Joshua Lawrence Horn: Out of Place Events Reveal a Well-Traveled Life

This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series.  This week’s prompt is Out of Place.  To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index


When I think of my ancestors who lived before convenient modes of transportation, I often assume they lived in small geographic areas. With only wagons to navigate primitive dirt roads and boats or barges to cross rivers, who would stray too far from home?

My 2x-great-grandfather Joshua Lawrence Horn breaks all my assumptions. Several events in his life occur “out of place” from the expected, providing evidence Joshua traveled between Mississippi and Texas several times. Some of his travels were voluntary; others were not.


I’ve written about Joshua previously — a blog post commemorating his birthday back in 2016 — so I won’t recount all the details of his life again. Instead, I’d like to discuss the “out of place” records I’ve found for him, along with two new discoveries that confirm family oral tradition about this outlaw ancestor and some of the places he lived.

Out-of-Place Grave

Our family knew a few basic details about Joshua’s life from Agnes McWeeney Johnston’s research she shared with our family in 1992. Before I even pursued genealogy, my father found Joshua’s burial site on Find-A-Grave, and he and my mother visited it in 2010. But for a man who supposedly spent most of his life in Mississippi, his grave was in an unusual location — Vera, Knox County, in far north-central Texas.¹ Why?

J. L. Horn Grave Marker – Vera Cemetery, Vera, Knox County, Texasᴬ

ᴬPhotograph of J. L. Horn Grave Marker, 2015, digital image 2015, privately held by Jessica Horne Collins, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Houston, Texas. Jessica took this photo on 1 Jul 2015, while visiting Vera Cemetery, Vera, Knox County, Texas.

Joshua’s last known location was the 1910 census that recorded him in Winston County, Mississippi, living with second wife Rachel Harriette, three of their sons, and three grandchildren.² After Joshua’s death, Rachel completed an application for a Civil War widow’s pension; it was dated August 24, 1917, and reported her residence as Hinze, Winston County, Mississippi.³ It seems reasonable to believe this location was also Joshua’s home before his death.

Joshua did live a short time in Texas before the Civil War, but that was Freestone County⁴ — over 250 miles away from Vera. A closer look at Joshua’s death certificate gave me the information I needed. The informant was A. J. Horn with an address of Vera, Texas.⁵ A. J. was Alonzo Jesse, the oldest son of Joshua and Rachel, and the World War I draft registration card for Alonzo corroborates he lived in Knox County around this time.⁶ I looked more closely at Joshua and Rachel’s other children and found Henry Luther also lived in Knox County in 1918.⁷ Perhaps Joshua was visiting his two sons when he died? This trip to Texas may have been part of an even larger journey to visit distant family. His son Robert Jackson was probably “out west” too, having married in Stigler County, Oklahoma in 1905,⁸ and working as a miner in Dawson, Colfax County, New Mexico, by 1918.⁹ Another son, Charles Lafayette, lived in Ruston, Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, in 1918,¹⁰ which would have been on the train route and major roads between Winston County, Mississippi, and Knox County, Texas.

Considering these facts, Joshua’s burial place in Vera makes sense. Embalming and shipping a body back to Mississippi may have been expensive. It’s even possible his wife Rachel was already planning to move west. She relocated to Carnegie, Oklahoma, to live with two of her sons sometime after filing the widow’s pension application in 1917, and her death on September 17, 1918.¹¹

Out-of-Place Photos

Two photos give evidence of Joshua making another trip to Texas — this time in 1902.

A photo of Joshua with his brother William Lemuel appears in Family History of Horn Ancestors & Descendants of Elisha Thomas Horn of Zion Hill, Mississippi. The book identifies the photo’s location as the 1902 United Confederate Veterans national reunion in Dallas, Texas.¹² Over 114,000 people attended this event on April 22 – 25, 1902.¹³ This digital copy of the photo is from Horn descendant Laura M. Cooper’s Brazoria Roots website.

Joshua Lawrence Horn (standing) with brother William Lemuel Horn (seated) – United Confederate Veterans Reunion, Dallas, Texas, April 1902 (photo from Brazoria Roots)ᴮ

ᴮPhotograph of Joshua Lawrence Horn and William Lemuel Horn, 1902, digital image 2006, privately held by Laura M. Cooper, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Arlington, Texas. Laura shared this scan of the photo on her website (http://brazoriaroots.com/PicPage646.html).

Another photo appears on a scrapbook page digitized by Horn descendant Joshua Price. The inscription reads “Horn Reunion 1902, Joshua Laurence family on right, William Lemerel family on left.”¹⁴ I’m unsure where this photo was taken, although a chimney peeks over the top of some heads in the snapshot, suggesting it was taken at a family home. Perhaps it was taken at William Lemuel’s home in Oklahoma, or it could have been taken at the home of another Texas family member.

