Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Horton Name
Horton Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
This is an English or Anglo-Saxon locational or habitational last name denoting a person who lived in or came from a locale so-named, including a township in the parish of Bradford, Yorkshire, England, a township in the parish of Gisburg, Yorkshire, England, and Horton-in-Ribblesdale, county Yorkshire. Other locations were in Kent, Northumberland, Stafford, Salop, Dorset, Chester, and Buckinghamshire. In total, there are places named Horton in 14 different counties in the British Isles. The name became very popular in the United States as well. There are multiple theories on the etymology or meaning of the name itself. Some assert it derives from the Old English words horh (mud or slime) or horn (dirt) and tun (settlement or enclosure), and hence literally translates as the mud dwelling. One place in Gloucestershire derives from the Old English word heorot (hart or deer) and dun (hill). Another author, Mary Antony Lower, in his nineteenth century book Patronymica Britannica, states the name derives from the Anglo-Saxon word ort or wort, meaning vegetables or herbs, and hence refers to an enclosed garden. Another theory, espoused by William Arthur in his 1857 book An Etmyological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names states the name means the horrible town or the town in the ravine, from the word horr, meaning a ravine. One source states the name was first found in West Riding at Thornton, a chapelry (a subdivision of a parish) in the parish of Bradford. Samuel Lewis’ book “A Topographical Dictionary of England” states the following: “Thronton Hall, the property of the Horton family, an ancient quadrangular structure of great size, and formerly of considerable importace, is now occupied as farm buildings and cottages” and “In the reign of Henry II, the manor was granted by Robert de Lacy to the ancestor of the Hortons”.
Some spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Whorton, Horeton, Hourton, Hortton, Hortone, Horoton, Horrton, and about 120 others.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Horton ranks 335th in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following three states: Arkansas, Alabama, and South Carolina. The surname Horton frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (472nd), Scotland (1,292nd), Wales (438th), Ireland (3,804th) and Northern Ireland (2,536th). In England, it ranks highest in counties Warwickshire and Staffordshire. In Scotland, the surname ranks highest in Berwickshire. In Wales, it ranks highest in Montgomeryshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in county Westmeath. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in county Antrim. The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (1,245th), New Zealand (785th), Australia (585th), and South Africa (4,827th).
Early Bearers of the Surname
The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists three bearers of this surname: Thomas de Horton (county Devon), William de Horton (Kent), and Adam de Horton (Cambridge). In Scotland, a one Pieres de Hortone of Edinburghshire rendered homage in 1296 AD.
The Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD lists two bearers of this last name: Emma de Horton and Dionisia de Horton. Early marriages involving this surname include Roger Horton to Margery Singer in London in 1583 and John Horton to Sarah Houghton at St. Michael, Cornhill in 1680.
Horton Family Tree & Horton Genealogy
The following is a discussion of three different noble, royal, landed, or aristocratic families bearing this last name.
Horton of Howroyde
The lineage or ancestry of this branch of the Horton family tree traces back to Joshua Horton, an Esquire of Sowerby and a Justice of the Peace, son of William Horton of Frith House, who was born in 1619. He procured the manor of Horton in Bradforddale and Stansfield Hall. He married Martha, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Binns of Rushworth, and had children with her. He died in 1679 wherepon he was succeeded by his son, also named Joshua. This son Joshua was an Esquire of Sowerby who was born in 1657. He procured the residence of Chadderton and lived there. In 1678, he married Mary, daughter of Robert Gregg of Bradley, and fathered thirteen children with her! His eldest son and heir was named Thomas. This Thomas Horton was an Esquire of Chadderton, Justice of the Peace, and Governor of the Isle of Man who was born in 1685. He married Anne, daughter and co-heir of Richard Mostyn of London, England, and had several children with her, including a son named Sir William of Chadderton who was creates a Baronet in 1764,as well as a son named Thomas Joshya (see below), and Susannah (married George