Welcome to our Thornton family

In this blog we attempt to create a visual history of a main southern Kentucky Thornton branch, descended from Scots-Irish Thorntons who may have arrived in Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s. If your goal is to check whether or not you or a family member are listed in our genealogy file, the first eight posts contain more than 1,500 names, listed generationally. Use the 'find' command to scroll through the material...Good luck.

Also, if you have photos, corrections, or inquiries, please feel free to contact us at thorntonsoky@gmail.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Military Thorntons: World War II

Earl S. Cassetty, son of Berttina Mae Thornton
Fred Alton Thornton
Maj. Jesse Willard Thornton
Robert D. Thornton
Jay H. Thornton
Hughie Freeman Yokley, grandson of Cassandra Thornton
Stanley Leroy Thornton
Richard Drifmeyer, grandson of Sarah Ann Thornton
Donald Lee Kinnaird, great-grandson of Mary Elizabeth Thornton
Ray Henderson Owen, grandson of Alice Jane Thornton
Richard Benjamin Gillett, great-grandson of Martha Elizabeth Thornton
Nelson Dean Wyant, grandson of Mary Ann Thornton
* Gaines Snyder, great-grandson of Sarah Ann Thornton
* Survived Bataan Death March, The Phillipines
Harry Joseph Thornton
Capt. James Worth Thornton
Lt. Col. Raymond Allen Thornton (also served in Korea and Vietnam)
Porter Milton Kitchens, son of Ruby Mae Thornton
Albert "Doc" Franklin Jones, son of Margaret Thornton
Glenn E. Wright, grandson of Cassandra Thornton
Clifton Charles Thornton
Edwin Drifmeyer, grandson of Sarah Ann Thornton
Lloyd McCown, grandson of Mary Etta Thornton
Theodore Kemp Thornton
Hal Ervin Thornton, grandson of Allen M. "Tobe" Thornton of Kay County, Oklahoma
Eugene Wendell Thornton, grandson of Allen M. "Tobe" Thornton of Kay County, Oklahoma
Robert Brown Thornton
Harry Rairdon Jr., son of Betty Lola (Lela) Thornton

Winnie Carene Thornton

Carene Thornton was born May 5, 1929, to Jesse Benton and Susie Cooper Thornton in Warren County, KY. She married Cloyd Copas and had two sons: Allen and Rodney.

A 1983 family reunion lineup, featuring Carene Thornton Copas with sons, Allen and Rodney, and grandchildren: Bryant, Chad,and Lori, standing, and Cori and Jessica held aloft.

Bob and Carene playing outside in the 1930s.

Lillie Pauline Thornton

Pauline Thornton was born April 15, 1915, Warren County, KY, to Jesse Benton and Susie Cooper Thornton. She died on Dec. 16, 1997.

Pauline married Thomas Odell Reagan and had two children: Gloria Dean and Joe Tom.

Pauline and Odell Reagan on the farm.

Posing at the shipyard in San Francisco, on a visit to Jess and Pat Thornton, we see Jesse Benton and Lillie Mathias Thornton with Pauline.

Thornton Family Reunion 2005

Bonita Moore Cooper, granddaughter of Lillie Pauline Thornton Reagan, chats with Jean Overstreet Daniel, daughter-in-law of Evaline Thornton Daniel.

Juanita Meredith Thornton, wife of Robert D., Debbie, and Bryan, after being plastered with name tags...

Tony and Liz Cox Thornton; Louie Daniel White, grandson of Evaline Thornton Daniel; and Gary David Daniel, son of Evaline Thornton Daniel.

Debbie White Winebarger, granddaughter of Evaline Thornton.

The Daniels: Jeannie posing with Kim Daniel Bouchey, granddaughter of Evaline Thornton Daniel.

Lewises and Thorntons: (LtoR) Damon and Sue Franklin Lewis; Bill and Diane Thornton Lewis, with Carter; Patrick and Candis Thornton.

Tana Watts Hancock and Sharon Watts Windham, daughters of Patti Joe Thornton, add to the family potluck with a casserole.

Stephen and Denise Clements Thornton.

