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Thornton Families

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Alternate Spellings - Thaunton, Thorton, Thonton, Thronton

Links - Willits, Drury, Reed, Honeyman, Blaisdell, Lutz, Miller, Nadine Holder, Web Master About Us

Contacts - Joseph L. Noell is working on the Ruth Willits/Edward Thornton connection and on the family of Amaziah Thornton, son of Ruth & Edward. He is a descendant of George Washington & Sarah Jane Thornton Honeyman. He has a Web Site which includes the Thornton and Honeyman families.
Judith Funk is a descendant of Henry and Jane Hadley Thornton and has helped with that family along with Joseph Noell.
Dorothy Meierotto is a descendant of Thomas and Sarah Johnston Thornton. She has helped us with the North Carolina families and motivated us to examine the Quaker records more closely.
Philip Thornton is a descendant of Isaac and Martha Reynolds Thornton and has provided information for that family.
Bob Saunders is not directly related but has helped us with information on Lott Thornton and family.
We heard from Julie Wagner in 11/2009 with more information on the burial of Ruth Willits (Willet?) Thornton, wife of Edward.
We heard from Kathy Kaiser on the Beamis family 12/2009 and have linked her family site below under Lott Thornton.

Photos - Sarah Jane Thornton Honeyman

We have received so much conflicting information on the Thornton families that we have revamped the page several times to show sources and to indicate what is proven and what is not. Please pay special attention to "may", "might", "probably" and "possibly" until we can prove these items! We are especially grateful to people listed under contacts above for helping with these families.

It might be tempting to make connections between the two Thornton families in Mercer County from Pennsylvania. It might also be tempting to connect the North Carolina Thorntons since many Pennsylvanians migrated first to North Carolina and then back to Indiana and on West. However Thornton was already a very common name in America in 1790 with 137 heads of families listed in the 1790 census. Of those 18 were in Pennsylvania and 21 were in North Carolina.

Thornton Families From Pennsylvania

The progenitors of some of the Mercer County Thornton families were Edward and Ruth Willits Thornton of Pennsylvania. Ruth was the daughter of Isaac & Elizabeth Willits. Much of the information we have on them is from the Ancestral File (which definitely needs proving!). Edward is shown born March 1767 at Catawissa, Columbia County, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately Catawissa Monthly Meeting Records (Quaker) for this time period are not available so we cannot currently prove this date.

The Edward Thornton family is found in the 1800 and 1810 census in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, in the 1820 census in Wayne County, Indiana, and in the 1830 census in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Edward's son Amaziah is found in the 1840 census in Tippecanoe County, but Edward is not, thus the Ancestral File death date of May 5, 1832 may be correct. Philip Thornton, a descendant of Edward's son Isaac, found probate papers for Edward in Tippecanoe County. Administrator was Levi Thornton and others named were: Amaziah, Err, Lot, Issac W., Ruth(wife), Selinda and James. The problem in tracing the children is that, as in most colonial families, the given names of children were the same in different families.

Edward Thornton probably had brothers Michael, James, and John in Pennsylvania; the names of some of their children are the same as Edward's. Eli may also possibly have been a brother, as descendants of Eli came to Mercer County about the same time as Edward's children. Edward, James, John, and Michael are found in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, in the 1800 census. Edward's family consists of one male and one female, age 18-26, and 3 females under 10. This family is slightly younger than the Ancestral file would indicate and if it is our Edward, then two of the females must have died as there was only one in the family at a later date.

When the Edward Thornton family is found in Fairfield Township in Tippecanoe County in 1830, Edward's age is given as 60-70 and Ruth's as 50-60 which does agree with the Ancestral File dates. Their children at home are 2 males 20-30, (Lott and Err), 3 males 15-20 (Amaziah, John, and ____?), and 1 female 15-20 (Selinda) (Note - the male age 15-20 may not necessarily be another son - people often had young men as helpers on their farms, sometimes related, sometimes not). Sons Isaac, James, and Levi are married and shown separately in the census. .

All of Edward and Ruth Willits Thornton's children, except James, who remained in Indiana, moved to Iowa between 1836 and 1841. Ruth went with them and is buried there according to Melpine Cemetery Records, Wilton, Muscatine County, Iowa. In November 2009 we heard from Julie Wagner who actually found Ruth's tombstone in the Drury Reynolds Cemetery in Drury Township, Rock Island County, Illinois, just north of Mercer County. The stone was partially buried but she was able to pull it out and found that it says "Ruth" and at the bottom "70 years of life." Ruth could actually have two tombstones as sometimes tombstones were placed by relatives without knowing the actual facts of burial or perhaps the Rock Island tombstone is another Ruth who was also 70? If you would like to contact Julie email Nadine Holder at the About Us link above and I will forward your address to her.

