I want to grow up to be her.
From The King's Business, Vol. 12, January 1921. Pages 21-25
Making the Most of Life: A Tribute to the Memory of Mrs. T.C.Horton Who Departed October 10th.
"To be with Christ is far, far better." --Phil. 1:23
On Sunday evening, October 10, 1920, just as the sun was fading from sight, and the people were gathering for the regular weekly Twilight Communion Service in the Church of the Open Door, a little woman closed her eyes and slipped away in obedience to the call of her Master-- "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: enter thou into the joy of the Lord."
The announcement of her home-going, which was made a few hours later to the vast congregation assembled for evening worship in the auditorium, brought a sense of shock and personal loss to those of the audience who were privileged to know her--and these were many. When on the following Tuesday her friends gathered to look for the last time on her loved face, they came, not by hundreds, but literally by thousands--a great company--sorrowing not as those who have no hope, but rejoicing in the coronation of a life of loving service.
Who was she and what had she done to merit such a demonstration in her honor? Just a modest, retiring, homeloving little woman, who--having first given her own self to the Lord--had heard his call for service and answered "Here am I." Truly it was for others that she lived, giving unstintedly of her time, her strength, her effort, and her heart's love to those with any sort of need, from the highest to the lowest, rich and poor, wise and ignorant, with no thought of commendation or reward, actuated only by the constraining love of Christ.
How wonderfully does her life attest to the truth of that saying of the Lord Jesus, "Faithful in that which is least--faithful also in much." It was ever her way to "do the next thing," no matter how seemingly unimportant, thus preparing the way for the larger service which was given her, the influence of which has been felt in almost every nation of the world, through the women and girls who, inspired by her life, her teaching and her example, have been led to dedicate themselves to the service of Christ.
Her Earlier Life
"Mother" Horton was born some sixty-eight years ago in Rome, N.Y. Early environment had little to do in influencing her to choose the path of self-sacrificing devotion to Christ,--for, though surrounded by every comfort and advantage that a loving father and mother could provice, hers was a Universalist home, where the latch string was always out for ministers of that faith, and she attended a Universalist college, giving the valedictory address at her graduation.
But "God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform," and He has His own way of bringing His purposes to pass. Little Anna Kingsbury (for that was her maiden name) was extremely musical, and when she attended the Universalist church always played the organ. But the church was small and often no meetings were held in it, and at such times her services as an organist were in demand at the Presbyterian church. She was not "between two fires," for there was no fire in the sermons preached in the Universalist church, but in the Presbyterian church there was a good, old-fashioned preacher whose sermons--founded upon the Word of God--made the soul of the young girl restless until she sought and found Him who is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
Moving later to Indianapolis, she met a young business man, lately converted, Mr. Thomas C. Horton, who had responded to a call (as she herself had) for workers in a little Presbyterian Mission. Her husband says of her: "I saw her first on her own doorstep, as I happened to pass by her home, and never forgot her face. In the mission I saw her at the organ, and the services there suddenly became very attractive to me, especially the organ music. She was engaged at that time to marry a young Presbyterian minister but her father was opposed to the match, and I used my utmost endeavors to persuade her that it would be better to marry a business man than a minister, and was finally successful."
Mrs. Horton had a fine well-trained mezzo-soprano voice, and had been singing in a quartet in the leading Episcopal church of Indianapolis. Continuing their work in the mission, she taught a class of boys, and her husband took charge of the Primary (or as it was then called, the "Infant") Department of the Sunday School, where they spent many happy years, learning to do things by doing them.
With a cultured mind, practical ability, and a rarely unselfish devotion, this little woman grew in knowledge and in wisdom. Blessed with unusually good health, she gave not only the proper attention to the duties of the home, but gave instruction upon the organ (having many free pupils), and made her home a rendezvous for young people where they could come in touch with a happy, healthy, normal Christian atmosphere.
