Saturday, April 9, 2016

H is for Horn vs Horn

Proving that newspapers are a great resource, or not.

Today we look at a branch of the Horn family, specifically the wife and children of John Horn and Andrew Horn. Their sister Barbara was married to John Benert # 1.

John Horn married Louisa Kircher sometime around 1855. They had 6 children. When John died, Louisa married his brother Andrew.. They had one child, named Louise.

I seems that Louisa and Louise did not get along. Louise was accused of running around and keeping bad company. Still, Andrew had a soft spot in his heart for her and didn't believe the stories. After all, she was his only child. He told his various relatives that he had made a new will leaving everything to Louise and nothing to his wife and his step-children.

No other will was found and when Andrew died, the fight was on. The estate was substantial. The newspapers estimated the total value at $100,000, almost $3 million today. Andrew had been a very successful saloon keeper and property investor.

The reason I bring this up is to illustrate two things.

First, the newspapers are a gold mine. From the newspapers I learned a lot about the Horn family. I learned the names of brothers and sisters, step-children and children and Andrew's wife. I learned about his occupation, where he lived and when he died.

Secondly, I subsequently learned that the newspapers had the relationships completely wrong. The names of Andrew's sisters were wrong. Louisa was described as the wicked step-mother that threw poor Louise out of the house for "drinking and driving around with men" instead of her mother. About the only thing they had correct was Louise's age. Why that was important, I don't know.

Louise lost her lawsuit and had to settle for an equal share. I was able to sort all this out when I located a copy of both Andrew's will and Louisa's will. But those newspapers had me going for a while.