The History of Louisa County (Iowa) by Springer (1912) quotes James Thornton, age 85, of Ashland, Oregon, as published in the Muscatine Journal and also reproduced in History of Muscatine County (Iowa). James was son of Levi Thornton, who was one of the first representatives from Louisa and adjoining counties, elected 1838. James says his father and two brothers, Err Thornton and Lot Thornton, along with their mother and sister came from Lafayette, Indiana, in the spring of 1835, coming to New Boston, Illinois and residing with a cousin named Jesse Willits (This was probably actually their uncle Jesse - in that time period it was common to refer to any close relative "cozin." Jesse came early to Mercer County). In June 1835 the three brothers decided to take up claims in the Black Hawk Purchase. The Thorntons located in the vicinity of Whiskey Hollow and Levi Thornton's claim was on the farm owned by Dan Westbrook in 1910.

An 1836 census was taken by Des Moines County (parent county of Louisa and Muscatine). It shows Levi with 4 males under 21, 1 male over 21, 1 female under 21, and 2 females over 21 (one probably Ruth). It shows Err Thornton with 4 males over 21 and 1 female over 21. The males over 21 probably included brother Lot. The History of Louisa County gives land entries in Township 75 North, Range 3 West, Section 1, Levi Thornton 1839; Section 2, Lot Thornton, 1839, Levi Thornton, 1839; Section 11, Levi Thornton 1839.

More on Children of Edward and Ruth Willits Thornton

(1)Levi Thornton Son Levi married Catharine Black on 10/23/1818 in Wayne County, Indiana. In the 1830 census in Tippecanoe County they are shown as age 30-40. They have children as follows: 1 male 0-5, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 10-15, 1 female 5-10. An unidentified female age 20-30 is living with them. They had moved to Muscatine County, Iowa by the 1840 census

(2)James Thornton

Son James married Margaret Knapper 12/4/1829 in Tippecanoe County. They are shown in the 1830 census as age 20-30 and with one female child under 5. James lived out his life in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. We verified that they had remained behind as they are found there in 1850 in Fairfield Township: James Thornton, 51, farmer, born Pa; Margaret, 40, Pa; Cabra E. [probably Sabra], 17, In; Oliver P., 14, In; John, In; Edward M., 10, In; Wm. H., 8, In; Jacob M., 6, In; Margaret J., 3 In.

(3)Isaac Thornton

Son Isaac Thornton married Patsey R. Reynolds (Patsey is a nickname for Martha in this case) on January 27, 1828 in Tippecanoe County, according to the Indiana Marriage Index. In the 1830 census Isaac and Patsey are shown age 20-30 and they have two children, 1 male and 1 female, under 5. There is an Ancestry World Family Tree file with some biographical information on Isaac and Martha. The list of children given in the biography appears credible as it can be confirmed in census records. Isaac and Martha apparently accompanied his brothers to Iowa and Isaac died there before the 1840 census where Martha is found as a widow in Muscatine County, wwith several children. In 1850 Martha Thornton is keeping house for a brother, William Reynolds, at Fort Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa: #382 William Reynolds, 41, farmer, Va; Martha Thornton, 42, Virginia; Martha, 18, In; Sarah, 17, In; Salinda, 16, In; Eliza, 13, Ia; Washington, 11, Ia; Gilbert L. Grinder 4/12, Iowa. George Washington Thornton is the ancestor of Philip Thornton mentioned above in the credits. Daughter Sophia Thornton had married Samuel Holliday, Jr. on 6/25/1846 in Muscatine County. Daughter Vashti Thornton was not at home in 1850 but married Jacob Russell 9/30/1854 in Muscatine County, Iowa. Daughter Sarah married Eli Holliday 6 Feb 1853 in Muscatine. Daughter Eliza may be the Ann Eliza Thornton who married Jacob Pickering 16 Apr 1859 in Muscatine County but we could not find a census record to verify this.

Daughter Sarah and family had returned to Tippecanoe, Indiana, by the 1870 census. We have not pursued this family further as there seemed to be no connections to Mercer County, Illinois, other than relationships.

(4) Lott Thornton

We know from Iowa histories above that Lot Thornton, brother of Levi, and son of Edward and Ruth, was one of the very early settlers in Iowa and we know (from Philip Thornton) that Lot Thornton also signed some of Edward Thornton's probate papers in Indiana. Lot Thornton is found in 1846 in the Louisa County, Iowa, Territorial Census. He is not found there in the 1850 Federal Census and we believe he was deceased by then. We have heard from Bob Saunders who gave us some help from family Bible records that enabled us to find out more about Lott and family.

