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, July 23, 2008

Thornton Q & A

1) Where did our line originate?

Thus far, all the available research indicates that our Thornton ancestors were Scots-Irish immigrants who arrived in Pennsylvania/ Delaware (in what would now be the greater Philadelphia metropolitan area) in the mid 1740s. For current research interest, there are several counties: Lancaster, Chester, and Bucks. Owing to an increase in land prices due to the arrival of German immigrants, in the 1750s, many Scots-Irish immigrants accepted land grants in Virginia, North Carolina, and later South Carolina and Georgia. This was also favorable to the local gentry because the Scots-Irish acted as a buffer between prosperous farming areas and Native Americans.
Not surprisingly, the four confirmed DNA lines of our ancestors are found along this route: the McKelvey-Thorntons in Pennsylvania; the Thorntons of Pulaski, Virginia; Samuel Thornton’s line (Penn>N.C.>S.C.>Indiana/Illinois/Ohio); William Thornton’s (N.C.>Tenn.>KY). Samuel’s and William’s respective families also traveled with other prominent Scots-Irish families and cousins: Allisons (Ellisons), Rays (Wrays, Rheas), Simontons, Sloans, and Huffines.

2) Are we related to Mathew Thornton, signer of the Declaration of Independence?

Even though this is a pervasive family myth that has been passed along in several of the family lines, no one has proved a relationship. There isn’t any DNA evidence, and Mathew’s family tree indicates more of a York-Irish connection than Scots-Irish. My great-grandfather used to tell his children that we had originated with the arrival of two brothers from Ireland. I suspect this may partly explain why many have assumed the two brothers to be Mathew and his brother, Samuel. However, both of those lines are well researched, even though Samuel lived in Canada and had more than 22+ children!!! The only way to clarify our connections to other Irish arrivals is to encourage Thornton males to take the DNA test: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Thornton. Spread the word!!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Thornton Businesses: Southern Kentucky

Even though the list of family owned or managed businesses would be overly lengthy( if I were to include distant cousins) I want to highlight a few in the southern Kentucky area and recommend that readers consider them for furniture, plant, and other needs.

Thornton Furniture: 1895 Cave Mill Rd., Bowling Green, KY 42104 (270) 842-0379; http://www.thorntonfurniture.com/ Owners: Terry and Judy Thornton; Manager, Ben Thornton

Bowling Green Freight, Inc., 581 Hardison Road, Woodburn, KY 42170 (270) 781-0197; http://www.bgfreight.com/; http://center.spoke.com/info/cQL4iB/BowlingGreenFreightInc
Owners/ Managers: Tony and Liz Thornton

Country Club Quickstop & Subway, 2600 Bowling Green Rd., Franklin, KY 42134 Owners/ Managers: Tony and Liz Thornton

Tanglewood Farms Garden Shop, 106 Barrett Lane, Franklin, KY 42134 (270) 598-0169; http://www.tanglewoodfarmsgardenshop.com/ Owner: Tom Thornton

Trent Bedding Company, LLC; 1751 Scottsville Rd., Bowling Green, KY 42104 (270) 393-2229. Owner: Janice and Trent Ranburger, 3rd great-grandson of Cassandra Thornton.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sloan-Kinnaird Reunion: (Part II)

Sandra Harlan Osterbur, daughter of Rueben Kaye and Dorothy Kinnaird Harlan, with husband, Randall Osterbur.

Sandra's mother, Dorothy Mae Kinnaird, was the daughter Vinnie Lee and Mayme Sloan Kinnaird.

The Lawsons, descended from Peggy Kinnaird...

After the meal, a small group of us headed to Blackjack Cemetery, Simpson County, KY, where many Thornton, Sloan, and Kinnaird relatives are buried.

Ann Tefteller poses beside the grave site of her grandparents, James and Victoria Eden Sloan.

Basil Griffith Park, Bowling Green, KY: site of Kinnaird-Sloan family reunion.

