Notes for Amos Lafate THORNTON


His mother could be Mary Jane Thornton b. February 19, 1842, Cherokee Nati on,
IT,  the daughter of John Thornton and Frances Alberty
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Notes for Elizabeth THORNTON


1851 Old Settler roll: Illinois, 16 as Elizabeth Thompson, 1894-96 O.S. pa
yroll: Fort Gibson, Page 15 & 43
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Notes for Emma Caroline THORNTON


She was of Creek (Muscogee) Indian descent.
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Notes for Hannah Marinda THORNTON


Per: John Kubala 
She married when she was only 13 years old. The first day after her marria ge
her husband went out to work. When he wasn't summoned to breakfast he w ent to
see what was wrong, and found his bride sitting on the floor playi ng with her
dolls. (Pioneer Families of Missouri)
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Notes for Jeptha THORNTON


Jeptha Thornton, his wife Martha and their 9 children, joined by W.P. Ad am and
his family, followed the Oregon Trail from Missouri. Their oldest s on, Wm.
Edward Thornton, was married and had 3 children.

When the Thornton wagons reached McMinnville, Oregon, Jeptha's brother-in-
law, Isaac Agee, met them with a fresh team of oxen and they spent the win ter
with the Agees in Yamhill County. The following year Jeptha and his fa mily,
minus three daughters who married local residents, continued about 1 80 miles
south to Roseburg. Jeptha became a preacher in the Primitive Bapt ist Church
and was the first Postmaster at Oak Creek in 1878. He and Mart ha lived on the
same farm in Oregon until their deaths in 1889 and 1899.
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Notes for Jeremiah "Jerry" Todd THORNTON


Jeremiah Todd "Jerry" Thornton and Martha Emeline McConnell

When Jerry Thornton returned to Clarksdale, Missouri, after being wound ed in
the Civil War, he had been married less than a year. His new wife Ma rtha was
the sixth child of Alexander McConnell and Sarah Ann Graves. The re is little
early history on Alexander McConnell other than the family h ad a farm in
Andrew County, Missouri, just south of DeKalb County.

There is some information about the Graves’ family. They trace their histo ry
to John Graves, born in Germany and migrated to Pennsylvania around 173 0,
then North Carolina, and finally Tennessee, where he died. John’s son P eter
Graves was killed and scalped by Indians near Sharps Fort in Tennesse e. He
was the first white man buried there. Peter’s son Boston Graves w as born in
Claiborne County, TN and died in Somerset, KY. One of his child ren, Sarah
Ann, was born October 18, 1813, and married Alexander McConnell .

Martha Emerline McConnell was born March 6, 1842 in Gower, Missouri, a tw in
to her brother, Buster. As a twin, Martha must have carried the multip le
birth genes with her because in the 15 children she and Jerry Thornt on had
between 1861 and 1886, they included a set of triplets and twins.

Their farm was two miles west of the tiny town of Clarksdale. By 1890 t he
town had 145 people and it would not double its population in the ne xt 100
years. The “commercial” section of the town was a series of stor es that
surrounded an open space. This town design, with shops built arou nd a square,
was popular in much of the Midwest. In most towns the cent er of the square
would be the county court house. Since Clarksdale was n ot the county seat the
square was a park that had hitching posts for tea ms of horses. In the center
was a bandstand for summer concerts and picnic s. Two blocks away was the
depot for the Chicago Rock Island Railroad.

Most of Jerry and Martha’s children settled in the Clarksdale area, marri ed
local residents, made their living from farming; and when they died, th ey
were buried in the Thornton Cemetery in Clarksdale. Here is a brief rev iew of
their lives:

The two oldest boys were the exception for most members of the family. Wil
liam Alexander, born in 1861, never married and settled in Oregon as a tea
cher and rancher. When his father died in 1916 he returned to Clarksda le to
care for his mother until she died in 1925. After which he return ed to Oregon
where he died nine years later. John Boston, born in 1863, al so varied from
the others in that he moved to Oklahoma City and married El la Courtney. They
had 8 children.

The triplets, born in 1865, married local men and lived their lives in Cla
rksdale. Sarah Cyrenia had 4 children and lived to be 100 years old. Elvi ra
Jane married George Swaits and had 5 children. Mary Frances married W m.
Walter Minter who was a salesman and inventor, and had 4 children.