Lot Thornton married first to Mary Wright in Muscatine County, Iowa, on 4/20/1838. An administration for Phebe Wright on 5/20/1872 in Muscatine County names "J. Thornton, only surviving child of Mary Thornton, who with husband Lot are deceased." From a Beamis Family Bible, supplemented with actual date and place from Iowa marriage records (courtesy Bob Saunders): Marriage Record, Louisa County, Iowa, Mrs. Frances Norris, age 25, m. Mr. Lott Thornton, age 33, 6 June 1844. According to Muscatine County marriage records Francis Long had previously married William P. Norris on 19 August 1838 in Muscatine County, Iowa and this is probably his widow. W. P. Norris is found in Louisa County in 1840: 1 male 20-30, 1 female under 5, and 1 female 15-20. Lot Thornton is found next to his brother Levi Thornton in 1840 in Muscatine County: Lot Thornton, 1 male under 5, 1 male 20-30, 1 male 30-40, and one female 20-30. On the same page is William Long, age 20-30 and family, likely brother of Francis Long Norris. On a page nearby is George Long, age 40-50, and family and possible father of Francis Long Norris. These assorted records tell us that both Francis and Lott had children by prior marriages when they married in 1844. From the census we know that the child J. Thornton named in mother-in-law Phebe Wright's administration is a male. The only further clue to the child is a possible L. C. Thornton, male, age 12, living with Lott's brother Err Thornton and family in 1850. Perhaps either the "L" or the "J" in one of the two records is in error since we know the child was alive in 1872.

We find Frances in Grandview Township in Louisa County, Iowa in 1850: Frances Thornton, 31, born Ohio; Clarissa Thornton, 9, Ia; Marion Thornton (male), 5, Ia; Monroe Thornton, 5, Ia. Clarissa Thornton is no doubt Clarissa Norris since Lott and Frances married in 1844. The census record does not tell us whether Frances is married, divorced, or a widow, but we have not found a Lot or Lott Thornton that fits in 1850 or any later census so have to assume that he died, probably of an accident, since he was young. The Beamis family Bible (and Iowa marriage records) continue that Frances Thornton, age 33, married J. S. Beamis, age 38, 12 March 1851. Jonathan Beamis married again in 1855 and went to Oregon where he is found in Dairy Township, Washington County in 1880 with his family by the 1855 marriage. There is no further trace of Frances and her Norris, Thornton, or Beamis children. For more information Kathy Kaiser furnished us with her Beamis family website at

(5)Err Thornton

There is a good deal of information from county histories about Err Thornton on part of Joseph Noell's World Family Tree. County Histories are notoriously inaccurate but can give good family clues. There is ample evidence here that this Err Thornton was son of Edward and Rachel Willits Thornton. Err Thornton is buried in Drury Reynolds Cemetery in Rock Island County, along with his second wife Lillie Woods. Unfortunately the transcript on line of the Drury Reynolds cemetery erroneously gives him as son of Eli Thornton. Err's tombstone lists him born 22 July 1807 and died 11 January 1897. Lillie's tombstone lists her as deceased 18 January 1893 age 76 yr 4 mo 3 dy. Err Thornton married Lillie Woods on 2/12/1854 in Muscatine County, Iowa.

The 1914 History of Rock Island excerpt seems to give some of the most credible clues as to the family construction. It names his first wife as "Pauly" - no doubt the common nickname "Polly" for Mary since Err's first wife is listed as Mary in the 1850 census in Muscatine County. It then lists children Maziah who died (an early Amaziah?), William Wallace, and Amaziah, then stating that the wife died at the same time her son James was born. Researchers carry the wife as Mary Hatten and this seems credible as there was a Jonah Hatten family in Muscatine County, Iowa in 1840 where Err and family are found and that Hatten family is of an age for Jonah to be parent of Mary.

Err and family are in 1840 in Muscatine County, Iowa, next to Martha Reynolds Thornton (widow of Isaac) and family. E. Thornton: 1 male 30-40, 1 female 20-30, 1 female 60-70 (probably Ruth Willits Thornton). In 1850 they are in 76 Township, Muscatine County, Iowa: Err Thornton, 34, born Pa, farmer; Mary, 36, Ky; Wallace, 7, Ia; Amazia, 5, Ia; Edward, 1, Ia; L. C. Thornton, 12, Ia (male). Since Err and Mary had no children in 1840 we believe this might be the child of Lott and Mary Wright Thornton, Mary having died in childbirth between the 1852 territorial census and 1854 when Err married again.

