Help needed sorting out & sourcing the Thornton family

+2 votes
Is anyone familiar or willing to review/research Thomas Thornton and his lineage, spouse, children?  The profile has his 1786 claim (as a Loyalist evacuated to Nova Scotia) which mentions the family was from 96 District, South Carolina.  It has him born in North Carolina, marrying in 1792 in North Carolina, attaches a son to him born 1799 in South Carolina, another born 1804 in North Carolina, another born 1806 in Illinois, then marrying again in 1813 in Ohio, then dying in Illinois.  But what sources are there to prove any of this?  How do we know the man marrying in Ohio is the same person, and how do we know the attached children are his?

Research also needs to be done on his parents and the children attached to them.

UPDATE:  It's been determined that there were two Thomas Thorntons.  The Loyalist that went to Nova Scotia and then New Brunswick remained there.  We still need to determine parents and find sources for the spouses and children of each man.
WikiTree profile: Thomas Thornton
in Genealogy Help by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (419k points)
edited by Darlene Athey-Hill
Hello, Thomas T Thornton born Londonderry, Northern Ireland, when family back for visit and lived in Surry, NC 1804-1883 - in Berwick, Polk Co, Iowa. Married in 1825 Indiana -Eleanor Brady (SC 1801-1887 Berwick, Polk, Iowa) they were my Dad’s Great Great Grands, they had 12 children and #7 was dad’s Great grandfather Cyrus F. 1836-Indiana, 1892 in Berwick, IA married 1853 IN to Eliza Jane Davis -1839-NC -1903, Berwick, IA - they had 4 children, third Laura May -my dad’s Grandma, 1866 - Bremer, IA - 1957 Berwick, IA married Ervin Silver - IN 1859-1929 - Berwick, IA - three children, youngest Roy Oliver, 1894-IA - 1961- IA  my dad’s father - married Winifred Mary Vertz in 1918 in IA - 1899- KS - 1967-IA - they had 8 children the 4th was my dad! I have docs and photos back 2-3 gens not had time to provide them, and have Bible hand notes back further. I care for my 94 yr mom so no time to go thru docs I have yet. I know that back earlier my lineage came from Surry, NC also has father Thomas , Grandfather Thomas, and great grand Thomas back to 1709-1762


2 Answers

+4 votes

There's a will on ancestry. It names Nathan (the son) as his administrator. Let me see if it's on FamilySearch
by E. Logan G2G6 Mach 3 (34.8k points)
No, FamilySearch doesn't have the probate records for Vermillion county yet.

The census records for that son Nathan in 1850, 1860 and 1870 have him being born in North Carolina. FindAGrave says the very specific South Carolina location, and I can't find any source for that.
Anyways, the "will" wasn't anything useful - it was just a judge giving Nathan orders for carrying out the duties for Thomas's estate.
There are 1790 and 1800 (and 1820) census records for a Thomas Thornton living in Sampson, North Carolina.

FamilySearch has this attached to a Thomas Thorton III who lived about 1755-1832
Here's a pdf with some information (warning it will download it onto your computer)

It cites "New Brunswick Museum Vertical files, Fox family: Thomas Thornton, Loyalist: microfilm F11082, 1 page." But also read the disclaimer at the very top of the page.

It claims that he married an Elizabeth and had 10 children, including one baptized in 1793 in Dumfries, New Brunswick.
The loyalist lists can be found here (mentioned on the 6744 profile)
There's a very lengthy discussion of the North Carolina Thornton family in Family Puzzlers Issues 1498-1523 on pages 2-4ish.

There's also a discussion of the loyalists in Nova Scotia Historical Review, Volumes 8-9 on pages 64-65.
Thanks, some of this confirms what I suspected -- that there were two Thomas Thornton's -- one in North Carolina and one that was a Loyalist and stayed in New Brunswick.  I got involved in this due to a proposed merge.  I've set the merges as unmerged, but now we need to separate the information for the two . . .  I researched the NB guy and added sources to his profile last night.
Do you have access to the Family Puzzlers that discusses the NC Thorntons?
I got excerpts of it on Google Books. I can get a mostly complete transcription of the pages if I spend some time on it, but figuring out how to get Google Books to cooperate is always time-consuming. I'll try tomorrow morning.

