Documenting the Thorntons of Rhode Island, 1600s-1700s, Part 10 – Solomon Thornton

Today, we are returning to the remaining children of John and Sarah (MNU) Thornton of Newport and Providence, Rhode Island who have not already been the subjects of a family sketch.

Solomon Thornton (John1) was one of the older sons of John and Sarah, as he appears in the Providence tax lists by 1687, along with his father and brother, John Jr.

Therefore, we can estimate his birth to be no later than c1666. Whether he was born in Newport or Providence is not known since he might have been born perhaps as early as the late 1650s when John was still living in Newport.

Solomon Thornton died in Providence on 18 September 1713, but left no will. His estate administration by Thomas Harris and Mercy Borden was approved on 18 October 1713. The administrators took “wardship” of his children and “guardianship of the male heir.”

Nowhere is there any mention of Solomon’s wife and, given that his children were cared for by Thomas Harris and Mercy [male] Borden, she may have predeceased her husband. [Note: Thomas Borden married Mary Harris. Their sons included Richard Borden and Lt. Mercy Borden. This may be a clue that Solomon’s wife was either a Harris or Borden. Often, estate administrators were family members or close friends, particularly when minor children were involved.

The only clue to the names of any of his children is in his estate inventory, which names his daughter, Amey.

This meager information about the lives of Solomon Thornton and his family is noted in Clarence I. Brown’s project, which compiled data about the Rhode Island Thorntons on a series of over 3,700 index cards.

Solomon’s life is summarized on one single card, which has space left over:

On 22 May 1683, John Thornton Sr. sold to his son Solomon 100 acres and the commonage (the right to pasture land for grazing animals) for £33.6s.8d.


  1. Unknown Son, living at the time of his father’s estate administration on 18 October 1713
  2. Amey, born c1696; died after 18 October 1713; married Jonathan Whipple, 24 October 1717

I have not found images of Solomon’s estate administration order or his inventory. However, Brown’s index cards seem to be compiled by excellent note takers and, if there were further family clues to be found in those records, I believe the cards would so note that fact.

If you think little is known about Solomon’s life, you might be disappointed to learn that even less is known about the lives of two of his younger brothers, James and William, who will be presented in the next Thornton post.

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