William Henry Hornor

WILLIAM HENRY HORNOR, deceased, a prominent member of the legal profession, was one of the most influential and public-spirited citizens of Baxter Springs, in whose growth and development he was a conspicuous figure.

Mr. Hornor was born in Lumberport, Harrison County, Virginia, now West Virginia, April 23, 1841. He received his education in Middlebourne, West Virginia, supplemented by a college course at Morgantown, in the same State. He was admitted to the bar and during his early manhood practiced in the courts of West Virginia and Kentucky. In May, 1867, he came West to Fort Scott, Kansas, and a short time later removed to Baxter Springs, where he resided until his death on May 31, 1903. He came to the city at a time when lawlessness and crime were prevalent, but was unalterably opposed to the organization of a vigilance committee and lynch law, believing that the majesty of the law should be upheld and that the courts should deal with every alleged offender. He believed that men composing a vigilance committee might in the heat of passion wrongfully punish an innocent man and that if the accused were given jury trials and permitted to defend themselves, errors might be avoided. The vigilance committee was composed of men of influence in the community and Mr. Hornor's attitude in this matter was unpopular, but with characteristic straighforwardness[sic] he maintained his course in this matter, as in all others when he believed he was in the right. He took great pride in his citizenship in Baxter Springs and as he was considered a remarkably shrewd business man, as well as an able lawyer, was actively associated with all enterprises tending toward the progress and development of the city. He was greatly instrumental in inducing the "Gulf" railroad to construct a line through Baxter Springs, going to Boston with Lucien Denton, then the mayor of Baxter Springs, to close the deal. He met with General Blair and Mr. Pratt and settled the bonded indebtedness of the city in the matter of the "Gulf" railroad. He was identified with much of the important litigation in this community, among other cases the celebrated damage suit of Stone and Gove against the city, out of which he secured a good settlement. As a citizen he was always foremost in advancing the interests of his home city, and was indefatigable in his efforts to promote its welfare. For many years he was owner of the private bank known as the Drovers' and Farmers' Bank, established by him, and served as its president. In politics he was a Republican and for a time was mayor of the city. He was not a man to cast a vote for one party or the other at all elections, but voted for the candidate best fitted for the office.

In June, 1862, Mr. Hornor was united in marriage with Adelaide Neale, a daughter of Alfred and Clementine (Saunders) Neale of Neale's Island, West Virginia. Mr. Hornor was a man who loved his church and it was chiefly through his influence that the Protestant Episcopal Church at Baxter Springs was built. He was the first senior warden and remained such until his death. He would often gather flowers to adorn it, kept up repairs and gave it his liberal financial support. He was buried from the chapel, the funeral services being conducted by Rev. J. C. Ferrier, rector of the Episcopal Church in Pittsburg, Kansas, and in memory of his labors the chapel was beautifully decorated with wild flowers. The Cherokee County Bar association attended in a body and joined in showing their regard and the loss they felt at his demise. Fraternally, he was a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Knights and Ladies of Security.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Cody Warstler, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 2-25-97.


[TOC] [Biog. Index] [1904 Index] [Cherokee Co.] [Archives]
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