Hardin County

Horatio Gates Lane

Married 68 Years

Mr. and Mrs. Horatio Gates Lane Lived Thru Thrilling and Exciting Days in Illinois Bandit Country.

CASEYVILLE, Ky. (May 14, 1939) — Horatio Gates Lane is his name. A couple of days ago he quietly observed his ninety-first birthday. At the same time he and Mrs. Lane celebrated their sixty-eighth wedding anniversary.

Both events are unusual. One doesn't find 91-year old men living on every street corner. And rarely do a man and wife live to celebrate their sixty-eighth wedding anniversary.

Born in Tennessee, Mr. Lane had the "Gates" hinged onto his name because his grandfather fought under General Gates of Revolutionary fame. His father was Horatio Gates too.

But Mr. Lane doesn't think so much of his name. He didn't pass it on to any of his children.

Just a couple of months before his sixteenth birthday Horatio Gates Lane, better known as "Race," ran away from home to join the Union Army.

"We were living in Kentucky then" he said, "right across from Rosiclare, Ill."

"I was with Sherman on his march to the sea. Get tired of walking? well no, you see I was in the cavalry."

Nicked once in the shoulder by a bullet, Race Lane was mustered out in Lexington, N.C., two years, eight months and 14 days after he had "jined up."

His first job after getting out of the Army was flatboating on Ohio and Mississippi River corn and potato boats.

"I wasn't a pilot," he said, "I just pulled an oar, which ws harder," he added.

"We'd float down the river to Baton Rouge, New Orleans or Natchez and then make the trip back by steamboat."

"There was always plenty of drinking and card playing on the steamboats, but I managed to hang on to my $16.00 a month pay. I saved my wages."

Horatio Gates Lane and Mary Rowland were married at Princeton, Ky., in 1870 and seven years later they moved to a farm in Hardin County, Illinois just behind Cave-in-Rock, Illinois.

They moved into a cave region a little too late to make the acquaintance of such nortorious characters as Sam Mason, Big and Little Harpe, the Fords and Counterfeiter Duff, all of whom contributed to make the deep cave in the bluffs above the Ohio River a good place to steer clear of.

But they did meet up with Logan Belt.

"Logan," said Mr. Lane "was a fine-looking, sociable sort of fellow, but he harbored grudges and he had a gang that would carry out his slightest wish, including murder."

"He lived on the adjoining farm less than three quarters of a mile from our house."

"More than a half a dozen times he sent me word that he wanted to see me at his farm. I knew that if I ever got over there I'd be forced in some manner to join his gang."

So I sent back word that if he wanted to see me he knew where he could find me."

Mr. Lane tells of the time when Belt, in an effort to cover up one of his gang's deeds, played the role of a public-spirited citizen and summoned some 15 or 20 farmers in the neighborhood to investigate the death of one Luke Hambrink.

"After he got them together he exhorted them to lynch another man for Hambrink's murder." Lane aid.

"The farmers were so afraid of Belt that they barricaded themselves sin the cave for days.

"Frank Hardin, another neighbor of mine, was one of those who lived in the cave. He especially had incurred the displeasure of Belt."

"One evening Frank slipped away from the cave to go home and see his wife. He stopped at my house and had supper with us."

"Frank asked me to go on home with him. He said that he never expected to see home again. I went along."

"When we arrived Frank never lit a lamp or showed a light of any kind. He just showed me the bed where I was to sleep."

"Late that night I heard people walking around around outside the house. I called out to Frank, but he didn't answer. I called to his wife too, but she never replied."

Months later, according to Lane, Bill Frailey told what had happened that night.

"He said that he had come to Hardin's house with Jim Belt, a brother of Logan," Mr. Lane related.

"When I called out to Frank he recognized my voice. He told Jim Belt I was there and that if they took Hardin away they'd have to find some way of silencing me."

"Jim said he had nothing against me and that they might as well go home and tell Logan that Hardin wasn't there."

"That," concluded Race Lane, "was the nearest I ever came to being killed."

Lane remembers that Belt was later sentenced to 16 years imprisonment in the slaying of Doc Oldham.

Released six years later he returned to southern Illinois as a preacher.

"I went to hear him preach," Mr. Lane said.

Logan was later ambushed while he was out blackberrying.

Mr. and Mrs. Lane moved to Caseyville, Ky, in 1919, establishing themselves on a river bank farm.

A daughter, Mrs. N. L. Brown lives with them.

Of their 13 children seven are still living — Rev. W. M. Lane, Elizabethtown, Ill., Alva Lane, Cave-in-Rock, Ill., George E. Lane, Detroit, Mich., Richard Lane, Madisonville, Ky., Mrs. Edward Ferrell, Rosiclare, Ill., Mrs. Henry Bascom, St. Louis and Mrs. Brown.

One thing more. Horatio Lane would like to have mentioned that he still has all of his teeth and has an appetite like a 10 year old.

Thanks to Wanda H. Reed and Robert Curtis for contributing this article to the Hardin County ILGenWeb site. This 1938 article came from a newspaper in printed in the area of Caseyville, Ky., area.

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