Sloan-Kinnaird Reunion: July 19, 2008

On a bright, sunny, albeit very warm, July day, the descendants of James T. Sloan's daughters and their Kinnaird connections gathered at Basil Griffith Park, Bowling Green, KY. My mother and I represented their Thornton cousins, by way of James's mother, Mary E. Thornton Sloan. Mary was the daughter of Allen Thornton, an area pioneer born in North Carolina in 1821!

Kathy Kinnaird Johnson made the reunion festive and welcoming...

Kathy Johnson posing with her mother, Elizabeth Graves Combs, and Bob Combs, her step-father. Kathy is the daughter of Donald Lee Kinnaird who died in 1972.

Donald Lee was a World War II veteran who married twice: 1) Devearle Goodrum; 2) Elizabeth Graves.

Kathy and Ann Tefteller, daughter of Lawrence and Jessie Sloan Kinnaird, looking over some remarkable Sloan-Kinnaird family photos.

Loretta, daughter of Charles "Boss" Sloan, Kathy, and Sue Kinnaird Taylor, daughter of Lawrence V. and Martha Link Kinnaird, share a laugh...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thornton Occupations: Education

In our more than 250 year history in the United States, the Thornton family has produced educators in a wide variety of fields. Below, while not an exhaustive list, I name many relatives who have contributed notably to the education of more than 15 American generations:

Dr. William Patton Thornton: medicine, Dean of Medical School, Cincinnati;
William Wheeler Thornton: law; Dean of law school, Indianapolis;
Albert Marshall Thornton: general education, Cincinnati;
Larry Maurice Thornton: horticulture, Arkansas;
Dr. John Sparks II: Telecommunications, Alabama;
Dr. Claude and Dr. Clyde Gillett: Chiropractic medicine, Los Angeles;
Reyburn Alvin Higgins: High School Principal, New Jersey, Indiana, and Kentucky;
Mary E. Higgins Proffitt: general education, Indiana;
Dr. Maris Marion Proffitt: Industrial Education Specialist and Consultant, US Dept. of Education;
Helen Thornton Geer: Library Science, Rhode Island;
Diane L. Thornton Lewis: French and German, Kentucky;
Col. Robert Alexander Jackson: Air Science, Alabama;
Dr. Joseph Lyle Thornton: Principal, Cincinnati (pupil: William Howard Taft, US President);
Sir Henry Worth Thornton: College Football Head Coach, Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville;
Richard Carlton Thornton: Communications, Public Relations, Kentucky;
Florinda Thornton Bunton: general education, Texas;
Elizabeth Thornton Burnett: general education, Indiana;
Charles William Lewis: Sociology, Kentucky and New York;
Durward Cory: School Superintendent, Indiana and Minnesota;
Rosemary A. Clement Hamrick: Principal, Texas;
Lauren C. Hamrick: 1st grade, Texas;
Candis Adams Thornton: Physics, Nashville;
Eugene Philip Cannon Jr: Associate Principal and Dean, Texas;
Jana Arney Hammock: School Administrator, Kentucky;
Dr. John B. Bender: English and Comparative Literature, Palo Alto, California.

John Wilson Thornton

Born December 1926 to William Virgil and Bertha Dobbs Thornton, John Wilson Thornton grew up in Simpson County, KY, and remained in the area near his brother, Woodie Smith Thornton. Many of John's half-brothers and sisters had died or moved away prior to his birth: his oldest siblings were born in the 1880s, over 40 years before! Still living, he is perhaps the last of the fourth Thornton generation in the area.

He married Margaret Dallas, daughter of Robert and Mamie Bransford Dallas, and had three sons: John Anthony (b. June 21, 1961); Thomas Wilson (b. November 25, 1965); Bobby Joe (b. March 11, 1967).

A young John W. in typical period dress.

Slightly older and not looking so happy to be photographed...

The Thorntons.

When Virgil and Bertha moved onto a farm near my great-grandfather, John W. attended school in southern Warren County. Given the number of relatives in the area, some of these kids were perhaps cousins or second cousins.

Can you spot John?

Fourth row, far left...