Luzern Chemical Co Horton


Early Settlers

Horton was named for David Horton who settle at the foot of Horton Brook and was one of the first raftsmen in that area.  He built a mill on Horton Brook and rafted large amounts of sawed timber down the Delaware River.  He was the father of seven sons, John, Samuel, Boliver, Orrin, Andrew Jackson, Herschal and Perry who all joined their father rafting on the Beaverkill.
Other lumbermen in the Horton area were Alred and Levi Baxter,Thomas Edwards, Alexander and Charles S. Elwood,  Archibald Campbell,George, Jack, Samuel, Nathan, Harrison and Jared Fuller, Henry  and Hank Johnston, Benjamin Gray and Frank Walker.

Herschal D Horton became very influential in the Horton area and was the justice of the peace, a farmer as well as famed lumberman and rafter.

The large extended Fuller family populated the Horton area; at one time fourteen Fuller families lived between Horton and Corbett.  The road from Horton to Corbett is still referred to as Fuller Hill Road.

Other farm families in the Horton area include Justin Merrill, Thomas Edwards, John Stadel,Horace Utter, Frank and George Baker, John Elfrey as well as several small farms owned by the Hortons, Tompkins and Brushes families.

Wood Products and Acid Factories

Samuel W. Cable bought 2,000 acres from Horace Utter  on Russell Brook in 1880 and started a wood products business.   Hemlock and hardwood were used to make shingles and wooden shoe pegs that were used to hold the soles on shoes.  Cable employed one hundred people in his factory.  His complex included a blacksmith shop, a horse barn, a boarding house and several other houses for his workers.  A series of five dams were built by Cable, one of which was one hundred feet wide near the Russell Brook Falls.

Sam Cable Dam Horton
Dam built by Sam Cable in 1900, Photo taken in 1948

Cable also owned five sawmills, one in Walton, Rock Rift, Liberty, Russell Brook and one at the head of Cable Lake.  When the O & W double tracked between 1902 and 1904 Cable supplied two million feet of hemlock which was used for their bridges and tunnels.

In 1898 George I. Treyz built a retorts acid factory on Russell Brook near Cooks Falls .  The plant operated six days a week, consuming 32 cords of four foot wood per day from 1898 until 1924.The plant employed over one hundred men in the factory, lumbermen cutting four foot cord wood and teamsters to haul the wood to the factory. In 1911 Treyz contracted to install a John Roebling Bridge, this railway bridge that went over the Beaverkill River and connected his factories with the O&W railway in Cooks Falls.  The bridge and narrow gauge railway travelled five miles up Russell Brook to his Horton factory.  This side rail allow Treyz to ship his timber to his sawmill and sidewalk bluestone directly to the O&W station for shipments to New York City.  In 1924 the factory was converted to the new style oven plant and increased its capacity to 36 cords per day.  This new factory burned in 1925 and was rapidly rebuilt.  George Treyz died shortly after the factory was rebuilt and the operation was taken over by his son Victor.

Victor modernized the factory and installed an alcohol refining column which produced pure methanol.  This product was sold as antifreeze under the name of Treyzone.

Treyzone ad
1941 Catskill Mountain Newspaper ad for Treyzone Methanol

Treyz operations changes also included the use of bulldozers to get wood off the steep hills and down to the roads where his large fleet of trucks could be directly loaded and taken to the acid factory. Treyz also added a formaldehyde plant and in the late 1940's he expanded to include a plant to make acetic acid directly from the wood liquor. The Treyz's company was the last acid factory in operation in New York State.  Victor Treyz died in 1949 and left his holding to his sisters.

Laura Treyz took over the business and dismantled the still house and the plant converted over to the production of charcoal.  Charcoal was once the least profitable product of the company but there was new demand for charcoal in the production of steel, basic chemicals, rayon, rubber, glass, copper, brass and bronze.  The plant was sold to the Susquehanna Chemical company in 1951 which reported that 50% of the charcoal production was devoted to the manufacture of carbon disulphide used in making rayon.  The Susquehanna Chemical Company continued the charcoal plant until it was torn down to make way for the Route 17 Quickway in 1967.


Horton School Group
Horton School Group

Horton church Group 1904
Horton Church Group at old Horton School building around 1918

The property for the one-room Horton School was given to the community by George I Treyz in 1916 with the provision that if the school was outgrown the building would be used as a community church.  Later a two-room school was built up the hill from the original building on the Rex Stadel property.

Horton Two Room2
Horton Two Room School  around 1918
Horton Bldg
Converted School Building

The Russell Brook School  was located on the Samuel W. Cable property across from the road that leads to Trout Pond and the Butternut Grove school was located where Russell Brook runs into the Beaverkill., both were part of District No. 12.


Horton Chapel

The Horton Chapel or Community Church began in the former one-room schoolhouse in 1915.  The church started as a non-denominational congregation but later join the Methodists and was linked to the Cooks Falls and Beaverkill Circuit.  A dwindling congregation necessitated the sharing of a pastor with the Rockland and Cooks Falls Methodist Churches in 1943.  The Horton Church  Trustees rejected an offer to merge with the Cooks Falls Methodist Church in 1960 and choose to remain with a shared pastor.  In July of 1965 the trustees learned that the Route 17 Quickway would take their building.  The State Department of Public Works appraised the property and bid $6,000 ($5,950, if the church wised to retain the altar, pulpit and lectern).  On August 25, 1967 the members voted to accept the offer.  The monies received were given to the New York Conference of the Methodist Church, along with the altar and furnishings.  The building was razed during the Quickway construction.

Horton Brook Free Methodist

Gerald Babcock and David Horton organized a young people's Christian group in the kitchen of the Babcock family home.  They organized a tent revival meeting that was held on the Rex Stadel land near the Horton Cemetery.  Evangelist Rev. R. A Kelly from Confluence, Pennsylvania, lead the meetings from July 25 to August 3, 1950.  A second tent meeting was also held in Butternut Grove.
Rev. Lewis Payne, organized the Free Methodist society with fourteen original members and seven probationers.  A one dollar subscription church building fund was created and the land for the church building was given by Gerald Babcock's grandmother.  The first ordained minister was Rev. Arthur Boland.  The John McGraw farmhouse was remodeled for the parsonage.