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.

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.

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