Monday, 30 March 2009

The Horne Family and Benjamin Franklin

In April 2008, Vivienne Lewis (nee Horne) e.mailed me with details of the Horne family who were involved in the coal merchant business and subsequently in banking and insurance in central London. Sir Edgar Horne was a founding member (1848) and first chairman of the Prudential Insurance Company.

Earlier this month I was contacted by Norman Patterson, the Bursar of Aldro School in Godalming, Surrey, the former family home of Sir Edgar Horne, whose portrait (above) hangs outside his office. Norman wrote: 'I have been searching for any present day members of the Horne family and after googling I found the Bloomsbury blog.' He asked me to forward his message to Vivienne and she came back with more information about the Horne family.

'My cousin Rosemary, who is also a Horne descendent, drew me to the site about Aldro School and Hall Place so we were familiar with the fact that the school was occupying Edgar Horne's old home. However, I never expected to hear from the Bursar so that was a surprise. One thing I did discover last summer was by some weird coincidence I found the modern day descendents of the Horne branch which emigrated to America in the early 1700s to Philadelphia. Benjamin Horne, who was the founder of the coal merchant business, had an elder brother called Edward who emigrated with a number of other Quakers. I googled 'Benjamin Horne' and came up with a family tree of the Knox-Johnson family who were descended from Edward and Benjamin's mother and father, Thomas and Susannah Horne. I contacted them and they were amazed as they had only known about Edward and five of his siblings, and were unaware that there were four more children. They have now added the family tree that Rosemary and I had compiled, to their own.

I have also found a reference to Edward Horne being a friend and mentor to the young Benjamin Franklin, but have been unable to verify this as yet.