Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshll and Putnam Counties, Illinois
Originally published 1896
S, J. Clarke Pub. Co., Chicago, Illinois
Transcribed by Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Area Historical Society
Allen Horton, who resides on section 8, Macon township, Bureau county, Illinois, has been a resient of the county for more than half a century. He is a native of Bedford county, Pennsylvania, born near the village of Stonerstown. The place of his birth is known in that locality as Broadtop, a branch of the Allegheny mountains. He was born December 31, 1819, and was second in the family of eight children, of whom three are now living, our subject being the eldest. Carey T., resides at Austin, Texas, with his son, who is a contractor and builder of iron bridges. Politically he is a republican and is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Septimus resides in Nemaha county, Kansas, and is an agriculturist. Politically he is a democreat. Both Septimus and Carey were soldiers during the war of the rebellion and served three years.
Septimus Horton, the father of our subject, was also a native of Bedford county, Pennsylvania, born November 11, 1795, and died May 20, 1831. His wife was born April 9, 1794, and died March 31, 1881. The father was reared to the trade of a blacksmith, but made farming his chief avocation. He was a Jacksonian democrat, and cast h is last vote for Andrew Jackson. He emigrated to Ohio, in October 1822, locating in Highland county, near Hillsboro. There he remained until his death, which took place on the farm of ex-Governor Trimble. The mother, Welthy Foster Horton, was also a native of Pennsylvania, and lived to the good old age of eighty-seven, dying at the home of her son Allen.
Allen Horton was but two years of age when his parents emigrated to Ohio. The trip was made overland by wagon and required four weeks. He remianed with his parents until nineteen years of age, when he returned to his old home in Pennsylvania, and there remained a little more than one year. While in Pennsylvania he commenced to learn the trade of a carpenter and joiner and followed that occupation after his return to his Ohio home. In 1840 he again returned to Pennsylvania, and there remained but a short time. His educational advantages were limited, the log schoolhouse in which he obtained his primary education being but sixteen feet square, the logs of which it was construced being round, the chinks being daubed with mud. It was heated by an old-fashioned fire-place, the chimney of which was constructed of mud and sticks. The windows were made by cutting out a portion of two logs and inserting an eight by ten paper card for glass. these were in the rear of the room where the big boys and girls sat to write. The last schoolhouse where he attended school was of brick, and thirty by forty feet, and was a radical change and great improvement over the first.
On the 22nd of December, 1842, in Licking county, Ohio, Mr. Horton married Miss Maggie Zink, also a native of Bedford county, Pennsylvania. By this union eight children were born, only three of whom are now living - Septimus I., who resides in Santa Cruz, California, and who has spent almost his entire life in railroading. He was a soldier during the rebellion, and served about one year. He was one of the guards placed to watch the body of the lamented Lincoln after the assassination. He married Miss Anna A. Dolan, and four children grace their union. Politically he is a repulbican. Alice C. is the wife of William Crisman, Jr., who is a son of William Crisman, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. Addie is the wife of John W. McClain, and for a time they were residents of Kansas, but are now residing on the old homestead. Mrs. Horton was born January 13, 1820, and was the fifth in a family of thirteen children, born to Samuel and Catherine (Hanniwalt) Zink. Of the family only five are now living - James is a blacksmith by trade and a farmer by occupation, who resides in Knobmoster, Missouri; Mrs. Horton is next in order of birth; George is a retired farmer residing in Buda, Illinois; Hannah is the wife of John H. Robinson, a farmer residing near Tiskilwa, Bureau county; William L. is a farmer residing in Greenwood county, Kansas. Samuel Zink was a native of Pennsylvania and was a wagonmaker by trade. In 1844 he came west, locating in Fulton county, Illinois, where he remained two years and then came to Bureau county. Both himself and wife died in this county and their remains were interred in Bunker Hill cemetery.
In the spring of 1844 Mr. Horton came to Bureau came to Bureau county in company with John and George Zink, and it required about three weeks to make the trip. After prospectinig for a time he finally concluded to settle in Macon township. When he first landed he was eleven dollars worse off than nothing, but had plenty of the good old Pennsylvania grit, and determined that he would succeed in life. The first work he did was in Fulton county, Illnois, where he engaged in the erection of a carding mill. He remained there for about two years and in the summer of 1844 John Zink went back east for his father's family, and then returned accompanied also by the wife of Mr. Horton. In April. 1847, Mr. and Mrs. Horton moved to French Grove, near Sheffield, and there rented a farm of Fitzyou Cummings. After locating there, Mr. Horton was ready to do any work which would give him an honest living. At the time of his locating here, neither the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, nor the rock Island roads were surveyed. The present thriving towns of Buda, Sheffield and Neponset were unknown, and Princeton was but a small village with but three stores. They were building the first court house when Mr. Horton came to the county, much of the lumber used in its construction being hauled from Chicago.
It was about 1851 when Mr. Horton purchased the one hundred and sixty acres on section 5, in Macon township, at oone dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. The land was entirely unimproved, and his brother, Septimus, agreed to break the north half of it. The first house erected was a log cabin on the southeast quarter of section 5, and when the first survey of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad was made the line went through the corner of the house. The house was afterward moved to the present site, on the northeast quarter of section 8, and was converted into a barn.
Commencing life in Bureau county a poor man, Mr. Horton has been unusually successful and is numbered among the most substantial farmers of Macon township. On his arrival here almost the entire township was an unbroken wilderness. Wild game of all kinds was abundant and Mr. Horton has seen as many as twenty-three deer in one herd, and often the wolves made the night hideous. The Indians now and then came into the country and at one time quite a camp of them located near the present village of Sheffield. While in camp they were visited by Mrs. Horton and her brother, Samuel, who witnessed them cooking their supper. The township of Macon was not organized until April, 1851, the first election being held at the cabin of Mr. Horton and he was the first person elected supervisor of the township. After the organization of the township it was proposed to give it the name of Jefferson, but learning that there was already a township by that name, Mr. Horton suggested that of Macon. At that time there were no schools organized, and four congressional townships held their election at French Grove. There was no church nearer than Princeton and services were often held at neighbors' houses. Originally, Mr. Horton was an old line whig and cast his first presidential vote for Henry Clay. At heart he was a strong abolitionist, and at the birth of of the republican part he cast his presidential vote for General John C. Fremont. Since that time he has voted for every presidnetial candidate of that party. He remembers with pleasure and describes in a graphic manner the campaign of 1840, when "Tippeconaoe and Tyler too" were the candidates. He was one of the Tippecanoe club of three hundred who went in wagons and on horseback to Wilmington, Clinton county, Ohio, to atttend a great meeting during that campaign. In addition to serving as supervisor of the township, Mr. Horton was road commissioner for years and laid out most of the roads in the township. He is a firm friend of the public schools and has been a member of the school board for a number of years. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which body his wife is also a member and both are held in the highest esteem, not only in Macon, but throughout Bureau county, and it is with pleasure that we present this biography to the readers of the Biographical Record of Bureau County.