Unfolding of God’s Plan
The gradual unfolding of the plan of God for the lives of these two is seen in the call which came to Mr. Horton to take up the work of the secretaryship of the Y.M.C.A. which he accepted, although without any previous knowledge of definite Christian work, and with not much knowledge of the Bible. Following a successful term of service here, in which she was ever the constant helpmate of her husband, the family removed to St. Paul where Mr. Horton (having in the meantime fitted himself for the ministry and having been ordained in the Presbyterian Church), organized and ministered to a church of that denomination. Here, as always, Mrs. Horton had a large share in the work, teaching a splendid class of young boys.
In her home there were now four earnest daughters growing into Christian womanhood. The eldest, Jessie, who had dedicated her life to God for work in the foreign field, and expected to go to China as a missionary, was taken to be with her Lord at the age of twenty-four.
Later a call came to Mr. Horton from an important field in Philadelphia, where for four years he was Associate Pastor of the Bethany Presbyterian Church, of which Dr. Arthur T. Pierson was pastor, and John Wanamaker was Superintendent of the Sunday School. Here Mrs. Horton did a great work among the women and young girls, gaining the experience and knowledge which were afterwards so helpful to her in her work with the Lyceum Club and the Bible Women’s Department in the Bible Institute of Los Angeles.
In Dallas, Texas, where Mr. Horton was called to succeed Dr. C.I. Scofield as pastor of the First Congregational Church, Mrs. Horton, besides efficiently discharging the many and varied duties ordinarily devolving upon a pastor’s wife, organized and taught a class of boys, many of whom are now engaged in different forms of Christian work,-- one a missionary in Central America, another in charge of Christian Endeavor work for the Southwestern Territory, etc.
In January, 1906, the family came to Los Angeles in response to a call from the Immanuel Presbyterian Church, of which Mr. Horton became assistant Pastor. Mrs. Horton organized a woman’s class called the Eulogia Bible Class, which is still in existence, and has communicated with the family with the following words of comfort: "We feel the loss of a dear Christian friend and teacher, who was the founder of our Bible class almost fifteen years ago, and because of whose influence we are still endeavoring to reach a higher, nobler Christian life."
The Lyceum Club
With a heart full of love and sympathy for working girls, Mrs. Horton organized a club, which met in the Fifth Street Store, at the request of Mr. D.H. Steele, who was manager of the store at that time. To this organization she gave the name of Lyceum Club. Girls from the stores and business houses met one evening each week for Christian fellowship, a supper together, and a simple, practical, Bible lesson, dismissing at an early hour. This plan for the evening’s activities has never been changed. For a number of years after the organization of the Lyceum Club, Mrs. Horton took charge of the suppers served each week to this large company of girls, doing a large share of the work with her own hands. No task was ever too small for her to perform for the dear girls whom she loved so well.
Two years ago, because of failing health, Mrs. Horton gave up the teaching of this Club, but has always been its leader, and a true "Mother" to the girls. To many of them she was the only mother they knew. She had a real mother heart, and would remain frequently until a late hour, in order to bring comfort to the hearts of the sad girls, strength to the weak and disheartened, and the knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord to those who did not know Him.
The attendance at the Lyceum Club today ranges from one hundred and seventy-five to two hundred and fifty. Thousands of lives have been touched through this work. Many of the girls have entered the Bible Institute and have gone to the foreign field, fully equipped missionaries, while many other have engaged in church work in the home land. Scarcely a Tuesday evening passes without one or more girls accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. The Fishermen’s Club for young men, organized by Mr. Horton, together with the Lyceum Club, formed the nucleus of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles.
Bible Women’s Work
Inspired by the Zenana work of India, and as a result of a deeply felt need of reaching women in their homes in our own land, Mrs. Horton was used of God to institute her Bible Women’s work. Since the organization of the work in 1909 this band of devoted women have spent one entire morning each week in counsel and prayer. The rest of their time is devoted to meeting the needs of women as God may lead, visiting in the homes, teaching Bible classes, and administering comfort and help. God has wonderfully blessed this work, which is all done to His glory. This work began with three Bible women. Today the circle has grown to seventeen Bible women and five volunteer workers. God gave to Mrs. Horton a rare gift of discernment, and the band of women whom she gathered around her we believe cannot be excelled for ability in their work and consecration to God.
