Family Stories

Obituary For 80-Year-Old Elizabeth Baxter Payne Langhorne – Mason County

John Trotter Langhorne, born January 4, 1779, died June 30, 1833.  Elizabeth Baxter, wife of John Trotter Langhorne, born November 26, 1798, died February 5, 1879.  Maysville Cemetery, Mason County, Kentucky.

Elizabeth Baxter Payne was the daughter of Duval Payne (1764-1830) and Hannah Innes Brent (1769-1837).  She married John Trotter Langhorne and had the following children:  Sarah Bell, John Duval, Thomas Trotter, Elizabeth Baxter, Maurice, Judith Fry, Penelope Vertorer, William David and Thomas Young.

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The Courier Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Thursday, February 6, 1879

Death of a Venerable Woman

The winter of 1878-9 will long be remembered, not alone for its severity, but still more for the remarkable mortality among old people.  In a single number of our paper recently were announced the deaths of four venerable citizens, between the ages of 72 and 87 – a mortality as startling as it was painful and suggestive.  We add another to this list this morning.

Mrs. Eliza B. Langhorne, one of the noblest of Kentucky women, and truly “a mother in Israel,” died at 12:45 a.m. on Tuesday, February 4, 1879, at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Judith Fry Marshall, in this city, in the eighty-first year of her age.  She was ill but a few days, and her mind was clear to the last.  Only a little while before her death she gave directions that her body should be taken to Maysville, Kentucky, where her home had been for nearly sixty years, and there buried by the side of her husband, John T. Langhorne, whose widow she had been for forty-six years.  Four children survive her:  Mrs. Elizabeth B. Green, of Henry County, Kentucky; Mrs. Henry Waller, of Chicago, Illinois; Mrs. Charles E. Marshall, of Louisville; and Lieutenant John D. Langhorne, of Lynchburg, Virginia.  Her eldest son, Captain Maurice Langhorne, one of the most popular steamboat men on the Ohio and Mississippi for thirty years, died in St. Louis in 1869.

Mrs. Langhorne was the eighth of a remarkable family of children, twelve in number.  Scarcely one died under 70, several over 80; one died at 89, and three are living, aged 70, 84 and 88 respectively.  Her father and three or four of her brothers were soldiers of the war of 1812, two of them quite distinguished.  Her father, Col. DeVall Payne, was one of the electors who cast the vote of Kentucky for James Madison for President of the United States in 1813, for James Monroe for President in 1817, and for John Quincy Adams for President in 1825.  He was the Senator from Mason County, 1807-11, and a Representative in the Kentucky Legislature in 1800, ’02, ’05, ’17 and ’28.  Her brother, Thomas Y. Payne, a distinguished lawyer of Maysville, was Senator from the same county, 1839-1843, and Representative, 1850.  Her son-in-law, Henry Waller, represented the same county in 1845 and 1846; he is now a prominent lawyer of Chicago, Illinois.  Her son-in-law, the late Charles E. Marshall, was Representative from Henry County in 1846.  Her nephew, Judge William H. Payne, of Bowling Green, was Senator from Warren and Allen counties in 1867-71.  Her oldest sister, Penelope, the first wife of the late Daniel Vertner, of Lexington, was for years acknowledged the most beautiful woman in Kentucky; and other women of the family, of a later generation, have been celebrated in several states for beauty, wit, refinement and popularity.

The grandfather of Mrs. Langhorne was William Payne, of Fairfax County, Virginia, of whom Collins’ History of Kentucky preserves the following incident:

At the time General Washington was stationed at Alexandria, Virginia, as a Colonel of a British regiment, before the war of the Revolution, an altercation took place in the court-house yard between him and William Payne, in which Payne knocked Washington down.  Great excitement prevailed, as Payne was known to be firm, and stood high, and Washington was beloved by all.  A night’s reflection, however, satisfied Washington that he was the aggressor and in the wrong; and in the morning, he, like a true and magnanimous hero, sought an interview with Payne, which resulted in an apology from Washington, and a warm and lasting friendship between the two, founded on mutual esteem.  During the Revolutionary war, while Washington was on a visit to his family, William Payne, with his son, DeVall, went to pay his respects to the great American chief.  General Washington met him some distance from the house, took him by the hand and led him into the presence of Mrs. Washington, to whom he introduced Mr. Payne as follows:  “My dear, here is the little man, whom you have so frequently heard me speak of, who once had the courage to knock me down in the court-house yard in Alexandria, big as I am.”

Mrs. Langhorne had for long years been an earnest, zealous, faithful and influential member of the Presbyterian church, and in her calm and peaceful death gave beautiful evidence of the firm faith and trust that had so long sustained her.  Her remains will be taken this morning to Maysville, via Lexington, for interment, in obedience to her dying request.


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