Documenting the Thorntons of Rhode Island, 1600s-1700s, Part 11 – William & James Thornton

Today, we will look at the two remaining sons of John Thornton Sr. and his wife, Sarah (MNU) of Newport and then Providence, Rhode Island.

Unfortunately, this post will be rather short because very little is known about these two sons.

Because both William and James Thornton appear on the 14 July 1688 list of “almost all males in Providence” at the time, we have to assume that they were each at least 16 years of age and probably a few years older than that.

Let’s begin with William (John1) Thornton and we’ll estimate a birth year for him of about 1666, making him about 22 years old in 1688.

William left but a few crumbs along the bread trail of his life. He sold his land in Glocester, Providence, Rhode Island on 22 August 1738, described as yeoman, to Richard Smith. He signed with his mark:

William died on 16 August 1741 in Glocester, as noted in his estate inventory. Interestingly, Richard Smith was charged with the responsibility of taking charge of William’s belongings. His estate was appraised by Chad Brown, Joseph Eddy and Richard Smith.

William’s estate administration record mentions no wife, nor the names of any children, but says the administration of the estate should occur to pay debts and present “legacies” but says nothing about the what those legacies might be either. Therefore, William is pretty much a blank slate in terms of a family sketch.

If you think that William left a meager paper trail, James Thornton almost forget to leave anything!

There are no records that confirm a birth year. However, a reasonable guesstimate could be c1668, which fits with his appearance on the 1688 Providence list. He was definitely over 21 years of age by 1692 when on & March of that year, A deed of gift of 62 acres of land was recorded from John Thornton Sr. to his son.

It’s possible that James married sometime around when he received the acreage from his father, but no marriage record has been found. His wife’s given name was Sarah (MNU), proved by a land deed written on 23 March 1706 whereby they sold a “dwelling house and 25 acres, being part of lands formerly owned by John Thornton dec.”

The last record which names James Thornton is another land sale dated 10 August 1719 at which time he sold land and buildings where he dwelt with 150 acres to Joshua Turner of East Greenwich, Rhode Island for £88. He apparently lived in Scituate, Rhode Island.

There are no clues whatsoever as to any children James and Sarah (MNU) might have had and no probate has been located for either of them.

The last family sketch post will report on the two daughters of John Thornton Sr. and Sarah, his wife – Elizabeth who married Edward Manton and Sarah, who married (1) Zachariah Field (2) John Gurney. We”ll mention John Gurney in the final post, which will summarize the documented facts which have been gathered during this month-long series.

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