Documenting the Thorntons of Rhode Island, 1600s-1700s, Part 3 – David Thornton

David Thornton, son of Benjamin Thornton, left us three documents that are treasures in this quest to clearly identify and prove family Thornton family members.

Glocester, Providence, Rhode Island is a small town set off from Providence and founded in 1732. Benjamin Thornton is said to have lived in Glocester and a glance at land records proved that he did, indeed, live there at least later in life.

Among the land deeds, for which I have no images as they are locked, are two deeds for which David Thornton is the grantee (buyer) of land in Glocester. Glocester Deed Book 1:501 recorded a deed dated 12 January 1741/42 whereby David bought 23 acres of land from his father, Benjamin Thornton. A second deed, dated 1 June 1741 and record in Glocester Deed Book 1:462, proves that his brother Benjamin deeded 8 more acres of land in Glocester to David Thornton.

Now, let’s look at David Thornton’s will, which was written on 23 May 1772 and proved six months later on 19 October 1772 in Providence.

FSL Film 7649096, Image 178

In the name of God Amen this 23rd day of may in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & Seventy two I David Thornton of Glocester in the County of Providence & Colony of Rhode Island yeoman, being in perfect mind & memory, thanks be given to God for the Same, and Calling to my mind the mortality of my body and knowing i is appointed for men once to dye do make & ordain this to be my last will & testament. First of all, I Recommend my Soul into the hands of God that gave it; And as touching Such worldly Estate as it hath Pleased God to Bless me with in this Life I give Devise & dispose of the Same in the following manner. Imprimis my will is that Alce Thornton my beloved wife Should have Seventy five Spanish milled dollars two Cowes & all my Household Goods free & Clear forever & Likewise one third of the rents and profits of my Farm, and dwelling House during her natural Life

Item my will is that one quarter of an acre of land at my buring Place should be Reserved for a buring Place for all the Relations of those that are buried there.

Item my will is that the Benning Daughter of William Benning She being my wifes grand daughter Shall have ten Spanish milled dollars out of my Estate

Item my will is that Rhoda Thornton my only Daughter Should have all my Estate not disposed of in this my will both Real & personal Estate to her and her heirs forever; And if my Said Daughter Shall dye with out Issue my will is that my wives grand Children namly Lydie Benning, mary Benning & Martha [Rosses?] Children Should have my Said Daughters Estate Equally divided amongst hem;

And for Remembrance Sake of my Breathern & Sisters namly Benjamin Thornton Deceased, Joseph Thornton Deceased, Titus Thornton Deceased, John Thornton, mary Vallet, & Sarah Pain Deceased) my will is that Each of my said Breathern & Sisters that is now liveing Should have paid out of my Estate, the Sum of one Shilling Lawfull money and my will is that Each of my Said Breathern & sisters Deceased should have paid to their heirs one Shilling like wise by my Executors hereafter named.

And my will is that Alce my Said wife Rhoda my Said Daughter Should be the Executrixes to this my Last will & testament

In Confirmation where of I the Said David Thornton do here by disallow Disannull & revoke any former or other will or wills by me made Ratifying this & no other to be my Last will & Testament —

Signed Sealed Published Pronounced & Declared by him the Said David Thornton to be his Last will & Testament

Signed Sealed Published pronounced & Declared by him the Said David Thornton to be is Last will & Testament in the Presence of us Mary Durfey Noah Aldrich Andrew Brown

David Thornton [Seal]

From this, we can prove that David Thornton married Alce (MNU) and had but one living child, daughter Rhoda, at the time he died. He also named his siblings – brothers Benjamin, Joseph and Titus, who predeceased him and sister Sarah Paine, who also died before this will was written, plus siblings John Thornton and Mary Vallet, who survived him.

Therefore, between the 1741 deeds and David’s will, we have proof of the children of Benjamin Thornton and his unknown wife – at least those who lived to adulthood and had children.

In Part 4, we’ll take a quick look at how this family is coming together.

2 thoughts on “Documenting the Thorntons of Rhode Island, 1600s-1700s, Part 3 – David Thornton”

  1. This is super-helpful. I’m doing a friend’s family tree, and he’s got a Jeremiah Thornton (b. 22 Jul 1751 Scituate; m. Esther Wright 12 Sep 1774 Glocester) and I can’t find his parents at all. I’m glad someone else is having trouble with the Thorntons! I think I’m going to have to create a tree just of Thorntons starting with John to see if I can narrow the number of candidates for his parents.

  2. So Benjamin the father of David is not the same Benjamin who fathered Solomon and Thomas (d. 1711) and was himself the son of immigrant John (Part 1), correct?

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