24 Jul 1970: John Horne and Gwen Smith Wed in Liddieville, Louisiana

Today would have been my parents’ golden wedding anniversary. John Dewey Horne and Gwen Smith married fifty years ago on 24 July 1970 at Boeuf River Baptist Church in Liddieville, Louisiana. Their pastor, Rev. Harold Davis, officiated.

Mr. and Mrs. John Dewey Horne cut their wedding cake in the fellowship hall of Boeuf River Baptist Church on 24 July 1970.

I have only a few grainy photos of my parents’ wedding, so I used MyHeritage’s new photo enhancement app to improve the quality of the one above. Look at how young and happy they were!

My mom was eighteen years old and fresh out of high school. She sewed her own wedding dress (it’s still in a closet at my dad’s house). My dad was twenty-three, early in his career with the Louisiana Department of Highways and a member of the Louisiana Army National Guard. After a short honeymoon in Hot Springs, Arkansas, they started life together in the home my dad still lives in today.

I remember the story my mom would share about the morning of their wedding. As usual for the summer months, my Papaw Smith came down the breezeway of their dog-trot house and bellowed, “Ho, ho, ho — who wants to go?” It was his wake-up call for all the kids to hoe cotton. My mom said — for the first time in her life — she didn’t go out to the fields. She thought if there was ever a day not to hoe cotton, it has to be your wedding day.

I’d much rather be throwing my parents an amazing anniversary party instead of writing a blog post. My mom, Gwen Smith Horne, passed away on 15 February 2013. She and my dad were married 42 years. As this date approached, I thought of all the party details: displaying her wedding dress (I’m sure she would have protested), making a photo slideshow, and recreating their cake cutting photo in the exact same spot. It would have been a great day of gathering with friends and family (I don’t want to consider COVID-19 in these daydreams) and celebrating the milestone my parents achieved.

But even without the milestone, the party, or the recognition, my parents did well. They loved each other and lived out that commitment until death they did part. I am grateful for their example.

John Thomas Horne: Examining a Murder Legend

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


A legend is a traditional story regarded as historical but is unauthenticated. I have a family legend I’d love to prove — the supposed murder of my great-grandfather John Thomas Horne by his step-father William Silas Johnston.

Continue reading John Thomas Horne: Examining a Murder Legend

Elisha Thomas Horn: Primitive Baptist at Worship

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


My family has a strong Baptist heritage dating back many generations and almost 200 years. On my paternal line, this heritage begins with my earliest known Horne ancestor, my 3x-great-grandfather Elisha Thomas — “Preacher Tommy” — Horn.

Elisha Thomas Horn, c. 1880

Photograph of Elisha Thomas Horn, ca. 1880, digital image, privately held by Thomas Ayres, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Texas. Thomas obtained the photo from Raymond L. Horne of Mississippi who found it among the items of Emmett Horne’s estate.

Continue reading Elisha Thomas Horn: Primitive Baptist at Worship

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.

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

Analyzing DNA Auto-Clusters with Pedigree Collapse: Paternal Super Cluster B

This post is my second about Genetic Affairs’ auto-cluster tool and using it to analyze my paternal matches at AncestryDNA. (You can read part 1 here.) As you might recall, my father’s parents were likely first cousins, once removed (1C1R), meaning he has a high degree of pedigree collapse.

I previously identified four “super clusters” when running the auto-cluster tool on my father’s test at a range of 50 – 250 cM.

Paternal “Super Clusters” as interpreted from results of Genetic Affairs Auto-Cluster Tool, run date of 3 Jan 2019

My first post examined Super Cluster A, which I determined to be Johnston/McCauley descendants. Today we will examine the next super cluster.

Continue reading Analyzing DNA Auto-Clusters with Pedigree Collapse: Paternal Super Cluster B