Scrapbook Page with Photo of Joshua Lawrence Horn and William Lemuel Horn Familiesᶜ (photo from Joshua Price)

ᶜDigital Image of Scrapbook Page with Photo of Joshua Lawrence Horn and William Lemuel Horn Families, 1902, digital image 2018, privately held by Joshua Price, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Katy, Texas. Joshua shared this scan on Ancestry.com in his Price Family Tree (https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tree/1048737/ ); file is attached to Joshua Lawrence Horn.

These two out-of-place photos show Joshua traveled yet again from Mississippi to Texas. This trip may have been his first return to Texas since he lived in Freestone County and since his Civil War days as a private in Waul’s Texas Legion.¹⁵

Out-of-Place Census, Crimes, and Court Records

Although I’ve researched my Horn(e) family for over seven years, I’d never located Joshua on the 1870 census — until this week, that is. He appears in a very unusual location: Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi.¹⁶ Joshua had no known connections to Hinds County, but he isn’t listed with a family unit. He’s enumerated in a group of men several pages long, and the head of household has the occupation of “Ap. Sup. Penitentiary.”¹⁷ Yes, Joshua was a prisoner in the Mississippi State Penitentiary.

“The Walls” Mississippi State Penitentiary – the facility in which Joshua Lawrence Horn was imprisoned, 1866 until at least 1870ᴰ (Photo from Mississippi Department of Corrections)

ᴰ”A Brief History of the Mississippi Department of Corrections: Archive Photo Gallery,” digital images, Mississippi Department of Corrections (https://www.mdoc.ms.gov/About/Pages/Archive_Image_Gallery.aspx : accessed 19 Apr 2019), photo “Another View of ‘The Walls’.”

Family oral tradition said Joshua served time in prison for horse thievery, but I’d never found any evidence to support that story. A page-by-page reading of Leake County Chancery Court records led me to a document I’ve always hoped to find — the divorce proceedings for Joshua and his first wife (my 2x-great-grandmother) Harriett Johnston.

Harriett and her “next friend” — her father John Johnston — sued Joshua for divorce on February 4, 1868.¹⁸ Her bill of complaint said Joshua was “a man of abandoned character” and included a copy of a judgement from Jasper County, Mississippi (another out-of-place location!) showing he had been sentenced to five years at the state penitentiary for horse stealing.¹⁹ Harriett also presented indictments from other counties with pending horse stealing charges.²⁰ She said Joshua’s treatment of her was “cruel and harsh” and that he had committed adultery.²¹

J. J. (John Jordan) McCauley gave a deposition agreeing with Harriett’s accusations of adultery. He testified Joshua had “frequently been guilty of adultery with a certain woman in the neighborhood” that resulted in an illegitimate child whom Joshua claimed.²² (I believe this child to be William Lewis Horne, as documented in the research of Dr. Robert G. Horn.²³)

The judge subpoenaed Joshua at the penitentiary, and the Hinds County sheriff responded with a letter. In the letter, he said the prison overseer had a different opinion of Joshua — that Joshua was actually “one of the few men in prison in whom he has confidence.”²⁴ The note stated Joshua had been tried in Rankin County (there’s another out-of-place occurrence!) for larceny and sentenced to prison until 1871.²⁵ The overseer intended to intercede with the Mississippi governor for a pardon “as soon as [the] State is reorganized.”²⁶

Letter from Thomas Palmer, Hinds County Sheriff, concerning Joshua Lawrence Horn’s Imprisonment and Possible Pardon

ᴱLeake County, Mississippi, Chancery Court Records (1857-1870): Harriett H. Horne v. Joshua L. Horne, February 1868; digital images, “Leake County Court Records, 1842-1938,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 Apr 2019), path: Court records, 1842-1938 > Court cases no 143 (cont.) – 190 1856-1870, images 1110-1123.

I have not found any pardon for Joshua, likely because Reconstruction lasted in Mississippi until 1876. As far as I know, Joshua served his full sentence.

Harriett was granted a divorce from Joshua on February 21, 1868.²⁷ The divorce decree granted her care, custody, and control of their infant son — my great-grandfather — John Thomas Horne.²⁸


Joshua’s life proves my ancestors’ worlds were a lot larger than I think. Joshua lived in various Mississippi counties, moved to Texas before the Civil War, traveled across Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi with his military unit, was imprisoned in Jackson, Mississippi, and then traveled between his home state and his extended family’s homes in Texas several times later in life. To put these travels in perspective, I’ve plotted all counties Joshua lived in, visited, or ones which which he generated records on the following map:

That’s a lot of traveling by wagon, train, and foot — and many crossings of the Mississippi River.

But what I wonder most of all is if Joshua ever thought of his lost son, my great-grandfather, John Thomas during these travels. Going between these locations brought him near John Thomas on several occasions, but — as far as our family knows — Joshua never had contact with his oldest son.


¹Ancestry, Find A Grave, database with images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9405970/joshua-lawrence-horn : accessed 19 Apr 2019), memorial 9405970, Joshua Lawrence Horn (1842-1916), Vera Cemetery, Vera, Knox County, Texas.

