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Joseph Horton [h.1.10.2]

Joseph Horton was the second child of Henry Horton & Sarah Ann Hancock born December 11th, 1849 at West Bromwich, Staffs.

By 1851 Joseph was living at Walsall St, West Bromwich with his parents & sister Henrietta.

By 1861 the family had moved to Knutton, Silverdale, Staffs. Joseph was still at home with sisters Henrietta, Sarah A, Harriet L, Clara Ann, & brothers Henry & Jeremiah. Joseph was a forgeman.

They had moved again by the time of the 1871 census & were living at Bank St, Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent. Like his father, Joseph was a cutter down at forge.

Joseph  emigrated to the USA in 1873 arriving in New York on the ship Greece on April 29th.

He married Mary Altham (nee Sproat) in 1875.  Mary Sproat was christened May 5th, 1841 at Dalston, Cumberland, the daughter of Elizabeth & John Sproat, a jobbing gardener. Mary had married John Altham in April-June 1861, the marriage being registered at Carlisle. It appears that Mary & John emigrated to the USA in the 1860s & a record exists for Mary Altham (25), a milliner, departing from Liverpool on the ‘Arkwright’ on May 30th, & arriving in New York on July 6th, 1866.  With her were 2 children – Jane (4) who sadly died on the voyage on June 26th & was buried at sea, & William (3). It appears that Mary & John were married ‘again’ at Salt Lake City, Utah on December 13th, 1866. There is a burial recorded for John Altham at Smithfield, Utah in the Smithfield Cemetery Records but no date given.

Joseph & Mary were listed in the USA 1880 census (listed as Joseph H Horton) living at Smithfield, Cache, Utah.  They had a son Henry J, aged 2, born in Utah.  There were 2 other people listed with them – William H Altham (17) born in England & John S Altham (12) born in Utah - the children of Mary from her previous marriage to John Altham. 

By 1900 Joseph & Mary had moved to Challis, Custer Co, Idaho where Joseph was now a silver miner.  They were living in their own freehold house with children Thomas (17), a farm labourer & Sarah Ann (15) who was still at school.  Interestingly the census shows that Mary had had 9 children, 4 of whom were living.  Son Joseph Henry was also a silver miner & the 1900 census shows him boarding in Bay Horse, Challis Precinct, Custer, Idaho.

Daughter Sarah Ann (known as Sadie) married Ernest Albert Crampton on October 16th, 1901 at Challis, Custer, Idaho. They were to have 2 daughters, Clyda & Ida Hazel.

Joseph & Mary were still living in the village of Challis is 1910.  Joseph was now a Justice of the Peace.  Son Thomas was still at home & his occupation was ‘odd jobs’.  Another interesting fact gleaned from the census was that Mary had indeed been married twice.

Left: son Thomas Isaac & daughter Sadie. Right: Thomas Isaac

Photos courtesy of Lois Kerr (granddaughter of William Hancock Horton)

Mary died suddenly at home in Challis on June 27th, 1914, aged 73, & was buried in the family plot in Challis Cemetery.

In 1920 widowed Joseph was living alone in Challis.  He continued to be a Justice of the Peace at the age of 73 & gave his place of work as the US Land Commission.

Son Thomas was also living in Challis on 26 Main Street in 1920.  He was still single & working as a blacksmith in his own shop. It is thought that Thomas married, & a family anecdote relates the following.  Thomas’s wife ran off with a visiting stranger, leaving the dog behind.  Thomas reckoned that he (Thomas) got the better bargain!! Thomas eventually sold the house as it stood with unwashed dishes on the table. He blew the proceeds of the house sale on an almighty bender!  The purchasers of the property cleared the contents to a shed or barn.  Sometime much later they were sorting the contents of the barn & came across a photo album containing the pictures on this page & many other family photographs.  The album eventually came into the hands of Lois Horton (granddaughter of William Hancock Horton [h.1.10.8]).

There is a record for Thomas (Tom) living in Stanley Election Precinct, Custer, Idaho in 1940.  He is recorded as single & working as a blacksmith in a gold mine.

Joseph died on January 13th, 1924 at Challis, Custer, Idaho & was buried in the family plot in Challis Cemetery.  His cause of death was rheumatoid arthritis complicated by myocarditis. His obituary in the Challis Messenger on January 16th, 1924 states that ‘he was closely identified with the early reclamation of central Idaho & had been very active in the affairs of the County for many years’.


The children of Joseph Horton & Mary Altham (nee Sproat) were:

h. Joseph Henry Horton born April 22nd, 1878 in Smithfield, Utah, USA; died September 19th, 1947 at Meridian, Ada County, Idaho, USA
h. Joseph Jeremiah Horton born January 8th, 1880 in Smithfield, Utah, USA, died February 21st, 1880 at Smithfield, Utah, USA
h. Thomas Isaac Horton born March 8th, 1882 in Smithfield, Utah, USA; died December 7th, 1945 at Salmon, Lemhi, Idaho
h. Sarah Ann (Sadie) Horton born November 17th, 1884 at Smithfield, Utah, USA; died March 30th, 1913 at Mackay, Custer Co, Idaho.


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