Err and family are found in Township 16N Range5W (future Drury Twp) in Rock Island County, Illinois, just across the river from Muscatine: Err Thornton, 53, farmer, $2000, born Pa; Lydia, 43, Oh; Wm. Wallace, 16, farm laborer, Ia; Amazia, 13, Ia; Edward Nelson, 10, Ia; Salinda, 3, In; Margaret Wood, 13, Il. The birthplace of Indiana for Salinda is curious but we cannot verify it. Salinda is evidently the Belinda Thornton buried in Drury Reynolds Cemetery as daughter of E & L, died 23 Jan 1861 age 8 yr 11 mo (age in either the census or the tombstone in error?).

Err is in Drury Township in 1870: Err Thornton, 63, farmer, $4800, Pa; Lydia, 53, Oh; William, 27, works on farm, born Ia. William apparently never married and is buried in Drury Reynolds Cemetery: Wm. W. (Co A 7th Ia Inft GAR), 25 Dec 1841-7 Oct 1923. The whereabouts of Amaziah and Edward in 1870 is not known but this was a time of great migration in the U. S. and young men were often "gone west" and missed in census records. There is more on son Amaziah on Joseph Noell's web site. Amaziah and wife Mary are buried in Drury Reynolds Cemetery: Amaziah Thornton 14 Jun 1845-5 Jul 1828; Mary E. Thornton 28 Aug 1850-9 Jul 1888.

Err is found in 1880 in Drury Township, Rock Island: Err Thornton, farming, age 72, born Pa, parents born Pa; Lilla Thornton, 62, born Ohio, parents born Maryland; Edward N. Thornton, son, farming, age 30, born Iowa, father born Pa, mother born Ohio. We find nothing further on Edward or William except one of the county histories refer to them as of "Missouri."

(6)Amaziah Thornton

Son Amaziah Thornton is found in the 1850 and 1860 Rock Island County, Drury Township, Illinois census. We are including him here as he and some of his family are buried in the Miller Cemetery, in Section 5, Eliza Township, Mercer County. He was also married twice in Mercer County and two of his daughters married Mercer County men. Drury Township in Rock Island was just across the county line from Eliza Township in Mercer County. Amaziah was born 12/5/1810 in Pennsylvania and was married three times: (1) Margaret Wallace 6/27/1839 in Tippecanoe County, Indiana; (2) Martha Miller 12/23/1847 in Mercer County, Illinois, and (3) Elizabeth Miller, possible sister of Martha, 1/2/1873 in Mercer County, Illinois (we will eventually be putting up a Miller page).

In the 1850 Rock Island Census, 37th District, Amaziah is found with his second wife Martha: A. Thornton, 39, farmer, born Pa; Martha, 25, born In; Ruth W.[Willits] Thornton, born In; Julia S. [Iowa S.] Thornton, 6, born Il; Sarah E. [Sabria E.]Thornton, 1, born Il. Both Ruth and Iowa were children of first wife Margaret Wallace.

In the 1860 Rock Island census Amaziah is found with his second wife Martha: Amazia Thornton, 49, farmer, born Pa; Martha, 35, born Indiana, Iowa Salinda, 16, Sabra Ellen, 11, Sarah Jane, 8, James Miller, 5, Wells Willetts, 3, Hiram, 1, all born Illinois. Elizabeth Miller, 38, born Indiana, is living with them, and is the Elizabeth that Amaziah later married. Also James M. and Franklin M. Thornton, twins, farm laborers, age 15, born Iowa, are living with them. We have yet to determine what relationship the twins were to Amaziah and who their parents were. In the 1880 census James gives his parents as both born Pennsylvania, and Franklin [Francis] gives his parents both born Ohio. In 1880 James and wife, Viola Siever Thornton, is in Lincoln Township, Union County, Iowa, and Francis is in Grandview, Louisa County, Iowa.

Daughter Iowa Salinda married R. M. Black 14 June 1862 in Rock Island County. Joseph Noel sent their 1870 Decatur County, Iowa census record and their grave stone records. 1870 Census, Burnell Twp, Decatur, Iowa: Richard M. Black, 27, farmer, born Indiana; Iowa S., 26, Il; Orie E (male) 2, Il. Iowa S. Black born 1844, died 27 April 1902 buried Row 21 Decatur Cemetery; R. M. Black born 1843 died 21 August, 1909, buried Row 21 Decatur Cemetery.

Joseph Noell furnished Amaziah's probate records. Amaziah's will, dated 4/13/1896, names daughter Ruth Willits Johnson (Ruth Willits Thornton married William N. Johnson 25 January 1860 in Rock Island County). He names another son Ulysses S. Grant Thornton born after the 1860 census.

