MCHORSE, JOHN W. (1819 ~ 1897). John W. McHorse, a citizen of the Republic of Texas, was born in 1819 in Tennessee, Alabama, or South Carolina. He immigrated to Texas at the age of 17, probably by way of Alabama.
Settling in Nacogdoches, McHorse enlisted in Captain Hayden Arnold's Company in Colonel Sidney Sherman's regiment of the Texas Army on March 10, 1836. On April 21, 1836, McHorse participated in the triumph of Texas independence at the Battle of San Jacinto where he suffered a gunshot wound to his left hand. He was discharged from the Texas Army in Victoria, Texas on June 1, 1836.
After leaving the Army, McHorse lived with Jesse Walling for two months in Rush County, Texas. Walling was elected to the legislature and later provided confirmation of McHorse's service to the Republic, proving his eligibility for a pension. In 1837, McHorse returned to Alabama. On October 26 of that year, he enlisted as a corporal in Captain Bryson's Company of the North Alabama Mounted Volunteers in the Seminole Indians Wars in Florida. He served for several months and was discharged on April 13, 1838, at Fort Mitchell, Alabama, ending his military career.
In 1842, McHorse married Elizabeth Wilson, the daughter of James W. Wilson of Kentucky, in Jackson County, Alabama. The next few years of McHorse's life were marked by the birth of five children and a move to Arkansas. On July 8, 1853, McHorse became ordained as a Baptist minister at the New Home Baptist Church in Clark County, Arkansas. He also bought and sold several tracts of land while in Arkansas. On October 25, 1858, he organized the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Sevier County, Arkansas. The church and the adjoining McHorse Cemetery still exist today.
In late 1860, or early 1861, Elizabeth Wilson McHorse died, possibly from complications due to the birth of her last child, Thomas Mason, who was born on December 16, 1860. McHorse later remarried in 1861, to Rutha Jane, who was born in Mississippi.
During the Civil War, McHorse was appointed a commissioner for the relief of families of Confederate soldiers in 1863. Between 1866 and 1870, McHorse and his family moved back to Texas where they settled in Milam County. In 1871, McHorse joined a Masonic Lodge in Falls County, Texas, an organization in which he remained active until his death. In 1874, he helped establish Macedonia, Williamson County, Texas and a Masonic lodge for the community. The community of Macedonia, Texas no longer exists today, except for a small country cemetery, where McHorse's second wife, Rutha Jane, and two children are buried.
In 1883, McHorse founded the city of Circleville, Texas, which is north of Taylor. He established a Masonic lodge there also. In 1889, he divorced Rutha Jane and later married Denisa Ann Harrison, granddaughter of President William Henry Harrison. In 1892, McHorse and Denisa joined the New Hope Baptist Church in Cedar Park, Texas. He was dismissed from the church in 1896 for "un-Christian conduct." This bleak period in his life also saw his divorce from Denisa, probably due to his dismissal from New Hope Baptist Church.
McHorse died at his home in Leander, Texas on January 19, 1897 and was buried in the Texas State Cemetery on January 20, 1897.
Information provided by family members and Texas State Cemetery file materials.