The spouses: Cloyd Copas, husband of Carene Thornton, discusses Thornton shenanigans with Charles Lewis, husband of Diane Thornton.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Distant Cousins: Honorable Samuel W. Thornton and Family

Hon. Samuel Thornton, son of Abner and Esther Strain Thornton, was born in 1832 (apr.)(d. before 1910). He married Sarah Larimer, daughter of Thomas Larimer and Mary Bryson. Serving during the Civil War, in Co. C, 8th Regiment Iowa Infantry, Union Army, Samuel was taken prisoner at Shiloh, paroled, and then shot in the thigh at Memphis, after which he was hospitalized until the end of the war. Returning to Washington County, Iowa, he served as city tax collector, assessor, marshal, and one term as Deputy Sheriff. He took the 1870 Census of the county. In the mid-to-late 1870s, he moved to Buffalo County, Nebraska, where he became a prominent farmer, having excellent luck with growing a variety of grasses. In 1886 he represented the area as Representative to the Nebraska State Legislature. He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic; Thornton Township was named in his honor.

Samuel and Sarah had eight children: Eva J, William, Charles A, Mary Etta, Harry L, Mabel C, Kate D, and Lillie B. Eva J Thornton married John Swenson and had no issue. John Swenson was a prominent farmer and businessman in Buffalo County, Nebraska, who also served two terms as superintendent of schools. He founded the town of Sartoria, opening a post office on Jan. 16, 1880, and serving as the first postmaster. The town is now a ghost town.

William Thornton was a prominent businessman, serving as President and board member of Union Valley Telephone Company. He married Fanny Borders, daughter of Gary Borders and Louisa Harlan. His son, Samuel C Thornton, served in World War I, a member of the 245th Ambulance Company, 12th Division. William’s grandson, Jay H Thornton, son of Harry and Olive Turley Thornton, served in World War II, winning several medals: Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, and European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal. Jay owned Thornton Sheet Metal until 1983.

Samuel Thornton’s daughters, Mary Etta and Mabel C, married Thomas Rush Lionberger and Albert S Lionberger respectively. Prominent descendents include Mary Etta’s son, Ralph Thornton Lionberger, a noted educator and high school principal, and Mary Etta’s grandson, Colonel Hugh Wayne Randel, a flight surgeon who served in Vietnam as head of Air Force medical personnel.

Military Thorntons: The Civil War

Henry Harrison Thornton
Capt. Levi Calvin McKee Thornton
William Frank Thornton (possibly, both Union and Confederate forces)
James Johnson Thornton
Johnson Houk, son of Jane Thornton
William MaGhee Thornton
John Harvey Thornton
Hon. Samuel W. Thornton
Capt. Ethan E. Thornton
Samuel Watson Thornton
John Montgomery Thornton
Abner Scott Thornton
Henderson Crawford Thornton

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Tombstones: Stevenson Cemetery, Simpson County, KY

Robert F Thornton, younger brother to my gg grandfather, John H, and family were buried in the Stevenson Cemetery, just north of Franklin, KY.

Eli Thornton died in an automobile accident, leaving his wife to manage an estate that was sued by the three injured occupants of his car. Most of his possessions had to be sold at auction to cover debt.

Lillie Frances Thornton had five children, many of whom were raised in Alabama. They were Robert, Waymon (named after Jane Kirby's father), and Bettie Qualls, as well as Willie and Nettie Goad. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren still reside primarily in Alabama.

Charles and Sadie Thornton raised six boys: Raleigh Franklin, Michael Frederick, Hank Carson, Marvin Davis, Charles Eddie, and Bobby Morris.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Distant Cousins: Levi Calvin McKee Thornton Family

A Captain during the Civil War, in 66th Illinois Infantry, Union Army, Levi Thornton (b. Dec. 15, 1825, d. Mar. 9, 1907) returned to Illinois and married Anna Maria Cox (b. Jan 5, 1841, d. Jan. 14, 1918). They had three children: Mary Thornton (b. abt. 1873, d. Feb. 2, 1935), who married William Thomas Kirkpatrick and had no issue; Herbert A. Thornton (b. abt. 1878), who died before 1920 in a railway accident; and Anna Leland Thornton (b. July 19, 1876, d. July 24, 1960).

Anna Thornton married Neil Genis Grubb who later became a prominent building contractor in Oklahoma. They had three children: Maurice Thornton Grubb, Mary Elinor Grubb, and Cornelius Howard Grubb, who later inverted his name to Howard Cornelius. Maurice became prominent in the oil and gas industry. He married Gladys Shipton. His daughter, Jacqueline, and her descendants married into other oil and gas families: Ankenmans, Cannons, and Underwoods. Of note, Jacqueline's daughter, Maurie Ankenman, married Eugene Philip Cannon Jr., a Houston businessman who served as President of the Houston Zoo.

