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John Henry Simcock (aka Harry Horton) [h.]

We are grateful to Carilee Sleight for her extensive research on Harry’s life in USA & giving him his place in our Horton family history

John Henry Simcock was the only child of Henrietta Horton & John Simcock born July 30th, 1870 at America St, Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs.

At the time of the 1871 census John, aged 6 months & his mother were with his grandparents at Bank St, Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent.  Henrietta was a machinist sempstress.   John’s father, a hay dealer was with his parents at the time of the census in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.


John Henry's birth certificate

Sadly John’s mother, Henrietta, just 22 years old, died a few days after the census on April 7th, 1871 at Bank St. The cause of her death was anaemia & disease of the kidneys from which she had suffered for 7 months i.e. since the birth of her son John Henry. The informant of her death was her mother-in-law Ann Simcock who was in attendance at Henrietta's death. Ann's address was given as 18 Orme St, Burslem.

John Henry appears to have been cared for by his grandparents Henry & Sarah Horton with whom he was living in Tunstall at the time of the 1881 census. He travelled with his grandparents & Uncle William, aged 19, to USA on May 17th, 1884 on the SS Arizona, arriving May 26th.  He was listed on the ship’s manifest as John Horton, aged 11 when his actual age would have been several years older than stated.  Perhaps this was to procure a lower fare!   According to the list of passengers produced by the Mormons in their inventory of 'saints' travelling to America on the SS Arizona John Henry was listed as John Sincox Horton. 

Grandparents Henry & Sarah were emigrating along with many other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  According to the voyage notes they reached Salt Lake City, Utah on June 1st 1884.  It seems likely that they initially went to join Henry’s brother Joseph & his wife Jane who lived in Smithfield, Utah.  [Jane, who was widowed by the time of the 1900 census, noted that she was the mother of one child who was still living.  Since no record of any children being born to Jane & Joseph has been found, she may have been referring to John Henry who she probably helped raise after the death of his grandmother in 1885.]

John Henry’s father, John Simcock, also emigrated in the 1880s to the USA where he lived in Massachusetts.  It is known that John Simcock’s parents had emigrated to the USA & were living in Swansea, Bristol, Massachusetts at the time of the 1880 census.  John Simcock died on July 14th 1889, aged 46, at Swansea, Massachusetts.

John Henry left Utah & followed his grandfather Henry & Uncle William to Idaho.  In Bingham County, Idaho he met Vesta Wright & they married on April 30th, 1896 in Blackfoot, Bingham.  His name on their marriage certificate was Henry J Horton & he appears to have become known as Harry Horton.  Vesta was born September 10th 1873 in Logan, Utah but raised in Blackfoot, Bingham County, Idaho. Vesta was the daughter of Cassandra Whitaker & David Darwin Wright, a hotel keeper/lawyer. (David Darwin Wright, whose father Jonathan Calkins Wright was a pioneer of the Mormon way of life, was tragically murdered in 1894 in Pocatello, Idaho.)

Vesta & Harry

Photos courtesy of a granddaughter of Harry & Vesta

By 1900 Harry & Vesta had 2 sons, Leo & Ralph & moved to western Montana.  The census of 1900 shows them living at Dillon City, Beaverhead & Harry was described as a butcher.  Their family grew to include daughter Rebecca, born 1905, but sadly another son John was born in 1907 but died in infancy.

Harry became a butcher & shopkeeper & eventually moved to Miles City, Montana in about 1906.  Miles City grew rapidly in the early 1900s with the growth of the railways, an opportune time for an enterprising businessman!  Harry opened a butcher’s shop in South Montana Avenue where he sold his own beef & named it the Central Meat Market.  

 In 1911 Harry & Vesta built an elegant home at 1918 Main St, Miles City, Montana where they lived throughout their lives.  Harry’s thriving business moved to Main St where he named it Horton’s Sanitary Market selling hams & bacon.  Vesta & Harry furnished their beautiful home with items obtained from their extensive travels.


Harry & Vesta's home in Miles City as it looked newly built

Harry & Vesta’s home is featured on the Historic Register of Miles City & has been lovingly restored to its original state.   The current owners opened their home in autumn 2011 as a delightful Bed & Breakfast named ‘Horton House’ (

Photo courtesy of Carilee Sleight

In the late 1920s Harry became a salesman for Minneapolis meat company & later went into the insurance business.  Harry & Vesta became prominent citizens in the community of Miles City.

By 1930 Harry & Vesta were still living in Miles City but no family was with them at the time of the census.  Harry’s occupation was now listed as ‘insurance’.  Interestingly the value of his home was given on the census as $15,000.

Vesta died in December, 1959.  Harry, aged 93, died at the Holy Rosary Hospital,  Miles City in December, 1964. He had undergone surgery for a broken hip.  Both are buried in Custer County Cemetery.

The children of Harry Horton & Vesta Wright were:

h.  Leo Vernon Horton born November 20th, 1896 in Blackfoot, Bingham, Idaho; died April 9th,  1966 in Houston, Texas
h.  Ralph Horton born March 15th, 1899 in Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho; died November 1st, 1949
h.  Rebecca Jane Horton born October 29th, 1905 in Pocatello, Bannock, Idaho; died April 1955 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin
h.  John Horton born 1907 in Miles City Montana; died 1907 in Miles City Montana



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