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Athens in Limestone County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

James Edwin Horton, Jr.

1878-1973

 
 
James Edwin Horton, Jr. Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, August 2, 2020
1. James Edwin Horton, Jr. Marker
Inscription.  On June 22, 1933, Judge James Horton of Athens set aside the verdict and death sentence of an all-white jury that found Haywood Patterson, an African American, guilty of raping two white women. Patterson was one of nine black youths falsely accused of committing acts of rape in March 1931. They were known as the "Scottsboro Boys."

Judge Horton's decision to order a new trial for Patterson was a resounding blow to Jim Crow justice. Although northern newspapers called him "Lincolnesque,” Horton simply believed he was doing his sacred duty by upholding the dignity and integrity of the court.

Horton faced threats on his life and his name became a lightning rod for supremacists who labeled him a traitor for overturning the verdict.

[Reverse]
James Horton was born Jan. 4, 1878. In 1922, Horton married Anna Hobbs. He served as Judge of Alabama's 8th Judicial Circuit from 1922 until 1934.

Even though his ruling meant the end of his public career, Horton spent his remaining years farming and raising award-winning Aberdeen-Angus cattle. In 1938 Horton moved the family's home from Athens to Greenbrier,
James Edwin Horton, Jr. Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, August 2, 2020
2. James Edwin Horton, Jr. Marker
Ala.., and named his farm "Macedon" after their three sons: Mac, Ed and Don.

NBC's 1976 movie, “Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys,” highlighted the judge's role in the case.

Horton's judicial philosophy may be summed up in a phrase he learned at his mother's knee:
Let Justice Be Done Though the Heavens May Fall.

 
Erected 2016 by Horton Descendants; Limestone County Historical Society; and Athens/Limestone Tourism Council.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansAgricultureLaw Enforcement.
 
Location. 34° 48.173′ N, 86° 58.314′ W. Marker is in Athens, Alabama, in Limestone County. Marker is on North Jefferson Street north of West Washington Street, on the right when traveling north. Marker is located west of the Limestone County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 200 W Washington St, Athens AL 35611, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Judge David Lee Rosenau, Jr. (a few steps from this marker); Limestone County Courthouse Bell (a few steps from this marker); A County Older Than the State (within shouting distance of this marker); Athens First Presbyterian Church (within shouting distance
James Edwin Horton, Jr. Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, August 2, 2020
3. James Edwin Horton, Jr. Marker
Marker is near a statue of Judge Horton.
of this marker); Courthouse and Poor Farm Fence (within shouting distance of this marker); West Side of Square (within shouting distance of this marker); Athens, Alabama (within shouting distance of this marker); Athens Sacked and Plundered (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Athens.
 
Also see . . .  James Horton, Jr. Biographical entry in the Encyclopedia of Alabama. (Submitted on August 3, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.) 
 
Judge James Edwin Horton, Jr. image. Click for full size.
Wikipedia (Fair Use)
4. Judge James Edwin Horton, Jr.
James Edwin Horton, Jr. statue image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, August 2, 2020
5. James Edwin Horton, Jr. statue
The life-size bronze statue was sculpted by Casey Downing, Jr. and commissioned by the Limestone County Bar Association. It was unveiled in 2017.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 3, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 58 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 3, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
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Feb. 24, 2021