submitted by Jo Ann Carlson, November 10, 2007

Feb 9, 1895 (hand written)

The NEWS-TRIBUNE mourns its editor. Geo. W. Van Horne is no more. His pilgrimage in this vale of tears is closed and the tried and troubled spirit now hovers in fields Elysian beyond all mortal ken. The curtain has fallen on scenes terrestrial and for him the invisible veil has lifted disclosing that spiritual realm, whither we all are drifting with the human tide. That mortal tenement so weary and pain-pierced has relinquished the life so bright, precious and fondly cherished to sink into rest and peace eternal, the distinguished patient breathing his last peacefully and tranquilly at 9:15 o’clock Friday morning. For nearly three months the tightening chords of disease had bound him a prisoner in the sick chamber, and despite all efforts at relief, the affectionate care and unceasing vigils of those near and dear, the skill of physician and all that love or science could achieve the ravages of disease could not be checked or inevitable dissolution be stayed. His death plunges a loving household into the depth of sorrow which the fervent sympathy of a host of friends cannot assuage and only the gentle hand of Time may alleviate. Stricken with nervous prostration of a severe type early in November he grew weaker day by day, and a complication of chronic bronchitis setting in, aggravated his already precarious condition, and though he rallied at times bringing hopes of recovery that were all too soon blighted, he eventually succumbed, his spirit departing on that wondrous voyage to the calm and beautiful shores of the mystic other world that he had so often longed and hoped for. His death, though not unexpected, created a profound impression throughout the city and general sympathy was expressed for the hearts bowed down in that beautiful suburban home so appropriately called “Farview” now so saddened and darkened by the visitation of the Death Angel. Many were the citizens who called during the day to pay their respects to the memory the distinguished dead, to console and comfort the aching hearts around the bier, and to look at the pale, wan faces, unmarred by traces of pain, of him who in life had exerted the best influence in mind and heart in his sphere and endeared himself to so many.

Mr. Van Horne was a native of New England, having first saw the light of day in the town of Chicopee, then a part of Springfield, Mass., October 12, 1833. During his youth he was rigorously kept at school, and upon completing with honors a High School and academic course, he concluded to enter the profession of law and preparatory thereto he began to study in the law office of Hon. Charles R. Ladd, for many years Auditor of State, and subsequently continued his studies with Hon. E.B. Gillette, of Westfield, Mass. He came to Muscatine in May, 1855 entering the office of Cloud & O’Connor to complete his course under the code of Iowa, where he intended practicing his profession. After admission to the bar he formed a partnership with Hon. D.C. Cloud, then Attorney General of the state, and the first to hold that position, with whom the remained in practice until 1861.

Mr. Van Horne took an active interest and prominent part in the organization of the republican party, and in the Fremont and Lincoln campaigns he was constantly on the stump for the republican ticket. During the first week of President Lincoln’s administration the valuable services of the eloquent and convincing orator received just recognition in his appointment as United States Consul to Marseilles, Frances, and with his family left immediately for his post, performing his duties with fidelity and ability, until 1866, when he was removed from office by President Johnson, who at that time was engaged in an unseemly conflict with Congress on the issue of reconstruction of the rebellious south. Shortly after his return to Iowa he accepted an invitation from the republican state central committee of Arkansas to take editorial charge of the new state organ to be established at Little Rock. He soon resigned the position, however, a he found little congeniality in his work in the then unsettled and distracted condition of political affairs, but was persuaded by his Arkansas friends to accept a Registrarship under the reconstruction laws of Congress for Scott county, in that state. It was while executing the duties of registrar that he saw and felt the great injustice that was to be perpetrated upon the south by subjecting the whites to negro domination, and since that time he had never failed to justify the revolution that restored white supremacy in that section. He left Arkansas after the first election held under the acts of congress, and spending three years at his boyhood home in the old Bay State, he returned to Muscatine in the winter of 1870, and began the publication of the Muscatine Tribune. Subsequently he purchased the Muscatine Courier, but retained the favorite name of “Tribune,” for the joint publication. The Betts Brothers were admitted to a partnership which existed for several years, until dissolved by Mr. Van Horne’s withdrawal. For a protracted period he did miscellaneous editorial work for both the Tribune and Journal, severing his connection with the latter paper in 1887, when in December of that year the Muscatine News Company was incorporated and he was elected secretary and editor-in-chief of the Muscatine Daily and Weekly News.

September 15, 1858, Mr. Van Horne contracted a marriage with Mary, only daughter of the late Dr. James G. Morrow, one of the founders of Muscatine, and step-daughter at the time of his marriage, of his old law partner, Mr. Cloud. Of this union there were born four children: Hattie D., now one of our most efficient and cultured city school teachers; Bennie R., who died in infancy in France; Lulu C., who was born in France, and who is now the wife of Edward G. Magoon, and Ellsworth Stiles, now the NEWS-TRIBUNE reportorial staff, the first and last being natives of Iowa. Mr. Van Horne was fond of relating as incidents of his marriage, that Mrs. V. was the first woman he saw on land.

When in May 1889, the Daily News and Daily Tribune were consolidated, the paper was first issued under its present hyphenated title of News-Tribune, and Mr. Van Horne continued his connection therewith as editor of the paper and secretary of the publishing company, the name of which remained unchanged. Years ago he had done yeoman’s service as chairman of the democratic county central committee devoting his time and energy to the work unstintingly. This service combined with his effective editorial work was instrumental in his securing the appointment of postmaster, his commission being issued May 12, 1893.

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