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James Horton [h.]

James Horton was the tenth child of William Horton & Elizabeth Hale born July 31st, 1876 & christened September 18th, 1878 at Lower Gornall, Sedgley, Staffs.

In 1881 James was living with his mother & father at Graveyard, Lower Gornall, Sedgley.

James was still living with his parents in 1891, at Sandfield Bridge, Pensnett, Kingswinford, Staffs.

James married Laura Wilkinson on December 25th, 1896 at St Mary’s, Kingswinford. Laura was christened December 3rd, 1879 at Holy Trinity, Kingswinford, the daughter of Lavinia Wilkinson, nee Bradley.

In 1901 James & Laura were living at 39 Water St, Kingswinford & James was a general farm labourer. They had 3 children by this time – Reginald J (5), Lavinia (3) & Gilbert (1). Reginald was in fact the illegitimate son of Laura who was born on March 31st, 1896 & christened May 13th, 1896 at Kingswinford.

James & Laura were still at Kingswinford in 1911, now living at 58 High St & James was now a loader in the coal mine. Children at home were Reginald W, a hay bander spinner, Gilbert, at school, Laura (9), Jim (7), Annie (4) & Mabel (1). Daughter Lavinia was employed as a servant at the home of Lavinia & George Southall, a brick burner, at 35 Common Side, Pensnett, Kingswinford. She was in fact working for her grandmother, Lavinia Wilkinson who had married George the year before the census.

Son Reginald enlisted in the Worcestershire regiment at the outbreak of WW1.  He served until 1917 when he was discharged as no longer physically fit for service.  Reginald gave his father James as next of kin & their address was 33 Water St, Kingswinford.

The Birmingham Daily Post of November 9th, 1915 reveals a horrific event in the family.  On September 27th, 1915 mother Laura, in a terrible temper, stabbed her daughter Lavinia in the back.  The cause of her rage was the continued late return of her daughter after going out in the evening.  The wound, which was inflicted with a carving knife, later caused an abscess in the pleural cavity, resulting in Lavinia’s death on November 2nd.  Evidence of a neighbour stated that Laura was a kind & affectionate mother & that the house was well kept & they were respectable people.  Laura was charged with wilful murder, but convicted of the lesser offence of manslaughter for which she was given 9 months hard labour.

Son James, known as Jim, died as the result of a tragic accident which took place on November 25th, 1923.  While serving as a 19 year old crewman on HMS Hood, Jim was home on 10 days leave before rejoining his ship at Devonport to go on a round the world tour.  Jim, of Water Street, Kingswinford, was on his way to visit his sister in Netherton to say ‘Goodbye’ when he passed a frozen pool on Allports Farm, Shaw Rd. on which about 30 choristers had been playing.  The ice having begun to give way, a number of boys fell into the icy water.  Jim rushed to the aid of the boys & helped rescue at least one of the children before the ice surrounding him broke.  He & 2 of the boys he was attempting to rescue were drowned.  Jim was hailed as a local hero & there were some 20,000 mourners at his funeral.  The coffin, draped with a union flag, was borne to St Mary’s at Kingswinford on a gun carriage borne by 6 black horses, & a naval party fired over his grave.  He was buried alongside his sister Lavinia, who had died 8 years earlier.  A memorial plaque was placed in the graveyard of the church.  According to his mother Jim had ambitions to travel the world & at the age of 17 he enlisted in the Royal Lancaster Regiment.  However his parents obtained his discharge after only a month due to his young age.  Five weeks later however he joined the Royal Navy & before his untimely death he had visited the West Indies, Spain & other countries. (The above story came from the Official Website of the HMS Hood Association.)

Laura died Jan-March 1935 at Wolverhampton, Staffs.

The 1939 register shows widowed James living at 33 Water St, Brierley Hill, Staffs  & still working as an underground pitman.  With him was Lavinia Southall (James’ mother-in-law) performing household duties.  Also with them was Winnie Laura Horton born on March 30th, 1924 who was seeking employment.

Son Reginald was sadly found in the Great Barr Mental Hospital in Aldridge in 1939.  Reginald had served with the Worcester Regiment for approx. 1 year but was discharged in May 1915 as being physically unfit for service.  Son Gilbert, who had married Edith Mary Hodgetts in 1920, & their family were listed in the 1939 register living at 23 Albion St, Brierley Hill, where Gilbert was a coal miner hewer.
Daughter Laura had married Gilbert Allen in 1927 & the 1939 register shows them living at 37 Fisher St, Brierley Hill & with them was 69 year old Charlotte Allen.  Gilbert worked at the Report Centre Brierley Hill & Laura was an unemployed ward maid.
Son William was living on his own at 30 Water St, Brierley Hill in 1939 but described as married.  He was a mining deputy.

The children of James Horton & Laura Wilkinson were:

h.  Reginald Major James (Wilkinson) Horton born March 31st, 1896 & christened May 13th, 1896 at Kingswinford Staffs; died April-June 1947 at Wednesbury, Staffs
h.  Elizabeth Lavinia Horton September 25th, 1897 & christened October 22nd, 1897 at Kingswinford, Staffs; died November 2nd, 1915 at Kingswinford
h.  Gilbert William Horton born December 13th, 1899 & christened January 7th, 1900 at Kingswinford, Staffs; died Jan-March 1969 at Dudley, Staffs
h.  Laura Horton born October 15th, 1902 & christened November 5th, 1902 at Kingswinford, Staffs
h.  James (Jim) Horton born June 24th, 1904 at High St, Kingswinford, Staffs; died November 25th, 1923 at Allport’s Pool, Dudley
h.  Annie Horton born April 23rd, 1907 & christened May 17th, 1907 at Kingswinford, Staffs
h.  Dorothy Mabel Horton born September 7th, 1909 & christened Sepember 24th, 1909 at Kingswinford, Staffs
h.  William Horton born November 11th, 1911 at Kingswinford; died March 3rd, 1981 at Kingswinford, Staffs
h.  Samuel Horton born July-September 1916 at Kingswinford


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