More Thorny Thorntons of Colonial Rhode Island

WARNING: Undocumented Clues

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my problem ancestors, Israel Thornton and his wife, Joanna, allegedly Joanna Wilkinson, living in Rhode Island in the early 18th century.

Today, I’ll outline the several Thornton generations before Israel, back to the immigrant ancestor, John Thornton, who died after 1695 in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island. He married Sarah, maiden name unproven, before 1648, probably in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, as listed in Clarence Torrey’s New England Marriages Before 1700. The same source reports that Sarah died after 1692.

  1. John and Sarah reportedly had a number of children for whom no birth records have been found. If they married by about 1647/48, then their children reasonably could have been born from about 1650 to 1670:


My supposed line is through the reportedly youngest child, son Benjamin, who married an unknown wife. Benjamin would have been born c1670.

2. Benjamin and his wife reportedly had children:

Benjamin, born c1698; died 5 October 1761, Glocester, Providence, Rhode Island
Joseph, born c1700
Titus, born c1702; reportedly died 1757, Glocester, Providence, Rhode Island; married Mercy/Mary
David, married Alice (MNU)
Sarah, married Stephen Paine
Mary, married Mr. Vallett

3. Titus who married Mercy/Mary and is said to have died in 1757 is my ancestral line. Their children were:


Titus’s son, Israel, is my Israel who then scampered off to New Brunswick, Canada.

Has anyone noticed one, or two, or three (or more) problems here?

This is all heresay with no documentation found, at least not online by me. There are no Thornton vital records in the 1600s recorded in Austin’s Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, the AmericanAncestors website has very little on early Thorntons and, while there are a fair number of family trees online, none of them has any attached sources. Probate records show nothing for Thorntons before 1713, when there is a probate entered for Solomon Thornton. None of the later probates seem to be for any of my direct line and only the index date is online, not the records themselves.

I have found various exact dates of birth, claims of a 1757 will for Titus Thornton and spouses named for many of these people, but no primary sources to go with them.

Are there any Thornton descendants out there who have actually researched this family themselves? (and maybe even live in or near Rhode Island and visited an archives in person?)

I would love, love, love to hear from you if you are also a cousin of these thorny Thorntons!




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