Adam Grant Horne
1831 - 1901
Adam Grant Horne was born on January 1, 1831, in Edinburgh, Scotland and was the eldest son of Henry and Janet Horn, however, he grew up in Kirkwall in the Orkneys. In 1850 he answered an advertisement to join the Hudson's Bay Company and was recruited by Edward Clouston who was the Hudson's Bay Company agent in Stromness. Clouston and his wife would entertain guests from the Hudson's Bay ships when they stopped in Stromness on their way to Canada from England. Horne was just one of many young men who answered the call and in the HBC Brig Tory, he shared a cabin with several other young Scots. Also on the Tory were Thomas Blinkhorn and his family. Horne and his ship mates eventually arrived on Vancouver Island in May 1851.
After several weeks in Victoria, the Hudson's Bay Company sent Horne to Fort Rupert where he worked as a 'trader' and clerk for the company. In 1953 the Nanaimo Trading Post was opened and Horne was placed in charge of the store. In the next few years Horne made several exploratory trips across the island. On his first trip in 1856, he paddled up from Nanaimo to the Qualicum River and observed a vicious massacre by the Haida Indians at the mouth of the river. Horne continued across to the Alberni Inlet where he encountered "friendly" Indians.
On February 22, 1859, Horne married Elizabeth Bate and over the years they had eleven children. Elizabeth came out from Dudley, near Birmingham, England in 1857 with her sister Lucy and brother Mark Bate who became Nanaimo's first mayor when the City of Nanaimo was incorporated in 1874.
In 1862 the Hudson's Bay Company relinquished its interests in coal mines and a new company was formed called The Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company. Horne left the HBC and went into a business partnership selling various supplies. Two years later Horne returned to the HBC after finding difficulties in securing some of the necessary supplies. This time he was called to Fort Simpson, north of Port Rupert, and with his growing family lived there until late 1867.
In 1868 the Company sent Horne to operate a small store in a sparsely populated and scattered community of Comox, where the first settlers had only arrived six years before. It was situated not far from the foot of Comox Hill so as to assist settlers in Comox and nearby developing areas. With his wife and growing family he lived there for ten years. In a letter to the editor of the Daily Colonist in Victoria in October 1874 it was written: " we consider him [Horne] a most civil and obliging storekeeper and a devoted liberal, kind and accommodating "
In 1878 Horne left the Hudson's Bay Company after serving them for twenty-seven years, and for a second time entered into business himself. The family moved back to Nanaimo where Horne leased a building and operated a store, A.G. Horne & Sons, but the move was also because the educational facilities for his children were more adequate then Comox and Elizabeth wanted to be closer to her sister Lucy Sabiston. The business prospered for fifteen years and then folded in 1893. Adam Horne retired due to poor health and continued to decline for several years until his death on August 9, 1901, in Nanaimo at the age of seventy.
Horne was described by one writer as British Columbia's answer to Davy Crocket and John T. Walbran later described Adam Horne thus: "He was a man of fearless, daring disposition, whom the Indians seemed to admire as well as dread for his intrepidity."
During his long connection with the Hudson's Bay Company, Adam Horne became very well acquainted with the various Indian tribes, acquiring their language, and by strictly honest dealings with them gaining a great influence over them. Upon more than one occasion this was used to the advantage of the Company and of the Civil Authorities, as he was made the intermediary in connection with disputes that had arisen.
At one time Horne was a partner with his brother-in-law Peter Sabiston in the Horne-Sabiston Mine, better known as the 'Jingle Pot,' two miles west of Nanaimo. They sold their interest in the coal mine and it was eventually bought by Robert Dunsmuir. Horne also served as an Alderman for the City of Nanaimo.
In 1860 Captain George Henry
Richards, RN, named Horne Lake for Adam Grant Horne after he took Richards
and some officers of the HMS Plumper to the lake in 1859. Nearby
caves are named in his honour as well as Mount Horne between Horne Lake
and Cameron Lake.
Owen, Olga Blanche. "The Adam Grant Horne family." Nanaimo Community Archives.
Walkem, William Wyford. "Adam Horne's Trip Across Vancouver Island." Stories of Early British Columbia. Published by the New Advertiser. Vancouver, BC. 1914.
Walbran, John T. British Columbia Place Names 1592-1906. Government Printing Bureau. Ottawa, Ontario. 1909.
"Pioneer of the Pioneers. Adam Grant Horne Passed Away Yesterday Evening." Nanaimo Free Press [Nanaimo, BC] (August 10, 1901)
Paterson, T.W. "Adam Grant Horne. B.C.'s Answer to Davy Crocket." Daily Colonist, Sunday Magazine [Victoria, BC] (November 25, 1973) p. 4-5.