Horton Surname Genealogy

The English surname Horton came
from a place-name that was found in three places in Yorkshire and in a
of other counties in England.
Horton itself derived from the Old English horh meaning
“mud” or “slime” and tun meaning
“settlement” or “enclosure.” Hence Horton
would literally translate as a
mud dwelling. However, other meanings for Horton have been

Horton Resources on

Horton Ancestry

England. Early
sightings were in Yorkshire. Alan de
Horton was born there around 1160, taking his name probably from the
place-name. His descendants moved south,
first to Northamptonshire and then, one branch to London and another to Mowsley in Leicestershire
where they
were to remain until the 1980’s.

There were still Hortons in
Yorkshire. Indeed three manors belonging
to Hortons were to be found in the vicinity of Halifax:

  • William Horton had built
    Howroyd Hall in 1642 (shown on the house next to the initials of WH and
    EH for William and Elizabeth Horton).
  • the Hortons also held Barkisland Hall
    at that time.
  • while in 1654 William Horton acquired Coley Hall which
    the family
    held until 1775.

A fourth and grander manor, Chadderton Hall near Oldham
Lancashire, was acquired by Joshua Horton of Howroyd in 1690. The hall was rebuilt by Sir William Horton,
High Sheriff for Lancashire, in 1748 and enlarged and improved by
Thomas Horton
in the 1800’s.

There were some other separate early Hortons, such as the Hartford
Hortons from Northumberland and the Hortons from Shropshire.

West Midlands. On the basis of the 1881 census, the main
focus for Hortons was in the West
Midlands. Some 45% of the Hortons in
England were to be found in a line running from Lancashire to Cheshire
Staffordshire and onto Warwickshire and Worcestershire (with the most
concentration being
in Staffordshire and Warwickshire).

The Hortons were an old landowning family at
Bushbury near Wolverhampton in Staffordshire.
Two Hortons who joined the army in the early 1800’s – Captain William and Captain John Horton
– had
different stories, one sad and the other strange. The
family moved to Worcester around the year

Benjamin Horton, born in 1796, started a pig farm in Lichfield,
Staffordshire. His son Isaac moved to
Birmingham where he invested in property.
He acquired the Midland Hotel in 1871 and four years later built
the Grand Hotel. He left what came to be
Horton Estates, a substantial family-owned property company now run by

A Horton family had a long
history of the Birmingham gun trade, going back to the 1750’s with
Joshua James
Horton. William and his son Oliver
carried on the Horton gun-making craft into the 20th century.

“Oliver had two
daughters and sadly it was not the done thing in the 1920’s to pass on
gun-making company to a daughter! Their company was sold.”

. The
Horton name had come to London by the 1300’s. One
early presence was William Horton,
described as a resident of Southwark in 1394.
He later served as its MP.

The Horton family occupied Westwood manor in
Wiltshire in Tudor times. Thomas Horton
who died in 1530 was one of the most successful clothiers of his time.
manufacturing at Iford flourished under his management.
Sir John Horton, born in 1593, expanded the
family fortunes still further and made his home at Great Chalfield. The English actress Christiana Horton, born
in 1699, was said to have come from a good family in Wiltshire.

America. Early Hortons came to New
England and

New England. Barnabas
Horton from Leicestershire arrived with his family on the Swallow
in 1635 and, five years later, settled at Southold on the
eastern end of Long Island.

“Barnabas was one of the thirteen founding members of
Southold. In 1640 a small band of Puritans
who just a
few years before had crossed the Atlantic in search of religious
freedom and a
better life, became dissatisfied with conditions in New England and
secured for
themselves a parcel of land across the waters of the Long Island Sound
on which
to organize their church.”

Barnabas’s house in
Southold, built in 1659, survived until 1870.
Barnabas’s life was covered in Jacqueline Dinan’s
2015 book In Search of Barnabas

The Rev. Ezra Horton left Southold for Union, Connecticut in the
A descendant Alonzo Horton, born there in 1813, headed West and
became a
successful real estate developer in San Diego.

Nathan Horton served in the Revolutionary War and moved to New Jersey. His son Nathan made the long trek from New Jersey to North Carolina
1785 and was among the first settlers of Watauga county. A descendant Henry
Walter Horton

built the historic
Horton Hotel in downtown Boone in the 1920’s.

