JAMES T. HORDE. Noteworthy among the successful business men of Kearny County is James T. Horde, of Lakin, who as a lumber dealer is actively identified with the advancement of the industrial and mercantile interests of the community, being at the head of the Horde Lumber Company. A son of Benjamin T. Horde, he was born October 6, 1857, in Washington County, Illinois.
Ambrose Horde, Mr. Horde's grandfather, was born in Virginia, of English ancestry. He was a direct descendant of one of two brothers who settled in Virginia in colonial times, one of the brothers having been a tory and the other a patriot. The name has been variously spelled, some families having spelled it "Hord," and others "Hoard," "Hourd" or "Hurd," and others giving it its present form.
Benjamin T. Horde, a native of Harpers Ferry, Virginia, was thrown upon his own resources when young, and for many years was a river man, owning vessels plying between Cairo, Illinois, and New Orleans. Prior to the outbreak of the Civil war he left the river and started from his Illinois home for California, being accompanied by his family and his father-in-law, Doctor Lucas. Being taken ill while en route, he died in Salem, Missouri. Meeting hostile Indians, the remainder of the little band failed to reach the Pacific Coast, choosing to return East.
The maiden name of the wife of Benjamin T. Horde was Martha Lucas, a daughter of Dr. James M. Lucas. Doctor Lucas was born in Darke County, Ohio, and as boy and youth lived in Kentucky. He accumulated money as a physician in Missouri, and also owned a plantation near Carrolton, operating with slave labor. Prior to the Civil war he freed his slaves, and later he moved to Wisconsin, locating in LaCrosse, where he continued the practice of his profession until his death. The doctor married Martha Marshall, and Mrs. Benjamin T. Horde was the eldest of their four children. One of their sons, Harvey Lucas, served as a lieutenant in the Union army during the Civil wax. Mrs. Horde died in 1891, while visiting her son James in Kearny County, Kansas.
The only child of his parents, James T. Horde had a varied life as a boy, living in Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. He acquired his early education in the common schools of Illinois, and when but a boy began rustling for himself. He worked for a time in a flour mill, later in drug store, where in addition to obtaining some knowledge of drugs he worked at the printer's trade. He also while in Morrisonville, Illinois, in addition to assisting in the management of the local newspaper, was a clerk in the past office and still later was there engaged in mercantile pursuits.
In 1885 Mr. Horde came to Kansas, locating at Garden City, where he remained two years, being employed as a merchant and real estate dealer. Going from there to Trego County in 1887, he became associated with the Kansas Coal and Mining Company, representing a Portland cement company, and bought land in order to obtain the chalk that was in it for use in cement. The company subsequently failed, its assets being dissipated through the dishonesty of one of its officers.
Coming to Kearny County in 1888, Mr. Horde entered land lying one mile north of the county seat, and having erected a good house and barn lived there for a time, proving up on his claim in seven years. He added many improvements, introduced the irrigation system, and made a success of raising alfalfa and cattle. In 1906 he sold that property to the Garden City Sugar and Land Company for a part of their reservoir basin. Immediately locating in Lakin, he embarked in business as a member of the A. G. Campbell and Horde Lumber Company, and has continued until the present time, although he is now the sole owner of the business, which he is carrying on under the firm name of the Horde Lumber Company.
Mr. Horde married, September 3, 1882, at Morrisonville, Illinois, Minnie H. Travis, a daughter of David and Elizabeth (Faught) Travis. Her father a native of Ohio, was for many years engaged in farming in Illinois. He enlisted in the Union army during the Civil war, and died while in service, his body being laid to rest in Jacksonville, Illinois. Mr. and Mrs. Travis reared two daughters, Mrs. Horde, born at Morrisonville, Illinois, December 13, 1863, and Mrs. Rose Zimmer, of North Baltimore, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Horde had one child, Ruby, who was born in Morrisonville, Illinois, April 12, 1885, and was educated in the Lakin schools and in the Emporia Art School. She married Prof. George L. Hensley, and moved to Berkeley, California, where her death occurred in January, 1915. Mrs. Hensley left one child, Vesta Hensley, who now lives with her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Horde, and is in truth the life and light of their home.
Politically Mr. Horde is a loyal supporter of the principles of the republican party, and for eight years served acceptably as clerk of the Kearny County Court. He has been a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons since 1882. He is not identified by membership with any religious organization, but contributes to the support of the church to which Mrs. Horde belongs.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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