Lloyd of Hulme Hall).His son Thomas Joshua Horton was an Esquire of New York and a Lieutenant Governor of that colony who was born in 1720. He married (secondly) Martha Bethia, daughter of Reverend John Woollin of York, in 1765, and had nine issue with her as follows: Thomas (his successor who is discussed below), Joshua Sidney (Admiral in the Royal Navy, married Grace Treacher, had children named Sidney Lloyd, William, and Mary Emily), William (Vicar of St. Mary’s, married Elizabeth Lyon of Liverpool, England, had a son named Richard George who married Emily Bulton, had daughters named Mary Anne, Charlotte, and Elizabeth Maria), Richard Henry (Lieutenant Colonel), Anna Maria, Jane, Charlotte (married Reverend William Richardson of Ferrybridge, had children), and Francis (married Major Richard Henry Horton if the 84th Regiment, married again), and Harriett. He died in 1793 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Thomas. This Thomas was an Esquire of Howroyde, Justice of the Peace, and Deputy Lieutenant who was born in 1766. In March of 1789, he married Lady Mary Gordon, daughter of George, the 3rd Earl of Aberdeen, and had fathered three children with her: Joshua Thomas (his heir), George William (Lieutenant Colonel, married Frances Estern Farnier of Rookesbury in 1826, had children named George William, William Thomas, Henry, Harriet Mary, Frances Elizabeth, and Lucy), and Mary (in 1816, married Francis Beynon Hacket of Moor Hall, had children with him). He died in 1828 and was succeeded by his eldest son. This son, Reverend Joshua Horton, of Howroyde, was a Vicar of Ormskirk, Justice of the Peace, and Deputy Lieutenant, who was born in 1791. In 1832, he married Harriet, daughter of Thomas Dalrymple Heskerth, Baronet of Rufford Hall, and had a son with her named Joshua. He died in 1845. His son Joshua Thomas Horton was an Esquire of Howroyde, county York, England, a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and Captain of the 2nd West York Yeomanry Cavalry who was born in May of 1836. In 1857, he married Elizabeth Blackie, daughter of John Robertson, Esquire, and had two issue with her: Joshua Thomas (1860) and Harriet. The Horton Coat of Arms (mistakenly called the Horton Family Crest or Horton Family Shield by those unfamiliar with heraldry and genealogy) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Gules, a lion rampant argent charged on the shoulder with a boar’s head couped azure a bordure engrailed of the second. Crest: A red rode, seeded barbed and surrounded by two laurel branches all proper. Motto: Pro rege et lege. The family seat was in Holwroyde, near Halifax, England, in Great Britain or modern day United Kingdom in the British Isles of Europe.
Horton of the Holt
The Horton genealogy traces back to one John Henry Kolle, and Esquire, who married Miss Elizabeth Horton, sister and heiress of Miss Mary Anne Horton, of the Holt, Lady of the Manor of Middleton. They had a son together named John Henry Kolle, who was an Esquire of Park House, Upper Tooting, county Surrey, England. This son John died around 1869, leaving behind two daughters and one by his wife Mary. One daughter married William Abbot Turnbull of Great Warley and the other married George Watson of Kesington, London. His son was also named John Henry Kolle, who in 1869, by royal license, assmed the surname of Horton, per the will of his grand aunt, Mary Ann Horton of the Holt, and also received her estates, becoming the Lord of the Manor of Middleton. This John Henry Horton was an Esquire of the Holt in Middleton, county Northampton and Mascalls, county Essex, as well as a Deputy Lieutenant who was born in 182. In October 1874, he married Caroline, daughter of Edward Frith of West Hill, and had a daughter with her named Amy Mary, who was born in 1877. He built, in 1871, an infirmary (a hospital) in Banbury, and called it Horton Infirmary. The Horton Arms have the following heraldic blazon: Per fess azure and sable a stag’s head cabossed in base argent in chief three roses of the last. Crest: In front of three tilting spears, one erect and two in saltire or, a dolphin naiant argent. Motto: Perseverantia palmam obtinebit. They were seated at The Holt in Middleton Cheney, county Northampton, as well as Mascalls, South Weald, county Essex, both in England, or modern day United Kingdom. A family seat is the principal residence of a landed gentry and/or aristocratic family that denotes political, economics, social, and historical connections of the family in that area.
The Horton Baronetcy was a title in the Baronetage of Great Britain created for William Horton, the High Sheriff of Lancaster, England in 1764. His son, Sir Watts Horton (1753-1811) was the 2nd Baronet. Sir Thomas Horton (1758-1821) was the 3rd Baronet. The title became extinct upon his death in 1821.
