Moving Westward

Horton and his family were among the first to leave Carteret County, travelling to Fredericktown, Washington County, PA. Many others, including Horton’s father-in-law, Joseph Dew, Levina Hall, Jonas Small and sailed from Beaufort NC to Alexandria VA. From there, they travelled by wagon to Fredericktown, PA where they found Horton Howard and his family breaking their travels as their children recovered from whooping cough. Among the Friends leaving North Carolina, was Abigail Stanton, a widow with several young children. Once they received word that the land office in Steubenville was open, they continued their journey, settling on land near the Ohio River.

Shelters were hurriedly built – little more than squatter’s cabins made with log walls and roofs, chinked with mud, which shrank as it dried, allowing light and wind through the cracks.  Crude doors were made and partial floors were laid. Cooking was done outside until a chimney and fireplace was added. With these practicalities addressed, they could turn to improving their houses. Windows were added by cutting holes in the wall, and covered by pasting layers of newspaper, greased with hogs’ lard. These windows allowed a warm mellow light to shine through on sunny days. Rough hewn floors were laid, and additional chinking of cracks made the cabins cozier. Lofts, reached by ladder, were built to create sleeping areas.

This cabin, in Mt Pleasant, Ohio shows an early log cabin. Windows were added later to create a store front and an addition for living space had clapboard siding. This view gives an idea of the early settler’s homes.

Log cabin - Mt Pleasant

An early Mode of Travel

1799- late summer or early fall

Horton Howard, his father-in-law Joseph Dew, and widowed brother-in-law, Aaron Brown travelled from Carteret and Jones Counties, North Carolina to explore the Northwest Territory just across the Ohio River. Horton wrote home to his wife, Mary, with a progress report from Winchester, VA:

    “Dear and Loving Wife … we are all in Tolerable Health at present and have been mostly so since we came from home … and I hope if best these will find you all in health. We are now at Winchester in Virginia having crossed the Blue Ridge of Mountains and are between it and the Allegheny Mountain about Four Hundred and Fifty Miles from Home and One Hundred and thirty six from Redstone. We have been favoured to get along so far with less Difficulty and fatigue than we expected, but we have travailed slower and found after getting in the Hilly Land that our Chair would not answer so we left it at the House of our Friend Clark Moorman at Cedar Creek in Virginia 326 miles from Home, where I purchased for 100 Dollars a pleasant going Mair and now we all go comfortably on Horseback”

I was puzzled by the reference to the chair, until I found pictures from the Carriage Association of America (credit to

I can fully understand why this was not a comfortable mode of travel over hills and rough terrain

Three More Losses in the Family

Death continued to cause sorrow in the Howard family

  • August 1819 – Jane Howard – Horton’s 3 year old daughter died of scarlet fever. She was the last child child born to Horton and Hannah Howard. Even in a time when raising a child was uncertain, there must have been sorrow at the loss of this child.
  • October 1821 – Pharaby Patterson Howard, died as a bride of 3 months, leaving Horton’s son, Joseph to mourn the loss of his wife. Pharaby died of intermittent bilious fever. Pharaby was an only daughter, and left her parents with one remaining son.
  • August 1825 – Hannah Howard, also called Hannah Junior as she was called after her mother, died from bilious fever at the age of 13. She was a delightful child, full of grace and good humor according to her father. His belief that the medical practice of bleeding was a contributing factor in her death led him to involvement in the practice of botanical medicine or steam doctoring.

Bilious fever and intermittent bilious fever are among the many diseases that have changed names over the years. These and other archaic medical terms will be discussed at a later date.

Sad ending for a 2nd Marriage

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.


Loss of an infant and a wife

Yesterday I shared the names of family members who died during Horton’s life and the years of their deaths. My next few posts will include the causes of their deaths.

Horton’s 2 year old daughter Ruth died of croup in the spring of 1796. She was about 16 months old.  Her mother, Anna Mace Howard died less than a year later of consumption.

There were many respiratory illnesses at that time – not all accurately diagnosed and none that were easily treated.