The Horton Family

Amos and Mary Horton were living in Ashburton at the time of the 1851 census. Amos, 77, was a smith who was born, according to the transcription, in West Brimage (Bromwich?), Staffordshire.
HO107, Piece/Folio 1871/313, p1

Amos Horton was baptised in June 1773 at West Bromwich, Staffordshire. His parents were Edward and Anne.
FreeReg - accessed 03-03-2024

He was a widower when he married Mary Cator in October 1805, at Ashburton.
Bishops' Transcripts - accessed 03-03-2024
Parish register

Amos Horton was baptised at Ashburton in May 1809, the son of Amos and Mary.
Parish register

John Horton was baptised at Ashburton in March 1811, the son of Amos and Mary.
England births and christenings, 1538-1975, database - accessed 03-03-2024

John married Ann Hamlyn in April 1835, at Ashburton.
England Marriages, 1538–1973", database, FamilySearch ( 

John Horton, the 5 year old son of John Horton, whitesmith, died in January 1841

Western Times 23 January 1841 p2 col2

John Horton, a gunsmith aged approximately 30, was living in West Street at the time of the 1841 census. Also in the household was 30 year old (approximately) Ann Horton, and Mary Ann Horton, aged 1.

HO107, Piece/Folio 253/20, p33
This census is available through

In 1849 the church clock and the old clock from the Shambles differed by about 20 or 30 minutes. This was because Mr. John Horton, who looked after the church clock, adjusted it to the time according to the old coaching days, whilst James Conneybear, in charge of the Shambles clock, set it to the new countrywide railway time. This in spite, said the Western Times, 'of the non-commencement of the Ashburton Railway.'
Western Times 7 April 1849 p5 col5

A steam engine made by Mr J Horton, gunsmith, was demonstrated at the meeting of the Mental Improvement Society in Ashburton in March 1851.
Western Times 8 March 1851, p7 col3

In 1851 Mr John Horton invented a door lock which could not be picked by any of the usual methods. He sent a sample to the Great Exhibition.
Western Times 15 March 1851, p6 col6

John and Ann Horton, together with 3 children: Mary Ann, 11, Elizabeth, 7 and Jane, 5,  were living in Ashburton at the time of the 1851 census. 40 year old John was a smith, born in Ashburton.
1851 census HO107, piece/folio 1871/313, p1

On other censuses John describes himself as a whitesmith.

Mary Ann Horton, daughter of John and Ann, died aged 17 in December 1857.

In 1858 Letters Patent were granted to John Horton of Ashburton, smith, for the invention of "An improved construction of Horse Hoe".
John described his invention as relating 'to an improved construction of implement, by the use of which a row of turnips may be simultaneously thinned and hoed on both sides. For this purpose I combine rotating knives with fixed knives, in such a manner that they will both be completely under the command of the attendant when the hoe is in use, and may be thrown out of action with the greatest facility.'

AD 1858 24th April 910, English Patents of Inventions, Specifications, 1858 841-910, available through Google Books - accessed 13-01-2021

Amos Horton, husband of Mary, died aged 86 in November 1859. His memorial notes that he was 'a native of Birmingham and a smith of this town'. 

Mary, the wife of Amos, died in November 1862. She was 79. 
Memorial inscriptions, Ashburton Archive - accessed 03-03-2024

Above: Memorial to Amos Horton in St Andrew's churchyard.
My own photograph 2024

Widower John Franklin married Elizabeth Horton in November 1868. The marriage licence shows that John, a bootmaker, was from Tottenham in Middlesex.

England, Devon and Cornwall Marriages, 1660-1912", , FamilySearch (

John and his wife Ann were on the 1871 census at Ashburton, with John describing himself as a whitesmith. Also in the household was their son Henry, 19, who was also a whitesmith.

Marsha J Franklin, 11, and John H Franklin, 8, grandhildren of John Horton, were with John and Ann on the 1881 census.
1871 census, RG10, enumeration district 4, Folio 60 p32 
1881 census, RG11, piece no. 2161, folio 58, p31

John Horton died, aged 72, in the March quarter of 1883

Probate was granted in August 1883 to Henry Horton of Ashburton, whitesmith, son and one of the next of kin. John Horton, late of Ashburton, was also described as a whitesmith.
England and Wales Probate Death Index 1858 - 2019