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.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

2014 Thornton Family Reunion

From as far away as Oregon and Florida, family members gathered at White's Chapel, just south of Plano, Kentucky, to interact with Jesse Benton and Susie Cooper Thornton descendants and their families. This Labor Day weekend tradition has persisted for four decades.  The last member of the first generation of Thornton children, Winnie Carene Thornton Copas, passed away on January 2, 2014.
Danijela Lewis and daughter Evelina are entertained by grandfather, Bill Lewis, husband of Diane Thornton Lewis.

Danny White, son of Evelyn Daniel White and grandson of Eva Thornton, with sons.
Bill, Damon, Carter, and Jansen Lewis (husband, son, and grandchildren of Diane Thornton Lewis)
White's Chapel, which has frequently hosted Thornton Family Reunions over the last 40 years.
Bill Lewis and Kitty Baker Sparks, widow of Jesse Willard Thornton.
Tom Reagan, son of Pauline Thornton, chatting with Kitty Baker Sparks.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Thornton Cousin Profile: Billionaire Brad Kelley

Brad Maurice Kelley, second great-grandson of Mary Jane Thornton, daughter of James and Lucy Laney Thornton, was born in 1956 to Joe Frank Kelley and Patsy Ruth Gregory.  While his early years were spent in Bowling Green, KY, Brad attended high school in Franklin, KY, near where his Thornton ancestors had originally arrived.

An enterprising youth, investing in real estate and agriculture during his teenage years, he built up a tobacco business that was later sold to Houchins Industries for $1 billion.  He has diversified his business interests into media, horses, and real estate.  It is estimated that he is the fourth largest private landowner in the United States, with valuable ranches throughout the Midwest and Texas.  In addition, he is the current operator of Calumet Farms, Lexington, KY: his horse, Oxbow, won the 2013 Preakness Stakes.  The Lonely Planet travel guides are produced by his media house, NC2.

Brad Kelley is a noted conservationist and supporter of organizations that protect endangered wildlife such as rhinos and tapirs.

He is married to Susan Bush, and they have three children.  His current net worth is estimated to be approximately $2 billion.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thornton Cousins: Thomas Monroe Kitchens (1869 - 1945)

The Kitchens family arrived in Southern Kentucky with Jesse Kitchens and his wife, Elizabeth Lucinda Cassity.  Many of their children and grandchildren would marry Thorntons, most notably Sarah "Lizzie" Kitchens who married John H. Thornton, my 2nd Great Grandfather. 

The family, pictured above, is that of Thomas Monroe and Narcissa Mittie Huffines Kitchens and seven of their children: Clarence, Columbus "Lum," Velma, Mary, Erma Lee, George, and Ernest.  Erma Lee would later marry James Herschel Thornton, son of John and Lizzie.

Thomas Monroe and Mittie Huffines Kitchens.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Obituary: Carene Thornton Copas

Last child of Jesse Benton and Susie Cooper Thornton passes away:
Carene Copas, 84, of Bowling Green, died Jan. 2, 2014, at her residence. 
She was a member of Old Union Missionary Baptist Church. She was preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, Cloyd Copas, as well as four brothers and five sisters. She is survived by two sons, Allan Copas and Rodney (Debbie) Copas; two sisters-in-law, Helen Thornton and Elizabeth Moore of Burbank, Calif.; five grandchildren, Bryant (Kim), Chad, Lorri (Duke), Cori (Chris) and Jessica (Patrick); six great-grandchildren, Lauren (Anthony),  Michael, Wyatt, Dalton, Logan and Abigail; a great-great-granddaughter, Addyson; four stepgrandchildren; several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and a host of friends.

Funeral services will be conducted Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the J.C. Kirby & Son Broadway Chapel, with burial in the Old Union Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery. Visitation will be from noon until 8 p.m. Saturday, and from noon until service time Sunday at the funeral home.