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William's History of Frederick County

Oliver Alexander Horner

OLIVER ALEXANDER HORNER, deceased, was one of the most prominent citizens of Frederick County, and was well and favorably known in financial circles of Maryland. He was of Irish extraction on his paternal side. He was born an a farm near Gettysburg, Adams County, Pa., January 10, 1841. He was the eldest son of David W. and Susan (Robertson) Horner.

Mr. Horner was the recipient of a public school education. In the winters of 1859 and 1860 he taught school. Taking a course in Eastman’s Commercial College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y., he was graduated August 9, 1861, a master of accounts.

At the outbreak of the War of the Rebellion, he enlisted as a private in Company C, Cole’s Maryland Cavalry, at Emmitsburg, August 27, 1861. He was made a corporal at the organization of the company; promoted to first sergeant, June 10, 1862; second lieutenant, January 15, 1864; first lieutenant and adjutant, April 20, 1864; and major, February 1, 1865, the last promotion being for "efficiency, bravery and meritorious conduct," he having the approval of the field and line officers of the regiment. He served continuously with his regiment until the close of the war, except for brief periods, when he was detailed for post, brigade, staff and court-martial duties, along the Potomac and in the Shenandoah Valley, Department of West Virginia.

He spent the winter of 1861 along the Potomac, picketing fords and guarding telegraph lines from Frederick to Hancock, Md. He entered the Shenandoah Valley in Banks campaign in March, 1862. He participated in the fight with Stuart’s Cavalry, at Leesburg, Va., September 2, 1862; in the siege and bombardment of Harper’s Ferry, September 3-14, being in the advance guard with the cavalry that cut their way through the Confederate lines the night before the surrender; assisted in the capture of Longstreet’s ammunition train of ninety wagons, with the guard, near Williamsport, Md., September 15, and in the capture of a portion of Stuart’s cavalry at Hyattstown, Md. October 11, when the latter was returning from his raid into the Cumberland Valley, Pa., around McClellan’s army; was on a reconnaissance to Winchester, Va., December 2-6, fighting at Charlestown, Berryville and Smithfield; fought at Hallstown, Va., December 20, and assisted in the capture of Captain Baylor, who fired upon a flag of truce at Harper’s Ferry in 1861.

The winter of 1862 was passed by Major Horner at Harper’s Ferry, with raids frequently through Loudoun, Jefferson and Clarke Counties, Va., and after White’s and Mosby’s guerrillas. In 1863, he took part in battle at Fountaindale, Pa., June 28, Harper’s Ferry, July 4; assisting in the destruction of the bridge across the Potomac; fight at Charlestown and Rippon, Va., October 18, had his horse shot from under him on a fifteen day raid up the Shenandoah Valley. 

In 1864, he was in the midnight attack from Mosby’s guerrillas at Londoun Heights, Va., January 10; raid from Harper’s Ferry via Winchester and Romney to Moorfield, Va., in February; fight at Mechanicaville Gap; engagement near Middletown, Md., July 6, where he was captured but made his escape the same day; fight at Hagerstown, Md., July 24; at Keedysville, Md., August 5; with Sherman’s cavalry in Shenandoah Valley from August 9 to 13; in the fighting at Berryville, Charlestown and Summit Point; assisted in the retrograde movement from Strasburg to Potomac, destroying forage and driving live stock from that region. ‘The winter of 1864, Major Horner passed on the Upper Potomac, with headquarters at Hedgesville, Va., guarding the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and telegraph lines from Harper’s Ferry to Cumberland, Md. He was mustered out of service at Harper’s Ferry, June 28, 1865. Thus it is seen that as a soldier, Major Horner had a most creditable record.

After the close of the war, Major Horner returned to Emmitsburg, Md., where he engaged in mercantile pursuits. lie was appointed postmaster there, March 11, 1869, and resigned April 13, 1877. He was then appointed United States storekeeper of customs at Baltimore, August 24, 1877, serving in that capacity and as inspector of customs until July, 1882.

In October, 1882, Major Horner was one of the organizers of the banking house of Annan, Horner & Company, of which he was cashier and general manager. This institution erected in 1888, one of the finest bank buildings in Western Maryland, and soon became known as one of the most prosperous and reliable in that section of the State. 

Much of its success can be traced to the financial ability and foresight of Major Horner. He was elected commissioner of the corporation of Emmitsburg in 1882 and 1883, and was a director and treasurer of the Emmitsburg Water Company. He was a man of sterling integrity, and one of the keenest business men of Frederick County. He was one of the active and earnest Republicans of the county. He served as commander of Arthur Post, No. 41, G. A. H., Department of Maryland.

Major Horner was twice married, first at Emmitsburg, to Ann Margaret Grier, daughter of the late Rev. Robert Grier, by whom he had three children. She died August 14, 1872, and the children at an early age. Major Horner was married secondly October 22, 1878, to Anna E. Annan, daughter of Andrew Annan, of Emmitsburg. She bore four children: Andrew Annan, Robert Lewis, Elizabeth Mutter, and Oliver Alexander.  Major Horner died in 1897.

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