James Calvin, born in 1868, married a local girl, Anna Mary Redman, and h ad 6
children. Since they are the direct link to our family there is mo re about
James, Anna and their family in the next section of this narrativ e.

Robert [Robbie] lived only 6 months before his death in 1870. Oliver Albi n,
born in 1871, married another local girl, Adria Chambers, and farm ed in the
community. They had 9 children. Adria's sister, Mary, also marri ed into the
Thornton family. She married Oliver Albin's cousin, one of Wil liam Todd
Thornton's sons. Laura Alice, born in 1874, married Willis Coff ey and had 3
children. Willis joined his father-in-law, Jerry Thornto n, in the hardware
and implement business in Clarksdale. Albert Edwin, bo rn in 1876, married Ida
Josephine Groom and had 5 children. Ida liv ed to be only 29 years old. Artie
Belle married Albert Carter and had o ne child.

The twins, born in 1881, Lula May and Lillie Maud spend most of their liv es
in northeast Missouri. Lula May married David Russell and had 4 childre n.
Lillie Maud first married Robert Crain and then married George Swails a nd had
4 children. She is buried with her first husband in the Lebanon Cem etery near
Hemple, Mo. George Swails is buried in Oklahoma. De Ethelber t, born in 1884,
died at 27 with tuberculoses. The last child, Minnie Ett a, first married
Benjamin Sherwood and had 3 children. Later, she marri ed Melvin Poland.

After several years of farming on the 500 acres in Clarksdale, “Uncle Jerr y,”
as he was called, opened an implement and hardware business in Clarksd ale in
1898 with his son-in-law W. F. Coffey. It was located in a two-sto ry brick
building on the southwest corner of the square, just down the str eet from the
Baptist Church. The windows in front were painted with the wo rds “J.T.
Thornton & Co. Carriages Buggies and Wagons” and “Hardware and I mplements.”
[Photo of the store] From the street you had to walk up some w ooden steps to
reach the double front doors. As the business grew, in 19 00 he moved his home
into town and remained there for an additional 6 year s. When he sold the
business in 1906 he returned to the farm and continu ed working the saw and
gristmill that had been in operation before the War .

Jerry’s mother, Sallie Thornton, lived an additional 33 years after the de ath
of her husband, Willi. She died September 14, 1891 at 98 years old. [P hoto of
Sallie around 90 years old]

Jerry Thornton died on February 17, 1916 at 82 years of age, after a linge
ring illness of many months. His funeral was the last service in the Sal em
Church before it closed. Elder Calvin C. Moore, one of William Todd Tho
rnton’s son-in-laws, officiated. Jerry’s oldest son, William Alexander, le ft
his ranch and school where he was teaching in Oregon and returned to Cl
arksdale to take care of his mother. Martha Thornton lived until October 2 6,
1925. She was 90 years old.
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Notes for John Riley THORNTON


John Thornton and his young wife Sally homesteaded 40 acres of land purcha sed
from the government. They built a log home from timber on the land a nd all
the furniture was hand made. Later they bought 160 additional acr es of land.
He took his turn along with his five brothers in operating t he Thornton Saw
Mill and Grist Mill erected on the home place of William T odd and Sally
Thornton, later Jerry Thornton’s home. He died at 48 while S ally lived an
additional 30 years and died at 77 years old.
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Notes for Luke THORNTON


The Thorntons who stayed in Missouri

Back in Missouri, in 1843 Willi Thornton's fourth son, John, married his f
irst cousin, Sally Todd, another one of Elder Jesse Todd's daughters. Jo hn
was 17 years older than his 16-year-old wife. They were married on t he same
day as Elder Jesse Todd's son, William Todd, married Nancy Jane Th ornton,
daughter of Elder James Thornton. Artie reports that because the t wo
marriages in the Todd and Thornton families were held on the same day t here
was little material aid from the two parents.

John and Sally Thornton had 10 children between 1845 and 1871. In 1854, Lu ke
Thornton, Willi's sixth son, would marry another of Elder Jesse Todd 's
daughters, cousin Cyrenia. They had five children. For many years, at l east
until the 1980s, there would be an annual Todd / Thornton family reun ion in
Maysville to celebrate the closeness of the two families.

