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W. G. Horner & Co.
Emmitsburg's Other Bank

William H. Horner - their grandson

A Brief History of the Horner Family

David and Robert Horner came from Antrim County, Ireland to America and settled on land granted to their father by William Penn. The grant of land, 600 acres, was in Mount Joy Township, York (now Adams) County, Pennsylvania. On this land later was Horner's School and Horner's Mill. David married Mary Love and they had seven sons and two daughters. About the brother Robert, I have very little information. Most of my chart comes from a history of the Horner family written by Captain John Horner, grandson of the original David Horner and Mary Love Horner, when he was 72 years old.

David Horner was born in 1739 and died in 1785. Mary, his wife was born in 1744 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Alexander Love and Margaret Moore. Mary Love's parents moved to

South Carolina.

The above was written by my sister Jeannette Horner Herr in 1979 when she was 70 years old, and is contained in Appendix J, Horner Genealogy of the Robertson Family of Carroll County, Maryland.

Note -- Mary Love who married David Horner was the daughter of Alexander Love, 1718 - 1784, and Margaret Moore, 1719 - ____, Alexander Love was born in Lancaster County, PA and eventually moved to South Carolina. He was a member of the Provisional Congress which met at Charleston, SC, December 1, 1785.

David Horner and Mary Love had nine children:

John, Robert, Alexander Love (1784 - 1839), David, William, Andrew, James, Margaret, Polly

Jane McAllen was Alexander's first wife and they had six children: Eli, Elisa Love, Abner, John, Silas

Sarah Witherow Marshall was Alexander's second wife and they had four children: , George Washington, Mary Jane, Alexander Love, Silena, David Witherow (1815 - 1887)

David married Susan Robertson, 1818 - 1863, and they had ten children: Oliver A, Theodore, Winfield Grier I (1846 - 1889), Virginia, Anne M, David Witherow, William,  Susan Caroline, Maybelle, Quincy

The Robertson Family of Carroll County, Maryland 1837 - 1987 states that: "Census records and the History of Frederick County by Williams show that David and Susan Robertson Horner lived on a farm in Adams County, Pennsylvania near Gettysburg. Anna Belle Watts Wadkins, great granddaughter of David and Susan more specifically located the farm. 'From Tawneytown go to Harney, turn left and go just over the border into Adams County, PA.' Mrs. Watkins stated that this farm was a Horner homeplace and that the house had been built in the early 1800's. She remembers a 'Bush' Horner living there who had a son John Horner. John Horner was located and he is still living on the 'Horner Home Place'. His father was John Bush Horner, Sr., his grandfather was David Witherow Horner, (Jr) and his great grandfather was David Witherow Horner, (Sr), who had married Susan Robertson. Mr. Horner said that the house had been built in 1819 and the barn in 1840." The 'Home Place' is located at 20 Horner Road, in Cumberland Township several miles southwest of Barlow and northwest of Harney.

Winfield married Olivetta Jane King, (1853 - 1932), and they had three children: Ivey, David Witherow, Winfield Grier II

Winfield married Naome Evelyn Rice, (1/22/1887 - 11/5/1949), and they had six children: Winfield Grier III, Jeannette Rice, Elizabeth Lucille, John, Mary Louise, William Henry (11/8/1927)

William Married Helen Elizabeth Mcglaughlin, 12/24/1931 and they had two children: William Henry II, (1/31/1953) and John Patrick (1/21/1955 - 12/16/1959)

William Married Audrey Cornelia Campbell Strickland, 1/6/1953, and they have one child: William Henry III (7/20/1979)

Winfield Grier Horner was born April 14, 1846 in Cumberland Twp, Adams County, PA. He was the third son of David Witherow Horner and Susan Robertson Horner. He started out as a farmer on the family farm but moved to Emmitsburg as a young man to live with a cousin.

On July 20, 1875, he and Olivetta Jane King eloped to York, PA. Olivetta was the eldest daughter of William T. King and Sarah Mary Ann Barrett King, of Gettysburg, PA. In a letter to Winfield from Olivetta's father, Mr. King said that the runaway marriage had not been according to the social code but he fully realized that Ollie had some very different ideas of how things should be done.

