Mary Elizabeth Horn, wife of Lewis M. Gorby

Mary Elizabeth Horn, wife of Lewis M. Gorby

I have to admit that I have always had a great interest in Lewis M. Gorby, the only “true” Gorby Confederate during the Civil War.  Especially after learning he didn’t actually die during the War.

But we have never known who his wife Mary Elizabeth Horn (1826-1896) was.  Since she and Lewis were married in 1847, she never showed up by name on any pre-wedding census.

But now, we are happy to tell you that we now know who her parents are.

She is a previously undocumented daughter of Williamson Hartley Horn (b. Lynchburg, VA 1799 – d. 1870 Nashville, TN). Williamson Hartley Horn was a painter by trade (of buildings) and was elected mayor of Nashville in 1853.

Here are the facts:

1. Lewis Gorby was a paperhanger by trade and during the Civil War was 1st Lt to Capt William L. Horn in McNairy’s Cavalry Battalion in Company B (The Shelby Dragoons).

2. Lewis died in 1871 and on the 1880 Census Mary his widow is living with her sister-in-law Nannie S. Price (b. abt 1843 in TN) and Nannie’s husband W. G. Price (b. abt 1833 in GA).

3. Williamson Hartley Horn has a previously documented daughter; Nancy S. Horn (b. 1842).

4. In the Nashville Marriage Index 1864-1905, Nashville Public Library; from Marriage Book 5, Section 52:

Nancy S. Horn m. William G. Price on July 27, 1864.

You can find also William on the 1860 Census in Davidson Co with his parents John & Eleanor Price. Both William and his father John were painters as well.
The ages of Nancy and William from the 1860 census match those from the in-laws on the 1880 census.

5. Capt William L. Horn of McNairy’s cavalry is also a documented son of Williamson Hartley Horn. He is also the son closest in age to Mary.

6. There is a 10 year gap between Williamson Hartley Horn’s previously documented 1st and 2nd children. This is rather unusual given that there are only 2-3 average years between children 2 through 9.

7. In the household of William Hartley Horn, 1840 Census:

males under 5 yrs (b. 1836-1840) – 3
should be Fletcher, Willoughby and Charles
males 5-9 yrs (b. 1831-1835) – 2
should be Edward and Richard
males 10-14 yrs (b. 1826-1830) – 1
should be William

females 10-14 yrs (b. 1926-1830) – 1

Who is this? Not Caroline who was born 1819.
Not Nancy or Elizabeth who were born after 1840.
Mary was born in 1826 though, and fits that age category.

8. The 1830 census is less helpful because apparently two families are living together. But it still shows:

one male b. 1826-1830 (William)
one female b. 1816-1820 (Caroline)
then two more females, one in the same age group as William (Mary?) and one in the age group between Caroline and William.

So while this seems all circumstantial, the best evidence is the 1880 census that states that Mary Gorby and Nancy Price are sisters.  Given that the research is accurate and thorough, taken in toto, it proofs out that Mary Elizabeth Horn is a daughter of Williamson Hartley Horn.

Update: February 14, 2016

I have found additional confirmation in a newspaper story that Mary Horn is a daughter of Williamson Hartly Horn. She appears in a long article that lists many families to whom a charitable donation was given.

From “The Tennessean”, Nashville, Davidson Co, TN, January 21, 1874, page 4:

Texts for Impressive sermons – Charitable Gifts to Those In Need of Them
Mary Gorby – Lives at 18 Kirkman Street; widow; has two children; daughter of Captain Horn. She says she has relatives but they do nothing for her – $5.

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