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Saturday, November 5, 2011

1960 :: Death of Johnny Horton

Dallas Morning News. November 6, 1960. Singer Dies In 2-Car Collision. Milano, Texas. (AP) -- Singer Johnny Horton, 30, who became famous for his recording of "The Battle of New Orleans," died as two cars collided head-on here Saturday.

The accident on an overpass here in Central Texas also injured guitarist Gerald D. Tomlinson, 30, of Shreveport, La., reported in serious condition; Tilman Franks, 46, also of Shreveport, who was Horton's manager, and James E. Davis, 19, of Brady, a Texas A&M student who was alone in the other car.

The injured were taken to a Cameron hospital. Franks and Davis were believed to have escaped serious injury. A doctor said Tomlinson suffered compound fractures of both legs and might lose one of them.

Horton was at the wheel as he and his companions left Austin, where he filled an engagement Friday night. He was en route to Shreveport to discuss plans for a movie.

The singer, a former star of the national radio program "Louisiana Hayride," originating in Shreveport, had made his home in the Louisiana city the past eight years. He was born in Hollywood, but spent most of his early life in Rusk.

Horton was the husband of Mrs. Billie Jean Horton, who was the wife of Western singer Hank Williams until his death from a heart attack in 1953.

Other survivors are the couple's two small daughters, Zanina and Melody; his step-daughter, Jerry Lynn, and his mother, Mrs. John L. Horton of Rusk.

The funeral service will be held in Shreveport. Arrangements were incomplete.

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