Olivetta was visiting friends in Emmitsburg when she first met Winfield. He was struck by her beauty and soon came calling at her home. He did not seem to rate as high as the young men from the college and seminary in Gettysburg until the first snow fall when he arrived at her home in a splendid cutter with a fine horse -- the 1870's equivalent of today's sports car. They were married the following summer and had three children: Ivye, David Witherow, and Winfield Grier II.

In his early years in Emmitsburg, he was associated with Isaac Hyder in a general merchandise business, later was a clerk in the Emmitsburg post office and then had the contract to deliver mail between Gettysburg and Emmitsburg. In the late 1870's he and Charles B. Smith had formed a partnership -- Horner & Smith Western Maryland Livery, advertising in the Chronicle that fine riding and driving horses and ponies along with carriages, buggies, and phaetons were available day or night. They also had in their stock a "fine Band Wagon Omnibus". This partnership lasted until March, 1880 when it was dissolved by mutual consent. At about the same time Mr. Horner became a broker selling life and fire insurance. Although his letterhead states that W. G. Horner & Co. was founded in 1873, it was in June, 1883 that the following advertisement concerning banking first appeared in the Emmitsburg Chronicle -- "Money to Loan in Sums to Suit. Notes cashed and collections made at Reasonable Rates. Checks Cashed and Accommodation Checks given free of charge. Call at the old established Loan and Brokerage Office of W. G. Horner, West Main street, opposite Peter Hoke's Store".

Later, that same year construction was started on what was to be his residence as well an his place of business. It was located on the Northeast quadrant of the town square and was a three story brick building. The February 26, 1884 issue of the Chronicle published this article:

A Fine New Building

Mr. W. G. Horner, Broker and Insurance Agent has so far completed his new residence, on the north-east corner of the square in this place, as to have taken possession of the room intended for the use of the Mutual Live Stock Insurance Company of Emmitsburg of which he is the Secretary. This room is on the first floor and covers a space of 34 by 24 feet; the ceilings are 11 feet high, and it has seven windows, including the sashed door; the window lights are of plate glass, 7 by 4 feet. The whole dwelling is 35 feet front on the south side and 47 feet running northward with a back building additional of 18 feet. It contains 12 rooms, several of which are quite large, there is a fine Hall on the Eastern side from which well constructed stairways lead to the upper rooms, the roof is hipped and covered with slate, the attic is lighted with dormer windows from which there are excellent views of the mountain and the valley in different directions. The basement is to be finished as a large room and contains a Gold Medal Furnace from the establishment of W. E. Wood & Co., of Baltimore, by which the entire building is heated, the pipes for gas are in position throughout the building, and those for water and others for ventilating purposes will be in place in due time. For elegance of structure and convenience throughout we regard the building a model of completeness. Messrs. J. H. Taylor has been the architect and carpenter, S. Florence brick layer, Jno. Sebold plasterer, and Jacob S. and Geo. T. Gelwicks the painters.

The July 19, 1884 issue of the Chronicle described the building's sidewalk:

A Fine Footwalk

Mr. W. G. Horner is laying his pavement at his residence on the square, and it is a fine piece of work. He gets the flag stones from the Cleveland Ohio Building Stone Company. They are sawed, some single stones are 8 ft. 3 in. by 4 ft. and are from 4 inches to 6 inches thick, the surface is of course perfectly level, and just sufficiently smooth to give a good foothold. The improvement surpasses anything in its line, ever attempted in this place.

In June, 1887 work was begun on preparing the iron to be used in the vault to be constructed for the new bank. The vault was completed three months later and this article appeared in the September 24, 1887 Chronicle: "The vault for the new bank at Mr. W. G. Horner's building in this place has been completed, and is a beautiful piece of work. It was made at the York Safe and Lock works, and is furnished with double combinations and a time lock."

By February, 1888, the banking room had been completed and the 28th issue of the Chronicle described it:

The Banking Room of Messrs. W. G. Horner & Co., received its finishing touches last week, in the completion of the counters, which with the entire appointments present a very artistic effect, the finely wrought woodwork, the plate glass arrangements for light, the steel shutters and barred doors all silver plated, with the fine workmanship in the massive arrangements of the vault, and its wonderful locks and apartments, the gas fixures, etc., are all executed according to the most approved designs of the day, and cannot fail to please all who are interested in complete equipments.

On May 10, 1884 the Daily News, Frederick, noted a further use of the building: "The C & P Telephone Co. have established an exchange at Emmitsburg in the Horner building,. Miss Bell Helman is the operator. The lines in that section are said to be working splendidly and subscribers are raising a hello of a time."

