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Old Long County home tells timeless tale

Liberty lore

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POSTED: February 19, 2013 4:00 a.m.
Photo by Bruce DeLoach/

The former home of Hendley Foxworth Horne is one of the largest antebellum homes left in Long County.

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Hendley Foxworth Horne was a prominent man who made his home many years ago in the area around Jones Creek off Henry Walcott Road in Long County. I have seen his old home many times but never knew the story behind its builder.
It still is standing and beautiful and is one of the largest antebellum homes remaining in Long County. The home probably was built around 1855. It is owned by descendants, the Marcus Smith family. I found some good information about this man that was written in 1895 in a book by the Southern Historical Association that had many sketches of important people in the South at that time.
Other useful information I found was written by the great historian, Helen Cox, for the Ludowici News in 1964. I asked my son, Bruce, to snap a picture of the old homeplace. Brian Brown took many pictures of this house for his “Vanishing Georgia” series, and one lady who saw it was kin to Horne. The lady, Jennifer Pinson-Harvey, wrote in December 2012 that Horne was her great-great-grandfather. Her mother, who is 95, and many members of her family were born at this house. According to her, the Horne family was a gracious Southern family that valued education and loved God and family. She is proud and honored to have this heritage.
Thomas Horne came to South Carolina from Ireland and married Mary Foxworth. Their son, Richard Horne, was born Feb. 11, 1764. Both men served in the patriot army during the Revolutionary War. Thomas Horne lost his life in the service.
Richard had two children, Rachel and Ann Nancy, by his first wife. Later, he married Mary Hendley Gordon, and they had Hendley Foxworth Horne, who was born Jan. 19, 1814. He was named after two of the surnames. He was 3 years old when his parents came to Liberty (Long) County in Georgia in 1817. He was reared on a farm and received a fairly good education at the common schools in the county.
The day he was 21 years old in 1835, he settled on the land on what now is Henry Walcott Road and began home life in a small one-room log house. Starting out poor, but determined to better his worldly conditions, he had succeeded to his own satisfaction. Besides land, he had 20 slaves when the Civil War began in 1861. He had experienced the period of plenty in the pre-war era. His son went to war and was a private in “The Liberty Guards,” and two sons-in-laws were privates in the “Altamaha Scouts.”
On May 9, 1861, Foxworth Horne contracted with the Confederates States of America at a sum of $800 per year to transport the mail from Perry’s Mills (Tattnall County seat) by way of Matlock and Beards Creek to Johnston Station (then in McIntosh County, but now Ludowici). The contract called for his leaving Perry’s Mills at 6 a.m. each Monday and Thursday and arriving at Johnston Station by noon the next day. He was to leave Johnston Station at 1 p.m. each Tuesday and Friday, arriving at Perry’s Mills by 6 p.m.
The contract, No. 6047, was witnessed by W. O. Darsey, Jacob Howard and William W. Driggers, J. P., with securities, John Chapman and James M. Owens; and certified by W. H. Parker, postmaster at Johnston Station. The federal government owed him $200 for mail service performed, which, of course, he lost. As a young man he was a justice of the peace for many years and served as justice of the Inferior Court of Liberty County during the war years.
When the Civil War ended, all Hendley had was his land and some livestock. With these as his capital, supplemented by good health and a resolute will, he commenced life anew. By his industry and good management, he acquired 8,000 acres of land and had a fine well-improved plantation and four houses on his property. He also was engaged in the timber business. At the age of 81, he was still hale, hearty and cheerful.
In October 1865, at the state Capitol in Milledgeville, the Constitutional Convention convened in the hall of the House of Representatives. Foxworth Horne and John B. Mallard of Midway were the representatives for the county. The Civil War had ended, and President Lincoln had been assassinated. Georgia’s governor and the president of the Confederacy had been imprisoned along with other leading Georgians. All was disorder and chaos when this convention convened. In 1877, Foxworth Horne was elected to represent Liberty County in the General Assembly.
Foxworth Horne was an outstanding member of the Jones Creek Baptist Church. He joined the church in 1834 and served as church clerk from 1837-42 and from 1854-85. He wrote a short history of the church in the 1881 minutes of the New Sunbury Association. He was a deacon and trustee of the church.
On Feb. 26, 1853, Foxworth Horne presented the church plans for a new meeting house with a slave gallery. The plans were accepted, and he and W. B. Smith were appointed to see the executors of the John Lambert estate of the Midway community to request financial help in building the meeting house. In July, he was appointed to the committee to build the new church.
On April 26, 1856, the new church had been completed, and the building committee was instructed to contract to have the yard cleaned and to procure a bucket for the well. On Jan. 27, 1857, Foxworth Horne was designated as the agent to borrow money to pay for building the new church house. He never swore an oath and always was temperate in his habits.
Foxworth Horne was married three times. He was first married to Anna Susannah Parker (1816-44), daughter of William Hall Parker and Anna Susannah Hiers Parker. They had six children, and four grew to adulthood: Rachel, Louisa, Anna and Hendley S. Horne. He married Sarah Smiley (1819-50) from Liberty County, and they had two children, James and Sarah. His third wife was Sarah Lang (1837-1923) of Tattnall County. Their children were Euretta, Rosa, Nat, Robert and Ed D. Horne, who married Sally Dewitt and were the last of the Hornes to live in the old homeplace.
During an interview in 1895, it was noted that he was a very intelligent and genial gentleman of the old school, entertaining hospitably, had a host of friends and while he enjoyed their society and the comforts secured by honest labor and good management, felt prepared for his final summons. Two days before his 85th birthday, on Jan. 17, 1899, the final summons came to him. He was buried in Jones Creek Church Cemetery. All three of his wives and his parents also are buried there.
A great-granddaughter, Belle Johnston Overstreet, was 8 years old then. She recalled seeing the old, gray family horse, Nellie, pulling the wagon bearing the casket. With a slow, measured tread, the old horse drew up to the front of the church. Overstreet remembered hearing her Aunt Lula Morrison say, “Old Nellie looks real sad, like she knows what she is pulling.” A beloved citizen of Liberty (Long) County was laid to rest.
When I pass by the beautiful old home, I can put a person and life into the picture.

 

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