Documenting the Thorntons of Rhode Island, 1600s-1700s, Part 13 – 3 Generations Documented!

It’s time to review the progress made in documenting the descendants of John Thornton Sr. of Newport and Providence, Rhode Island in the 1600s.

What Resources and Records Did I Consult?

Although no source citations are listed in this series, there is a very short list of records that I used. Almost no birth or marriage records were found and the handful of death dates were mostly recorded in probate records. That leaves a lot of “circa” dates, which I think are reasonable when compared to other records.

  • Town of Providence land and probate records
  • Town of Glocester land and probate records
  • The Early Records of the Town of Providence, multi-volume series, by Horatio Rogers, George Moulton Carpenter and Edward Field, Record Commissioners, Snow & Farnham City Printers, Providence, Rhode Island, 1896
  • The Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island by John Osborne Austin,, Printed by Joel Munsell’s Sons, Albany, New York, 1887
  • Thornton Genealogy: An Alphabetic Account of the Descendants of John Thornton of Providence, Rhode Island: together with records of many other Thorntons in England and America, by Clarence I. Brown
  • Field Genealogy: Being the Record of All the Field Family Whose Ancestors Were in This Country Prior to 1700, by Frederick Clifton Pierce, F.C. Pierce, Chicago, Illinois, c1901

All of these resources are found on FamilySearch. Note, however, almost all Rhode Island records are locked, which means a trip to a local FamilySearch Center or the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City. The exceptions are the books – Field Genealogy and The Early Records series, which are out of copyright and can be read online.

Generation 1:

John Thornton, born say 1634, place unknown, married Sarah (MNU), unknown date and place. John was a freeman of Newport, Rhode Island by 1655. John and Sarah likely married in Newport about the time that John was made a freeman. they were members of the First Baptist Church and friends with Roger Williams.

The Thornton family removed from Newport to Providence about 1679, after the close of King Philip’s War.

John Thornton died sometime after 13 August 1695 when he and John Jr. petitioned the Providence Town Council that his Field grandchildren, to be bound out, be educated in good places.

Children:

  1. Elizabeth, born c1658, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died after 7 August 1723, the date of her husband’s will; married Edward Manton, 4 December 1680, Providence County, Rhode Island
  2. John, born c1660, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died 9 January 1716, Glocester, Rhode Island: married Dinah Steere
  3. Sarah, born c1662, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died shortly before 31 March 1714, the date her will was proved in Providence County, Rhode Island; married (1) Zachariah Field, c1684 (2) John Gurney, about January 1695/96
  4. Solomon, born c1658, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died 18 September 1713, Providence, Rhode Island; married Unknown
  5. William, born c1666, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died 16 August 1741, Providence County, Rhode Island. His estate inventory gave no evidence of a wife or children.
  6. James, born c1668, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died c1742. No further record
  7. Benjamin, born c1670, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died after 1741, probably Glocester, Rhode Island; married Unknown
  8. Thomas, born c1672, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died 27 March 1712, Glocester, Rhode Island; married Margaret (MNU)

Generation 2:

Elizabeth Thornton (John1) was born c1658, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died after 7 August 1723; married Edward Manton, 4 December 1680, Providence County, Rhode Island. Elizabeth and Sarah were called “poor, helpless” in Edward’s 1723 will.

Children:

  1. Shadrach, born c1682; died 21 October 1754, Providence County, Rhode Island
  2. Edward, born c1684; died 12 September 1755, Providence County, Rhode Island
  3. Ann; born c1686; married Lott Tripp, c1708. Lott was born 26 December 1684 and died 22 September 1720.
  4. John, born c1688
  5. Katharine, born c1690; died before 7 august 1723 – not in father’s will
  6. Mary, born c1692; died before 7 August 1723 – not in father’s will
  7. Elizabeth, born c1694; died after 7 August 1723, apparently unmarried
  8. Sarah, born c1696; died after 7 August 1723, apparently unmarried

John Thornton (John1), born c1660; died 9 January 1716, Glocester, Rhode Island: married Dinah Steere. Although John left a will, he named no wife and only two sons, but mentioned “my children,” indicating he likely had other children. His sons were of legal age at the time he wrote his will, so both were born no later than c1694.