Re: the returning to America claim, the First Families document says this:

THORNTON: John Thornton was born in Orange County, NC s/o Thomas Thornton: he came from Fort Ninety-Six in South Carolina to NB in 1783 as a Loyalist and settled at Rosborough Settlement in Prince William Parish, York County: name of his wife is not provided: only child mentioned was Edward Thornton b. in York County: in 104th Regiment: died at Toronto, 9 Oct 1813:

Source: MC300 York-Sunbury Historical Society Collection, MS15/4, Biographical notes on the non-commissioned officers and privates of the 104th, pages 68-69: John’s brother Thomas Thornton came to NB and settled in York County but later moved to Hants County, NS.

This would have to be EITHER after 1838 (as an elderly man), as he was evidently still in York to appear on the lists of loyalists with claims, OR he returned to North Carolina circa 1810s and returned back to Canada by the 1830s. 

In both cases, he could not have been the man who married in Ohio and died in Illinois. 

Regardless, that just seems like a family tale:

First Families is a collection of genealogical information taken from various sources that were periodically submitted to the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. The information has not been verified against any official records. Since the information in First Families is contributed, it is the responsibility of those who use the information to verify its accuracy

As a matter of fact, I believe there are at least 3 Thomas Thorntons.

There was a Thomas Thornton born in North Carolina who removed to Ohio by 1813, to Vermillion by 1830 and died there in 1834.

There was the loyalist who removed to New Brunswick in ~1785 (can't recall the specific date off the top of my head) and probably never returned.

There was the Thomas Thornton who lived in Sampson County, North Carolina until at least 1830 (he probably died between 1830 and 1840 - he was in the 70-80 category in 1830).

And probably even more, as I count a Thomas in Craven County, 1769, one in Bute County, 1771, the father/son in Sampson County in 1784, one in Jones county in 1784, and more in the 1790, 1800, 1810, etc censuses.
Here's some of the Family Puzzles:

It actually ended up being more about the family as they moved to Georgia.

The more relevant discussion would probably be of the Sampson County Thorntons in "Forebears and Descendants of an Early Houston Family" (1975)

There's a (very) short discussion of the Quaker in William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine (1931)

I believe this is the extent.

I can't find anything else on a marriage between a Thomas Thornton and an Abigail Spencer. 

Thanks for all of the information.  I'm looking through and reviewing all of it . . .
+2 votes

Thomas Thornton and Martha Boykin, the parents of

Thomas Thornton, abt. 1735-1782. (I’ll refer to him as Thomas 1735)

Thomas 1735 m. Elizabeth Williams

Background: 1775 American Revolution

1779 British took Charleston, established posts from Camden to 96th Dist. 22 May – 21 June 1781, evacuation of loyalist refugees of 96th to Orangeburg then to Charleston.

Thomas 1735 died either on the way to Halifax, Nova Scotia or shortly after arrival in Nova Scotia. His wife died before the evacuation.

Thomas 1735 and Elizabeth had three son’s: Thomas, Abraham & Eli (not to be confused with the brothers of Thomas 1735 also named Abraham and Eli).

The three son’s of Thomas 1735 and Elizabeth: Thomas 1762-1834, Abraham 1765-1804 and Eli 1769-1852.

Thomas 1762, the eldest son of Thomas 1735, submitted the Loyalist claim in his fathers right. All three boys were in the care of Reuben Lively who returned to South Carolina (Abbeville/96) and it is believed that all three boys also returned to South Carolina, initially.

Thomas Thornton 1762

The following has been attributed to this Thomas

Marriage to Sarah Elizabeth Thomas  1 Sept 1813 • Miami County, Indiana (note: he would have been abt. 50 years old)

Thomas Thornton of Randolph, Montgomery, OH. Son of Thomas Thornton and Elizabeth (dec’d). Sarah, daughter of Isaac Thomas (dec’d) and Mary. M 1 Sept 1813 at Rocky Spring Mtg (Miami Indiana) witness, Eleanor Thornton.

FaG Memorial ID 23072556 His parents were Thomas A. & Elizabeth Thornton. He was married to Abagail Spencer in 1792 in Randolph County, North Carolina and second to Sarah Elizabeth Thomas in 1813 in Montgomery County, Ohio.


Pg 80, A Loyalist Life: John Bond of South Carolina and Nova Scotia by Carole W. Troxler.

From the John Duncanson book "Rawdon and Douglas: Two Loyalist Townships in Nova Scotia".

“The father, Thomas, Sr., joined the British and served as a Lieutenant, and later as Captain. The mother had died before the family left South Carolina for Nova Scotia. Thomas, Sr. died shortly after the family evacuated from Charleston, South Carolina in 1782.