Sometime during the early 1880's a group of local investors formed The Mutual Live Stock Insurance Company of Emmitsburg. I have not been able to find, in the Frederick County Courthouse, the Maryland State Archives, the Frederick County Historical Society or the newspapers,, who made up the company except that W. G. Horner was the Secretary. In March of 1885 the integrity of The Mutual Live Stock Insurance Company of Emmitsburg was questioned by a Virginia newspaper in this article which appeared in the March 7, issue of the Frederick Daily News entitled " Pretty Strong Language: Under the heading of 'The Emmitsburg Swindle' the Warrenton Virginian of February 26th says -- 'Some time ago a Live Stock Insurance Company commenced doing work at Emmitsburg, Md. They insured for a mere nominal sum and some of our best insurance agents were forced to take the agency for this company by the demands of the people to have their property placed in it.

The company did very well for a time, but recently it has given very wide spread dissatisfaction. The evident policy of the company has been to get all the insurance possible at long terms and then to drive its policy holders off by sending in frequent assessments. One gentleman that we know of received fifteen assessments in January. He, of course, withdrew from the company and the amounts that he had paid in was that much clear profit to the swindlers. The experience of this one has been the same with all that we have been able to hear of. Those who have lost animals insured, for some time past have been able to get nothing for them. The circular of the company gives a list of names as president, directors, etc., but letters addressed to them bring replies that those who were associated with this company have long since resigned and the one person who seems to have control of its affairs is W. G. Horner, the nominal secretary. This man seems to be one of the most unabashed swindlers we have ever heard of. Either his own reason is dethroned or he takes the rest of mankind to be fools. If there is law to reach such a case he should be punished, if not a coat of tar and feathers would not be out of place."

A week later, a retraction and apology was printed in the Daily News entitled: " Mr. Horner Vindicated: The article quoted from the Warrenton Virginian of February 26, which appeared in The Weekly News of last week, and in which a live stock insurance company doing business in Emmitsburg was referred to as the 'Emmitsburg Swindle', has provoked considerable speculation and inquiry in this county, and it appears that the statements in the Warrenton Virginian are not supported by any shadow of fact. At the time of reproducing the article we characterized its language as 'pretty strong', but studiously refrained from endorsing its sentiments, editorially of otherwise. We will now add that we are satisfied from enquiry that the Emmitsburg corporation is supported by reputable citizens of that locality and that Mr. Horner is an upright and honest man. We repeat that the publication of the article named was by no means intended as an endorsement of it. We are satisfied that Mr. Horner is, instead of being a swindler, as just and upright a citizen as lives in this county."

And a day later the Chronicle ran "An Apology: It gives us pleasure to copy the following article from the Frederick News of Thursday, which is an honest and manly acknowledgement of its error in republishing the slanderous attack of the Warrenton Virginian, on 'The Mutual Live Stock Insurance Company of Emmitsburg', and especially vilifying the character of its secretary." The article from the Daily News was then reproduced in full.

Mr. and Mrs. Horner were both active in community affairs. Both Republican and Democratic rallies were hosted at his Liberty Flouring Mills in Liberty Township. After one Democratic meeting, "those remaining enjoyed themselves with a dance which was arranged by Mrs. W. G. Horner, and to her are due the thanks for her taste and attention in making so complete a success on this occasion". The Chronicle describes a Democratic "meeting and torch light procession, which although not as long an the one (Republican) the previous night, was better lighted and the illuminations throughout the town were more general, and the decorations in many places, were beautiful. A feature of the turn out was six young ladies on horse back, who headed the parade. After the procession.the addresses were delivered from a platform erected in front of the entrance to W. G. Horner & Co.'s Banking House, which building was kindly offered by Mr. Horner for the occasion, and had been beautifully decorated by the ladies interested in the party, under the supervision of Mrs. Horner."

