Biography of Ithiel A. Horton

Ithiel A. Horton, a diligent farmer from Reynolds Township, Northern Illinois, prospered despite initial hardships, aided by his supportive wife. Born in 1817 in Pennsylvania, Horton was raised in a logging community and educated in subscription schools. Starting with nothing, he worked hard, eventually buying land with his brother. In 1854, Horton moved to Illinois, purchasing and enhancing a farm before losing it to poor circumstances. Undeterred, he made successful investments in Reynolds Township, where he eventually enjoyed a 200-acre fertile farm with his family. Married since 1840 to Polly Brink, they raised six children and were respected Free-will Baptist Church members. Politically, Horton was a steadfast Republican.

Ithiel A. Horton, of Reynolds Township, has acquired a goodly amount of property by years of hard labor, notwithstanding the many discouragements that he had to encounter in the early years of his settlement in Northern Illinois. He is now enjoying the fruits of his labor in his comfortable home in company with his wife, who was so helpful in its upbuilding. In connection with the following biographical outline, his portrait is presented on the opposite page.

Mr. Horton was born in Sheshequin Township, Bradford County, Pa., April 17, 1817. His father, Joshua Horton, was born in a settlement on the Jersey side of the Delaware River and located in Pennsylvania before marriage. He had been reared on a farm and made farming his occupation. He bought a tract of timberland in Sheshequin Township, and the log cabin that he built in the forests was the birthplace of his son, of whom we write. There were no railways for many years, and before there were any public roads, the father used to go in a canoe to Tanquehanie, on the Susquehanna River, which was the nearest market. He cleared a good farm and made it his home until his death in 1870, in his ninetieth year. The maiden name of his second wife, mother of our subject, was Lucinda Ellis. She was a native of Massachusetts, a daughter of Eleazer Ellis, and died on the old homestead in 1850.

The early years of our subject were spent amid the pleasant scenes of his birth, and his education was obtained in the subscription schools of that day, each family paying according to the number of scholars sent. The schools were held in primitive log houses, furnished with slab benches that were supported by wooden pins for legs. Our subject commenced to help in the labors of the farm when quite young and continued to give his father the benefit of his services until he attained his majority. He then started out in the world with no other capital than brawn and muscle, reinforced by sound sense and excellent habits.

After working out by the month for two years, with the earnings which resulted from his steady industry, our subject purchased a farm of one hundred acres, in company with his brother Ulysses. They farmed together for a time and then our subject sold his share of that place and bought sixty acres of land nearby in his native township. He was busily engaged in its cultivation until 1854, and then disposed of that farm at a good price in order to avail himself of the many privileges offered to a farmer by the rich soil of this state. After his arrival in Illinois, he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of wild prairie, located in Ogle County five miles northwest of Rochelle, paying for it at the rate of $5 an acre. He built upon the place and lived there three years, at the expiration of which time he sold it at $20 an acre and invested the money thus made in adjoining land.

This investment did not prove a fortunate one, as on account of poor crops and other misfortunes Mr. Horton lost that farm. He did not, however, despair but came to Reynolds Township to begin life anew on rented land. He did well by that venture, and a year later bought eighty acres of prairie land in the same township and occupied it twenty years. Then selling that farm, he bought the one upon which he now resides, which comprises two hundred acres of land of exceeding fertility, under fine cultivation, and supplied with good modern improvements. Since settling here he has sold one hundred and sixty acres of the farm to his son, retaining forty acres for his own use.

April 22, 1840, was the date of the marriage of our subject to Miss Polly Brink, who was born in the same Pennsylvania township as himself and is a daughter of Daniel and Rachel Brink. Their wedded life has been of unusual duration, having already passed the golden milestone that marked its fiftieth anniversary. It has not been without its sorrows, but it has held many joys for them, and among their blessings may be counted the six children spared to comfort their declining years, namely — Alonzo, Rachel, Albert, Theodore, Daniel, and Emma. Mr. and Mrs. Horton are people of sincere practical piety and are valued members of the Free-will Baptist Church, which they joined some years ago. In politics, he is a Republican and stands staunchly by his party.


Biographical Publishing Company, Portrait and biographical record of Lee County, Illinois, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, together with biographies of all the governors of the state, and of the presidents of the United States, Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1892.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top