Monday, March 5, 2007


July 15, 1854 – 1916

Durbin Horne was the son of department store magnate Joseph Horne, whose dry goods business expanded to the point that it became the most fashionable of the seven large department stores in Pittsburgh by the late 1800s. It was the preeminent department store throughout the following century. Its demise at the end of the twentieth century is lamented by most Pittsburgh natives, and its Christmas window displays and Christmas tree will long live in Pittsburghers hearts.

Abby Mendelshon has an outstanding biography of Joseph Horne at this site:
The outlines are these: Joseph Horne was born in Bedford County PA in January 1826, the son of Henry Horne, who had served in the Continental Army, Henry intended his son to be a physician. Joseph had other plans, moved west to Pittsburgh and found his first job in the retail trade with Christian Yeager, the father of SFF&HC member H. C. Yeager. Soon, Joseph moved to the F.H. Eaton store, and first became a partner and then bought out he business in 1849, and renamed it The Joseph Horne Company, a name it would bear for more than 130 years. Horne was 23. He joined forces with Messrs. Shea and Burchfield, whose distinguished families intermarried and entered the business, and brought a hauteur to his emporium that has never been equaled in Pittsburgh. In 1881 the firm built their new building designed by Charles Tattersall Ingham at Wood and Liberty. In 1891, at age 65, he sold the wholesale side to the Pittsburgh Dry Goods Company.

Joseph Horne married twice: (1) Mary Elizabeth Shea and (2) Emma Galway, he sired numerous children, some of whom, like son Durbin, born in 1854, followed his father into the business. Joseph Horne died in 1892.

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Durbin Horne, son of Joseph and Mary Elizabeth Shea Horne, born in Pittsburgh PA, on July 15, 1854. He attende Pittsburgh public schools, the Newell Institute and Yale. After graduating from Yale in 1876, he returned to Pittsburgh and by 1882 was a partner in the firm.

On June 1, 1889, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported tht Durbin Horne was off to Johnstown and quite anxious as three of his family members were in the disaster zone.

Durbin Horne became the second Horne to preside over the business; he became president of The Joseph Horne Company in 1901. He was a trustee of Alleghenny Cemetery (elected 1896) and manager of the same 1904-1909. Pargtner of The Joseph Horne Company and S F F & H C member Christian Barnard Shea and his wife Eliszabeth Galway Shea were Durbin Horne’s aunt and uncle.

Durbin Horne retired in 1915 and died in 1916. He was succeeded, in 1946, by his son Joseph, the last Joseph Horne to head the company, which he did until his passing, unmarried and childless, two years later.)

In Durbin Horne married Mary T. Andrews the daughter of A. H. Anderws of Cincinnati, Ohio (?-1923).

Their sole surviving child:

Joseph Horne (1889-1948); did not marry. He was a graduate of Yale and an active member of Christ Episcopal Church, in the East End.

The Durbin Horne family home, called "The Gables," 7408 Penn Avenue, is located in Point Breeze; the three-story brick mansion designed by Charles Tattersall Ingham is now home to the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

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