Elder Tilman McLane Horne
27 March 1916 - 2 September 1990

by Lou Floy Milligan


Elder Tilman McLane Horne, pastor of Mill Branch Primitive Baptist Church since 1964, died September 2, 1990. He had had heart problems and diabetes for eleven years, often preaching when he could hardly stand. On the day before he died he was in the pulpit. Later he mentioned that he thought that he was dying earlier that morning.

Since many of my ancestors have been Primitive Baptist "Hardshells", including my ninety year old mother, Preacher Horne and I have broken bread together at many associations in the past thirty years. When I was a teacher at Loris High School I taught many of his family. His son Rex was extra special, and I still consider him one of the most outstanding people that I have ever known.

Elder Horne was born 27 March 1916 to Joseph Melton and DeLessie Todd Horne and grew up on a farm near Loris, SC. Elder Horne followed his father in becoming a farmer, a carpenter and a Hardshell. His grandfather Joseph Horne was also a Primitive Baptist and Joseph's father, Elder Jacob Horne was a Hardshell preacher. Lane Horne was especially close to his granddad, the Rev. Walter Todd, who was a Missionary Baptist preacher. Lane Horne was shaken up once after awakening from a dream to see a vision of his granddad Todd on his knees by his bedside, praying for him.

Lane Horne was one of twelve children: Brice, McLane, Don, Walter Wells, Carland (Carl), Cecil, John D., Faye Williams, Joseph, and Saundra Wright. One died at birth, one was killed at twenty-one in a car wreck, and others died in the prime of life. This family was known to be extra sensitive, intelligent, hardworking, good-looking and personable. As in so many rural families, many left farming to pursue careers from nursing to law. Also, as in most local rural families, only one or two remained back near the old home place.

Almost all the males served in the military. One made a career of the Coast Guard, two saw active duty overseas during the war, and Elder Horne served two years in the Air Force and one in the Army.

Fifteen-year-old Roberta Livingston thought McLane Horne was the most handsome thing she had ever seen in his uniform and left school one day to marry him. She is the daughter of Thomas Livingston, who taught school at seventeen and became a successful business man with Claude Livingston at the river crossing at Red Bluff. There were two turpentine stills, a big store, a cotton gin, a cooper shop, a ferry, and a huge timber business. Tom Livingston was ahead of others in his thinking and actions. He had the first radio in the area, and people came from miles around to hear it. In the early 1900s three steamboats stopped at his store at Red Bluff as they carried supplies up and down the Waccamaw River to Nakina (Wattsville), Pireway, Georgetown, etc. Tom was the grandson of two interesting men: Big John Grainger, a business man, and Col. John Gore, who married three times and had 25 children in the Pireway area.

Lane and Roberta became the parents of six children: Myrna Loy Gause, McLane, Jr., David, Diane Harbin, Rex, and Kathie Cooper. Roberta and the children farmed as Lane supplemented their income doing carpenter work. Horne was a hardworking man, but liked to party and drink on the weekends.

Roberta is a strong, religious woman. Belief in God and love for her children gave her strength to carry on for fifty-two years. She was there for her family through military service, farming, public work, church work, sickness and health.

Around 1956, when he turned forty, weekends of alcohol and partying had taken a toll. Debts needed to be paid, physical changes had his emotions on a roller coaster and he did not know which way to turn. For three days and nights he buried his head in the river mud and cried out to God. God spoke to him and changed his life completely. When he told Roberta that God had taken away his taste for alcohol, it took her a year of sober weekends to really believe him.

Some two years after God spoke to him, McLane and his brother Walter Wells joined the Simpson Creek Primitive Baptist Church. In time McLane became an elder.

Primitive Baptist preachers receive no salary, so Elder Horne worked for a Florence lab in recent years, testing soil and concrete for building foundations in Horry County. Roberta often went with him in the middle of the night to make inspections.

His brother, Walter Wells Horne, is now a Primitive Baptist preacher, along with Elder Mishoe and three young preachers. They are anointed and preach as the Holy Spirit gives them nutterance, making it hard for children and unbelievers to understand. They say they feel like a radio station with the words flowing through them. Primitive Baptists have no Sunday School, no musical instruments, no collections, so salaried people. They have church on Saturday and Sunday at a different church each weekend. Primitive Baptists are strong-willed, hardworking, deeprooted, salt-of-the-earth people, who don't mind being called "Hardshells!"

Pictured above are: left - T. McLane Horne right- Walter Wells Horne

The Independent Republic Quarterly
Vol.25 No.1; Winter 1991, pp 17-19

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