Children:

  1. John, born c1690
  2. Josiah, born c1692

Sarah Thornton (John1) was born c1662, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died shortly before 31 March 1714, the date her will was proved in Providence County, Rhode Island; married (1) Zachariah Field, c1684 (2) John Gurney, about January 1695/96.

  1. Zachariah, born 30 January 1685; died between 1715 and 26 October 1731; married Abigail (MNU), before 1706
  2. John, born c1687; died 2 April 1737, Providence, Providence, Rhode Island; married Hannah (MNU), c1712
  3. James, born c1689; reportedly died c1718 and is mentioned in his mother’s 1714 will. He likely died at sea, unmarried.
  4. Daniel, born 7 August 1690. He removed to White Plains, New York by 1719 and to Dutchess County, New York before 30 October 1745. If he married, the name of his wife is unknown.
  5. Joseph, born c1693; died before 23 June 1768, when his estate inventory was recorded; married Zerviah Carey
  6. Sarah, born c1695; died after 31 March 1714; reportedly unmarried

Solomon Thornton (John1) was born c1664, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died 18 September 1713, Providence, Rhode Island; married Unknown. The administration of Solomon’s estate mentions a male heir and “children.” His inventory also mentions a daughter, Amey Thornton. However, no other family members have been identified.

  1. Son, born c1694; living at the time of his father’s estate administration on 18 October 1713, apparently under 21 years of age
  2. Amey, born c1696; married Jonathan Whipple, 24 October 1717, Providence, Rhode Island

William Thornton (John1) was born c1666, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died 16 August 1741, Glocester, Rhode Island. There was an inventory of William’s estate completed and filed. However, there are no clues whatsoever as to any wife or surviving children.

James Thornton (John1) was born c1668, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died after 10 August 1719, when he sold land to Joshua Turner; married Sarah (MNU) before 23 March 1706, when he and his wife sold land to Ebenezer Eddy. No children have been proven for this couple.

Benjamin Thornton (John1) was born c1670, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died after 1741, probably Glocester, Rhode Island; married Unknown.

Children, probably all born in Providence:

  1. Joseph, born c1700; died between 9 April 1742-12 May 1742, Glocester, Rhode Island
  2. Titus, born c1702; died 28 September 1757, Glocester, Rhode Island; married Mercy (MNU), c1726
  3. David, born c1704; died between 23 May 1772- 19 October 1772, Glocester, Providence, Rhode Island; married Alce (MNU)
  4. John, born c1706; died 27 August 1780, Glocester, Rhode Island; married (1) Unknown, mentioned his former wife in his will (2) Esther (MNU), who survived him
  5. Sarah. born c1708; died before her husband; married Stephen Paine, 15 July 1739, Providence County, Rhode Island
  6. Benjamin, born c1710; died 1 May 1761, Glocester, Rhode Island; married Elizabeth Herendean, 2 November 1738, Providence County, Rhode Island
  7. Mary, born c1712; died after David’s 1772 will; married Jonathan Vallett, 25 January 1738/39, Providence County, Rhode Island

Thomas Thornton (John1) was born c1672, probably Newport, Rhode Island; died 27 March 1712, Providence, Rhode Island; married Margaret (MNU), c1697. She survived him. It is possible that the Thomas Thornton who married Margaret Bulman on 29 September 1703 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts is this couple, but it’s not a certainty. Thornton was not an extremely common colonial surname, nor was Thomas a common given name in the family. All children were under 21 years old in 1712.

If this Thomas is the man who married Margaret Bulman, then the children were probably born c1704, 1706, 1708 and 1710.

Children :

  1. Thomas, born c1699; died after 27 March 1712
  2. William, born c1701; died after 27 March 1712
  3. Patience, born c1703; died after 27 March 1712
  4. Elizabeth, born c1705; died after 27 March 1712

Although birth/marriage and death years and, sometimes spouses, vary wildly in online trees, for the most part, the family groupings are on target. After reviewing all these documents and family histories, I’m fairly confident that I have been able to narrow down those vital record dates to create a reasonable timeline.

There are still a few loose ends – potential clues – to be reviewed in the final post in this rather lengthy series about the early Rhode Island Thornton family.

 

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