Amaziah and his family suffered a great deal of tragedy. In the Miller Cemetery in Section 5 of Eliza Township we find the following:
Amaziah Thornton died 7/12/1890 (should be 1896) age 85 yr 7m 8d
Martha M., wife of Amaziah, died 1/12/1872, age 48 yr 1m 20 d
Children of A&M
Eliza died 7/27/1852 age 2 ds (twin of Sarah Jane)
Clinton died 7/31/1852 age 1 yr 9m 1d
Hiram A., died 11/27/1860 age 2y 6m 24d
Wells W., died 12/7/1860 age 3 yr 11m 10d
Lott E., died 1/5/1863 age 1 yr 8m 29d

The deaths of the small children was not unusual at that time when cholera was rampant (see Medicine page), but it must have been very hard to bear.

Sarah Jane Thornton (photo link at top of the page), born 7/25/1852, daughter of Amaziah and Martha Miller Thornton, married George Washington Honeyman, son of John & Sarah Jarvis Honeyman, on 9/1/1870 in Rock Island County, Illinois (See Honeyman page). George Washington and Sarah Jane are found in Clay County, Kansas, in 1880 and then moved to Glencoe, Payne County, Oklahoma, where they are buried. Amaziah evidently moved briefly to Clay County as well as he and son James are found next door to Sarah Jane Thornton Honeyman in the 1880 census: Amaziah Thornton, 62, farmer, born Pa, parents born Pa; Elizabeth, 58, born In, father born Ky, mother born De; Ulysses L., 16, son, born Il [son of Martha]. Son James M. Thornton, 25, farmer, born Il; Nancy W., 23, born Il; Celesta W., 6, born Ks; John W., 4, born Ks; Leroy W, 2, son born Ks.

Sabria Ellen Thornton, born 10/10/1848, Illinois, married Jacob S. Reed, son of Joseph and Clarinda Baldwin Reed, on 3/24/1866 in Rock Island County (We will be putting up a Reed page). They are found in Eliza Township, Mercer County, in 1870 with son Oscar, age 2, and son Archy, age 1. Jacob Reed was appointed by Amaziah Thornton as executor of his will in 1896. Jacob and Sabria Reed lived out their lives and are buried in the Miller Cemetery in Eliza Township, Mercer County, Illinois.

(7)Selinda Thornton

Edward and Ruth Willits had only one daughter, Selinda, when they came to Mercer County. She remained in Mercer County and married Stewart R. Drury on 6/4/1836 in Mercer County. Selinda apparently soon died, probably in childbirth, when daughter Minerva Drury was born. Minerva never married and is buried at the County Home in Coal Valley, Rock Island County, Illinois.

(8)John Thornton

Son John married Jane Wolf 5/20/1838 in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, and followed the family later to Iowa.

Other Pennsylvania Thornton families

Hiram Willet Thornton, son of Eli and Rachel Thornton

Hiram Willet Thornton was born 10/16/1812 in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, according to the History of Mercer County, Illinois, 1882. The date of birth, place, and the middle name "Willet" lead us to believe he might have been related to Edward & Ruth Willits Thornton. Perhaps Eli was another brother of Edward. Hiram came to Mercer County in 1838 and on February 25, 1839, he married Elizabeth F. Norbury, of Philadelphia. Hiram had read for the law in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, and continued the practice in Mercer County for awhile. In 1838 the first school in Millersburg was held in his law office and his wife later was one of the school teachers. In 1839 Hiram was elected clerk of the county court and in 1840 he was elected to the state legislature. In 1856 Hiram was advertising as an apothecary in Millersburg (See Medicine page). Hiram and family are found in the 1860 Census in Millersburg Township, Mercer County, Illinois: Hiram, age 47, Railway President, born Pa; Elizabeth [Norbury], age 43, born Pa; Martha N., 19, Jane E., 16, Joseph B. 12 [served Civil War], Norbury W., 7, George E., 4, all born Illinois. Martha Norbury, age 65, born Pa, is living with them. They had another daughter, Sarah E., who was active in the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Hiram bought land in Preemption Township in 1843 but apparently lived out his life in Millersburg as he and his wife are buried there in Oak Ridge Cemetery. He was president of the Warsaw, Rock Island & Galena Railroad Company.

