Page 596-598, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


John Horner, M. D., a prominent pioneer physician and surgeon of Butler county, although now in his eighty-second year, is still engaged in the practice of his profession, although he does not attempt as extensive a practice as he did in the years past. Dr. Horner was born in Rockcastle county, Kentucky, November 23, 1833, and is a son of George and Missinah (Welsh) Horner, natives of Virginia. When Dr. Horner was a boy, the family left their Kentucky home and removed to Decatur county, Indiana. From early boyhood, Dr. Horner was imbued with the ambition to become a physician, and in early life purchased a cyclopedia of medicine, from which he obtained an elementary knowledge of that


great science in which he in after years received a more thorough and scientific training. In the early fifties, he left Indiana and went to St. Louis, and from there to La Salle, Ill. He remained there, however, but a short time when he went to Iowa. In 1860, he went to Quincy, Ill., where he remained ten years, and in 1870 came to Butler county, Kansas, driving the entire distance and camping by the wayside at night. He and his party first stopped at Bird's branch, just east of El Dorado for a time but were not favorably impressed with the quality of soil in that section. They came on to Milton township in search of a more suitable location. When they reached that part of the county Dr. Horner says that the rank growth of blue stem greatly impressed him, and his deduction was that the soil which produced such an unusual growth must be correspondingly fertile, and when he first looked upon the present site of Whitewater, that it was one broad expanse of waving blue stem, and he remarked to his companions: "This is the place for me; surely it is the 'Garden of the Gods.'"

Shortly after coming here, Dr. Horner homesteaded eighty acres which now adjoins the town of Whitewater. Like most of the early settlers of that day, he was poor, and did most any kind of work that was to be done in order to make both ends meet. He worked at the mason's trade and also at carpentry, as well as early day farming. He helped build what was known as the old stone house in 1872, for Horace Wilcox, a prominent cattleman of the early days. He also built a store mill for Wilcox which is still standing, and he built the school house in district No. 84. When a young man he was a mechanical genius, and could readily turn his hand to almost any kind of mechanical work. He devised a corn dropper which was used in planting corn. During all those years of early day activity on the plains, he was also privately pursuing the study of medicine as well as receiving instruction under the preceptorship of Dr. Buck of Peabody. He borrowed a skeleton from a physician friend which he used in his studies, and soon obtained considerable knowledge of medicine. There was no regular practicing physician in his vicinity at that time, and he was frequently called upon to attend the sick. He met with considerable success in that line of endeavor and soon had quite an extensive practice. Dr. Grinell of Peabody, a very good friend of his, advised him that he could not follow farming and practice medicine successfully, and offered to loan him money to attend medical college Dr. Horner accepted the proposition and entered the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was graduated with a degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1880. He then returned to Whitewater and engaged in the practice of medicine in earnest, and in an incredibly short time had built up an unusually large practice, and within six months had paid back to Dr. Grinell the loan which he had so generously made a short time before.

Dr. Horner still owns the place which he homesteaded in 1870. He was married in Iowa to Miss Charity Horner, a native of Virginia, who


is now seventy-nine years of age, and to this union have been born three children, as follows: Lillian, married E. T. Neal, and they have two children; Menonia, married Hamilton Young, of California, and they have three children; and Hattie, a teacher in the University of Denver, Colo.

Dr. Horner is one of the honored pioneers of Butler county and has been a success as a citizen as well as a successful physician. His life's work has been worth while. He is a great reader and has been a close student all his life. While he has kept up to date in his professional studies, his research has by no means been confined to the professional sphere. He is a great student of the best authors of fiction, history and philosophy. He is also an accomplished musician and has composed a number of orchestra and band pieces. As a result of his extensive research and profound study, he has arrived at many fixed conclusions in civics, economics and various other important studies. He says the corner stone of society is good motherhood. Fraternally he has been affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias, and politically he is a Republican, but inclined to be independent.

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