Following is one of the Biographies and Stories which where gathered by Charles Sumner McKamy in the 1950s for publication in a Crawford County History Book. Unfortunately he passed away before the book was published.

Dear Bro. Charles,

If it isn't too late I would like to write an article about a Crawford County Boy who had all the odds stacked against him, so that he had to make it the hard way.

Have been thinking about my good friend who recently passed away in Robinson, Ill. and I feel that if anyone ever deserved recognition it should be none other than Fred Van Horn, who amassed a small fortune during his lifetime, but not the easy way.

Fred came from a large family, and was compelled to quit school at an early age to help with the farm work.

As you remember we were always closely related as good friends, although he attended the Lamotte School while we spent our younger days attending the little old Brown School in the woods. But we all went to the same Church and Sunday School. The United Presbyterian Church located in Duncanville at that time, but I understand the Baptist's are holding services at the same Church at present.

Fred and I had many wonderful times playing together, he with the Banjo (and he was very good) while I tried to take care of the Mandolin and Guitar end of it. We started playing in Illinois, and finally ended up in Colo. Springs and Denver, where we enjoyed playing for dances, and social affairs sometimes. We were not particularly interested in being recompensed, but we enjoyed getting together and playing.

Fred married Miss Belle Nuttall, who of course was an excellent helpmate, so they decided to locate in Colorado Springs. That was in the early nineteen hundreds.

Fred informed me when they landed in that city their capital consisted of around $300.00. They used that as a down payment on the purchase of the La Clede Rooming House located on S. Tejon St. Everything was in a dilapidated condition, but they went to work on it and in a very short time one would hardly recognize the place. When they finally finished with it and rented all the rooms Fred then rented a small building on same street, just a block away, where he first started in the Real Estate business, where he in time managed to work up a very lucrative business, in his spare time of course.

Now get this, as I remember he bought and sold this same property about four times, selling at a profit of $1000 or better, and buying it back at a greatly reduced price so that gave them a little start. But don't forget they always had to completely work it over every time they bought it back. It just seemed that no one could make a go of it but Fred.

Later on he bought nine three room flats in Denver on Santa Fe Drive, and they also required a lot of work, but work seemed to be Fred's middle name, for it never seemed to scare him in the least. I should mention here that every transaction they made they always managed for a low down payment, and actually made each investment pay out on its own, and that of course required some figuring and good management on their part, but it was about the only way they could swing the deals. A few years later they sold this property for twice the purchase price. They then bought several units on Humbolt St. also five five-room apartments on Champa, all of which were in a run down condition which required a lot of work to put them in shape again. They had previously bought a six-room cottage where they could have more privacy. They kept these rentals for several years, acquiring more property all the time.

He traded for eight acres including two cottages on the south edge of the City of Riverside, Calif. which I think he disposed of later on. That same property sold recently for $100,000. I am just mentioning a few of his deals in order to give his friends an idea how he did it.

I wish to mention before finishing this article that Fred had a real handicap which gave him trouble all through life, and that I believe was the main reason for desiring to make his home in Colorado. He contracted Asthma when but a very small boy, and was never able to find an effective cure. The Colorado climate did however help a great deal. He had the Asthma at times that he could scarcely breath, and was constantly taking different formulas which gave only temporary relief at best. Later on he decided to make a trip back east, but only got as far as Effingham where Dr. Walker (a relative) met him at the station, giving him a shot and advised him to take the next train for Colorado, and he was thankful to be able to make the trip back and still stay alive. He did not venture out of the State of Colorado for several years after that. But he finally did discover a remedy that gave him sufficient relief to enable him to travel some, but was never able to find a cure, just temporary relief only. What he suffered with that ailment no one will ever know but him. When one's health is impaired to that extent there isn't much incentive or encouragement to carry on, but Fred met all these obstacles with a smile, and kept them to himself. What he lacked in education and lack of money to begin life's struggle, he made up for it by being honest in his dealings. People were not afraid to trust him. He was gifted with a wonderful personality, was courteous, respectful and had a smile for everyone he met. He always led a good clean life, and everyone he ever met liked him. So it just proves that a person who makes up his mind to succeed, and with a determination to overcome all obstacles and finally come out on top really deserves all the credit we can give him.

In memory of my good Friend Fred.

John Wilson McKamy