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Fred J. Horton. When an individual had been closely identified with the business interests of a community for twenty-three years, it would be an anomaly were he not intimately known to the citizens of that place. In the seething, progressive life of an energetic, enterprising city or town the man who shows himself interested in the advancement of the public welfare is bound to be more or less in the public eye, and that eye, as it had often shown itself, is capable of piercing its way into the deepest recesses of the lives of the citizens of the community. For twenty-three years the record of Fred J. Horton had stood inviolate; for nearly a quarter of a century he had been engaged in the oil business at Iola, and during this time had established a reputation, sound and substantial, in commercial and industrial circles.
Mr. Horton belongs to the class of men who have worked their own way to success, for his start was at the bottom of the ladder in the business in which he is now engaged. He was born at Wellsboro, Tioga County, Pennsylvania, October 31, 1864, and is a son of Hector and Permelia A. (Emmick) Horton. The Horton family is of English origin, and was founded in the United States by the great-grandfather or the grandfather of Fred J. Horton.
The rural schools of Tioga County, Pennsylvania, furnished Fred J. Horton with his preliminary educational training, following which he attended the high school at Wellsboro. He was eighteen years of age when he graduated from that institution, and for several years remained on his father’s farm, assisting the elder man in the production of crops. Like many other young men of his day and locality, Mr. Horton was attracted from the prosaic life of the farm by the interesting, energetic activities of the oil fields, with their promise of large fortunes and plenty of excitement, and when he was twenty-one years of age went to Lima, Ohio, where he had his first experience as a contractor and producer. Later he was engaged in the same way at other points in Ohio and in Indiana, and in 1894 came as one of the early oil men to Iola, Kansas, where he had since made his headquarters. Mr. Horton started here in a small way, but his operations have steadily increased in scope, and today he had oil productions in the Mid-Continent field. In business circles he had the confidence and esteem of his associates, by whom he is known as a reliable man of business and a good judge of values in the oil and gas business. Mr. Horton is a republican, but politics had played only a small part in his career. He is prominent fraternally, belonging to Iola Lodge No. 38, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Valley Chapter No. 11, Royal Arch Masons, of Iola; Esdraelon Commandery No. 34, Knights Templar, of Iola; Fort Scott Consistory, thirty-second degree; and Mirza Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles Mystic Shrine, of Pittsburgh; and to Iola Camp No. 961, Modern Woodmen of America.