Thomas, Jr., the eldest son, submitted the Loyalist claim in his father's right. The family spent the winter of 1782 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in April 1783, went to Newport, Nova Scotia, and later moved to Rawdon Township where the grant land was located.

The family had owned 150 acres at 96th District, South Carolina, which had been purchased before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. It had been bought from Thomas, Sr.'s brother, David Thornton.”

Note: David Thornton the brother of Thomas 1735 appears to have returned to South Carolina (Edgefield).

by Kickemjenny Thornton G2G6 (8.1k points)

For reference:

Here is the Duncanson book:

The useful bit is on page 544 where it says "Mary Thornton, the wife of John Thornton also of South Carolina was living in St. John, Brunswick" - Mary here is revealed as daughter of Barnet Snell on page 545. 

On page 559, we find the claim about return:

It is believed that this Thornton family returned to South Carolina. The records of South Carolina show that a Thomas Thornton lived at Edgefield County, SC in 1811. There was also an Eli Thornton at Edgefield Co., SC for the same year (Early American Series Vol. 2)

The Troxler dissertation is also free to view and can be found here. The only bit on the Thornton is a footnote that lists Thomas Thornton's loyalist claim. 

Re the 1813 marriage, that couldn't be the loyalist Thomas Thornton Jr who was in New Brunswick in 1786. If he indeed did return to South Carolina in 1811 (unlikely), he wouldn't remove to Ohio just two years later. And there was clearly a Thomas Thornton in York County in 1839 ( ). 

Thank you to E. Logan for my birthday gift! The link to "Loyalist Items" was info I did not have. You see, John Thornton (of the brother trio, Thomas, Abraham and Eli) had a claim as follows: 1787 UK, American Loyalist Claims, 1776-1835. John Thornton late of SC, determination 1 March 1787. Resides in York County. And from "Loyalist Items" Thomas is shown as 79 years of age and residing in York County. This puts Thomas birth year at about 1760 which would be correct as the son of Thomas who had fled during the evacuation of Charlestown.

FYI: Mary, wife of John Thornton, full name was found to be Elizabeth Maria "Mary" Snell.

Thomas Thornton of Edgefield (1774-1822), likely the son of Abraham Thornton 1745-1797 (not the loyalist but the brother of).

The Snells are my direct line, and there are baptismal records for Barnett's children, thanks to the Rev. John Gissendanner who recorded vital information on the Orangeburgh families.  She was baptized as Magdalene, but people think her name was Mary Magdalene.  Her baptismal record reads:  

"1757. Baptized ---- In Orangeburgh Church. On Sunday Novembr 20th Magdalene, Daughter of Barnard & Susannah Elizabeth Snell; born Septembr 16th 1757. Suret... Frederick Hoff, Mary Catharina, wife of Elias Snell, & Eve Catharina, wife of John George Hayner."

FYI, Barnett Snell had a daughter Elizabeth:

"1757. Baptized On Easter Sunday, March 30th, Elizabeth, Daughter of Barnard & Susannah Elizabeth Snell; born  -- 175?  -- Suscept. Elias Snell, Barbara, wife of Jno Frederick Huber, & Ann Margaret Snyder, widow.

Certainly either of these daughters could be the 'Mary' that married John Thornton.  The OGSGS (Orangeburgh German-Swiss Genealogical Society) has the daughters as simply Elizabeth and Magdalene, as recorded on their baptismal records.  One might have been Mary Elizabeth and the other Catherine Magdalene, or it might have been Catherine Elizabeth and Mary Magdalene.  Likely we'll never know.  All we do know is the three sisters were called Nancy, Mary, and Catherine in their father's will, and none of those names were their baptismal names as recorded in the Gissendanner Book of Records.

Jenny, the Thomas age 79 in 1839 (thus born c 1760) in York, New Brunswick, is Thomas Thornton of Virginia, and unrelated (unless distantly) to the Thorntons of North and South Carolina.  His 1838 petition for financial assistance as a soldier in the Revolution states that in 1777, when quite young, and in Norfolk Co., Virginia (where he had a sawmill and farm) . . ."

Darlene, the Duncanson book identifies the Mary who married John Thornton as 

Maria Elizabeth "Mary" bp. 3 Mar. 1754 Orangeburgh, SC; marr. before 1781 John Thornton, loyalist who settled at Saint John, New Brunswick (see Thornton family)

Darlene, you seem to have a better handle on who-is-who than me. I'm going to work on getting the Family Puzzlers text you asked for, hopefully you can make more sense of it than me. 

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