Category Archives: Thornton

Documenting the Thorntons of Rhode Island, 1600s-1700s, Part 10 – Solomon Thornton

Today, we are returning to the remaining children of John and Sarah (MNU) Thornton of Newport and Providence, Rhode Island who have not already been the subjects of a family sketch.

Solomon Thornton (John1) was one of the older sons of John and Sarah, as he appears in the Providence tax lists by 1687, along with his father and brother, John Jr.

Therefore, we can estimate his birth to be no later than c1666. Whether he was born in Newport or Providence is not known since he might have been born perhaps as early as the late 1650s when John was still living in Newport.

Solomon Thornton died in Providence on 18 September 1713, but left no will. His estate administration by Thomas Harris and Mercy Borden was approved on 18 October 1713. The administrators took “wardship” of his children and “guardianship of the male heir.”

Nowhere is there any mention of Solomon’s wife and, given that his children were cared for by Thomas Harris and Mercy [male] Borden, she may have predeceased her husband. [Note: Thomas Borden married Mary Harris. Their sons included Richard Borden and Lt. Mercy Borden. This may be a clue that Solomon’s wife was either a Harris or Borden. Often, estate administrators were family members or close friends, particularly when minor children were involved.

The only clue to the names of any of his children is in his estate inventory, which names his daughter, Amey.

This meager information about the lives of Solomon Thornton and his family is noted in Clarence I. Brown’s project, which compiled data about the Rhode Island Thorntons on a series of over 3,700 index cards.

Solomon’s life is summarized on one single card, which has space left over:

On 22 May 1683, John Thornton Sr. sold to his son Solomon 100 acres and the commonage (the right to pasture land for grazing animals) for £33.6s.8d.

Children:

  1. Unknown Son, living at the time of his father’s estate administration on 18 October 1713
  2. Amey, born c1696; died after 18 October 1713; married Jonathan Whipple, 24 October 1717

I have not found images of Solomon’s estate administration order or his inventory. However, Brown’s index cards seem to be compiled by excellent note takers and, if there were further family clues to be found in those records, I believe the cards would so note that fact.

If you think little is known about Solomon’s life, you might be disappointed to learn that even less is known about the lives of two of his younger brothers, James and William, who will be presented in the next Thornton post.

Documenting the Thorntons of Rhode Island, 1600s-1700s, Part 9 – Daughters of Benjamin Thornton Sr.

David Thornton, in his 1772 will, named all of his siblings, both living and dead. He named two sisters, but not a lot is known about them.

Sarah Thornton was born, say about 1708, probably in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island. There is a marriage record for Sarah to Stephen Paine, found in the DAR Patriot Index, on 15 July 1739 in Providence County, Rhode Island and likely in Glocester.

However, Sarah Paine is called deceased in her brother’s will, so we know that she died between her 1739 marriage and 1772.

Stephen Paine was born 17 August 1716 i n Providence, Rhode Island and died on 29 December 1797 in Glocester, Providence, Rhode Island. Benjamin Thornton called him “brother” (brother-in-law) in his 1761 will so Sarah was probably living at that time.

Nathan Paine, born c1739, is also in the DAR Patriot Index, and would be a son of Stephen and Sarah.

However, Stephen married (2) Jemima Martin, by 1776, as their son Jonathan, born c1776, died in Blackstone, Worcester, Massachusetts on 14 November 1856, aged 80 years. His death certificate names his parents.

More work needs to be done to determine whether Stephen and Sarah (Thornton) Paine had additional children.

Mary Thornton was born, say about 1712 and died after her brother’s 1772 will. Mary married Jonathan Vallett on 25 January 1738/39 in Providence County, Rhode Island (again probably in Glocester).

More research needs to be done to determine the names of their children, although one son, David, born 1739, is attributed to them on the FamilySearch family tree.

It appears that Jonathan Vallett died in 1744, but he and Mary may be the parents of David Vallette, born c1739, who is in the DAR Patriot Index.

This completes the documented information for the family of Benjamin Thornton Sr. and his unknown wife.

The next few posts will examine records that will help piece together the families of Benjamin Sr.’s siblings, all the children of John Thornton and his wife, Sarah, of Newport and Providence, Rhode Island.

Documenting the Thorntons of Rhode Island, 1600s-1700s, Part 8 – Benjamin Thornton Jr.

Benjamin Thornton Jr. was born c1710, likely in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, one of five sons and two daughters born to Benjamin Thornton and his unknown wife.

Benjamin married Elizabeth Herendean on 2 November 1738 in Providence County, Rhode Island – and there is actually an extant record of the marriage!

However, Benjamin, like some of his brothers, died at a relatively young age on 1 May 1761 in Glocester, Providence, Rhode Island, as noted in the court record following his inventory on Page 209.

Glocester, RI Wills 1:207
Glocester, RI Wills 1:208-209

In the Name of God Amen the thirteenth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand Seven hundred & Sixty one I Benjamin Thornton of Glocester in the County of Providence yeoman Being at this Time week and Low as to Bodyly Health But of a Sound and Disposing mind and memory thanks be to God for the Same and therefore think it best to take this opportunity to Settal my worldy concern after having Recommanded my Soul to Go ad my body to a Decent Christian Burrial at the Discretion of my Executors here after named I order Give and Dispose of Such worldly Estate as God hath Blest me with in this Life in the following manner and order

Imprimis my will is that all my Just Debts be Satisfied and paid out of my Personal Estate in a Reasonable time after my Decease – – –

Itme my will is I hereby given and Dispose of so much of the use of my House hold Goods & Income of my Real Estate as Shall be sufficient to afford my wife Elisabeth a Comfortable maintanance During her Natural Life or So Long as she Remains my widow – – –

Item I Give and Bequeath all my Real Estate to be Equally Divided between my two Daughters namely Ruth & Elisabeth to them their heirs and assigns free and Clear forever Except so much of the Income or Rents and Profits there of as Shall be necessary for my wife as aforesaid but Said Place not to be Divided untell after my Said wife hath don with it and after her Decese my will is that what then Remains of my Personal Estate be Equally Divided Between my Said two Daughters Save olny that if one of them Should have done more for me or their mother then the other that then Such to be first Resonablely Paid for Such Service and I hereby nominate and appoint my Said wife Executrix and my Brother Stephen Pain Executor to the will Respecting my Personal Estate and the Said Stephen to have the full care of Leasing my Real Estate & he hereby is impowered to Divide the Same at the proper Time Hereby Disallowing all other wills and Bequeaths before by me made or mentioned Ratifying and Confirming this & no other to be my Last will and Testament in witness where of I the Said Benjamin Thornton have here unto Set my hand and Seal the Day and year above writen

Benjamin (X) Thornton Seal

Signed Sealed Published pronounced and Declared by the Said Benjamin Thornton as his Last will and Testament in the Presence of us the Subscribers

David Thornton
Alice (X) Thornton
Richard Steere

Children:

  1. Ruth, born c1741; married Zebedee Mitchell, 19 September 1762
  2. Elisabeth, born c1745; died after 1 May 1761; no further record

If Benjamin Jr. and Elizabeth had other children born to them, they apparently died before 1761. It isn’t apparent whether Ruth or Elisabeth were married by 1761, but my belief is that they were not. Ruth Thornton isn’t a common name in the family at the time so it is likely it is Benjamin’s daughter who married Zebedee Mitchell the following year.