There is a small amount of additional information in 300 Pioneer Families of Illinois. It tells us that daughter Martha Norbury Thornton married John Lutz and we do find the marriage license listed on 5/11/1869 in Mercer County. According to the article, Elizabeth Frick Norbury settled in Mercer County in 1839. Her parents were Joseph Britt Norbury and Rebecca Minshall Frick Norbury. She was born 12/19/1816 in Philadelphia, Pa, and died 4/21/1886 in Millersburg. She was married February 1839 at Danville Pa to Hiram Willet Thornton, born 16 Oct 1812 at Bloomsburg Pa and died 30 Jul 1896. Children were: Martha Norbury Thornton, born 1841; Sarah Elizabeth, born 1843; Rebecca Rachel, born 1845; Susan Britt, born 1847; LaVina Willet, born 1850, Norbury Willet, born 1852 (married Sarah Elizabeth Garvin in 1879); George Eli, born 1856 (married Almira Lee 1882). Joseph B. Thornton listed with the family in 1860 is not given in this list.

Hiram's probable son, Joseph B. Thornton, enlisted in Company G., 124th Infantry, from Millersburg on August 4, 1862 and was mustered in on September 10, 1862. The only other notation in the Adjutant General's report is that he was transferred to the Engineering Corps April 22, 1864. He served with Jackson D. Thornton below.

Jackson D. Thornton, son of Eli and Abigail Hittle Thornton

We do not know if this is the same Eli who was parent of Hiram. Jackson D. Thornton is found in Millersburg in the 1860 census: Jackson D. Thornton, 33, farmer, born Pa; Lucy, 29, born Ohio; Anna M., 3/12 born Ill. Jackson and Lucy are found in the 1870 census in Perryton Township and apparently had no more children.

J. D. Thornton married Lucy Wharton 5/15/1856 in Rock Island Co, Il He married second Letticia L. Carver.

J. D. Thornton 1828-1911 is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery Co G 124 Vol Inf . Lucy Thornton April 30, 1872 41 yr 2m also buried Oak Ridge. Anna Marie died December 11, 1865, age 5 buried Oak Ridge.

The History of Mercer County, 1882states he was a native of Columbia County, Pennsylvania, and son of Eli and Abigail Hittle Thornton. Jackson Thornton served in the Mexican War, went to West Africa with the marines to help suppress the slave trade, and served three years as sergeant in the Civil War. According to the History he came to Mercer County in 1849. His Civil War Service is born out in the Illinois Adjutant General's Report showing he enlised on August 2, 1862 from Duncan, Ill and was mustered in on September 10, 1862. He served with Hiram's son, Joseph B. Thornton. He was mustered out as Sergeant on August 15, 1865.

Thornton Families From North Carolina

There is a Bartlett Thornton found in Millersburg Township in Mercer County in 1850 and in New Boston Township in 1860. Some researchers have equated this Bartlett, or Bartlott, with Lot Thornton mentioned above. However, it is quite clear this is not Lot Thornton, son of Edward and Ruth Willits Thornton. The Bartlett Thornton found in New Boston Township, Mercer County, Illinois, in 1860, age 55, was born in North Carolina. There is also a Henry Thornton in Millersburg Township in 1860, born 1800 in North Carolina. Both Bartlett and Henry are found at Perquimans Monthly Meeting (Quaker) in Perquimans County, North Carolina, along with a Willis and a Thomas Thornton. All four are minors when mentioned on the following dates (Thomas & Willis 1811, Henry, 1814, Bartlett, 1820). Willis was a son of Joseph and Nancy Ann Smith Thornton of Perquimans County according to his marriage record in 1827. Henry was a son of the same couple according to Indiana Quaker records.

Joseph and Nancy Ann Smith Thornton Family of North Carolina

North Carolina marriage bonds show that Joseph Thornton married Nancy Ann Smith 1/7/1786 in North Carolina - the bond is coded to Lee County. Joseph was dismissed for his marriage contrary to discipline at Perquimans Monthly Meeting (Quaker meeting in Perquimans County) on 8/4/1790 but Nancy made her peace with the Quakers for her marriage outside the faith and thus her children were Quakers. Because of the Lee County marriage and the uncertainty of when they arrived in Perquimans County we are not certain of the children's birth places other than North Carolina. The children were:

(1) Willis Thornton

Born North Carolina, married Lucy Clayton 10/31/1827 at New Garden Monthly Meeting in Guilford County, North Carolina. By 1829 they had removed to New Garden Monthly Meeting in Wayne County, Indiana (when time permits we will check the Wayne County records to determine if any of this family came on to Illinois and to obtain a birth date)

