A Brief History of Samuel Hopkins Horner

Born: 1845, Schenectady, NY, USA

Came to Canada 1847 (Mother's OBIT), Welland Area

1861, Canadian Volunteer, Trent Affair, possibly received training as military saddler from British.

Received his training in the period before 1865 as a saddler in Hamilton & Dundas.

1865(?) Received the appointment of military drill instructor for the Stratford Rifle Company with the rank
of Sergeant (from Obit)

Click on the medal for more information.

1866, Stratford Rifles, Fenian Raids

1868/1869, Shown in the Quarterly Sessions of the Court as being sworn in as a Constable in Stratford
This was further evidenced by a letter from Col. French(first Commissioner of the NWMP) to Justice Dept.,
refering to recommendation of the vet, Poett.

1869, City of Stratford Directory, listed as a Harness Maker

1870, Ontario Rifles, Red River Rebellion

1875, recruited by NWMP (Regimental #6)

Stationed at:

Swan River (1875-1876)
Fort MacLeod (1876-1878)
Fort Walsh (1878-1882)
Fort MacLeod (1882-1886)
Regina (1886-1890)

Staff Sergeant Horner was present at the treaty made with the Cree Indians in 1876 at Fort Pitt and was also present at the famous treaty made with the Black Foot nation and Stonies in 1877 with Col MacLeod and Lieut. Governor Laird as treaty commissioners.

In 1881 he was on escort duty with Colonel Herchimer in command of the escort, when the Marquis of Lorne, afterwards the Duke of Argyll, visited the west as representative of Queen Victoria. The route of the Governor-General's party was from Fort Ellis through the west, north to Battleford, then to Calgary and on to Fort MacLeod.

In 1882 Regina became headquarters and in the fall of that year, Staff Sergeant Horner was transferred to Fort MacLeod, remaining there until the spring of 1886, when he was recalled to Regina.

Click on the medal for more information.

In the North-West Rebellion of 1885, with Inspector Perry in command, he was with the detachment carrying the nine-pounder field gun. He joined General Strange's forces at Calgary and went north to Fort Pitt and Beaver River.

For services rendered in this campaign, Samuel Horner was recommended in general order, by General Strange, to the favorable consideration of the comptroller Colonel Fred. White and, at the breaking up of the brigade, was again granted, in general orders, recommendation for increased pay from the time of joining the brigade until its breaking-up, "for valuable services rendered."

From Red Coats On The Prairies:

"A key figure of the time in keeping the horses equipped for patrol work was the Force's Saddler Major in Regina, who oversaw the repair and maintenance of all saddlery. For years the police had had difficulties obtaining suitable harness, head collars, bridles and other saddlery accessories. [Commissioner] Herchmer suggested that the problem might be solved if in future the Force made its own. "We have the required skill," he informed the Deputy Minister, "in the person of Saddler Major Horner, ‘a mechanic second to no tradesman in the Dominion'. All we need to carry out the job," he continued, "was a few good stitchers and the leather to do the work." (NWMP, Annual Report, 1886) "Of course, he added, "it would be a saving to the public purse."
Ottawa agreed, and by 1889 the Commissioner was able to report that the soldiers were producing all the martingales, pole straps, hopples, reins, head collars, halters, side straps and even sword and cross belts, holsters and bandoliers that were needed. (NWMP, Annual Report, 1889) "

"Horner was the Force's Saddler with the rank of Staff Sergeant from 1875 to 1890. He was easily recognizable around the barracks in Regina by his huge, unkempt black beard."
1890, retired from the NWMP, moved to Lethbridge & started a saddle & harness business with Henry Hutchinson, saddler

1891, listed in Lethbridge (Alberta) Census as a Harness Maker

1891 - 1896, Patronage Contracts for Saddle & Harness with the NWMP (from National Archives MS)

1896, April 13, joined Stratford Lodge # 332, G.R.C. (Stratford Ontario)

1896, September 29 - 1898, June 6, Special Constable, NWMP,
possibly in the Yukon

1898, (fall) set up the first Saddle & Harness Making Shop
in Cardston, Alberta, next to the Kearn Hotel.

1901, listed in Cardston (Alberta) Census as a Harness Maker

1904, Burnt out in a disasterous fire (in Cardston)

1904 - 1907, Re-engaged into the Royal NorthWest Mounted Police

Horner's Signature from the records of Stratford Lodge # 332, A. F. & A. M., GRC
when he joined in 1896

1907, June - 1908, August, employed by the RNWMP.

1908, returned to Stratford.

1909, December 7, married Annie Yemen, the widow of a former member of Stratford Lodge. (Horner's status was "Bachelor",age 63, Yemen's was "Widow", age 58)

1913, March 27, Annie McRae Yemen Horner died.

1915, August, through the recommendation of Col. Fred. White, Comptroller of the R.N.W.M.P. to Hon. A. E. Kemp, War Purchasing Commission, was called up by the Government of Canada to assist in the war effort by representing foreign countries(Britain, France and Russia) in their purchases of saddles and harness from Canadian companies. Inspections made in Edmonton, Fort William and Ottawa.

1919, went to live with his spinster sister, Selena, who was then retired from teaching.

1921, made Life Member of Stratford Lodge # 332, GRC

1923, mention of a letter in the correspondence of Stratford Lodge (02/12/23) in which he thanks the Lodge for flowers delivered to him while recently in Hospital. (attendance at lodge was fairly regular from 1908 until the war & attended at Christmas during the War when he was home for the holidays. He did not attend after his hospital stay.

April 11, 1929, Samuel Hopkins Horner passed to the Grand Lodge Above. (newspaper account said it was after a long illness) Sister predeceased him by two days

There was not a masonic funeral...probably because it was a double funeral. However, the Anglican Priest in charge of the funeral was a member of Stratford Lodge and the pallbearers for both Bro. Horner & his sister were all prominent masons of both Stratford & Tecumseh lodges.

The newspaper account indicated that his & his sister's remains would be held in the mortuary chapel from whence they would be removed to Brockville to be buried with their parents. However, they were, in fact, buried in Avondale Cemetery, Stratford.

Many thanks are due to Lutzen Riedstra and the staff of the Stratford-Perth Archives, without whose help, this history would not have been possible!

Please send any inquiries to:

Stephen A. Budge,
15 Church St.
Stratford ON N5A 2P9
(519) 271-7415 ---- (519) 271-2202

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