My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Monday, September 26, 2011

MONDAY'S MILITARY - Henry August Horst, 1882 Naval Academy Graduate

Henry August Horst
1882 Graduate U.S. Naval Academy
Henry August Horst was born in Mobile, Alabama on January 28, 1861. He is my great-great-great-uncle. His parents were Martin Horst (1830-1878) and Apollonia Weinschenk (1829-1908), my 3x-great-grandparents. He was their third son of six (only four survived to adulthood); Henry also had two younger sisters. His oldest brother, Charles Frederick (1856-1912), is my great-great-grandfather.

Henry was the only son in his family to attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. (His brothers attended Spring Hill College in Mobile, a Catholic men's school.) He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1882 and stayed in the Navy until 1884.
1882 Naval Academy Graduating Class
Henry Horst seated far right

United States Naval Academy
"When the founders of the United States Naval Academy were looking for a suitable location, it was reported that the Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft decided to move the naval school to 'the healthy and secluded' location of Annapolis in order to rescue midshipmen from 'the temptations and distractions that necessarily connect with a large and populous city'. The Philadelphia Naval Asylum School was its predecessor.

United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland
taken between 1860-1880
The Naval School was established in 1845 at a 10-acre Army post named Fort Severn in Annapolis, Maryland with a class of 50 midshipmen and 7 professors. The curriculum included mathematics and navigation, gunnery and steam, English, chemistry, natural philosophy and French. In 1850 the Naval School became the United States Naval Academy. A new curriculum went into effect requiring midshipmen to study at the school for four years and to train aboard ships each summer. The campus of 10 acres increased to 338. The original student body of 50 midshipmen increased to a brigade size of 4,000. Modern granite buildings replaced the old wooden structures of Fort Severn." [taken in part from ]

After Service in the Navy
Henry August Horst
After leaving the Navy Henry returned to his hometown. On July 13, 1887, Henry married Harriett "Hattie" Clitherall Hall (1866-1893), the daughter of a prominent Mobile physician. Henry and Hattie lived in her family's home at 110 St. Emmanuel Street, a house that had been passed down from her maternal grandfather. At this time Henry worked as a bookkeeper at Eichold Bros. & Weiss, a liquor distributor much like his father had been.

Henry and Hattie soon had two children, Henry Alexander, born May 23, 1888, and Harriett "Hattie" Mae, born May 13, 1890. Tragedy struck the family when Henry's wife died on February 3, 1893. She was just 26; her children were 4 and 2.

On June 10, 1896, Henry married Behethelen "Hetty" Gaines Lyon (1872-1923). Henry and Hetty soon started their own family - Martin Lyon, born June 25, 1897; Mary Lyon, born August 31, 1898; Thomas Temple Armstrong, born October 27, 1900; and Windham Lyon, born January 12, 1903. Their daughter Mary died at the age of 3 on Christmas Eve, 1901. Youngest child Windham died the day after his 16th birthday; his cause of death was listed as "epilepsy".
Henry Horst Obituary
Mobile Register, March 1922

Just three years later Henry, too, died, from stomach cancer on March 12, 1922. He was 61. One year later Hetty passed away, on July 26, 1923. Her cause of death was listed as "acute indigestion". She was only 50 years old. They are all buried at Magnolia Cemetery.
Henry's descendants are numerous, most still living in Mobile. One great-grandson said that his grandfather Martin gave Henry's class ring to the Naval Academy back in the 60's when he was up visiting relatives.

Interestingly I have a cousin, also descended from Charles F. Horst, Henry's older brother, who attended and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1979, almost one hundred years after our great-great-great uncle Henry.

1 comment:

  1. I am a 1969 graduate of the Naval Academy and am doing research on the graduates who class rings are on display at the Naval Academy museum. Your biography of Mr. Henry August Horst (USNA 1882) was very helpful. It was an act of Congress and his class standing that end his naval career.

    The 2003 Naval Academy Register of Alumni does not list a Horst graduating in 1979, but does have a Mr. Michael N. Horst (USNA 1972).

    I have written a biographical sketch on your great-great-great uncle Henry using your information plus my research. It includes a picture of his ring on display. I would like to share it with you. My e-mail address is

    Best Regards.