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George Horton

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PORTRAIT_GEORGE_HORTON.JPG
George Horton

October 11, 1859 - 1942
George Horton is burried at
Oak HIll Cemetary of Georgetown, Washington D.C.


 

          Biographical Notes

 

George Horton was born at Fairville, New York on October 11, 1859. He died in 1942 and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery of Georgetown in Washington, D.C. His wife, Aikaterini Sakopoulos Horton and her sister Nica Sakopoulos, are buried at the same cemetery.

The origin of George Horton is traced to Captain Barnabas Horton, a puritan, born in Mousely, Leicestershire, England.

http://ntgen.tripod.com/bw/hort_index.html#Links

Barnabas emigrated from England in May 1640-1641 on board the ship “Swallow,” and settled at Southold in Long Island, New York. Part of the original Barnabas home still exists at Southold. Years later, Barnabas built a home for his son Jonathan, which was moved to Cutchogue, and which is classified today as a National Landmark.

Horton’s father was Peter Davis Horton, a fanatic Methodist, who was a teacher of penmanship.  His mother was Mary Sofia Aiken.

At the age of 16, Horton attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a degree in classical studies. His parents followed the young Horton to Michigan, and eventually to every place he went. His mother visited George Horton even when he was stationed at Smyrna.

Following George’s college graduation, the entire Horton family moved to Grass Valley (near Nevada City) in California.

Initially, Horton taught at various schools around Grass Valley, where he traveled on horseback. Eventually, he taught at the High School of Grass Valley. His father taught penmanship at various schools of Grass Valley. Also, next to Grass Valley is Penn Valley, a town that has a street named after Davis Horton, perhaps in honor of his teaching penmanship in the various schools of the area.

At the age of 19, Horton married his first wife, Carrie Nickols, 17 years old, over his parents’ disapproval of the marriage. The couple had one girl whom they named Georgia. After a long illness, Carrie Horton died at a young age. Georgia married Robert Grand Cuddeback. They had one son, Robert Peter Cuddeback who had four children (Anne, Robert Aruss, Margaret Mary and Paul). Patricia Kelsey, daughter of Robert Aruss, visited Nancy Horton on December 2009.

From the West Coast Horton moved to Chicago where he worked as a night fire-police reporter. Later, the Hearst family sent him around the world to beat the record of Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 days.” Upon his return, he became a reported of the Chicago Herald. While in Chicago, he married his second wife, Kathryn Bogart, with whom he had a girl they named Dorothy. When Dorothy married many years later, she had a son named Donald Pectin. However, in 1901. Kathryn left Horton for another man, and in 1909 he married his third wife, Aikaterini Sakopoulos.

In recognition of some articles which he had written in favor of President Cleveland, in 1893 Horton was offered by President Cleveland a post of Secretary of Legation at Berlin. He declined this position, requesting instead a post in Greece. He was appointed to the U.S. Consulate of Athens with a letter by the Secretary of State. He arrived in Greece later in the year aboard the ship “Athinai”.

Under the auspices of the Archaeological Society of America, in September of 1907 George Horton returned to the United States to deliver a lecture in 47 cities. The Lecture was given in support of immigrant Greeks who were suffering from discrimination. In recognition of his services to Hellenism, the New York newspaper “Atlantis” and the Greeks organized a fundraising project to purchase a ‘loving cup’ which continues to be in the possession of his daughter, Nancy Horton. The following is a sample of the reception Horton received in New York:

 

 

Atlantis” Newspaper

23rd of November, 1907

 

Atlanta, 19 November, 1907.

 

Honorable Mr. S. Vlastos:

I am a priest who is not prosperous, and certainly very troubled because of it.  However, with regards to the expression of gratitude towards a courteous Philhellene, such as Mr. Horton, Ambassador of America to Athens, particularly during these years of guilty consumerism and lack of discernment by the powerful on earth, I offer a portion of my family’s income with deep pleasure, because I am first a Greek and afterwards the head of my family. 