(2) Thomas Thornton

Born 3/13/1792 in North Carolina and died 4/4/1866 in Guilford County, North Carolina. He married Sarah Johnston 11/19/1816 in a civil ceremony in North Carolina (bond coded to Cumberland County). Sarah and Thomas made their peace with the Quakers in 1821 for their marriage outside the faith. Their children are documented at Deep River Monthly Meeting in Guilford County, North Carolina: Henry Thornton b 4/23/1818 m. Charlotte Elizabeth Martin; Joshua Thornton b 12/14/1819 m. Jane Beard (daughter of David and Miriam Beard - not related to Mercer County Beards); Willis Thornton b 1822 d 1824; Thomas Thornton b 10/26/1824 m. Rachel Smith Northampton Co, NC; Bartlett Yancy Thornton b 8/15/1827 m. Emily Pattison 4/13/1858 Cumberland Co NC; Elias Smith Thornton b 12/31/1829 m Mary Jane Elliott abt 1861; Joseph Alson Thornton b 4/1/1832 (more below); Shubal C. Thornton b 10/17/1834; Sallie Ann Thornton, b 3/15/1837; Alfred W. Thornton b 4/28/1840, m. Cornelia Wheeler 12/4/1864 Guilford County NC; Kezia D. Thornton b 10 24/1842 m. Jesse Gordon abouut 1861. Keziah died bef 1868 and her children went to Kansas with Jesse's parents.

Thomas and Sarah's son, Joseph Alson Thornton, came to Mercer County, Illinois, and married Delilah Elizabeth Wells 8/13/1858 in Mercer County. They are found in Millersburg Township in 1860: (Joseph) Assen Thornton, 28, farmer, born North Carolina; Elizabeth, 19, born Ohio; Sarah Wells, age 12, born Ohio (sister of Elizabeth); Ward Thornton, 7/12, born Illinois. They are gone by 1870.

(3)Henry Thornton

Born 5/2/1799 in North Carolina. Henry was taken to Lick Creek Monthly Meeting in Indiana from Perquimans County, North Carolina on 9/3/1814. He is listed as accompanying one Levi Munden so was probably not a bound boy but simply under the care of Quakers. Their certificate was immediately transferred to Blue River Monthly Meeting in Washington County. Henry married first to Rachel Thompson on 3/11/1824 in Washington County, Indiana, according to the Indiana Marriage Index. Researchers carry the name as Rachel Haworth and various Quaker meetings in Indiana note it as Rachel Haworth. This may be an error as a Rachel Haworth married a Thornton as recorded at Blue River Meeting in Indiana but it was in 1844 long after this Rachel died. It is also possible that Rachel Thompson was a widow with maiden name Haworth. Rachel died 6/22/1828, age 24 yr 4 m 12 dy and is buried in a Blue River Cemetery. It is unlikely she is buried in the Quaker Cemetery at Blue River. Henry made his peace with the Quakers at Blue River on 5/1/1824 for his marriage out of the faith. There is no record that Rachel did likewise. They had children: Thomas Thornton, b 3/17/1825 and Lydia Thornton, b. 5/7/1828. On 8/1/1829 the two children were received into Blue River Quaker Meeting at the request of their father.

Henry's son, Thomas Thornton, married Esther Lewis on 8/11/1852 at Pilot Grove Meeting House in Vermilion County, Illinois where the family had transferred in 1848. There is a Thomas C. Thornton who enlisted from Millersburg, Mercer County, on 12/17/1863 in Co G of the 27th Infantry and transferred to 9th Reg as consolidated. He mustered out July 9, 1865. We find nothing further on him and are fairly certain he was son of Henry as Henry was in Millersburg by 1860.

Henry Thornton married second to Jane Hadley, daughter of Joshua and Catharine Holladay Hadley, on 9/23/1829 at Lick Creek Monthly Meeting in Indiana. Henry received a certificate from Blue River on 9/5/1829 to go to Lick Creek to marry. Jane then transferred her Quaker membership from Lick Creek to Blue River on 7/5/1830. They had children: William Thornton b 4/26/1830, Washington County, Indiana; Catharine Thornton b 12/8/1832, Parke County, Indiana; David Thornton b 11/16/1833, Parke Co, m. Sarah E. Miller, daughter of Michael and Elizabeth Fisher Miller, 12/25/1864 in Mercer County, Il; Ellen Thornton, b 11/16/1835, Parke Co; Joshua Thornton b 3/5/1839, Parke Co; Mary Ann Thornton b 3/5/1841, Parke Co; Jane Thornton b 4/4/1843, Parke Co; Willis Thornton b 1/12/1847, Parke Co; and Rachel Thornton 4/25/1849, Vermilion Co, Il. On 2/5/1831 Henry, Jane and William transferred to Bloomfield Monthly Meeting in Parke County, Indiana. On 3/4/1848 Henry and wife transferred their Quaker membership to Vermillion County, Illinois, along with all their children except Rachel who was born in Vermillion County. In 1856 they requested a certificate to Iowa and had already moved.