Feeling very strongly the need of reaching the girls for God at as early an age as possible, Mrs. Horton about ten years ago organized the work among High School girls. For a number of years weekly Bible classes have been held in some home or church near the schools, the number of classes varying from ten to twenty each week. There are now fifteen such classes in connection with the High and Intermediate schools of Los Angeles and vicinity. These classes gather together two or three times a year for a rally or for a social time together. The organization as a whole is known as the Euodia Club, --Euodia meaning fragrance—and the motto is, "Be fragrant for Christ." A number of these girls have become Institute students, and some are already engaged in definite Christian work.
The Funeral Services
The funeral services for Mrs. Horton were held in the main auditorium of the Bible Institute in the presence of a multitude of friends. Rev. Robert A. Hadden, an old time friend of the family, preached the funeral sermon. Dr. J.R. Pratt and Rev. Ralph Atkinson offered prayers , and solos were sung by Mr. C.M. Brooks and Mrs. Corinne Smith. Mrs. Smith sang the old hymn, "There Is Never a Day So Dreary." This same hymn was sung at funeral of Jessie Horton, Mrs. Horton herself playing the organ accompaniment. The Bible Institute male quartet also sang a beautiful hymn and the Bible Institute chimes during the service played "Rock of Ages," "Trust and Obey," and the Doxology. The whole service was very helpful and inspiring. Those who acted as pall-bearers were Mr. H.H. Fulton, Mr. J.P. Welles, Mr. C.L. Wells, Mr. J.M. Irvine, Mr. A.J. Johnson and Rev. J.H. Hunter.
By the time the great company of people had passed the casket to take their farewell look at their beloved friend, the hour was very late. Just at dusk, as the sun had set and the evening star appeared, her family and friends laid her away in Forest Lawn Cemetery. A brief but most beautiful and impressive service was held, closing with the following verse sung softly by the assembled friends:
"Sleep on, thou weary one, and take thy rest;
And lay thy head upon the Savior’s breast.
We love thee much, but Jesus loves thee best.
Sleep on, sleep on, sleep on."
Tributes From Loving Friends
"We all feel that Heaven has been brought a bit nearer and its ties made stronger by her departure to be with her Lord, whom she loved and served so faithfully. Many of us remember her many years’ of untiring devotion and service for the Lord as a mother to the Fishermen fellows, and now she rests from her labors, and her works do follow her."
"We think of how much ‘Mother’ Horton has gained to be in the glory and how we rejoice also to think of her life of devotion, of service, of hardship, of unselfishness and love for Him, and the work of the Gospel. How we envy her record and how glad we are to know what rich reward is awaiting her up there…Life is poorer without her, yet so much richer than before we knew her. She truly choose the best part—to live for Him, to serve Him in deep, true devotion, and to make her life count in the salvation of souls everywhere."
"Truly ‘Aunt Anna’ was a remarkable woman, and I cannot help but feel that she was an eye-witness to the scenes of today (the funeral services). I do not suppose, however, that it was worthy of mention compared to the demonstration Sunday evening when she entered the glory on the other side. I felt as though we were at the very gates of Heaven today, and wish that we might all have gone in."
"I cannot refrain from telling you how much Mrs. Horton has meant to my life. Ever since my arrival in Los Angeles she has addressed me as ‘Sonny’ and on several occasions introduced me to strangers as ‘her son,’ much to their surprise. But I was her son and she was my mother in a way she little realized for her sweet ways were constantly reminding me of my own dear mother who went to be with the Lord some years ago. She was always saying a word of encouragement to me just at the time when I most needed it, although she may not have known it. No one will miss her more than I."
"It was indeed ‘Christ for her to live.’ Her service was her ‘ruling passion,’ and now what must this gain of higher, untrammeled, all perfect service be to her, as she beholds the King in His beauty."