on May 18, in 1982. Clarence is believed to have married again in 1984, at age 74, to 62-year-old Louise Anna (Hidecker) Gilman ( ? -2006) of Leslie, MI, the widow of Percy Gilman. News of their marriage license was announced in the Lansing (MI) State Journal. Louise held a master's degree in education from Michigan State University and had taught school for two decades in Jackson, MI. She traveled around the world more than once and held memberships in the Leslie First Baptist Church and Gideon's International. Clarence succumbed to death on March 11, 1999. They are in eternal sleep in Draper Cemetery in Rives Junction, Jackson County, MI. Louise died at age 84 on May 2, 2006. She was pictured in her obituary in the State Journal. She was survived by five children, a dozen grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Stepdaughter Dolores C. Farrell (1924- ? ) was born in about 1924 in Ohio.


~ Son Jesse Franklin "Frank" Van Horn ~

Son Jesse Franklin "Frank" Van Horn (1891-1966) was born in May 1891 in Ohio.

In his growing-up years, he helped manage his father's farm.

Frank served as a corporal in World War I, in Company D of the 126th Infantry, 32nd Division, joining the Army on Sept. 21, 1917. Then in February 1918, he was deployed to France. One letter to his parents was published in the Lima (OH) News on Aug. 4, 1918, saying that "Ohio would look a great deal better now to him than France but that he is contented and his regiment are busy carrying on their training for future work in the trenches...'The regimental band plays almost every night,' he wrote, 'and we have the Y.M.C.A. to go to during our rest hours. One Y.M.C.A. worker is from Canton but he knows a great many Lima people and used to go there frequently."

While in action, Frank became what the Lima Gazette called a "victim of Hun treachery" during a raid:

In the recent advance of the American groops, he said in his letter, he took a prisoner, a mere boy, and out of pity for him, sent him to the rear, unescorted. Despite the fact that the American had spared his life, the Hun turned and shot Van Horn in the back. The bullet lodged just above the knee. In a letter to his mother, he says, "Mamma, they are cowards. One American can whip fifteen of them, face to face, but when your back is turned, they will stick a knife into you.

He was hospitalized in France, and recovered from his wound. In another letter to his mother, again printed in the Gazette in December 1918, he wrote:

There isn't very many of our boys who want to come home until we have gone through Germany... If you would see the towns when they were being torn up, you wouldn't want to quit as long as there were any Huns left in France or anywhere else. I was talking with a girl from Belgium... who got away from the Hunts when they went through here four years ago. They did things any savage would be ashamed to do, she told me. She related to me they made old men and women who could not work much dig their own graves and then shot them down to fall in them.

When the federal census was taken in 1920, Frank lived with his parents at age 28, and was marked as "widowed." That year, he was employed as a car repairer in the local Baltimore and Ohio Railroad shops.

He married Goldie (?) later in 1920. They had at least two known sons -- Jesse Franklin Van Horn Jr. and Harold B. Van Horn.

They lived in Lima circa 1921-1923. At the death of his father in 1923, word was telegraphed to Frank, who was residing at the corner of O'Connor and McKinley Streets.

In 1930, their home was in Bath Township, Allen County. Frank's occupation in 1930 was as a pattern maker for a motor bus company.

Frank died in Lima in June 1966, at the age of 75. Nothing more is known.


~ Son George F. Van Horn ~

Son/ward George F. Van Horn ( ? - ? ) was born in (?).

His fate is unknown.


Copyright 2003-2008, 2012, 2015, 2021 Mark A. Miner
Mary Bowles, William H. Gerdeman Jr., and Judy Solomon generously have contributed content for this biography.