Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sketch of an Old Citizen - Thaddeus D. Van Horn

Thaddeus Damascus Van Horn is my third great grandfather and one of my favorite ancestors to research. TD was married twice and had 15 children between the two wifes. Contrary to family legend and written accounts, his first wife Mary Ann Faust did not die in 1853. In reality they divorced. We have discovered a previously undocumented child that was conceived at the end of that marriage. I have posted a complete family group sheet for his family on our website.


The Extended Career of - Mr. T.D. Van Horn

[Copied from an article which appeared in an old New Orleans Newspaper (New Orleans States)]

Who would imagine that the fine old looking gentleman, with the long grey beard, who has been the bookkeeper of the STATES since 1887, has over stepped the biblical three score and ten years by nearly twelve months. It is a fact, for Mr. Van Horn, who keeps so steadily and sturdily at work on his books, day in and day out, and on Saturdays until nearly midnight, first saw the light of day on October 20th, 1820.

A biographical sketch of Mr. Van Horn, printed at the request of his comrades of the Confederacy, fell under the notice of the States, and it contains interesting information about the well filled career of Thaddeus Damascus Van Horn. The preliminary notes state that the Van Horn family came from Amsterdam in 1740 and located in one of the New England states and fought gallantly for the Union during the Revolutionary War. They removed to Baltimore. One of the Van Horn's (James), left Baltimore and settled in Port Gibson, Mississippi where he married Pamela Hutchinson, a daughter of the Rev. James Hutchinson. They had one child, Thaddeus Damascus. Mrs. Van Horn died soon after the birth of her son. Three years later, Mr. Van Horn remarried. His second wife was Lucinda Abby, a sister of the Rev. Richard Abby of Yazoo City. Mr. Van Horn removed to Tallahassee, Florida where he was shot and killed, in 1840 by runaway negroes who he was trying to arrest.

Thaddeus Damascus followed mercantile pursuits in Tallahassee, Florida from 1835 to 1848. In 1843 he married Mary Ann Faust. They had four children, of whom two are now living, Mary Pamela, wife of Issac R. Harley of New York and James Faust of Dallas, Texas.

In 1848, Mr. Van Horn removed to Henderson, Texas. Two years later, he came to New Orleans for surgical treatment, having been shot during a personal encounter. He remained here permanently after having been under successful treatment by Dr. Warren Stone. During his first year in New Orleans, he traded between that city and Mexico.

In 1851 he entered the office of the Crescent, as mail clerk. In a few years he rose to be bookkeeper and business manager, and per pro of the establishment.

The Crescent being a strong Whig paper and advocate of secession, was suppressed by General Butler, during his occupancy of New Orleans. Mr. Van Horn sturdily withstood all threats, offers and promises made to induce him to foreswear his allegiance to the Confederacy. He was forced to quit New Orleans with his family and removed to Lincoln, Talledage County, Alabama. Mr. Van Horn joined the Confederate forces as aide-de-camp on the staff of Gen. John S. Scott, commanding the First Louisiana Cavalry, and later in the same company on the staff of General J. Wheeler. He served with considerable distinction until after the siege of Knoxville, when he obtained a leave of absence to look after his family. He remained at Talledage until after the close of the war, serving as assistant adjutant of the post, and acting provost marshal.

After the war, Mr. Van Horn returned to New Orleans and found that within one week after he left the Federals had seized his house, sold his effects and divided the spoils among themselves, his dwelling in possession of Mr. Flanders as abandoned property and occupied by quite a number of families of the lowest order; it was six months before he recovered his house, and in a terrible dilapidated condition. He aided Colonel Nixon to re-establish the Crescent, of which he was business manager until its close in 1869.

In 1870, Mr. Van Horn organized the Bank of Lafayette, with a capital of $100,000.00 personally obtaining all the subscriptions to its stock. He was elected cashier and remained with the bank during the first year of its existence, establishing it upon a firm basis.

Disagreeing with the President, Mr. Van Horn retired in May 1871 upon the election of officers for the second year and in September 1871, accepted the position of cashier of the Metropolitan Bank with which institution he remained sixteen year and five months and then resigned; since then, he has been engaged as bookkeeper of the New Orleans Daily States.

Mr. Van Horn remarried in 1856. His second wife was Margaretta Law, whose parents came over from England and settled in Missouri. Ten children were born to them. All are living as follows:

Dr. William Law Van Horn, Columbia, Louisiana; Addie Blonde, wife of A.B. Hundley, clerk of the district court, Colombia, La; Belle Randolph, First Assistant Teacher, McDonough School No. 18, New Orleans; Anna Gertrude, wife of Robert Lee Cooney, Atlanta, Georgia; Margaretta Pearl, wife of William H. Davis, St. Louis, Missouri; Thaddeus Dreux Van Horn, druggist and student of medicine, Columbia, Louisiana; Oliver Herbert, collector and student of mechanical engineering, Coleman's Foundry, New Orleans, Louisiana; Albert Cornelius, clerk for Branch K. Miller, Attorney at Law; Elmore Russell, clerk, Baldwin and Carter, Commission Merchants, New Orleans; and Mignonette Rutledge, at school.