By Mark Gutglueck
Born on January 4, 1860 in Greenville, Texas, Sidney Voris Horton was the son of Peter I. and Mary (Melton) Horton. Peter Horton had a 1,000-acre plantation on which 27 slaves cultivated wheat and corn. In 1868, Mr. Horton sold his ranch in Texas and brought his family and one slave to Redlands. Here he purchased 40 acres at California Street and Colton Avenue, where the Mission School now stands. This property was sold at a handsome profit in 1872, He then acquired acreage near the mouth of the San Timoteo Canyon under a patent signed by President Ulysses Simpson Grant, three years before the Southern Pacific Railroad came through the area.
Sidney was ten years old when he started attending classes in the Little Mission School along with other pioneer children. Six years later he went to work on his father’s new ranch near the former Vache Winery in Bryn Mawr, then “Nahant” and later “Redlands Junction.”
At the age of 18, he joined the Southern Pacific crew at San Gorgonio, now called Beaumont, and worked with the railroad for seven years.
On July 1, 1885, Sidney V. Horton and Beulah E. Hamner of Redlands, the daughter of Samuel N. and Julia Ann (Covington) Hamner, who was born in 1866, were married. Together they went to the new Horton Ranch where, with his father’s help, Sidney planted oranges, peaches and other fruits on part of the 80-acre farm. There the newlyweds built their home.
Sidney and Beulah had seven children: Alice Horton Schufeldt (1889 – 1986), Mildred Horton Brassington (1891 – 1949), Sidney Voris Horton (1893 – 1931), Gladyce Horton Rogers (1895 – 1977), Eugene Roland Horton (1901 – 1965), Floyd A Horton (1903 – 1964) and Bertha Horton, whose date of birth and death are unavailable.
Sidney Horton was a successful citrus grower throughout the 1990s and after the turn of the 20th Century. In 1908, he was elected as San Bernardino County’s Fifth District supervisor and served from January 4, 1909, his 49th birthday, until January 8, 1917. He was reelected in 1912 and was chairman of the board from January 4, 1915, his 55th birthday, until he left office.
Sidney Horton’s brother, Benjamin S. Horton, was the manager of the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad, residing at Death Valley Junction.
After leaving the board of supervisors, Sidney devoted himself again to be a full time private rancher. In 1925, Sidney Horton, Sr. relocated his center of interest to a smaller ranch higher in the canyon where he planted five acres of citrus, leaving the management of the larger ranch to his son, Hugh.
In 1931, his family suffered a significant loss when his son, Sidney V. Horton, Jr., was killed as the result of the explosion of a gasoline-filled smudge pot used to fight frost in orange groves.
Sidney Horton died at a rest home in Redlands on Christmas Day 1941, 18 days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was 81 years old. He was survived by his wife, Beulah, two of his sons, Hugh and Eugene; and four daughters, Mrs. Mildred Brassington of Long Beach, Mrs. Alice Schufeldt, Mrs. Gladyce Rogers and Bertha E. Horton, all of Los Angeles.
By Mark Gutglueck