Maggie Mickey John and Marlena read with Alice Days

Image: Aaron Montgomery/JPI

The soul of Salem.

Ever since Days of our Lives first premiered in November 1965, the Horton family has always been the first family of Salem. Tom Horton’s (Macdonald Carey) voice still greets viewers to each new episode as the sands fall through the hourglass during the introduction. The family has generally stood, if implausibly, as the more wholesome of the small city’s central families. While never criminal empires like the DiMera or Kiriakis clans, they have had their share of dark horses.

More: The DiMera family, Salem’s super villains

In addition to being famous for their donuts and Christmas ornaments, they tend to supply the hospitals with a disproportionate number of doctors and nurses. This is balanced by the family also containing a lopsided tendency to extreme mental illness, whether thanks to their frequent bouts of amnesia or multiple-personality disorder. While Tom and Alice have often served as a reminder of good conscience, most of the generations of the family that followed have tended to fall quite far from grace, regularly bending the law when not committing outright crimes. This was true early on, whether in Julie (Susan Seaforth-Hayes) having an affair with her mother’s husband or Bill (Edward Mallory) being a philanderer.

There have been five generations of Hortons since the first episodes of Days of our Lives began airing. In that time, they have come to define major spaces on the series, with even the town square bearing their name. They have also married into almost every other family in Salem. At this point, scarcely a resident is not some not-too-distant relative of the Hortons. Take a look at our gallery which surveys the Horton children and grandchildren and sign up for Soaps.com’s newsletter so you don’t miss all the latest news and gossip.