“Moses of the Mountains:” Reverend Ronda Horton the Spiritual Community Leader

Reverend Ronda Horton was born in Boone in 1895 to June Horton and Betty Grimes on what is now Queen Street. Growing up, Horton’s family planted crops, not to sell but to live off of, like many in Junaluska. Horton grew up working with his father in different trades. He cleared fields, drove horses, worked for the Virginia Iron, Coke, and Coal Company, and brought gravel into town to help build roads. Ronda Horton also owned an ice and coal business on North Depot Street that catered to black and white customers. On Horton’s local ice and coal business, Roberta Jackson remarked, “There was only one business owned by blacks at the time…Nobody else around here had a black business around here back in those days.” He carried this work ethic with him into adulthood, along with messages of patience and love taught by the Mennonites. Horton was raised Methodist by his parents, but turned to the Mennonites in 1917 after attending and working at the Mennonite school in Elk Park.

Visit the exhibit and lesson plan page to access lesson plans and other exhibits.