From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Van Horn, James

(born: 1804  -  died: 1880) James Van Horn, a farmer, was among the wealthiest African Americans in Connersville, IN, prior to the year 1900. He was born in Pendleton County, KY, the slave of Josiah Thrasher. The Thrasher family is listed in the "Second Census" of Kentucky for the year 1800. In the 1820 Census Thrasher has one slave and in the 1830 Census he has no slaves. According to the History of Fayette County Indiana, James Van Horn escaped from Josiah Thrasher around 1825. Van Horn's mother was a slave, and his father was German. After his escape to Indiana, Van Horn stayed with John Thrasher, the son of his former owner, for about a year. Working various jobs, Van Horn was able to save enough money to buy his freedom and eventually purchased 121 acres of land. In 1842 he married Nancy Foster (b. 1822 in Ohio), and the couple had nine children. James Van Horn and his family are listed as free in the U.S. Federal Census as early as 1850 [name spelled Vanhorn]. Just prior to his death, Van Horn was a widower when he and his son Charles were listed as living in the same household in the 1880 Census. For more see James Van Horn on p. 326 of History of Fayette County, Indiana [available online at Google Books]. See also James Van Horn [and the spelling James Van Home] in A History of the Thrasher Family by M. Thrasher.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Pendleton County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Van Horn, James,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-12-19 21:39:56