Don’t Toot Your Own Horn

bcHORN Frank Ella Walter Eva

Frank Horn worked for over twenty years at the Conn Company, a musical instrument manufacturer in Elkhart, Indiana.  I imagine he was the subject of many horn jokes in his day.  Frank was a stationary fireman, which meant he operated high-pressure steam boilers in the factory.

Frank, his wife Ell (nee Seabourn), and their children Walter and Eva sat for this cabinet card photo about 1898.  Notice the children’s matching shoes! Frank was working as a lead miner in St. Francois, Missouri (about an hour south of St. Louis.) It was in 1904 that the family moved to Elkhart.

Frank and Ell had eight children: Walter, Eva, John, Flossie, Bertha, Glada, Helen, and one child that was born and died sometime between the years 1900 and 1910.  Sadly, little Eva also died during this time frame.  I was not able to find her death or burial record.

bHORN back

I picked up this cabinet card in a little antique shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The reverse reads “Frank & Ell, Horn, Walter, & Flossie, 1909.”  (Ignore the slash through 1909, as I made that mark before I remembered that I had not yet made a scan as I found it.)  It’s not possible that this photo was taken in 1909, as Walter, born in December 1894, would have been a teenager.  And the little girl can’t be Flossie, who, born in 1904, was ten years younger than Walter.  Notice that the author of the identifying writing initially penned the name Eva and then scribbled it out.  Clearly, like the date, they made a mistake or were giving their best guess.  This serves as a reminder to always treat identifying writing as a lead and research, research, research!

Frank passed in 1936 and Ella followed in 1948.  I was surprised that neither obituary mentioned Eva preceding them in death.

b1936 Mar 10 HORN Frank OBIT Daily News Times and Democrat Goshen IN
Daily News Times & Democrat (Goshen, IN) ~ Mar. 10, 1936


b1948 Aug 23 SEABOURN Ella OBIT The News Democrat Goshen IN
The News Democrat (Goshen) ~ Aug. 23, 1948

During my research on, I came upon a Horn family tree with a lot of photos of Walter.  I contacted the owner and discovered that Walter was her grandfather.  She was thrilled to see the faces of her Great Grandparents, Frank and Ell, and I’m happy that I was able to reunite this cabinet card photo with family.

HORN Walter OBIT unknown source
Newspaper source unknown (click to enlarge)

Walter lived to be 88 years old and led quite a full and interesting life, including serving his country during World War I, founding the Horn Electric Company, and being elected mayor of Hibbing, Minnesota.

Census records
Indiana death certificates
Find A Grave
America on the Move



11 thoughts on “Don’t Toot Your Own Horn

  1. This image is a little haunting, and so clear except for the, I’m guessing, squirming baby. This is a very awesome site and I look forward to following. I know I’ll probably figure it out more as I read, but I am so curious as to where you found these photos in the first place.


    1. I found this one in a shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Normally, I give information about where I found the photos, but it seems I forgot to do so in this post. Thanks for following! I look forward to reading your blog, as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I ❤ old photos! I always think about who these people might have been too. If not for your time, interest, and research, they'd be mostly forgotten. Thanks for resurrecting them. Every life deserves to be remembered in some way. AND now you've inspired me to look into my own 'roots'. Thank you!


  3. The parents both look so very young! She was only 19 when she got married, and honestly, poor Frank looks scared half to death, and hardly old enough to shave! It is odd that neither obituary mentioned either Eva or the other child. It’s possible that infant deaths were so common that people didn’t particularly make note of them. When we have a child today, we almost get a written guarantee, but pre-penicillin, any little thing could be fatal.


  4. This is absolutely amazing. Walter is my great-grandfather. Thank you so much for your in-depth research into his and our family’s history.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s