²1910 U.S. census, Winston County, Mississippi, population schedule, Beat 4, p. 0739 (penned), enumeration district (ED) 126, sheet 19-B, dwelling 274, family 276, Joshaway L Horn; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7884/31111_4330347-00155 : accessed 19 Apr 2019), citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 764.

³Application for Pension, 24 Aug 1917, Harriette Horne, service of Joshua L Horne (Pvt, Co. B, 2nd Bn Inf, Waul’s Texas Legion); Mississippi, Confederate Veterans and Widows Pension Applications, 1900-1974; digital images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GT6K-7M7?i=205&cc=1936413&cat=1936413 : accessed 19 Apr 2019), path:
Hooker – Housley > images 206-7 of 376; Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson.

⁴1860 U.S. Census, Freestone County, Texas, population schedule, Fairfield, p. 415 (stamped), dwelling 448, family 455, Joshua L Horn in B. A. Philpott household; digital image Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7667/4297436_00323/35003273 : accessed 18 Aug 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication M623, Roll 1294.

⁵Texas State Board of Health, Standard Certificate of Death, no. 83, Joshua L. Horn; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2272/40394_b061812-00316/23667080 : accessed 17 Aug 2016).

⁶”U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/6482/005153613_03336 : accessed 19 Apr 2019), card for Alonzo Jesse Horne, serial no. 784, Local Draft Board, Benjamin, Knox County, Texas;
citing NARA microfilm publication
M1509, roll 1983376.

⁷”U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/6482/005153613_03339 : accessed 19 Apr 2019), card for Henry Luther Horne, serial no. 784, Local Draft Board, Benjamin, Knox County, Texas; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509, roll 1983376.

⁸Central District, Indian Territory, Marriage Licenses, Robert Horne – Ollie McCants, 6 Oct 1905; image, “Oklahoma, County Marriage Records, 1890-1995,” Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/61379/TH-1-159393-920408-3 : accessed 19 Apr 2019).

⁹”U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/6482/005243340_00221 : accessed 19 Apr 2019), card for Robert Jackson Horne, serial no. 854, Local Board for the County of Colfax, New Mexico; citing NARA microfilm publication
M1509, roll 1711859.

¹⁰”U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/6482/005152040_04539/27964225 : accessed 19 Apr 2019), card for Charles L. Horn, serial no. 1596, Local Board for Lincoln Parish, Ruston, Louisiana; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509, roll 1684810.

¹¹Ancestry, Find A Grave, database with images (
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/68314226/rachel-harriett-horn : accessed 19 Apr 2019), memorial 68314226, Rachel Harriett Horn (1849-1918), Alfalfa Cemetery, Alfalfa, Caddo County, Oklahoma.

¹²Horn 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.

¹³University of Mississippi Center for Civil War Research, Reunions (
http://www.civilwarcenter.olemiss.edu/reunions.html : accessed 19 Apr 2019), “Twelfth National UCV Reunion .”

¹⁴Digital Image of Scrapbook Page with Photo of Joshua Lawrence Horn and William Lemuel Horn Families, 1902, digital image 2018, privately held by Joshua Price, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Katy, Texas. Joshua shared this scan on Ancestry.com in his Price Family Tree (https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tree/1048737/ ); file is attached to Joshua Lawrence Horn.

¹⁵Compiled Service Record, J. L. Horn, Private, L.D. Bradley’s Company, Waul’s Texas Legion; “Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas”; digital images. Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com : accessed 16 Jul 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication M323.

¹⁶1870 U.S. census, Hinds County, Mississippi, population schedule, Jackson Post Office, p. 80 (penned), dwelling 630, family 736, Joshia Horn in “household” of Edward M Partin, Ap Sup Penitentiary, digital image Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4273829_00740 : accessed 19 Apr 2019); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 730.

¹⁷Ibid.

¹⁸Leake County, Mississippi, Chancery Court Records (1857-1870): Harriett H. Horne v. Joshua L. Horne, February 1868; digital images, “Leake County Court Records, 1842-1938,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 Apr 2019), path: Court records, 1842-1938 > Court cases no 143 (cont.) – 190 1856-1870, images 1110-1123.

¹⁹Ibid.

²⁰Ibid.

²¹Ibid.

²²Ibid.

²³Robert G. Horn, MD, Henry Horn of Contentnea Creek (Cornersville, Tennessee: self-published, 2006), 208-212.

²⁴Leake County, Mississippi, Chancery Court Records (1857-1870): Harriett H. Horne v. Joshua L. Horne, February 1868; digital images, “Leake County Court Records, 1842-1938,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 15 Apr 2019), path: Court records, 1842-1938 > Court cases no 143 (cont.) – 190 1856-1870, images 1110-1123.

²⁵Ibid.

²⁶Ibid.

²⁷Ibid.

²⁸Ibid.

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