Other Holton Pedigree & Family Trees
Alan de Horton was born in Yorkshire, England around 1160 AD. He had two sons, both named Robert. His son Robert de Horton was born in Northamptonshire, England around 1190 AD. He had three sons: William, Henry, and John. His son Henry was born in Horton, Northamptonshire, England around 1220 AD. He married Joan Kirby and had five sons with her as follows: Hugh, William, Robert, Thomas, and Richard. His son Hugh de Horton was born in Horton, Norhamptonshire, England around 1240 AD. He married a daughter of Philip Redesdale and fathered four sons with her as follows: Henry, Thomas, Robert, and John. His son John was born in Knaptoft, Leicestershire, England, in modern day Great Britain or United Kingdom around 1279 AD. He married Maud de Bosco and had nine children with her as follows: Thomas, Robert, Henry, Andrew, Richard, Agnes, Alice, Elizabeth, and Barbara. His son Thomas de Horton was born around 1300 AD in Mowsley, England. He had issue named William, Adam, John, Robert, Nicholas, and Thomas. His son William was born in Mowsley, Leicestershire around 1325 AD. He married Alice St. Peter (and another wife?) and had nine sons: Roger, Edmund, William, John, Thomas, Hugh, Ralph, James, and Walter. His son William was born in 1350 AD and he married Agnes Byrches and had five sons with her as follows: William, Roger, Thomas, Nicholas, and John. His son William Horton was born in Mowsley, Leicestershire, England around 1370 AD. He married Joan Dutton and had the seven children with her as follows: John, William, Robert, Roger, Thomas, Margaret, and Richard. His son Richard was born in the same town around 1410. He married Ann (surname not known) and had the following issue with her: Robert, John, Richard, William, and Amy. His son John Horton “of Lullington and Iford” was born in Mowsley, England around 1432. He had the following issue: William, James, Joan, and Thomas. His son William was born in Lullington, Somerset, England around 1453. He married Rachel (surname not known) and he had issue named Joan, Alice, and Thomas. His son Thomas was born in Iford, Wiltshire, England around 1494. He married Margaret Barkesdale and had the following issue with her: Mary (Longe), William, Edward, Maud (Bushe), Agnes, and Alice. His son William Horton was born in Iford, Wiltshire in 1523. He married Joan Bayley, daughter of Thomas Bailey of Trowbridge, and had the following children with her: William, Margery, Alys, Agnes, Mary, Thomas, Agnes, Mary, Thomas, Suzanna, John, Jeremy, Thomas, Isaake, and Edward. His son William was born in Ilford in 1552. He married Margaret Daccom, daughter of Jacob of Dorset, and had issue with her as follows: Toby, John, Roger, Robert, and John. His son John Horton was born in Wolverton, Somerset, England around 1579. He married Mary Coplestone, daughter of John Coplestone of Nash and his wife Ursula, and fathered the following children with her: John, Melior, Ursula, Maria, Henry, Copston, Thomas, and George. His son Thomas Horton or Orton was born prior to 1621 in Wolverton, England. He went to colonial America (Massachusetts). He married Mary, daughter of John Eddy and his wife Amy, and had the following issue with her: Mary (Pierce), Sarah (Mirick), Thomas, John, William, William, Samuel, Ebenezer, Thomas, Ann, and Abigail. His son Thomas was born in Charlestown, Suffolk County, Massachusetts in 1665.
A one William Horton was born in Staunton around 1481 AD and he married Maud Whittington, daughter of Richard, having a son with her named Walter. This Walter Horton was born in a Staunton, England around 1510 and he married Isabella Rudhale. He had a son named William. This son William Horton was born in Staunton, England around 1570 and he married Mary Gresley. He had a son named Thomas. This Thomas Horton was born in Staunton, Gloucestershire, England around 1591. He married Elizabeth Walker. He had a son named William. William Kimble Horton was born in Staunton, Gloucestershire, England in 1614 AD. He went to colonial America where e married Margaret Bridges in Westmoreland, Virginia in 1652. They had a son together named Hugh Sr. This Hugh Sr. was born in 1661 and he married Mary Snowdall, having a son with her named Hugh Jr. This son, Hugh Horton Jr. was born in Westmoreland, Virginia in 1687. He married Elizabeth Rawlings and had sons with her named John. His (older?) son John was born in Overwharton Parish, Stafford, Virginia in 1717. He married Sarah Wheeler and had three issue: William, John Jr., and Elijah. His son Elijah was born in St. Paul’s Parish, VA in 1759. He married Catherine B. Nelson and had two sons with her: Nelson and Robert. His son Robert Horton was born in Virginia in 1794. He married Joanna Robinett and had a son with her named William Isaac. This son William Isaac Isaac (?) Horton was born in Scot County, Virginia in 1822. He married Isabella “Ibby” Benton and had two children with her: William and Hezekiah Karl. His son William “Bill” was born in Scott County, VA in 1846. He married Martha Elizabeth Cox, and prior to his passing in Missouri, he had a daugher named Augusty. This Augusty Alvatayne Horton was born in Miller County, Missouri in 1873. He married Newton Cannon Sullivan and had a son with her. This son was named Troy William Sullivan who was born in Telquah, Oklamhoma in 1904 and he married Thelma York Davenport, having a son with her named Floyd William Sullivan, prior to his passing away in 1988.