Toward the middle of 1858, Willi became ill and died Sept. 6 when he w as 66
years old. Apparently he accumulated some wealth. In this last wi ll and
testament, drawn up 5 days before his death, he left his wife Sall ie the
property, all the furniture, 2 slaves, and $400. He also gave ea ch of his
children $100. Bethlehem & Salem Church Religion was always a se rious
activity of the settlers.

Luke Thornton became the Mayor of Clarksdale for 8 years. He also serv ed as
Justice of the Peace and President of the Washington Township Boar d. He and
his son, Wm. Jesse had a store in Clarksdale for a short time. A fter his wife
Cyrenia died in 1900 he made his home with his daughter a nd son-in-law and
lived to be 81.
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Notes for Martha Jane THORNTON


Some Thornton Families migrate to Oregon
Some Thorntons move to Oregon One of William's daughter, Patsy Martha [Pat
ty], and her husband James Toney arrived in Clinton County, Missouri in 18 38
and bought some farmland before her father and mother arrived. After ab out 9
years of farming, the Toneys were still restless in Missouri. On Jan uary
20,1847, they sold their land took their 3 sons and 2 daughters to Or egon.
Patty was 52 when they organized five wagons for their family and ot hers to
travel on the Oregon Trail.

When they reached The Dalles, Oregon, they were met by Daniel Barnes, s on of
Francis [Thornton] Barnes. James Toney and two of his sons drove t he cattle
overland to Fort Vancouver. The other two sons took charge of t he raft and
brought the womenfolk and wagons down the Columbia River. Th ey all met at
Oregon City, Oregon, just south of Portland. The two older B arnes boys had
been in Oregon for one year. James Thornton Barnes foug ht in the Rogue River
Indian War that was part of the Whitman Massac re in Washington. He and Daniel
tried their luck at the California Gold fi elds but both returned to Oregon to
farm and raise stock at Goose Lake a nd the Sprague River Valley.

Soon to join the Thornton relatives in Oregon were one of Willi Thornton 's
daughters, Cordilia, and her husband Isaac Agee, and Simeon Thornton, s on of
Patsy Martha [Thornton] Toney, before she was married. Simeon marri ed
Elizabeth Adams, daughter of Ann [Todd] Adams, Sallie [Todd] Thornton 's
sister. Simeon and Elizabeth farmed in DeKalb County and had five child ren
before they sold their land to be part of the wagon train headed west.

Sometime in 1852 the two families met near St. Joseph Missouri and hitch ed
several teams of oxen. The six-month trip that followed the Oregon Tra il took
them across the western states to the central part of western Oreg on. The
Trail had only been opened for 10 years and it usually took six mo nths of
rough traveling to make it to the coast. The families had abo ut 16 children
whose ages ranged from a few months to 13 years old. Cordil ia [Thornton]
would have another child while they were on the Trail. Bets y, Simeon
Thornton's wife, was expecting to deliver her baby when they arr ive in
Oregon.

Simeon's great granddaughter, Opal Larson who lives in Oregon, has this st ory
about their travels when they reached Oregon: When the party came thro ugh the
Blue Mountains to where the John Day River meets the Columbia Rive r, the
cliffs made it necessary to take the wagons apart and lower parts d own with
ropes. The women's job was to walk with the horses and oxen. Duri ng one of
these experiences Betsy began to deliver her sixth child. The ar duous trip
and difficult delivery was too much for her frail body and s he died. Simeon's
mother, Patty [Thornton] Toney, who had been in Oregon f or five years and was
57 years old, met the family and helped him care f or the six children. Simeon
took out a land claim near his parents in t he Oregon City territory. He
eventually moved to Alturas California whe re he died at the age of 99.
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Notes for Samuel Elihugh THORNTON


Samuel Eihugh Thornton and his family moved to Waterloo, Wisconsin in t he
1850's or after. Then the family traveled to Ostego County, New Yor k. He was
the first Postmaster of Maysville, Arkansas in Benton Coun ty in 1852.
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Notes for Thomas Rankin THORNTON


Some sources list his middle name as Riley.