Mary Elinor Grubb married Bradford Jennings Williams, a prominent judge in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He left a rather mixed legacy by dismissing lawsuits against insurers by African-Americans whose businesses and homes were burned by an angry white mob during the Tulsa Race Riots. Mary and Bradford’s son and grandson would become lawyers too and carry on the family name. Bradford Jennings Williams IV was recently born in New York City, where his father is a V.P. at Goldman Sachs and head of the North American Institutional Distribution for Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Strategies, a $15-billion investment fund for ultra-high-net-worth investors. In 1999 Bradford Jennings III received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Owen School of Management, Vanderbilt University. Mary and Bradford’s daughter, Anna Leland Williams, married John Bryant Bender, a renowned scholar of 18th-Century studies at Stanford University. He is director of the Stanford Humanities Center.

Howard Cornelius Grubb married Julia Mier. They had a daughter, Julia Leland Grubb (“Lili”), who married Erik C Anderson. Erik C Anderson II was born in 1969, Newton, IA. Howard took after his father and became a prominent contractor in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He developed large-scale subdivision projects, including Lortondale, in which he matched modern design with affordable, community friendly living.

Levi Calvin McKee Thornton, son of Levi Thornton (s/o James and Jennet Montgomery Thornton) and Sarah Thornton (d/0 Theophilus and Sallie Miller Thornton).

Friday, September 28, 2007

Family Biography: Phillip Benton Thornton

Phil and Vicki Baker Thornton with daughter, Patricia Katherine (b. 1974). After serving in the Armed Services, both Army and Air Force, Phil returned to Bowling Green, KY, putting his computer skills to use at Fruit of the Loom and, later, DESA. After divorcing, Phil married Donna Martin; Vicki married Mike Hall.

Patricia married Christopher Marshall Birch in 1993.

Brittany Lynn Birch, daughter of Chris and Patty Birch, was born in 1993.

Justin Lee Birch, son of Chris and Patty Birch, was born in 1998.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Thornton DNA

Should anyone desire to match a DNA profile with ours, the alleles are:
13 24 14 11 11 14 12 12 11 13 13 29...

These matched on both my uncle and mother's cousin. A related family with similar alleles (1 difference) is that of Samuel Thornton, A Scots-Irishman whose family left Pennsylvania, lived in North Carolina and South Carolina, and ended up in Ohio and Indiana. Samuel died in South Carolina. There is another branch with two alleles difference that began in Pennsylvania and ended up on the west coast. For more information, feel free to contact us.

A branch of the Samuel Thornton line has a website devoted to their genealogy: www.sonton.info

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

John H. Thornton's Siblings: Robert F. Thornton

Robert F. Thornton (b. 1865 apr, d. 1950) was the youngest brother of John H. Thornton and, therefore, my great-great-granduncle. He married, Elizabeth Woolbright, who died less than a decade later: he then married Eliza Jane Kirby.

In this photo, we have Laura Ethel Thornton (b. 1889, d. 1976), daughter of Robert F and Elizabeth Woolbright Thornton; her husband, Cecil Law; and daughter. The Laws lived in Simpson County, KY. Children: Mary Elizabeth Law, Ellen Law, Vesta Mae Law, and Ernest Law.

(Photos obtained from family file, Simpson County Archives; donated by Joe Green)

Family Biography: Richard Carlton Thornton

Richard Carlton Thornton (b. 1946) with his first wife, Christine Jones, and sons, Patrick Sean (b. 1974) and Colin Jesse (b. 1978). Richard retired from the Fort Knox School System. Currently, he serves as spokesperson for the Hardin County Schools. Christine has since remarried.

Below, Colin Jesse Thornton and Amy with daughters: Sasha Belle and Juliet Dahlia (b. 2007). Check out Colin and Amy's blog, http://www.julietandsasha.blogspot.com/.

 In the above photo, Richard poses with Patrick, the father of Drew and Nick.  It should be noted that Nick carries the Benton middle name, which has been passed down for 7 generations.
Patrick's wife, Candis, poses with Drew...

Family Biography: Jesse Willard Thornton (Part II)

After the death of Patricia Mary Thornton, Jess married Kitty Booth Baker. They lived in Bowling Green, KY, and Lantana, FL, where Jess died on Feb. 18, 1982. Kitty later married George Cummins and then, even later, Ermil Sparks. Jess was buried at Pine Crest Cemetery, Lake Worth, FL.