Thomas Horton from
Leicestershire, related to Barnabas, arrived with his family on the Mary and John in 1638 and settled in
Springfield, Massachusetts (although not for long as he died three
later). Carl Fischer’s 1965 book was
entitled Descendants of Thomas Horton of

The line through his son Jeremiah remained in Springfield although
Abraham Horton, a Quaker, departed for Pennsylvania in the 1740’s and
then moved
with other Quaker families to Tom’s Creek in North Carolina in 1768. His son John married a Cherokee woman and was
banned from the Quaker meetinghouse.
John moved with other evicted Cherokees from North Carolina to
Arkansas in

Virginia. There were three notable early Horton lines in Virginia.

One was from William Horton from
Gloucestershire who came in 1652 and settled in Westmoreland county. Later Hortons of this line were to be found
in North Carolina and in Troup county, Georgia.

Another was from Daniel Horton from Middlesex who was first recorded in
Surry county in 1678. Among his
descendants were:

  • Amos Horton who moved from South Carolina to Tennessee
    1810 and later died of typhoid fever. A
    descendant was Henry Hollis Horton
    who served as the Governor of Tennessee from
    1927 to 1933.
  • and
    William Horton, born in North Carolina in 1812, who headed for Blount
    Alabama at an early age and became a wealthy planter there.

Horton meanwhile came involuntarily to Culpepper county, having been
transported there on the Justitia in
1769. He fought on the American side in
the Revolutionary War and lived until 1820.

“Robert enlisted in the 3rd Virginia Militia in February
1776. He served in the Battles of Kings
York Island, White Plains, Brandywine and Germantown.
He was with Washington at Valley Forge where
he was discharged in February 1778.”

Some of his descendants, including his widow Jaley, migrated to Ohio;
others to Tennessee.

. Captain
Isaiah Horton – a descendant of Thomas Horton who had come to America
in 1638 –
left his home in Rhode Island for Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1768. At the time of the Revolutionary War he was
accused of American sympathies as he would not swear an oath of

“He had his house
burned down and his young cattle killed.
His older sons were obliged several times to hide him in the

After the war
he moved to the Cooks
Cove area of Guysborough county. There he
was prepared to swear an oath of allegiance in order to receive a land
grant. He died around 1827.
His descendants have remained in Nova Scotia.

Henry Horton from Kent brought his family to
Ontario in 1831 and settled in Huron county.
One of his sons Horace served as the mayor of Goderich and a Canadian
MP during the 1870’s. Horace’s home of
Donnelly House in Goderich, built in the 1880’s, is still standing.

Australia. David Horton was a convict
in the Third
Fleet, transported from Yorkshire to Sydney on the William
and Ann
in 1791.
There he was married three times to convict women and was the
father of
fifteen children.

His first wife Elizabeth, whom he married in 1796, left him
for an army captain in 1801 and later made her home in Tasmania. The next year David received at land grant at
Pitt Town in the Hawkesbury area. He
then met another Elizabeth, whom he eventually married in 1825, by whom
he had
eleven children. After Elizabeth’s death
in 1830 he married for a third time in the following year.
He died in 1842.

William Hortons, both aged around sixteen, were transported to Sydney
1832. The first William Horton remained
in NSW. He married in 1847, raised six
children, and died in 1907 at the grand age of ninety-two.
The second William Horton
had a much shorter lifespan (he died in 1864) but a
more successful one, moving to Queensland and running the Bull’s
Head Inn
at Drayton.

New Zealand. Alfred
Horton had an early experience in printing and journalism in
before his emigration to New Zealand in 1861.
There he pursued these interests further and became a major
shareholder in the New Zealand Herald in 1876. His descendants remained active in the
newspaper, through their company Wilson & Horton, until its sale in

Horton Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Horton Names

Christiana Horton
was a leading English actress in London in the
early 1700’s.
George Moses Horton
an enslaved black in North Carolina whose 1829 book of poetry, The Hope of Liberty, was the first book
to be published by an African American in the South.
lonzo Horton was a real estate developer in the American
West during the mid/late 19th century. The Horton Plaza in San Diego
was named
after him.

was a Birmingham property developer in the
1870’s who left a company, Horton Estates, which is now one of the
family-owned businesses in the Midlands.
Admiral Sir Max Horton

was a British submariner in World War One and
commander-in-chief during the Battle of the Atlantic in World War Two

Select Hortons Today

  • 20,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in West Midlands)
  • 31,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 11,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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