John (Benjamin2, John1) Thornton was born about 1706, most likely in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island. He married (1) Unknown (2) Esther (MNU) and died 27 August 1780 in Glocester, Providence, Rhode island, as noted in the Town council notes immediately after the order to record his will. [Noted in the bottom left corner of the left page below.]
I John Thornton of Glocester in the County of Providence am now grown old, And I am at the Time, in a week and Low State of bodely helth, but of disposing mind and memory, and I desire to thank God for the Same, and knowing in my Self that it is appointed for all men once to die: I Recommend my Soul in to the hands of God, and my body to the earth to be buried, when it Shall Pleas God, to take my Life from my Body. and as touching that Small [matter?] (cut off the page by the binding) of worldly Estate, which I am now possed of I Give Dispose of the Same in the following manner, that after my funeral charges be paid, and the Just debt that I Shall Leave unpaid, I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Esther Thornton all my wearing appearl, and all my Household Good of every kind and my cow, that I now have, and the Reason why I give nothing unto my Children that I had by my former wife, Is my Estate was all ways Small, and I have allready given to them as much as I have thought proper for their Settlements, according to my ability, and my will is that my wife Esther Shall have the Remainder, to be and Remain to her, and at her dispose as She Shall think fit for ever, and I do hereby ordain & appoint her my Said wife Esther Thornton, to be my Sold Executris to this my Last will & Testament Ratifying and Continuining this & no other, to be my Last will disanuling all former will, & wills by me made Published Pronounced declaring this to be my Last will in the presence of the witnesses Subscribed to the Same with my hand and Seal this Eighth day of June, and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty
John Thornton Seal
At a Town Council held at Glocester the 9th of September AD 1780: The within will was presented by the Executrix, for probate, and Mr. Joshua Winsor, and Samuel Winsor Esq two of the witnesses to Said will on Solemn Engagement declared they Saw the testator Sign, Seal & heard him declar Said will to be his Last will &c And that they in his and each others presence Published their, names, with Elder Edward Mitchell and the Testator then appeared, to be in perfect mind & memory: Wherefore it is voted that Said will be proved approved & Recorded: & administration Granted to the Executrix. P ordr R: Steere Court Cler
Unfortunately, John Thornton didn’t mention any of his children by his first wife in this will and only named his current wife, Esther (MNU), who inherited his self-described “small” estate.
The will of Benjamin Thornton’s fifth son, Benjamin Thornton Jr. will be examined next.