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Fayette County, Iowa  

 Biography Directory


Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa

Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of

Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County

Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago

March 1891


~Page 268~


William M. Horn

William M. Horn, a prominent farmer of section 19, Smithfield Township, and an honored veteran of the late war, well deserves mention in this volume among the leading citizens of the county. He was born near St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Mo., January 30, 1844, and is a son of John O. Horn. The family is of Irish descent. The father was also born and reared in Missouri and received but meager educational advantages as the country was then new. About 1840 he married Jane Bragg, who for many years had been a resident of that community. Mr. Horn then gave his attention to farming in Missouri until 1847, when he removed to Delaware County, Iowa. In 1849, on the discovery of gold on the Pacific Slope, he crossed the plains to California where his death occurred in 1850. His wife afterward was again married and her death occurred in 1858. There were two children born of the first marriage - Samuel, who served three years in the Twelfth Iowa Infantry, and is now living in Maynard; and William of this sketch. By the second marriage there were two daughters. The parents were both members of the Methodist Church, and in political sentiment Mr. Horn was a Democrat.


Our subject is one of the self-made men of the county. He began life's battle at the early age of thirteen years and has since made his own way in the world unaided. Hence, whatever success he has met with is due to his own efforts and for this he deserves no little credit. He spent his summer months in farm work, and then, wishing to acquire an education, attended the public schools. In 1862 he responded to the country's call for for troops and became a member of Company F, Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry, in which he served until June, 1865. The regiment was first sent to Northern Minnesota, to Mille Lac, to keep the peace at the payment of a tribe of Indians. Later the troops were ordered to Memphis, Tenn., subsequently to Vicksburg, and from there made a long march eastward to re-enforce Sherman on the Big Black River, after which they returned to Vicksburg without having accomplished anything definite. They were present at the battles of Jackson, Miss.; and Corinth, and then took part in Banks' ill-fated Red River expedition and the battle and capture of Fort Du Rusey Lou on the 14th of March, 1864. This was the first heavy engagement in which Mr. Horn participated. He was the second man to mount the breastworks on that memorable occasion and the next great battle in which he took part was the disastrous one of Pleasant Hill, on April 9, 1864, of which Gen. A. J. Smith, the hero of fifty-four battles, says: 'It was one of the most hotly contested fields of the war.' Mr. Horn received a shot which shattered his left thigh. His comrades dragged him aside and laid him under a tree, but both sides then fell back, leaving him between the two armies and exposed to the fire of each. He received five other wounds while lying there and was left on the field and taken prisoner with four hundred comrades. For three months, in his wounded condition he was kept a prisoner, guarded in the open air and sheltered only by the trees. He was then paroled with one hundred and forty comrades, the remainder of the four hundred having died from exposure and neglect. Returning to his regiment, Mr. Horn was discharged at Montgomery, Ala., on the 20th of June, 1865, after three years of faithful service, during which he was ever found at his post of duty valiantly defending the old flag.


After being mustered out Mr. Horn returned to Delaware County, and on the 13th of September, 1865, wedded Miss Sarah Montgomery, a native of Pennsylvania, who at the age of four years came to Iowa with her father, Archibald Montgomery, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work. Unto them have been born one son, William M., who was born in Delaware County, June 16, 1866, and they also have taken a daughter, Lucina E. Scroggins. Mr. Horn has resided on his present farm since 1869. When he became its owner it comprised one hundred acres, a part of which was under fence, while a small portion had been broken. The country round about him was so destitute of settlements that he could ride for miles across the prairie his progress being impeded by no house or fence. He at once began the development and improvement of his land and as time passed and opportunity offered, added to it by subsequent purchase until now three hundred and forty acres of good land pay tribute to his care and cultivation. Besides general farming he engages to a considerable extent in stock raising and dairying. He was one of the prime movers in the organization of the Creamery Company, of which he is now President and a stockholder. A man of good business ability he has prospered in his undertakings as this record of his life will show. He has ever been a supporter of Democratic principles and is a man of strong temperance convictions but does not believe in third party prohibition. He has served acceptably as Chairman of the Township Board of Trustees and in his social relations is a member of Randall's Post, No. 47, G. A. R. Those who know him esteem him highly and in the twenty-one years of his residence in the county he has won many friends.




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