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Hilton / Thornton / Other

James Ross Hilton


Visit to Missouri - June 1980
June 23, 1980
Lu Dawn, Carol Ann, their mother Mildred M. Hilton-Sims-Ross-Floyd and their daughters, Marcy & Gayle, today visited AnnaLee Thornton-Burnes-Bilyeu, and her husband Lawrence Bilyeu.  Anna Lee is sister to our Granny, Edith Thornton-Hilton-Hurd.  They live in Ozark, Mo.  They seemed pleased to see us and were happy to take us all down into Bull Creek, Meadows School & Meadows Cemetery.
We went into the school house.  Granpa Henry E. Thornton made the school desks and benches, which have since been stolen, we suppose for antiques.  The windows were at one time all broken and have since been replaced with windows from the Courthouse in Forsyth (?Branson).  The pews, old theater seats now there, are from the Pine Ridge Church.
Lawrence, AnnaLee and other old-timers, have tried to fix the school up over the years.  They obtained a government grant and fenced in the cemetery.
The school yard was grown up with tall grass and weeds and flowers today.
Lawrence felt that they were getting old and unable to mow the grounds and keep them looking nicely. 
After we visisted the cemetery and the school, we followed the road (dirt) to Bull Creek.
Up to the left there is a large country resort building built by some German people, about 22,000 acres.
We drove up into this private road and by the large ranch-style club house.  (About a 2 million dollar involvement).  We then went on down to Bull Creek where we had a nice picnic.  We had fun finding fossils and wading in the brook.
The water was about 4-5 inches deep over the bridge and was flowing briskly over the cement-like bridge passing over Bull Creek.
Lawrence drove over it while we watched.  AnnaLee and Mom road with him.. The road we took up out of Bull Creek went to the left and brought us out right up on top of Route 176. 
June 24, 1980
Today Lu Dawn, Carol and Mildred out mother, visited Raymond and Allie Johnson Wilson on the Johnson farm, Route 2, Box 133, Ozark, Mo. 65721.  They were very pleased to meet the children and grandchildren of James Ross Hilton.
Allie showed us pictures of Rev. Samuel Wilson Hilton, one in a Union uniform, and one with Raymond and one of his house in Spokane, and one of herself when she was 29 yrs. of age.
Allie was a beautiful lady.  She taught school 6 yrs. in Abesville, Con Ridge and several other places in Mo.
She went to Supplepa, Okla. and took a civil service test-got a job as post mistress for 6 yrs.  Failing health due to T.B. caused her to give up her job.  She had no children.  She is 89.
Raymond will be 80 in Ausgust.  She said all Hilton's are Republicans and wanted to know if we were going to vote for Reagon or Carter.  She and Raymond both agreed that we would be voting for the Vice President this year for history had shown the president elected in a like year has never finished out his term.  Allie also asked if we did not go to church, did we believe in the Lord and love our Jesus.
Allie's mother, Mary Green Hilton was named after General Greene of Revolutionary War fame.
Mary Greene was named by their father, Samuel Wilson Hilton.  Friends and relatives knew and called her "Greene".  She wove cloth on a loom, made jean material on the loom and made her husband's jeans and suits from the cloth which she wove.
She grew flax and made cotton thread, carpets, rugs, wool blankets.  Each room in her house had a carpet which she had made.
They raised sheep and carried the wool to the mills to have it carded.  She would warp the threads. 
Raymond said they often wondered how Greene had learned to weave.
She had two dozen or more 4" long spools on a spool rack.
She had different colors in her warps and made designs in her fabrics.  Allie said that they would tear up old unwearable garments which couldn't be used for much else, into these narrow strips which they tacked together and used to make rugs and carpets.  She could warp, which not many could do at that time and place. 
Raymond told us some stories about our Great Great Grandfather, Rev. Samuel Wilson Hilton, born 1828 and his wife Emma Jane Scott, born in 1836.  One that during the war, times were rough and hard, so Samuel left for the army to make a go of it.  Emma Jane stayed with the children and tried to make a living.  The bushwhackers and querrillas came in and rode up on them.  One cut a piece of red cloth and pulled it out of her loom.  Emma stopped them, yanked the cloth back from them saying she had made that cloth for her children and that they (her children)
were going to have it.
One day she went up on a hill and dug a large pit.  They made a large, long box, and put their valuables into the box - a saddle and various other items which the bushwhackers would be most apt to steal or take.  Her son Will, our Great Grandfather, helped her.  They, then moved to Halltown, West of Springfield, Mo.  They were receiving rations from the army which ran out because they were not able to get them through to Springfield due to the war.