They were both members of the committee to erect a fountain in the square. They were also members of The Harrison, Morton and McComas Club and in connection with this Mrs. Horner started a juvenile Glee Club composed entirely of little boys. They entertained frequently at their home and the following article found among Mrs. Horner's personal belongings describes one such affair:

Ball at Emmitsburg

One of the grandest affairs of the season at Emmitsburg, this county, was a full dress ball, given by Mrs. W. G. Horner, on last Wednesday evening, 28 couples in attendance. At 9 p.m. they all fell in line and left the handsomely decorated parlor for the brilliantly lighted ball room, whereas a number of friends and relatives of Mr. And Mrs. Horner had assembled to witness the grand march which was led by Mr. E. Adelsberger and hostess. This merry party continued until 1 a.m., when all repaired to the spacious dining room, where a sumptuous menu of confectioneries, cakes, ice cream, fruits, etc. was served. In the center of the table was noticed a magnificent pyramid of flowers and fruits, which was arranged with such art and delicacy as to tempt the appetite of the most fastidious. The ladies in attendance were dressed as follows: The hostess was attired in cream and lavender satin, with diamonds; her sister Mrs. L. W. McClain and Miss F. King, of Gettysburg , wore black silk, Mrs. Prof. Jourdan was dressed in cream and red satin, Misses T. and N. Adelsberger in pale blue and cream with Spanish lace and flowers, J. Woodsworth in acrue and plume, M. and K. O'Donoghue in cream and blue with lace and flowers, J. Baker in black silk with roses, M. J. Hemler in pink and blue with lace, and natural flowers, L. and A. Hoke in cream and red satin, B. Hendrickson in pale blue silk, G. Adelsberger, of Baltimore, in black silk and lace, with roses, and little Ivy Horner in pale blue silk, received a great deal of attention from all the guests. Among the guests were: L. W. McClain, of Gettysburg, Messrs. E. and G. Adelsberger, J. and D. O'Donoghue, and C. Rowe, E. Hemler, E. and J. Johnson, C. Gillehon, H. Danner, of Philadelphia, S. Myers, P. McDavitt, J. Siebold, E. Annan, F. Hesson, of Mechanicstown, B. Fraley, H. and C. Mannig, J. Legards and J. Horner. Although the host participated very little in the dancing yet his great pleasure seemed to be that of witnessing the real and unbounded enjoyment of his guests.

Mr. Horner died very suddenly on February 1, 1889. He had become ill only the day before. He was only 43 years old. The following obituary appeared in the February 9 issue of the Chronicle:

"Mr. Winfield G. Horner, proprietor of the Banking House of W. G. Horner & Co., of this place, and also proprietor of Liberty Flouring Mills in Liberty Twp. Pa., died at his late residence in this place last Friday afternoon at 3:15 o'clock, after a brief illness. He was born April 14, 1846, being in his 43rd year of his age. His personal history was interesting. He started out as a farmer, was afterwards associated with the late Mr. Isaac Hyder in the general merchandise business, later he filled a clerkship in the Emmitsburg post office; at one time he had the contract for carrying the Gettysburg mail from this place, and was connected in the livery business with Mr. C. S. Smith; He was Secretary of the Mutual Live-Stock Insurance company of Emmitsburg, was agent for the Royal and Continental Fire Insurance Companies, also several Life Insurance companies and finally was the founder of the banking firm of W. G. Horner & Co., and sole proprietor of the celebrated Liberty Flouring Mill. Mr. Horner was a man of quick perception and much natural shrewdness, which soon familiarized him with his different callings. It is due to him that our town owes some of its success, and by his death it loses one of its most enterprising citizens. His funeral took place on Monday morning and was largely attended. Services were conducted by the Rev. W. Simonton, D.D. of this place. The remains were taken to Gettysburg and interred at Evergreen Cemetery. The pall bears were W. S. Guthrie, John Donoghue, Geo. C. Habighurst, James F. Hickey, D. H. Reisman and W. A. Fraley."

As far as I have been able to determine from reviewing the newspapers, the bank was not operated after his death. No further mention of it was made in the Chronicle. What happened to its assets is unclear. Unfortunately, my Grandfather died intestate and my Grandmother was only able to salvage the Liberty Flour Mill. She moved there with her three children, living there several years and then moving to Gettysburg.

Some other items from the Emmitsburg Chronicle

8/23/1884 -- Mrs. W. G. Horner and her daughter and sister have been at Atlantic City for over a week.

6/30/1885 -- Mr. W. G. Horner made a visit to W. Va., and bought himself a pair of thoroughbred horses.

12/19/1885 -- Mr. W. G. Horner has our thanks for some very fine Calendars. They are from the Continental Insurance Co., of which he is agent in this section.

