Documenting the Thorntons of Rhode Island, 1600s-1700s, Part 5 – Titus Thornton

In this mess of a Thornton family, Titus Thornton is actually my direct line of descent from John and Sarah (MNU) of Newport and Providence through Benjamin and Unknown (MNU) Thornton to Titus and Mercy (MNU) Thornton finally to their son, Israel Thornton, born c1728 in Rhode Island and who was enticed into settling as a Planter of Nova Scotia by the 1760s.

Titus Thornton is the first of my Thornton line to leave a decent paper trail of his life. Unfortunately, though, the maiden name of his wife Mercy has never been determined. My Thornton generations are all sadly lacking in maiden names!

Although Titus’s name appears somewhat frequently in the land deed records, the most valuable document that he left for posterity is his will.

Glocester, RI Wills, 1:164-167

The tenth day of June in the thirtieth year of his majesty’s Reign George the Second of Great Britain King AD 1757 I Titus thornton of Glocester in the County of Provid yeoman being some thing weak in body but of perfect mine & memory (thanks be to God) And Soposing I Shall not Continue a Great while in this world do upon mature Consideration make and ordain this following writing to be my Last will & testament: And first I Recommend my Soul into the mercyfull hands of God: and my body to a Christian Burial and as touching Such estate as God hath been pleased to bless me with in thie world I Give Dispose and Devise the Same in the following manner & form

Imprimis I Give & Bequeath unto my Son sanuel Thornton all this part of my farm where I new Dwell (that I have not this day Released to my Son Israel) upon Conditions that he Shall at all times provid all things necessary for the Comfortable maintanance of my wife marcy So long as she Shall Remain my widow and pay what I owe to the Colony upon them Conditions I Give all my Land Lying northeasterly of a Line Run from a Stake & Stones (Being said Israels north east Corner) north about 39 [yds?] well through my Said farm unto Richard Steeres Land to him my Said Son Samuel & upon the aforesaid Conditions and to his Heirs & assigns forever & upon Condition he Shall not provid as aforesaid then my Said wife is here by fully impowered to Rent Said farm So Long as She Remains my widow & take the Income thereof for her own Soport; and all my Household Goods I Give the use of them to my Said wife So Long as She Remains my widow; and after to be Equally Divided: Between my Daughters (viz) Sarah marcy & Bershabee & I leave twenty Shillings apiece unto each of all the Rest of my Children (viz) Israel Nehemiah & Benjamin and marcy: to to be Raised & Levied out of my estate; & the Remainder of my personall Estate I Give unto my Said wife to Inable her to pay all my Just Debtes; and for the use of my family; but the Colony Debtes to be paid by my Said Son Samuel after he attaineth the age of twenty one years; and I here by ordain Constitute and appoint my afore said wife marcy Sole Executrix of this my Last will & testament herby Disannuling & making void all and every other will Legacies and Bequeaths by me in any way named or Ratified Confirming this & n other to be my Last will & testament In witness day & year above & before written

Titus Thornton Seal

Signed Sealed published pronounced & Declared by the said Titus Thornton as his Last will and Testament in the presence of us the Subscribers

Sameu {???} juner
David Inman
Richard Steere

At a town Council held at Glocester in the County of Providence the 24th day of october 1757; the within named Executrix presented this will for probate and Richard Steere & David Inman both on Solemn Engagement Declare that they saw the testator Sign Seal publish pronounce and Declare this to be his Last will & testament and that they in the testator’s presence together with Samuel [Abrich?] Subscribe their names as witnesses; & that he was at that time in his perfect mind & memory; Wherefore it is Resolved and voted that this will be proved apprised and allowed to be a Good will and it whereby ordered to be recorded Voted & past. So ordered R. Steere Clerk

Titus Thornton (Benjamin2, John1) was born c1702, likely in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island; died 28 September 1757 (see bottom of page 166 for the date); married Mercy (MNU), who survived him.


  1. Israel, born c1728; died 10 March 1815, Sackville, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada; married Joanna Wilkinson, c1755
  2. Benjamin, born c1732; married Alice Cowen, 11 October 1757, Gloucester, Providence, Rhode Island
  3. Nehemiah, born c1735; died between 2 December 1762 and 23 February 1763 [will]; married Mary (MNU)
  4. Samuel, born c1737
  5. Bathsheba, born c1739
  6. Mercy, born c1741
  7. Sarah, born c1743

My line has come together about as well as can be expected, given the dearth of primary records. However, there are several more records that will add to the family sketches of John and Sarah’s other children and to those of Benjamin and his wife’s children so there will be several more posts in this series. Stay tuned!

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