Per: John Kubala 
Lieut. in Confederate Army. In company commanded by Capt. Barnes Cla rk in
Sterling Price Division. In Battle at Pea ridge. Returned to Rolla a nd
surrendered to a Federal Provost Marshal and paroled at home.
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Notes for William THORNTON


In the early history of our country, one of the major accomplishments of P
resident Thomas Jefferson was the purchase of the Louisiana Territory fr om
France in 1803. This new territory almost doubled the size of the exist ing
United States. It ranged from what is now Louisiana, north to the Cana dian
line, and east of the Mississippi River to the eastern slope of the R ocky
Mountains. The French claimed the land from under the original Nati ve
Americans tribes who had lived on the land for many centuries. The Fren ch
eventually ceded it to Spain who lost it to Great Britain in 1763. By 1 800
Napoleon coerced Britain to cede it back to France. As Napoleon beg an his
conquest in Europe in 1803 he needed cash. He offered to sell a ll of the
Louisiana Territory to the US, making it the largest area ever a dded to
America at one time. President Jefferson could not pass-up this ba rgain.

In the center of the Louisiana Territory, on the western shore of the Miss
issippi River, was the Missouri Territory. As soon as it became open for s
ettlement in 1812, families from the eastern part of the US quickly took p
ossession of the fertile farmland. The peak of migration was in 1815. By 1 816
the first steamboat traveled upstream on the Mississippi River from N ew
Orleans to St. Louis. Transportation in both directions on the river w as
popular and quickly became the best way to travel north and south.

The lure of rich farmland at a cheap price must have enticed the Thornt on
families from their 12 years in Kentucky. In 1816 or 1817, when Willi am was
50, the families hitched the oxen and packed the wagons for the n ew territory
across the Mississippi River. Willi, age 23, his wife, Salli e, age 22, and
their infant child, Cordilia, joined the Thornton clan f or a trip that would
take them more than twice the distance previously cov ered when they moved
from North Carolina to Kentucky.

The easiest route to Missouri was across land to the Ohio River, floati ng
down the Ohio to the Mississippi River and upstream to St. Louis. Fr om there
they would enter the mouth of the Missouri River and travel upstr eam to the
center of Missouri.

Some members of the clan remained in Madison County. Patsy Thornton’s fath er,
Barnett Owen, was 65 when his daughter migrated west, stayed in Madis on
County and eventually died there in 1829. In his will he left “only twe nty
dollars each” to Patsy and her three brothers and two sisters who le ft
Kentucky. The rest of his estate was left to the four daughters who sti ll
lived in Kentucky. To his son Barnett Jr., Barnett Sr. wrote: “…he h as had
his equal part of my estate already and is entitled to no more.” Pe ter Todd’s
father, Benjamin Sr., died in Madison County earlier in 1810. W hen Peter’s
son and daughter left Kentucky, Peter was 60 years old and rem ained there
until his death in 1841.

By 1819 William and his family are recorded on the Montgomery County, Miss
ouri, tax roll. When the 1820 census was taken William and his family we re
still in Montgomery County. The lines between Montgomery and Callaway C ountry
must have been in flux because any future listings of the Thornt on family are
in Callaway County.

The Thornton clan chose as a location for a new life, a farming area in t he
center of Missouri called AuxVasse Prairie in Callaway County, southea st of
Fulton and just north of the Missouri River. Once settled, William a nd Willi
bought several parcels of land. In nearby farms lived the Agee a nd Coat
families, who would become future close friends of the Thornton fa mily
members. Isaac Agee and his family had already lived in Missouri f or several
years. The Thornton families settled down for a lengthy 23 year s.

James Thornton, Willi’s youngest son, and Sarah had 9 children while th ey
lived in Callaway Country. One son, Levi, was born in 1828 and di ed 20 years
later from fighting in the Mexican War in 1846 through 1848. O ne of their
daughters, Nancy Jane, would later marry into the Todd famil y. James is
mentioned in the book History of Callaway County, written in 1 884. It says
that he supplied the inhabitants with gunpowder for many year s. He would be
seen at musters and public gatherings peddling out his powd er at three bits
per pound. He was a man who scorned to kill small game; a nd when he did hunt,
it was for bear or an old buck. He left smaller ga me for others to kill. The
author of the story tells of riding with Jam es to Fulton Missouri when they
came upon a bear. James has his gun with h im, as he did for most occasions.
He quickly dismounted and sent a bull et through the bruin’s heart, killing
him on the spot. He brought the hi de to a July 4th celebration and sold it
for 3 dollars.

