U.S. Congressman, Kansas City, Missouri Mayor, Lawyer, Journalist. He was the son of Henry Van Horn and his wife Elizabeth Thompson. He attended local schools and was an apprentice to a printer; he moved from Pennsylvania to Pomeroy, Ohio in 1844; and there he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1850 and started his law practice. In 1855, he relocated to Kansas City, Missouri becoming politically active as a pro-union Democrat in the community: he became a member of the Board of Aldermen in 1857; Postmaster of Kansas City from 1857 to 1861; established and edited the newspaper, "Kansas City Journal"; elected mayor of Kansas City in 1861 and again in 1864. At this point, he joined the United States Military to serve in the Civil War as Lieutenant Colonel of the Twenty-fifth Regiment, Missouri Volunteer Infantry. In September 1861, he was wounded at the battle of Lexington; he had a horse shot out from under him at Shiloh, Tennessee; and when the borderline wars started after the war, he was there to help settle the conflict. As a Republican, he served as a State Senator from 1862 to 1864. He was elected to the Thirty-ninth, Fortieth, and Forty-first United States Congresses from March 4, 1865 to March 3, 1871. One of his major legislative moves was to attach an amendment to a bill authorizing a railroad bridge over the Mississippi River at Quincy, Illinois. The Hannibal Missouri Bridge opened on July 3, 1869; these two bridges opened the Kansas City's cattle trade to Chicago. He served as Chairman of the Missouri State Republican Central Committee from 1874 to1876. He was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1864, 1868, 1872, 1876, 1880 and 1884. He was a collector of internal revenue for the sixth district of Missouri from 1875 to 1881. In 1897, he retired from the newspaper. He died on his estate, “Honeywood,” at Evanston Station, Missouri. Van Horn High School was built on the site of the "Honeywood" in 1955.
Bio by: Linda Davis