For Whose Excellence We Bear Witness

Week 31: #52 Ancestors – Favorite Name
Week 33: #52 Ancestors – Tragedy

By Eilene Lyon

ho-ri-zon, n. 1. the line marking the apparent junction of earth and sky 2. range of outlook or experience. (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

The Putterer’s 3rd great-grandfather bore the delightful name of Horizon Jewett Poor. His middle name was the surname of his paternal grandmother, but the origin of his first name is unknown. Even though he passed the name on to his son, neither of them were known as Horizon. The elder went by “Harrison” and the junior by “Horace.”

Horizon’s parents were David Jewett Poor and Rachel Welsh. Rachel was not David’s first wife, but the name of his earlier wife or wives is unknown at this time. Horizon had two older half-siblings and a younger sister.

David J. Poor was a native of Rowley, Essex County, Massachusetts, and his father, Amos Poor, served in the Revolution. In 1811, David and Rachel acquired 600 acres of land in north-central Ohio, then Delaware, but now Morrow County.1 This area had been surveyed for sale by a land act in 1796 called “An Act regulating the grants of land appropriated for Military services, and for the Society of the United Brethren, for propagating the Gospel among the Heathen.” So much for separation of church and state!

1796 Land Act. (Library of Congress)

David purchased military warrants from three different men for a total of 300 acres. Rachel received a warrant for another 300 acres as the sole heir of her father, Samuel Welsh. Her acreage was adjacent to one of David’s parcels.2 Here, Horizon and his sister Abigail were born in 1812 and 1816 respectively.3

The Poor family relocated to Covington, Kentucky, sometime prior to 1820.4 In early 1824, just before he died, David wrote a will directing his two sons, Theodore J. and Horizon J. to select guardians and apprenticeships at age 16 (which was immediately for Theodore).5

Horizon chose to enter the carpentry trade. At age 21, released from his indenture, he married Sarah Ann Marshall in 1833.6 They had six children together, five daughters and finally, a son and namesake. (Sarah may have had another son in October 1850, but I haven’t confirmed this.) Horizon joined the local Masonic lodge, the Odd Fellows, and the volunteer fire department in Covington.

On June 10, 1850, earth met sky and Horizon Jewett Poor’s range of outlook came to an abrupt end. Probably working a carpentry job on a hot summer day, he took a drink of water from a contaminated source. Cholera killed the hearty 38-year-old man in mere hours.7

Horizon’s sudden passing stunned his family, the community, and his many friends. The organizations he belonged to all contributed to his funeral procession and passed flowery resolutions, published in the local paper, extolling his many virtues and expressing sincere regrets about his death.

Covington Fire Company No. 1, where Horizon served as Vice President, wrote the first of these:

Covington Journal, June 15, 1850 p. 2, posted on Find A Grave by Keith Hunt (Click to enlarge)

The other two are in a similar vein. Clearly Horizon “Harrison” J. Poor was held in high esteem among the citizens of Covington, Kentucky.

Feature image: Photo of Horizon J. Poor’s son (1848-1932) of the same name, circa 1890s. Posted on by Adam Croy, received originally from Steve Jenkins.

Horizon Jewett Poor on


  1. Bureau of Land Management – General Land Office. Ohio State Volume Patents: OH2120__.120, OH2120__.121, and OH2120__.122 for David J. Poor. Rachel Poor: United States. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records. Automated Records Project; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes.  Springfield, Virginia: Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, 2007 – via 
  2. Ibid. 
  3. AND Birth date calculated from headstone data. 
  4. David Poor. 1820 U S Census; Census Place: Covington, Campbell, Kentucky; Page: 6; NARA Roll: M33_20; Image: 16 – via 
  5. David J. Poor. Campbell County, Kentucky Will Books B & C images 233 and 234, Kentucky, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1774-1989 – via 
  6. Harrison J. Poor and Sarah Ann Marshall. Worrel, S., Northern Kentucky Marriages, 1795-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 1998. 
  7. Covington Journal, June 15, 1850 p. 2, image posted on Find A Grave by Keith Hunt. 

32 thoughts on “For Whose Excellence We Bear Witness

Add yours

    1. I’ve never seen such an outpouring about a death in that era. Joy, for some reason, WP will not let me follow your blog. I think you made a change to your site and your posts stopped showing up in Reader. WP is being quite cranky about it!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. First of all, that name! And sad that both he and his son weren’t called by it but at the same time I guess it’s understandable. Secondly, I say it many times with your posts, but life was hard! Imagine just taking a drink of water on a summer day and boom, that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

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