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HORTON, ALBERT CLINTON

HORTON, ALBERT CLINTON (1798–1865). Albert Clinton Horton, the first lieutenant governor of Texas, son of William and Mary (Thomas) Horton, was born in Hancock County, Georgia, on September 4, 1798. In 1829 he married Eliza Holliday. Before moving to Texas he served as a representative in the Alabama state legislature (1829–30, 1833–34), representing Greensboro district. He arrived in Texas in April 1835 and became an early and active supporter of the Texas Revolution. He traveled to Alabama to recruit volunteers; the company became known as the Mobile Grays and were outfitted at Horton's own expense. He also organized a company of cavalry volunteers in Matagorda in February 1836. Colonel Horton's company joined Col. James Walker Fannin, Jr.'s command in South Texas in early March. On March 19 Horton advanced with a small detachment on a scouting patrol of Coleto Creek. Turning to find the remainder of Fannin's army surrounded by hostile forces, Horton and his patrol fled, an action that saved his life but haunted his later political career. His military service ended on May 1, 1836. From 1836 to 1838 Horton, a Democrat, served as senator in the First and Second congresses of the republic, representing Matagorda, Jackson, and Victoria counties. He campaigned unsuccessfully for the vice presidency in 1838. In January 1839 he was chosen by the Republic of Texas Congress to chair the committee to select the site of the new capital. On March 7, 1842, Horton was recruited to serve as captain under Colonel Owen, to defend against Rafael Vásquez, and his force of 500–700 Mexican soldiers, who had seized San Antonio. Horton served as a delegate to the Convention of 1845 and subsequently consented to run for lieutenant governor. Voting returns initially awarded the victory to his opponent, Nicholas Henry Darnell, but late returns from several South Texas counties were sufficient to alter the results. On May 1, 1846, Horton was declared the first lieutenant governor of the new state. When Governor James Pinckney Henderson left to assume command of Texas volunteers assembled to deal with troubles with Mexico, Horton served as governor pro tem from May 19, 1846 until Henderson returned on November 13, 1846. He was never elected to another public office, and he emerged from retirement only to attend the Democratic national convention in Charleston in 1860 and the state Secession Congressqv in 1861. Horton moved to his plantation on Caney Creek in what is now Wharton County, near Wharton, by 1843 and maintained a large home on a plantation in Matagorda County, near the town of Matagorda. On the eve of the Civil War he owned more than 150 slaves and was one of the wealthiest men in the state. During the war, however, he lost most of his money. He was a lifelong Baptist and an original member of the board of trustees that established Baylor University. Of the six children born during his marriage, only a son and a daughter survived him. Horton died on September 1, 1865, at Matagorda, where he is buried.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Matthew Ellenberger, "Illuminating the Lesser Lights: Notes on the Life of Albert Clinton Horton," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 88 (April 1985). Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Annie Lee Williams, A History of Wharton County (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1964). Ralph A. Wooster, "Early Texas Politics: The Henderson Administration," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 73 (October 1969).

Matthew Ellenberger

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Matthew Ellenberger, "HORTON, ALBERT CLINTON," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fho62), accessed December 20, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.