A one Joseph Horton was born in Mowsley, Leicestershire, England around 1578. He went to colonial America where he died in Springfield, Massachusetts. He had a son named Barnabas who was born in 1600. He had a daughter named Hannah who was born in 1632. She married Thomas Hildreth and had two sons and one daughter with him as follows: James Hildrerth, Joseph Hildreth, and Hannah Hildreth.
A one William Horton was born in Fiskill, Duchess, New York around 1737. He married Sarah Wright and had a son with her named Caleb. His son Caleb Horton was born in 1767. He married Sarah Field and had a daughter with her named Sarah who was born in Putnam County, NY around 1804. She married Charles Baxter and had a daughter with her named Mary.
Early American and New World Settlers
The book Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers, mentions six bearers of this last name:
1) Barnabas Horton of Hampton, 1640, went to South Hold, Long Island, 1662, favored Conn., and was made an officer the next year.
2) Benjamin Horton, perhaps brother of the preceding, lived at the same place and time
3) John Horton, Guilford, was a freeman in 1669, but not a land owner until 1685
4) Joseph Horton of Southold, Long Island, 1662, made a freeman of Connecticut, perhaps was the brother of Barnabas
5) Thomas Horton of Windsor, moved to Springfield 1638, died 1641, with wife Mary, had a son named Jeremiah
6) Thomas Horton of Charlestown, had sons named Thomas (1665), John (1657), and William (1659). The name was sometimes spelled without the letter H.
Other early settlers in colonial America bearing this surname include Isaac Horton (Virginia 1636), Bartholomew Horton (Virginia 1638), Richard Horton (Virginia 1701), George Horton (Virginia 1702), Elizabeth Horton (Virginia 1704), John Horton (Baltimore 1720), and Nathan Horton (Mississippi 1798). The name was also present in the Caribbean in the seventeenth century: Robert Horton was buried in the parish of St. Michael’s, Barbados in June 1678 and John Horton was buried in St. Michael’s, Barbados in January 1678. In Canada, one of the earliest settlers with this last name was Jane Horton who came to Nova Scotia in 1750 and Isaiah Horton who came to the same province in 1775. In Australia, one of the first bearers of this surname was Henry Horton, a convict from Warwick, England, who came to New South Wales aboard the Albion in 1826. In 1843, W.P. Horton came to Adelaide aboard the Arab. In New Zealand, John Horton, a farmer age 30, came to the city of Nelson, along with his wife (or daughter?), Phoebe, age 18, aboard the Thomas Harrison in 1842.
Early Americans Bearing the Horton Family Crest
Charles Bolton’s American Armory (1927) contains one entry for this surname:
1) Sable a stag’s head cabossed gules a canton ermine. Crest: a dolphin sable upon a spear point [or] issuing from the waves proper. Motto: Quod vult valde vult. Bookplate —– Horton.
Crozier’s General Armory (1904) contains one entry for this name:
1) Barnabas Horton of Southold, Long Island, New York, 1656, from Leicestershire, England. Arms: Gules a lion rampant argent charged on the breast with a boar’s head couped azure a bordure engrailed of the second. Crest: A red rose seeded and barbed proper surrounded with two laurel branches vert. Motto: Pro rege et lege.
Matthew’s American Armoury and Bluebook (1907) does not contain an entry for this name.
I have identified four Horton family mottoes:
1) Pro rege et lege (For the king and the law)
2) Perseverantia palmam obtinebit (Persistence will obtain the palm of victory)
3) Vigilo et spero (I keep awake and I hope)
4) Quod vult, valde vult (What he wishes, he wishes fervently)
We have 17 coats of arms for the Horton surname depicted here. These 17 blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it.
