Elizabeth King Horton

1749 – 1823

I was the wife of a Continental Army doctor.

I was born on July 1749 on Long Island, New York before my family moved to a town called Black River – it’s now called Chester – in Morris County, New Jersey. I married a doctor named Jonathan Horton and we moved to nearby Roxbury.

When the war broke out, the militia and the Continental Army needed doctors for the sick and wounded, and Jonathan volunteered to serve. He worked for Colonel Ephraim Martin’s regiment in the New Jersey State militia which was assisting with the defense of New York City. Later, after the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777, the army marched north to Morristown and encamped for the winter.

Jonathan became assistant surgeon to a Continental Army regiment at a military hospital at Mendham. One of the deadliest things for the army was the disease of smallpox, and Jonathan had to treat many patients who had caught it. Unfortunately, it was highly contagious, and on May 24, 1777, Jonathan died from that terrible disease.

Just eighteen days later, I gave birth to our son Jonathan. This was my fourth child, and I was now a 28-year-old widow with no way to support myself and my children other than a small pension from my husband’s service, which was discontinued in 1784. Over the next 32 years, I argued for women like me who had lost husbands in the war, whether they died by wounds or by disease, to receive a consistent pension. Finally, in 1818, the state of New Jersey agreed and reinstated my pension.

I survived until October 3, 1823.


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Image Elizabeth King Horton