Horton was widowed in March of 1797, and left with a 5 year old son, Henry. In February 1798, he married again, choosing Mary Dew as his new bride and stepmother for his young son. Mary appeared to be a sound choice if he hoped for a long, happy and fruitful marriage. She was the daughter of Joseph Dew – a business partner of Horton’s father, Bartholomew Howard, and one of the executors of his father’s will.
Mary bore three children in this marriage – Joseph, Rachel, and Horton Jefferson Howard. Although all three grew to adulthood, Joseph was 6 years of age, Rachel 4, and Horton J only 6 months old when their mother died of inward decay (undoubtedly cancer) in September of 1804. Twelve year old Henry had lost a second mother and his father had lost a second wife.
With four children, it was no wonder the widower married a third time – the only surprise is that it took Horton more than two years to remarry.