Categories: American Founding Fathers | Signers of the United States Declaration of Independence | American Revolution | Thornton Graveyard, Merrimack, New Hampshire | American Revolution Army Officers | Senators | New Hampshire Line, American Revolution | Judges | Lawyers.
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Dr. Matthew Thornton was a delegate from the State of New Hampshire to the Continental Congress, and a Signer of the Declaration of Independence (three months after the formal signing in August).
Thornton was born in Ireland to James and Elizabeth (Jenkins) Thornton. In 1716 the family immigrated to North America settling first at either Williamsburg, Virginia or Brunswick, Maine. When the community was attacked by Native Americans on July 11, 1722, James and Elizabeth Thornton fled from their burning home with Matthew and moved to Worcester, Massachusetts.
Matthew Thornton studied in medicine at Leicester and became a physician, establishing a medical practice in Londonderry, New Hampshire, at age 26. In New Hampshire he was appointed surgeon to the New Hampshire Militia troops in an expedition against Fortress Louisbourg in 1745. He had royal commissions as justice of the peace and colonel of militia.
In 1760 Thornton married Hannah Jack (age 18), and the couple had five children. Four of the five grew to maturity. James, born in 1765, was married to Mary Parker, and one of his sons, James Shepard Thornton, had a distinguished career in the U. S. Navy. The torpedo boat Thornton was named. in his honor. Matthew Thornton, the youngest son married Fanny Curtis of Amherst. He became a prominent lawyer of his native State. Mary Thornton married Hon. Silas Betton of Salem, N.H., and Hannah married John McGaw, of Bedford, N. H
Thornton himself became Londonderry Town Selectman, a representative to, and President of the Provincial Assembly, and a member of the Committee of Safety, drafting New Hampshire's plan of government after dissolution of the royal government, which was the first state constitution adopted after the start of hostilities with England.
He was first President of the New Hampshire House of Representatives and Associate Justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire. He was elected to the Continental Congress after the debates on independence had occurred, but as he did not arrive in Philadelphia until November, 1776, he was granted permission to actually sign the Declaration of Independence three months after the formal signing in August. Although he did not attend law school, he was given duties as an associate justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court in 1777. From 1784 to 1787 Thornton was a member of the New Hampshire State Senate and combined this with the role of State Councilor from 1785 to 1786.
He became a political essayist. He retired from his medical practice and moved to Merrimack, New Hampshire in 1780 where he farmed and operated a ferry at Thornton's Ferry with his family. His wife Hannah died in 1786. Thornton died in Newburyport, Massachusetts, while visiting his daughter. Matthew Thornton is buried in Thornton Cemetery in Merrimack, and his grave reads "An Honest Man."
Mrs. Samuel Clyde, a niece of Matthew Thornton, fled from Indians into the woods with her eight children, one a babe in arms during the Cherry Valley Massacre. She hid for twenty-four hours behind logs, near where Indians were passing. Exhibiting wonderful strength and endurance she finally reached the fort in safety.--American Monthly Magazine
Matthew was born in 1714 in Ireland to James Thornton ____ - 1754 and Elizabeth Jenkins 1690 - 1741.
Biography of Hannah Jack Thornton (http://colonialhall.com/thornton/thorntonHannah.php : accessed 24 May 2014)
Matthew Thornton of New Hampshire: A Patriot of the American Revolution by Charles Thornton Adams (1903). Retrieved from: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/service/gdc/scd0001/2006/20061013008ma/20061013008ma.pdf
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On 18 Dec 2018 at 22:16 GMT Susan Keil wrote:
On 28 Jul 2014 at 22:17 GMT Theodore Palmer wrote:
Matthew is 28 degrees from Jelena Eckstädt, 15 degrees from Theodore Roosevelt and 18 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.