She and her son Will rode to Rolla, 100 miles with horse and buggy to get rations.  While they were gone, Aunt Ellen took care of the children and they ate mostly parched corn.  Parched corn is corn which has been roasted over a fire until browned so they could chew it and crunch it.
After the Civil War, Emma and the children returned to Bull Creek, the 2nd place below Anderson Ford Place.  Samuel was still in the army and hadn't yet been mustered out.  Emma and Will, he then age 14, cut brush with wild boars and game all over the land.  They made a brush fence around the 14 acres to plant corn.  Will turned the 14 acres by himself and had it planted and growing with corn when his father Samuel returned.
They had fruit orchards.  "Greene" had gone to pick apples from the trees one day.  Wild boars came to the apple grove to eat apples from the ground.  When Greene told her mother, Emma, about seeing the boars in the orchard, Emma told her "My goodness Greene, you were lucky.  They might have attacked you.  Don't go up there anymore alone."
Rev. Samuel was the first person to be buried in the Spokane Cemetery in a vault-type enternment.  Raymond said it was made of very special heavy metal.  It had a crank which when turned, rolled the metal around the coffin and sealed it pushing all the air out from inside.  Raymond said they were told it wouldn't leak, but that they had no proof of that.
One day, Rev. Samuel was preaching a heavy, right on sermon.  He was facing the door to the church.  A late comer came in.  Samuel stopped fast in the middle of his sermon and said loudly, "Good morning.  Come in!"
During another one of his sermons there was a lady sitting down in the front pew.  She was wearing a dress which had a row of bright red buttons down the entire front of it.  Samuel stopped right in the middle of his sermon, reached down as if to grab her dress and said, "Oh, I'm sorry.  I thought you were on fire!"  I bet that lady never wore red to church again!
Raymond and Allie said that Ross (James Ross was known as J.R. and Ross) would be very proud of his family today and that he was a very nice man.
James Ross Hilton is the father of Mildred M. Hilton, our mother.  He is the son of WIlliam J. Hilton, known as Will Hilton to most.  Will is our great grandfather.
June 26, 1980
My Sister, our mother Mildred M. Floyd and myself visited Mrs. George Brumley, Christain Center, Highway W, Ozark, Missouri, and her husband.  Her first name is Hilma- Hilma Anis Bilyeu.
Mr. Brumbley was born in 1901 as he put it, "the dryest year ever was, just about."
Hilma was born 27 Dec. 1902, 77 years old this year.
Hilma's parents were:
Wyatt Bilyei (Weitte) son of Wiette b. 1835 (married 3 times-all to Mary's).  Wiette b 1835 was son of John Witten Bilyeu b. 1809.  Wyatt m. Lydia Bodenhamer-via Lydia's Ancestors, the Plummer's, they are related to General Robert E. Lee.
Hilma's great grandfather was Whitten Bilyeu.
Hilma's grandfather, Weitte Bilyeu had the following sons by 2nd m. to Mary _____:
John, Willie, Budd, Wyatt
He also had 3 daughters, Polly and Tulie by Weitte's 1st m. to (Mary) Jane Lewallen; and Nannie Gallaher by 3rd wife May?, Nancy d. Peoria, illinois.
We were unable to get information on Jane Lewallen, but we wonder how Polly got her Cherokee blood.  It was known that James Oliver, a full blood Cherokee, claimed her as a first cousin.  So we are left to wonder which of Jane's parents were Cherokee/  Polly was quarter Cherokee, Jane was Half Cherokee.
Polly's sister Tulie (Full) m. Mr. McMinn and Mr. Phillips.  Hilma tells that Tulie left in a covered wagon about 65-68 yrs. ago for Oklahoma with Tom Phillips.
Tulie's grandson was in Mo. seeking family history about two years ago.  He is Perry McMinn, Box 543, Quapaw, Oklahoma, 74363.
Hilma's house is about 2 houses down and across from the store owned and operated by the family for years.  Hilma said that Aunt Polly lived over on Pine Ridge and that Polly had loved her very much.
Hilma tells us the following:
"Polly chewed lots of tobacco.  She was just a good old woman.  She had nine kids.  Polly once said 'Don't you know I had 9 children and if he didn't of died, I might have had more!
This same day Hilma went with us and showed us the way to Buck DeWitt's and his wife Daisey's.  They live at the far end of Highway W, vears to the right some and straight on.  If you were to vear to the left, dirt road, it would bring you out on Bull Creek.