This being said, I am warmly congratulating my fellow brother who is the inspiration of this moment, and I am enclosing the donation of five ($5).

I remain

Willing one praying in Christ,

Family of Kostas Hatzidimitriou

First Priest of Atlanta, Georgia

 

In 1909, George Horton married Aikaterini, a daughter of Nikolas Sakopoulos from Milos and Ourania Hliadou Sakopoulos from Smyrna, and grand daughter of George Sakopoulos, a native of the Greek island of Sifnos, born there in 1790. George Sakopoulos was a pilot aboard the fleet of the French warships that took part in the famous Navarino Naval Battle. Nikolas Sakopoulos was a Greek consul at Xania Crete, at Smyrna, and a Greek representative at the Open Courts of Cairo in Egypt.

From the Consulate in Athens, George Horton was promoted to General Consul and was transferred to Thessaloniki. In 1911, he was transferred to Smyrna, which had long been the Mecca of his ambitions. In August of 1914, the Great War (World War I) began, and all the participating countries removed their consuls from Smyrna. During the early part of the War, the United States was  neutral and Horton represented the interest of all the countries that were engaged in that conflict.  However, when the United States entered the war against the Central Powers on April 2, 1917 and the US ceased diplomatic relations with Turkey, Horton was instructed to transfer to Berne, Switzerland. Later that year, Horton was transferred to Thessaloniki in Greece, where he remained until the liberation of Smyrna (presently Izmir) by the Greek army in 1919.

In 1919, George Horton was assigned to Smyrna, both as U.S. Consul General and as the official spokesman of the “Entente.”  It was there and in these capacities that he witnessed first-hand the destruction of that city by the invading Turkish army in September of 1922. After the “Catastrophe”–as that orgy came to be known- Horton transported the American community to Athens.

In 1924, Horton was appointed  U.S. Consul in Budapest, Hungary, were he remained until his retirement the same year.

Horton returned to the United States, where he published his eye-witness book: “The Blight of Asia,” describing in detail the massacres committed by the Turkish Army and their burning and destruction of the City of Smyrna. According to Mrs. Nancy Horton, daughter of George Horton, Eleftherios Venizelos was against the publication of this book. Eleftherios Venizelos, of Cretan origin, has been one of the most important Prime Ministers of Greece. As an ally of the Entente, he signed the peace treaties of Neuilly and of Sevres (1919-1920). After the Asia Minor catastrophe, he undertook the negotiations and signed the Treaty of Lausanne.

In addition to his career as a top U.S. diplomat, Horton was a prominent novelist, a poet, and a historian.  He was also a senior staff member of the Order of Christ (Savior), Knight of the Order of Gregory the Great, honorary member of the Athenian Literary Society «Parnassus», member of the National Press Club in the U.S., and member of the Club «Cosmos» of Washington, D.C.

George Horton is known to many Greeks, due to his book: “The Blight of Asia,” and because of his work in Smyrna. But few know his literary work consisting of some 20 books and novels. Among his most popular novels in America were: “Like Another Helen,” which deals with the Revolution of Crete; “Monk's Treasure,” including the Chios Massacre of 1922; and “In Argolis,” which describes life in the villages of Argolis.

A detailed report of his life in Greece and in Turkey is included in his  autobiography of “Recollections Grave and Gay,” published by the Hellenic Electronic Center (HEC), which can be obtained at the HEC bookshop and in bookstores of “Eleftheroudakis” and of “Ianos.”

After 102 years since the delivery of Horton’s lecture: “Greeks of Today in 1907”, the Hellenic Electronic Center (HEC) is honored to be in position to publish his lecture in the form of a book. We take the opportunity to thank his daughter, Nancy Horton, for her invaluable assistance to publish the book.

Persons interested in additional information about George Horton are guided to the HEC website:

www.greece.org/Projects

 

Capt. Evangelos Rigos

HEC Director

 

December 2009.


 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 14:16  
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