Dexter Horton, of Fenton, is a man whose fine
personal qualities and character no less than his public services make him a worthy subject for the pen of the biographer.
He was born at Groveland, Oakland County, this State, June 24, 1836, and his father, Henry Wisner Horton, was born at Owego,
N.Y., May 31, 1797. The grandfather, Joseph Lee Horton, took to wife Hannah Todd, and he was of the seven generation from
Barnabas Horton, who came over in the ship "Swallow", from Leicester, England, and landed at Hampton, Mass. In 1640 he built
the first frame house in the eastern part of Long Island. He was a warm advocate of religious freedom and a man of deep and
Henry W. Horton was married at Canfield, N.J., January 31, 1819, to Adah
Jennings, who died January 20, 1856. She was the mother of eleven children, seven sons and four daughters, two of whom died
in early childhood, and one son, Emerson C., died at Richmond, Mo. It was in 1830 when the parents of our subject removed
with three children from Royalton, Niagara County, N.Y., to Michigan, intending to settle in Genesee County, but on account
of the terrible condition of the roads and the slow pace of his ox-team, he was greatly delayed and upon reaching Flint he
learned that the land he had selected had been taken by John Todd, and he consequently located upon three hundred and sixty
acres in what was then known as Pleasant Valley, Groveland Township, Oakland county. their he resided during the remainder
of his life, and died fifty-four years after coming to Michigan. The township was organized in April, 1835, and he was in
its first Clerk and afterward Supervisor, and was Justice of the Peace for twenty-two years.
On the 20th of September, 1856, the father of our subject was
united in marriage with Mrs. Mary E. Losee, widow of Isaac J. Losee, who proved to him a faithful and devoted wife, who died
in June, 1890. He died in 1886, at the age of eighty-eight and with him passed away the last of the early settlers of the
township. He was one of the original stockholders who owned the Oakland Chronicle, one of the first newspapers in Michigan.
He was an active Abolitionist before the war, and a Republican too the core, and ever took a firm stand against the use of
and traffic in intoxicating liquors. The Methodist Episcopal Church of Groveland ever found in him and active worker, and
he donated to its use a liberal portion of land for the erection of the church. The poor and the wayfarer ever found in his
home a welcome, and every needy one was welcome too food and lodging. His was "the ministers’ home" for all itinerant
Maj. Horton was born in the log house built by his father, and was reared
upon the farm, taking his early education in the district schools and afterward being sent at the age of fourteen to Albion
College, but there his reputation for a mischief maker was so pronounced that his course was cut short. He was acknowledged
too be a good student, and besides excelling in his studies, was well liked by teachers and pupils, but his irrepressible
love for fun lead to his expulsion from the school. When he left college he was President of the Eclectic Society. Farming
summers and teaching winters occupied his time until he reached his majority, and he then took up his residence in Fenton.
During the Presidential campaign of 1860, this young man took an active
part in promoting the election of Abraham Lincoln, and after Lincoln’s inauguration, he applied for the office of Postmaster
of this village, which he received, although his opponent had the endorsement of the member of Congress from this District.
From boyhood this young man was an active and shrewd worker in politics,
voting first with the Whig party, but becoming a Republican upon the organization of that party. During the war he was one
of the most interested workers in holding meetings and recruiting men throughout this region, and in 1863 joined the Light
Horse Artillery of the Army of the Potomac, and in 1864 received an appointment from President Lincoln as Captain of the United
States Volunteers, in which capacity he was with the armies of Tennessee and Georgia until the close of the war. He participated
in the Atlanta campaign, marched with Sherman too the sea and took part in his subsequent campaigns in the Carolinas, being
promoted for efficient and meritorious service to the rank of a Major. At the close of the war he was re-appointed Postmaster,
but for political reasons was removed from this office by President Johnson. He was a delegate to the Soldiers’ Convention
at Chicago that nominated Gen. Grant for the Presidency.
In 1867 Maj. Horton was appointed Assistant Sergeant-at Arms of the State
Senate, and two years later he was the Representative in the State Legislature from this district and two years after received
the nomination again, and came within thirty-one votes of being elected. When he first located at Fenton his capital consisted
of two colts and fifteen bags of corn; he has been successful from year too year in business and for more than twenty years
has successfully conducted a business in the line of agricultural implements, and is now one of the largest retail dealers
in this part of the State, and since 1875 has been more or less interested in farming.
Maj. Horton was married in 1861, to Miss Lavinia Losee, a native of New
York, who came with her parents to Michigan at an early day, and settled in Springfield, Oakland County. The five children
who have blessed this union are : Glenn, who died at the age of five months; Mary A., who is now the wife of H. H. Rackham,
an attorney of Detroit; Mabel F., who is the wife of Z. D. Patterson, an attorney and clerk in the Pension Department at Washington,
D. C., Bryson D. and Myra, who are at home with their parents.
With various important interests of Genesee County Maj. Horton is closely
identified. At the present time he is President of the Fenton Agricultural Society, Fenton Electric and Power Company, Genesee
County Pioneer Society, Chief of the Fire Department, and Foreman in the Ancient Order of United Workmen. For fifteen years
he was a member of the School board and its President twelve years. As President of the village he was the first man to issue
a proclamation, calling the people together to take the necessary steps to observe Memorial Day. He was also the only President
of the village who has ever vetoed measures and ordinances passed by the Council, giving his reasons in writing, and in each
case his veto was sustained. He was the first Commander of Col. Fenton Post, G. A. R., holding the position seven years. A
camp of Sons of Veterans has been organized in Fenton bearing his name. He was a delegate to the G. A. R. National Encampment
at San Francisco, Cal., in 1886, and also at Boston in 1890, and is one of the most energetic and hardworking Grand Army men
in this section of the State, talking for it, believing in it and working for it.
1892 Portrait & Biographical Album of Genesee, Lapeer
& Tuscola Counties, Chapman Bros.