William Thornton and Sallie Todd
During the twenty-one of the years in Callaway County, Willie’s Sallie w as
either pregnant or recovering from childbirth. Sallie and Willi rais ed 9
children — two infants died soon after birth. Willi and Sallie’s fir st child,
Cordilia, was born in 1815 before they moved from Kentucky. Ju st 16 years
later in Callaway County, Cordilia married Isaac Agee, s on of Matthew and
Sarah Agee. The Agees were from Franklin County, Virgin ia and lived on a farm
close to the Thornton’s farm in Missouri. Cordilia ’s marriage certificate
lists her name as “Cordilly.”

Isaac’s father, Matthew Agee and his brother Tillman, are included in t he
book, History of Callaway County, written in 1884. It says that the t wo of
them settled on Coats’ Prairie (named after the Coats Family) in 181 7.
Matthew married into the Coats family and had a large apple and peach o rchard
from which he made brandy. In 1833 the cholera made its appearan ce in his
family when one of his sons came down with the sickness. Their r emedy was to
have the child drink a barrel of water in 24 hours. The sto ry says the child
recovered.

Willi Thornton’s second child was William Todd, born April 5, 1817. His fi rst
name continued the family tradition of passing the father’s na me on to the
oldest son. William’s middle name, Todd, was in honor of h is mother’s family
name. It was also prophetic because 20 years later he w ould marry one of
Uncle Jesse Todd’s daughters.

Sallie [Todd] Thornton’s older brother Jesse Todd grew up with the Thornto ns
in Kentucky and traveled with them to Missouri. Jesse Todd also gr ew up with
Lucy Isabell Dalton whom he married in Madison County and h ad 8 children.
Jesse became a preacher in the Primitive Baptist religio n, served churches in
Callaway and DeKalb Counties and officiated at sever al of the families’
weddings. His children and those of his sister, Sall ie [Todd] Thornton, had a
close affection for each other. Even though th ey were first cousins, three of
his children married their Thornton cousin s. One of his sons would marry one
of James Thornton’s daughters. And, o ne of his daughter’s sons would marry
Willie and Sallie Thornton’s daughte r.

The connections with the Thornton and Todd families became very complicat ed
with an aunt becoming sister-in-laws and nieces and nephews became s on or
daughter-in-laws. This arrangement was not that unusual at that tim e. In the
early history of the settlements, marriage occurred very frequen tly among
kin.

William Todd Thornton was the first of three Thornton brothers to marry th eir
first cousins in the Todd family. In 1837 he married Hannah Todd and y ear
later they would have the first of their 15 children.

Willi and Sallie Thornton continued to have children: James, born in 18 19
died as an infant. Jeptha was born in 1821. In addition to having child ren
just about every two years, Sallie had developed a reputation of knowi ng the
medicinal qualities of herbs. Living on the frontiers in Kentucky a nd
Missouri she gained a reputation as a reliable midwife.

Hannah Marinda, born on in 1824, was Willi’s second daughter. She also app
ears in the 1884 book, History of Callaway County. It tells the story abo ut
Tillman Agee marrying William Thornton’s daughter when she was only 1 3. As
the story goes, the next morning after the wedding he left her to g et
breakfast while he went out to work. He worked in the fields until 9 o’ clock
without being summoned for his meal. Having become impatient, he we nt to the
house to see what was the matter and found his wife sitting on t he floor
playing with her dolls. It is a good story but it was the wrong A gee. Instead
of Tillman, it was his nephew William Agee, Isaac’s brothe r. The young bride
was Hannah Marinda Thornton, who did marry William Ag ee when she was 13 and
had her first child at 15 years old, and six mo re in the next 13 years.

The rest of Willi and Sallie’s children, all born in Callaway County, wer e:
John, born in 1826, Thomas Riley in 1828; Luke in 1831; Martha Jane w as born
in 1833 but died as an infant; Jeremiah Todd [our connection] bo rn in 1834;
and finally Sally Ann in 1837.
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