On this day 129 years ago, my 2x great-grandmother, Harriett Johnston, died on her way to visit her son and parents in Winn Parish, Louisiana. She was 42 years old, and her husband William Silas Johnston buried her along the roadside near her parents’ land. Her burial is the first in what became County Line Cemetery near the community of Sikes.
Harriett was born December 18, 1845, in Leake County, Mississippi. She is the older of two children — and only daughter — of John and Malinda (McCauley) Johnston. When she was 15 years old, her father joined the Confederate cause and was away for the duration of the war. She married Joshua Lawrence Horne, an injured Confederate irregular, on January 21, 1864, in Leake County, and gave birth to their only son together — my great-grandfather John Thomas Horne — in December 1865. Their marriage must have been an unhappy one, or perhaps Joshua was often absent, because Harriett was granted a divorce in February 1868 while Joshua was imprisoned for stealing horses.
Harriett then married her first cousin William Silas Johnston on April 3, 1868, in Leake County, and they had three sons together. The family migrated to Louisiana in the late 1870s along with Harriett’s parents, John and Malinda. Family oral tradition holds John and Malinda decided to settle near the end of the guided wagon train, but William Silas and Harriett wanted to continue north into Lincoln Parish. Harriett’s teenage son John Thomas Horne decided to split from his mother and step-father and stay instead with this grandparents. I’d like to think this decision shows John Thomas Horne’s dedication to his grandparents (they would continue to live together for at least the next 20+ years, according to the 1900 census) and is perhaps indicative of his relationship with them. John and Malinda may have been the primary parental figures in John’s life — perhaps not his mother who was occupied with a new husband and young family, and definitely not his outlaw father, whom he likely never saw after three years of age.
It was on a visit back to see her parents and son John Thomas that Harriett’s life ended. The journey from their home in Lincoln Parish to John and Malinda’s homestead was about 40 miles, so it was likely a trip that could only happen during the winter months when the family didn’t have the demands of growing crops and tending fields.
I visited Harriett’s grave for the first time in January 2014. My son Jonathan also visited his 3x great-grandmother’s resting place.
County Line Cemetery (Sikes, Winn Parish, Louisiana), Harriet H. Johnston headstone, personally photographed, 1 Jan 2014.
Horn History Book Committee. Family History of Horn Ancestors and Descendants of Elisha Thomas Horn of Zion Hill, Mississippi, Volume 1. Carnegie, Oklahoma: Self-Published, 1984.
“Mississippi Marriages, 1800-1911,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2ZR-R61 : 6 December 2014), J. L. Horne and Harriet H. Johnson, 21 Jan 1864; citing Leake, Mississippi; FHL microfilm 891,454.
“Mississippi Marriages, 1800-1911,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2ZT-J3M : 6 December 2014), William S. Johnston and Harriet H. Horne, 03 Apr 1868; citing Leake,Mississippi; FHL microfilm 891,454.
“United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MDXG-81T : 14 July 2016), John Johnston, 3rd Ward, Winn, Louisiana, United States; citing enumeration district ED 54, sheet 612A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0474; FHL microfilm 1,254,474.
“United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MD6Y-G95 : 13 July 2016), William Johnston, 4th Ward, Lincoln, Louisiana, United States; citing enumeration district ED 39, sheet 38D, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0456; FHL microfilm 1,254,456.