HORTON, ELWOOD SPENCER. - The great railroads of the country employ some of the most reliable men to be found in the land, for upon their coolness, reliability and knowledge of their duties, depend the safety of thousands of human lives, and the preservation of much valuable property. One of these men of Cass County, Elwood Spencer Horton, is the chief dispatcher of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad at Beardstown, and is one of his road's most highly valued men. Mr. Horton was born at Newark, N.J., in January, 1856, a son of Silas and Clara J. (Thompson) Horton, natives of Essex, N.Y., and of Newark, N.J. The father was a contractor and builder, who, in the summer of 1859, moved to Galesburg, Ill., and there continued to operate along his line until his death in 1891. The mother died in 1911.
Elwood Spencer Horton attended the public and high schools of Galesburg, and when fifteen years old began to be self-supporting, and when sixteen years old, began learning telegraphy at Rushville, Ill. He was there less than a year, when he was shifted to another point on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, this being the one with which he had cast his fortune. After a number of changes he went to the Iowa Division and for six months was night operator at Burlington in that state. He also learned train dispatching and for a year was extra dispatcher at Creston, Iowa. In February, 1882, he was made dispatcher at Beardstown, Ill., under Supt. W. C. Brown, where he remained until June 6, 1906, being promoted to be chief dispatcher of Beardstown Division.
In 1885 Mr. Horton was married at Fairfield, Iowa, to Althea S. Foote, born at that place, a daughter of Joel and Marguerette (Parks) Foote, of Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Horton have three children; Ralph, who is a resident of Beardstown; and Gladys L. and William Bruce, both of whom are at home. Mr. Horton has served as alderman from the Third Ward of Beardstown, being elected on the Republican ticket. Fraternally he belongs to Lodge No. 207, Knights of Pythias, of Beardstown, and to Tent No. 2, K.O.T.M. A man of unusual ability, he has centered his efforts upon one line of endeavor and has risen deservedly high in his chosen calling.