There are hundreds of notable people with the Horton surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Edward Everett Horton (1886-1970) who was an American character actor from Brooklyn, New York who had a 64 year career in theatre, film, TV, and voice work, 2) Frank Ogilvie Horton (1882-1948) who was a member of the US House of Representatives from Wyoming from 1931-1941 who was born in Muscatine, Iowa and served in the Spanish-American War, 3) Frank Jefferson Horton who was a member of the US House of Representatives from New York from 1983-1993 who was born in Cuero, Texas and served in World War II, 4) Henry Hollis Horton (1866-1934) who was an American politician who was the 36th Governor of Tennessee from 1927-1933 who was born in Jackson County, Alabama, 5) John LaGale “Johnny” Horton (1925-1960) who was an American country music and rockability artist best known for his song “The Battle of New Orleans” released in 1959, as well as “Sink the Bismarck” and “North to Alaska” who was born in Los Angeles, California, 6) Admiral Sir Max Kennedy Horton (1883-1951) who was a British submariner during World War I who was born in Rhisneigr, Anglesey, Wales and also fought in World War II as well, 7) Mildred Helen McAfee Horton (1900-1994) who was an American academic who served in the Second World War at the first director of Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) in the United States Navy and was the first woman commissioned in the United States Naval Reserve, born in Parkville, Missouri, 8) Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton (1930-1974) who was a Canadian professional ice hockey player who played for 24 seasons in the NHL from 1949-1974 for four different teams (ex. Toronto Maple Leafs) who was also a co-founder of the famous coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons, having been born in Cochrane, Ontario, 9) Willie Wattison Horton (1942) who was a baseball player in the MLB from 1963-1980 having played for six different teams (ex. Detroit Tigers) having been born in Arno, Virginia, and 10) Sir Robert Horton (1939-2011_ who was a British businessman born in London who was a director of the Emerson Electric Company and European Advisory Council.
1) (Chadderton, co. Lancaster, bart., extinct 1821). Gu. a lion ramp. ar. charged on the breast with a boar's head couped az. a bordure engr. of the second. Crest—A red rose seeded and barbed ppr. surrounded with two laurel branches vert. Motto—Pro rege et lege.
2) (Howroyde, co. York). Quarterly, 1st and 4th, same Arms; 2nd and 3rd, per bend sinister erm. and sa. a lion ramp. ar. Same Crest as the last.
3) (Tatternall, co. Bedford). Ar. a stag's head cabossed sa.
4) (Howle, co. Chester). Sa. a stag's head cabossed or.
5) (Catton, co. Derby; seated there more than four hundred years). Sa. a stag’s head cabossed ar. attired or. Crest—On waves of the sea ppr. a spear erect or, headed ar. enfiled with a dolphin also ppr.
6) (Wilmot-Horton, Bart., of Osmaston and Catten, co. Derby; exemplified to Sir Robert Wilmot, third bart., on his assuming the additional name of Horton). 1st and 4th, Horton, viz.: sa. a stag’s head cabossed ar. attired or; 2nd and 3rd, Wilmot, viz.: sa. on a fess or, betw. three eagles’ heads couped ar. as many escallops gu. the whole within a bordure engr. of the third. Crests—1st, Horton: Out of waves of the sea ppr. a tilting spear erect or, headed and enfiled with a dolphin ar. finned gold; 2nd, Wilmot: An eagle’s head couped ar. gorged with a collar engr. az. holding in the beak an escallop gu.
7) (The Holt, co. Northampton). Per fesse az. and sa. a stag’s head cabossed in base and in chief three roses ar. Crest—A dolphin naiant ar. in front of a tilting spear erect and two spears saltirewise or. Motto—Perseverantia palmam obtinebit.
8) (co. Kent). Per pale ar. and sa. three cinquefoils and two otters counterchanged.
9) (Hullington, co. Somerset, and Ilford, co. Wilts). Ar. on a fesse az. betw. two wolves pass, in chief and a crossbow in base gu. three martlets or. Crest—A cubit arm erect, vested gu. cuffed ar. holding in the hand ppr. an arrow az. feathered and barbed or.
10) (co. Somerset). Ar. a stag’s head cabossed sa. attired or.
11) (Wales). Sa. three bends engr. a canton or.
12) Or, a chev. az. betw. two wolves pass. in chief gu. and a crossbow of the last in base. Crest—An arm gu. couped at the elbow, holding in the hand ppr. an arrow az. feathered and barbed or, point downwards of the third, and a branch of roses erect ar. leaved vert, a crescent of the fourth on the arm.
13) Gu. a lion ramp. within a bordure engr. ar. Crest—A cinquefoil gu. within two branches of laurel disposed orleways ppr.
14) (William Hobton “de Forest,” co. Cumberland). Gu. a fesse sa. betw. three pillows ar.
15) (Southwark, Albert Square, Lambeth, co. Surrey, and of Ystrad, co. Carmarthen). Per saltire or and gu. two stags' heads caboshed in pale, and as many bugles stringed in fesse counterchanged. Crest—A demi stag gu. semée of cinquefoils or, resting the sinister foot upon a mill rind gold. Motto—Vigilo et spero.
16) (quartered by Osbaldeston, through Wentworth). Ar. a cross formee fitchee sa.
17) Ar. three bars sa. in chief two mullets of the last.