Jess's stepchildren: Vicki, Butch, and Carolyn Baker.

Cynthia Diane Lewis Romero, daughter of Carolyn Baker and David Lewis, with daughters: Ashley and Katie.

Vince and Carolyn Baker Lewis Ruffalo enjoying a night on the town in western North Carolina.

Vicki Baker Thornton Hutto Hall and husband, Mike Hall, posing for Christmas.

Family Biography: Jesse Willard Thornton (Part I)

Jesse Willard Thornton, son of Jesse Benton and Susie Cooper Thornton, was born June 14, 1920, in Warren County, KY, generally living south of Bowling Green in the Woodburn community. In the late 1930s, he attended the University of Kentucky, playing basketball, before being drafted for World War II. He later made a career of the Air Force, rising to Major with responsibility for recreation, sports, and park services. Upon retirement from the military, Jesse served as the first Warren County Parks and Recreation Director. In the 1970s, he moved to West Palm Beach, FL, and began a long involvement with Palm Beach County Parks and Rec., especially with regards to Special Olympics. A scholarship at Western Kentucky University has been established in his honor.

Jesse's class in Woodburn: someone has thoughtfully placed squiggles above his head...

The four Thornton brothers: Porter, Jess, Roy, and Bob.

Sgt. Jess and his wife, Mary Patricia Wilkinson; She was born Sept. 19, 1918, in London, England, and died March 8, 1969. Currently, she has a brother living in Morden, Surrey, England, and another in Wales.

Jesse Willard Thornton.

The children of Jess and Patricia Wilkinson Thornton: Richard Carlton (b. 1946), Diane Lynn (b. 1948), and Phillip Benton (b. 1949).

Family Biography: Diane Lynn Thornton Lewis

Pictured: Diane Lynn Thornton Lewis, daughter of Jesse Willard Thornton and granddaughter of Jesse Benton Thornton, with husband, Charles William Lewis, and grandchildren: Carter Jacob and Jansen Claire, children of Duh Lewis and Sue Franklin. Diane taught French and German at Bowling Green High School for 27 years; Charles was a local businessman and golfer.

Charles W. Lewis II (b: 1974) is a Thornton family genealogist and sociologist. He has lived in Ecuador, Ireland, The Netherlands, New York City, Portland (Oregon), Orlando, Lexington (KY), Johnson City, TN, and Bowling Green, KY. He is a Foreign Service Officer at the US Agency for International Development and resides in Arlington, VA.

John H. Thornton's Siblings: William Frank Thornton

As the oldest son of Robert Benton Thornton, and older brother to my great-great-grandfather, William F Thornton came of age during the Civil War, possibly fighting on both sides in true border state fashion. He was the only Thornton to reside permanently in Jackson County, TN: the rest of the family migrated to Kentucky in 1848-49. Both his sons, James P. and Claud, were born in Simpson County, KY, and James P. Thornton's first wife, Sarah Pirtle, came from Simpson.

This is the family of James P.'s son, Cordell Hull and Hattie Medlin Thornton, with three of their five children: Charles Franklin, Burnetta Elizabeth, and Phillip Ann. Not pictured: Clella Bueanna and Linda Fay.

Can you spot Charles and Burnetta in this old class picture from Shady Grove Elementary, Jackson County, TN?

Burnetta is third from left on bottom row; Charles is second from right on second row...Look for the bright blond hair!

Clella Bueanna Thornton Martin and partner, Kenneth Heady.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Photo Session: My great-grandfather, Jesse Benton Thornton

In the first photo, we see Jesse Benton and Susie Cooper
Thornton with my Great-Aunt Evaline (apr. 1907).

Jesse and Susie had ten children: can you identify the Great-Aunts and Uncles?

Evaline, Porter, Ruby, Nora Clay, Pauline, Fannie, Roy, Jess, Bob, and Carene. There were also two girls who died in infancy: Gracie and Hazel.

This was more than a decade later, but it still had the same cast, including Lillie Bell Goosetree Mathias, Jesse Benton's second wife (m. 1951)

A family reunion of the Thorntons and Coopers.

In this photo, we have Jess and Susie with a young Carene.

Jesse Benton Thornton, son of John H. and Elizabeth Kitchens Thornton, with Lillie Mathias Thornton.