Buck looked at Mom and said, "I know your're one of them, but I don't know which one."
Mom asked him, "One of who's" and he replied, "One of Ross's children."
It had been many years since he had seen any of Ross's children but he readily recognized that he had just met with one of them.
Hilma's grandfather, Wyatt, "used to sit under a tree and spit tobacco juice, drink cold water, fiddled and raised all those children." said Hilma.
All in all they were unable to give us much of what we were hoping to obtain for information, but we certainly enjoyed the visits. Buck DeWill - born 21 Nov. 1903
Wife Daisey born 27 July 1908
Gayle and Marcy were left at Hilma's house with her husband while Hilma had taken us up to Buck's home.  They were scared to death to be there all alone with Hilma's husband.  It is too funny to this day to hear them talk about that visit and how we left them there at that house.  They tell that he offered them lemonade but that they were afraid to drink it.  They still remember how they felt when they laid their eyes on the gigantic snake skin hanging in the tree.
End of this story.
James Ross Hilton
(As told to me by my mother, Mrs. Mildred M. Floyd)
We lived in Kansas, south of Nevada and in Oklahoma, but for some unknown reason we packed up all our canned goods and all of our stuff and moved by a big old truck and a nice Oakland car, back to Dry Hollow near Bull Creek, off of Chestnur Ridge.
Granny cried at having to make this move.  We were doing pretty good.  We bought some cows from Uncle Dan, Granny's brother.  And unbeknown to any of us, he had bought 9 lots at the Spokane Cemetary.
Eileen was born on the old Kellogg Place.  Joann was born on the old Shorty Place.  (Wade Hampton, a good friend of Daddy's. ) Daddy always smoked a pipe-smacked it and made it sound so good. 
We had geese, ducks, horses, and hogs.  Daddy was always trading horses.  We bought a pretty buggy and mare.  She had a star in the middle of her forehead and her name was Bird.  Ma went everywhere with her.  She couldn't drive a car, but she sure could drive a horse and buggy.
He and Shorty would sit by the fire place and for hours would tell stories about WW 1.  They enjoyed telling their hero stories.  While he was sitting there telling his stories, he would pat, stroke and brush Geraldine's hair.
One day he built a box.  He claimed it was a tool box.  But it looked like a coffin to me.  It was too big for a tool box.  One morning I got up and started a fire for Ma.  She got up and started breakfast.  She was making biscuits.  She said, "Now I'm putting these biscuits in, go get your daddy up so he can get ready for breakfast.
I went down in there to where he was in bed and I took one look at him-I was 14 yrs. old-I started to speak, but his face was drawn and he was frothing at the mouth.  He had the paper up like he was trying to read it, but his hands were trembling.  I ran out in the kitchen and told Ma to come quick, daddy was having a fit.  She got a spoon to put between his mouth.
Billy was sick, someone went and got old Dr. Hartzell to come down.  He said Billy had liver trouble and wouldn't live.  I don't remember what he said about Daddy.  He told him to come in to his office.  We had sold the car and had just got the horse and buggy.  Daddy got some better.  Thanksgiving Day Ma sent us over to Grandma Polly's- he had another spell, his feet flew right out into the fireplace.  His socks caught on fire, Ma was right there and put them out.  It was a real hard winter.  I quit school in the spring to stay home and take care of Daddy while Ma went to work at the W.P.H. Sewing Room at Highlandville.  He and I tried to make a little garden.
He got to where he wouldn't mind me.  I went to work in Ma's place so she could care for Daddy.  The holidays that year were bad.  In January he was failing bad.  Ma got Uncle Mac to come up from Forsyth.  Daddy had a sheepskin coat and a hat on.  He asked for a drink of water from the spring.  He said if he had a drink of that water it meant he was coming back.
I got him a dipper of it.  He went through the wooden gate and got in the car.  Uncle Mac and Ma took him to Springfield.  They stayed at Bea Spradling's, his neice.  They couldn't find anyone to help.  Dewey Short made a call to Fayetteville, Ark.  They took him there by ambulance with Ma to the Veterans Hospital.  He was there three weeks.  Moved him to Little Rock, Ark.  They then moved him to Illinois.  Ma signed the papers to operate.  He died on the 5th day of May.  Ma went out and bought me a dress to wear to the funeral.
Grannie's notes are written in his funeral register, rememberance book, held by his daughter and my mother, Mrs. Mildred M. Floyd.  (Note:  He died a few days after surgery for a brain tumor.)