2/6/1886 -- W. G. Horner, Mortgagee will sell a lot of livestock, agricultural implements, etc., the property of Lewis A. Bollinger, at his residence near Bridgeport.

2/13/1886 -- "Doctor, I can neither lay nor set. What shall I do". "I think you had better roost." was the reply. Now if the doctor had prescribed a bottle of Salvation Oil, for the poor fellow's rheumatism, it would have relieved his patient at once. 25 cents.

Straw hats and linen dusters will not be so very popular as heretofore; Dr. Bull's Cough Syrup, however, will be as popular as ever at 25 cents.

4/24/1886 -- Accident -- On Thursday Winfield a little son of Mr. W. G. Horner of this place and Percy, a son of Mr. A. Eyster were playing on a pile of lumber at Zimmerman & Maxell's lumber yard, when the pile fell down, burying both the little fellows, who made a miraculous escape from death. Winfield escaped with some bruises and Percy with a broken arm.

10/2/1886 -- There are stones lying loose, here and there, along the streets, which the authorities would be commended in removing. The Messrs. Ashbaugh have raised and leveled the cobblestones in front of Mr. W. G. Horner's residence on the square.

9/3/87 -- town property at private sale -- The undersigned, as attorneys in fact, for the heirs of David W. Horner, late of Frederick County, deceased, offer at private sale, the HOUSE & LOT upon which said deceased resided prior to the time of his death, adjoining lots of W. G. Horner and E. L. Rowe, Esq. It will be sold upon easy terms, which will be made known by the Undersigned. O. A. Horner, W. G. Horner, Attorneys-in-fact.

12/3/1887 -- oats notes -- Suits have been brought by W. G. Horner & Co., of Emmitsburg, on a note against Francis Cole for $400 and another against Theodore Kimple for $200, and by Johnston Warehame, Jr., against Theodore Kimple for $100. These notes grew out of "Bohemian oats". Payment is withheld on the ground of not having received value for the obligations,. The other side will depend upon the plea of "innocent holdership."

12/24/1887 -- Mr. W. G. Horner has our thanks for a lot of the finest Calendars wee have seen this year. They are furnished by the Royal Fire Insurance Co., of Liverpool, England, of which Mr. Horner is agent.

1/28/1888 -- arm broken -- In descending the steps of the portico at the front of Eyster's City Hotel, on Monday last, Mrs. W. G. Horner fell and in so doing broke the inner bone of her left arm, below the elbow. Drs. J. B. Brawner and J. K. Wrigley adjusted the displacement and the fracture. The patient we are glad to learn has been progressing finely.

10/27/1888 -- Theodore B. Horner and David W. Horner, Administrators of David W. Horner, deceased, have sold a farm in Cumberland township, containing 288 acres and 96 perches of land to Mrs. Ollie J. Horner, at $34.50 per acre, aggregating $9956.70.

6/6/1889 -- disastrous flood -- The disastrous flood of the past week was the worst ever experienced in this section. At an early hour on Friday evening Emmitsburg was completely cut off from the outside world, by the waters of Flat Run and Tom's Creek flowing around the bridges, but it was not until Saturday morning that the citizens became aware of the extent of the damage to property. Tom's Creek at Gilson's was twenty-four inches higher than ever known before, and at Maxell's mill the water was four feet higher than it had been in fifty years. Seven of the benches at the railroad trestle were washed away, which stopped all trains from running on Saturday. The bridge at Snouffer's mill was injured and the water rose in the miller's house to within fifteen inches of the ceilings on the first floor, the stable was washed away, and a buggy belonging to Mr. James Septer, the miller, completely ruined, his horse was saved. The dam at Horner's mill in Liberty twp., was swept away, the water rushing down with such force as to wash an immense hole in the road just in front of the entrance to the bridge near the mill. The bridge to the turnpike at the toll-gate at that point was washed entirely away. The mountain road between the bridge at Hartman's mill and Annan Dale school house was badly damaged. Slight damage was sustained to the reservoir of the Emmitsburg Water Company. A field of corn on Mr. Joe Byers farm was completely ruined scarcely one acre being left in a field of over twenty, soil having been washed off the field entirely to the depth it was plowed. Nearly all the bridges in the district were injured to a greater or less extent. Many of our farmers suffered heavily by damage to growing crops.

Read other article by William Horner

Read the History of the Fall of the Banking House of Annan-Horner

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