Ruby Irene Jordan Horton

May 14, 1938 –July 15, 1992 (54)

It was July 4, 1955 and I was lying in the musty single bed in the plank walled bedroom off the den in my Grandfather’s house in the sandy black bottom country of South Carolina. As I lay there, planning my week long visit with Grandpa, I became aware of my beautiful Aunt Ruby crying and sniffling in the other single bed in the same room. Why was she crying, I wondered? Do I ask? Is that too personal?


I decided she likely figured I was asleep—otherwise, she wouldn’t have allowed her crying to be audible at all. Ruby was only 18, the daughter of my grandfather’s second wife, Tincie, and the youngest of all my mother’s family. Ruby had the tender heart and soul of an unspoiled virgin, living in nature’s beauty every day and although life was far from easy on the 200 acre Jordan farm, she seemed to live her simple life with grace and caring.


So now I realize that I cannot sleep until I find out what is troubling her so. “Ruby,?” I whispered. “Are you OK?”

“I’m all right,” she said. “Go back to sleep.”

“I can’t sleep,” I told her. “What’s bothering you?”


I had already thought about a thousand things that could be troubling her, but none of them seemed to add up. Was she upset that I was there? Upset with her boyfriend (I didn’t know of one)? Something that had happened elsewhere? I was aware she had been listening to the scratchy old AM radio earlier in the day.


I don’t remember much about how the conversation went, but soon she began telling me what was on her mind. That afternoon, Fireball Roberts (I think), a well known race driver had been killed in a race in Darlington. She had heard it on the radio and had kept her tears back until bedtime.


So that was it. My sweet aunt with the bigger than life heart was crying on a dark night on a lonely farm in the backwoods of South Carolina about a race car driver whom she had never met. She wasn’t even a great race fan. That didn’t matter. A human being had died. It had captured her heart. Her grief was spilling over and I was the only other person in the world who knew.


Did you ever have the feeling that something big was happening and you didn’t know how to handle it? What to say next? That’s what I was feeling. How is a boy of 8 years old supposed to respond to a powerful event such as that? I gathered my thoughts. I sighed.


“Wow. I’m sorry.” I stuttered. She gave no response. I was torn between two feelings: one, it was just a race driver and two, she cries whenever something bad happens to anyone. It would be a long time before I realized what a gift (and a burden) such strong compassionate feelings truly are.  I lay there for how long I don’t remember until I eventually drifted off to sleep, my need to comfort unfulfilled and my confusion about the depth of her feelings intact.


Next morning, Ruby came into the kitchen where Grandma Tincie was cooking breakfast on a black wood stove. She gave me a big hug. No more was said. Somehow, though, I felt I could release my responsibility to make things all right for her—it seemed she was back to normal. The storm had passed.


Breakfast was a feast. Country ham, red eye gravy, grits, homemade biscuits, and eggs I had gathered myself the day before. Also on the menu, my favorite: home grown cantaloupe, giving way gently to the fork as you ate it and gushing with juices inside your mouth. After Grandpa Jordan returned thanks, I glanced toward Ruby just to make sure everything was OK. It seemed all was well again.



Ruby’s Family

Ruby was born on the homeplace on May 14, 1938. She graduated from Ruby High School in 1956 and married Jamie Horton on December 21, 1958 and they had four children:


Deborah Horton Morris

918 Park Road

Cassatt, SC  29032

Phone: 803-432-6243

E-mail Address:

Children: Daniel/Lisa

Deborah Denise Morris was born on September 19, 1959 at Monroe, NC and is married to Wayne Morris.  Deborah’s two children are Daniel Wayne Morris and Lisa Marie Morris.


Wanda/Kingley Deese

4005 Redwood Drive

Rock Hill, SC  29732

Phone: 803-329-3461

Children: Jamie

Wanda Kay Deese was born on September 26, 1960 at Monroe, NC and is married to Kingsley Deese. Her daughter is Jamie Lynn Deese.


Marilyn/Steve Clark

11081 Hwy 265

Jeferson, SC  29718

Phone: 843-658-3802

Children: Brittany, Amanda and Brooke.

Marilyn Elizabeth Clark was born on January 23, 1965 at Monroe, NC and is married to Steve Clark. Her children are Brittany, Amanda and Brooke.


Robert Horton

29442 Highway 1

McBee, SC  29101

Phone: 843-335-6353

Children: Jacob



Jamie Robert Horton was born on September 2, 1969 at Monroe, NC and is married to Delphania Jones. They have one son, Jacob born on December 26, 2004.

Deborah is the first child of Ruby.  Born on September 19th, 1959 at Union Memorial Hospital in Monroe, N.C., she graduated from McBee High School in 1977 and received an associate degree from Wingate College in 1979.  She is a cost accounting budget manager at Kershaw County Medical Center and a Realtor with Russell and Jeffcoat realty in Camden, South Carolina.  She married Wayne Morris on  May 26th, 1979.  She has two children, Daniel and Lisa.


Deborah says her first memories of the Jordan home place are the welcome home sign she would see driving down the long dirt road to Reunions.  “I used to look forward to seeing it.  I also enjoyed Orange Crushes someone always brought to the reunion.  I also enjoyed running around on the porch.”


Deborah says she used to go to the watermelon market with Newsom a lot in the summer.  He would let her ride on the back with watermelons and she would take a nap in the back of the hay while he sold them at the market. “I loved doing things with him.  There’s no doubt he was like a daddy to me.  Grandma Tincie used to fix Wanda and me chocolate pudding and serve it in these fancy glass dishes.  I was 10 I think when she died and don’t remember a lot about her, but I do remember going there a lot and playing on a quilt while she and my mom worked in the garden,” Deborah says.


“I always love to see Kitty.  We would go one to two times a year and surprise her on a Sunday and she amazed me because she always had lunch for six more people.  She seemed to always have a can of spaghetti and meatballs that I liked a lot at the time just for me.  She was lots of fun.” says Deborah.


“My mom was a wonderful person.  She did her very best raising all of us.  Now that I am a parent, I can see how much she loved us and how much she sacrificed for us.  She always worked hard, and I really admire how strong she was during her fight with cancer.  I only hope I can be half the person she was.  I praise God for giving me a Christian mother.”


Deborah’s two children are Daniel Wayne Morris and Lisa Marie Morris.  Daniel Wayne was born February 26, 1985 at Kershaw County Medical Center and completed high school at North Central High.  Lisa Marie was born on December 5, 1989 and is in the 10th grade at North Central.  She enjoys playing volleyball and softball for the school. She also enjoys her red VW Beetle. She is a very outgoing girl!


Daniel graduated from Nashville Auto Diesel College in August of 2004. He is an auto technician and employed at Tim Horton’s Collision Center in Lugoff, SC. Daniel also enjoys doing mechanic work and is constantly working on his trucks.

Ruby’s entire family