Zophar M Horton was born February 4, 1854, in Greenwich Connecticut. He was the second son born to John Horton and Charlotte Deming. In 1873, Zophar married Charity Elinor Bell of Stamford.
According to genealogical records, Zophar and Charity had nine children, however, only four survived to adulthood.
The 1880 US Population Census lists Zophar’s profession as a Molder. A Molder is one who builds iron objects, called castings, by pouring molten iron into a hollow mold. He reportedly was employed at “the store” foundry on Canal Street and worked side-by-side with his brother, A M Horton for many years.
Stamford Fire Department records show Zophar was appointed to the Stamford Fire Department as a “Call Fireman” on June 30, 1886, and was appointed to the rank of Captain on April 25, 1892.
The Fateful Incident
At around 8:30 in the evening of April 4, 1900, the Stamford Fire Department received and transmitted Box 124, located at the intersection of Cove Road and Leads Avenue. As was normal for Call Firefighters of the time, members would jump onto the moving horse-drawn apparatus’s running boards found on the side of the truck while the apparatus began its response. Firefighter / Driver Sid Hyland drove the hook and ladder truck that fateful evening. Firefighter Joseph Smith was at the tiller. Captain Zophar Horton was one of those members who jumped on the running board of the moving hook and ladder truck as the apparatus made its way to the alarm of fire from the Luther Street firehouse.
Sadly, tragedy struck as the apparatus approached Saint John’s Park at the intersection of Elm Street and Main Street (near the present-day Fire Headquarters). The hook and ladder apparatus is said to suddenly jogged as wheels of the truck wheels crossed over and possibly slipped into the trolly tracks. Captain Horton apparently lost his grip and fell underneath the moving truck. The wheels of the heavy truck passed over his chest most likely causing instant death. The truck reportedly continued its response to the box. It is not clear whether Driver Sid Hyland was aware of the accident.
Captain Horton was carried to the nearby residence of Dr Treadway who determined that his injuries were too significant to survive. Captain Zophar Horton was dead.
According to a Bridgewater, NJ newspaper, when Nimrod Horton was informed of the death of his brother, he told reporters that this was the third of his brothers to die in this manner.. one more from Stamford and one in Port Chester.
Captain Horton is buried with his wife Charity, at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church Cemetery, Stamford, CT, which is behind the present-day School French Seventh-day Adventist Church at 977 Hope Street.
A plaque commemorating Zophar making the “Supreme Sacrifice” can be found just inside the main door to Fire Headquarters, 629 Main Street.