There is a Miss Mary Thornton who won prizes in the 1859 Agricultural Fair in the Miscellaneous category. This was probably Mary Ann Thornton above. She married John Carthorn on 3/25/1860 in Mercer County but we do not find them in Mercer County in 1860.

Henry Thornton and family are found in Millersburg Township in 1860: Henry Thornton, age 60, farmer, born North Carolina; Jane, 55, born North Carolina; Ellen, 22, born In; Joshua, 20, born In; Jane, 17, born In; Willis, 13, born Il (actually In); Rachel, 11, Il. Judith Funk helped with information on this family. They were listed in 1856 on the state census in Providence Township, Hardin County, Iowa. In 1870 the family was in Felix Township, Grundy County, Iowa, where they bought land in 1866 along with son David and his wife Sarah: #97 Henry Thornton, 71, farmer, NC; Jane, 65, NC; Willis, 22, In; Mary Cathern, 28, In; Anna, 10, Ill; John, 7, Ill; Jane, 4, Ia. We are reluctant to say that Mary's husband is deceased as 1870 was a time of great roaming around the country to look for new land and he may simply have been away. Henry and Jane were listed in Bangor Quaker records in Marshall County, Iowa in 1874 but are not found in 1880 in the census.

There is a Joshua F. Thornton who enlisted in Company G, 27th Illinois Infantry which is a Mercer County Regiment, but Joshua gives his place of residence as Hardin County, Iowa. This information is online at, but a look at the Adjutant General's report for the State of Illinois shows Joshua Thurston as the soldier in Co G who enlisted from Hardin County, Iowa. The History of Mercer County 1882 then lists him as J. F. Thornton on the Soldiers' Monument in Aledo so it is hard to tell. We thought it likely that the Joshua Thornton listed in Bartlett Thornton's will below in 1881 was son of Henry but there is no way to tell for sure. (4)u>Bartlett Thornton was born 11/9/1804 in North Carolina. He is found in 1860 in New Boston Township, Mercer County, Illinois: Bartlett Thornton, age 55, farmer, born North Carolina; Mary, age 51, born Maine, Zadoc Batcheldor, age 20, laborer, born Maine, Oliver Blaisdell, age 95, born Maine (actually Olive Blaisdell, female, mother of Mary, age 85); Joshua Thornton, age 21, laborer, born Illinois (nephew and son of brother Henry - also censused at home with Henry); Charlotte Knapp, age 20, domestic, born Illinois. Bartlett Thornton married Mrs. Polly Batchelor 5/26/1844 in Mercer County, Illinois (Polly is a nickname for Mary). The Mary in the 1860 census, born Maine, is then Mary Blaisdell Batchelor Thornton. The Joshua Thornton, age 21, in the 1860 census is probably the son of Bartlett by an earlier marriage. There is also an Eleanor Thornton, age 19, born Il, working for a Wm Shafer family in Millersburg, who was probably also a daughter by an earlier marriage. She married Michael McAfee 9/30/1862 in Mercer County. Zadoc Batchelor is son of Mrs. Polly Blaisdell Batchelor and would thus be Bartlett's step son. Mary Blaisdell had married Zadock Batchelder 5/13/1829 in Jay, Maine. We do not find a burial for him in Mercer County so he may have died before the Blaisdell's left Maine. Apparently Bartlett and Mary never had any children together.

Bartlott Thornton is found in 1880 in Bloomington, Muscatine County, Iowa, occupation farmer, age 75, born North Carolina, parents born Pennsylvania.

Bartlott Thornton, widower, wrote his will on 5/2/1881 in Muscatine County, Iowa. He wrote a codicil in August 1881. His legatees were Joshua J. Thornton, Matthew and Eleanor McAffee, and Charles Edward Johnson, son of James Johnson, a 16 year old boy that Bartlett was raising. (Charles Edward Johnson was son of James and Octava Bachelor Johnson (we will be putting up a Johnson page). Octava was daughter of Mary Blaisdell Bachelor Thornton and thus Charles was Mary's grandson and Bartlett's step grandson.) Bartlett owned land in Muscatine County that he left jointly to Charles Edward Johnson and Joshua J. Thornton. Eleanor McAffee was daughter of Bartlott's brother Henry Thornton and married Matthew McAffee on 9/30/1862 in Mercer County. Joshua might be son of Henry Thornton and nephew of Bartlott, except the Joshua Thornton who was killed in the Civil War might have been Henry's son.

Additional Thorntons in Mercer County

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1860 Census, Millersburg Township
Francis W. Thornton, 25, laborer, born Indiana

1870 Census, Rivoli Township
Franklin Thornton, 45, auctioneer, born New York
Levina, 33, born Illinois
Charles L., 7, born Illinois
Lee Thornton, 3, born Illinois