End of this story.
My mother, Mildred M. Hilton-Sims--Ross-Floyd told me the following:
in her words-"My daddy spent a lot of time up on Bull Creek with Old Capp Hill.  I don't know him, but he was a big grizzley man with a real long beard.  He was a frontiersman and knew much about surviving and living in the woods.  He taught daddy how to fish and hunt, about Indian signs, and folk tales.
Ross told her a story told to him by Capp Hill about a bear and a panther.  The bear had his innards clawed out by the panther and the panther's shoulders had been crushed by the bear.  They don't know which died first.  The bear hugged the panther to death and the panther clawed the bear to death.
"When I was growing up my daddy told me a lot of things.  I wanted to be a nurse.  Daddy patted me on my head and said, "No Sissy.  You don't want to be a nurse.  They have too hard a life."  He said that none of his daughters would ever go to a dance
as long as he was alive. 
He served on the school board at Enterprise School in Christain Co. on Bull Creek.  He was active in politics.  I was very close to daddy, in fact I was his little shadow.  I followed behind the plow and helped him cut sassafras sprouts, which I hated.  He piled them up and burned them to clear the field.  He taught me the kind of mushrooms (morels) to pick and eat and they were delicious.  He always kept the brush cleaned cut of the path and the foot logs across the branches (small creeks) so we could get back and forth to school.
We had a cane mill when we lived on the Kornig Place in Dry Hollow.  A Mr. Capp would come over every fall.  Daddy and (?) Ike Gupp would make good amber colored molasses.  The kids would poke the cane stalks in the mill while the old horse would walk around and around with a pole hooked to his collar and the juice would come out.  Daddy would strain the juice into the vat over the coals.
The night before we were going to make sorghum, daddy would build a big fire out of oak wood and let it get good and hot so it would burn down - this was done so there would not be any high flames to scroch the molasses.
End of this story.
Marriages & Deaths
Greene Williams and Hannah Bilyeu
(Polly Hannah Elizabeth Bilyeu-Her 1st Marraige
Copied frrom Book 1 page 270
Christain County Court Records, Ozark, Mo.
no. 63
State of Missouri      ss
Christain County         This is to certify that ----I did
witness my Jurisdiction in Christain County and State of Missouri, Galoway Township on the 21 of December 1875 Solemnize the rights of matrimony between Greene WIlliams and Hannah Bilyeu as man and wife.
Given under my hand Dec. 30, 1875  Jacob M. Bilyeu J.P.
Filed and Recorded Dec. 31, 1875 John M. Pettijohn Clerk
Copied from Book 1 page 241
Christain County Court House, Ozark, Mo.
State of Missouri       ss
County of Christain         This is to certify that I did solemize the rites of Matrimony on the 26 day of August AD 1874, between William J. Hilton and Elizabeth Mc. Ginnis in the presence of legal witnesses      William Hilton Elder
Filed and Recorded Sept. 11th 1874
Copied from Book  Page 403
Christain County Court House, Ozark, Missouri
State of Missouri
County of Christain      ss
This is to certify that I did solemise the rites of Matrimony between William J. Hilton and Polly Williams on the 27 day of July 1879 all of Christiain County.   Wm. F. Owens J/P/
Filed and recorded Oct. 13, `1879  J.C. Rogers Clerk
Polly - Funeral Service Rememberance
In Memory of
Hannah Elizabeth Hilton
Born January 23, 1861
Passed Away January 12, 1958
Services Spokane Baptist Church
January 15, 1958  2 pm
Officiating Rev. Reg Mapes
Final Resting Place
Spokane Cemetary
James Hilton
Charles Hilton
Roscoe DeWitt
Buck DeWitt
Wayne Spradling
Intent to Marraige
Copied from records at the Christain Co. Court House in Ozark, Mo.
Application For License to Marry
(Affidavit of Male.)
State of Missouri
Christain County    ss.      I, Ross Hilton of Eaudevie in the county of Christain and State of Mo. being desirous to procure a license to marry Edith M. Thornton of BLuff in the County of Taney and State of N. do solemnly Swear that I am of the age of 27 years, and that the said Edith M. Thornton is of the age of 19 years, and that we are both single and unmarried, and may lawfully contract to be joined in marraige.
(Signed) Ross Hilton
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 20th day of August, 1919 AM. Little
(Note:  My mother, Mildred, tells that Ross had to hide his marraige license under his hat so as it would not be stolen.)
Copied from records at the Christain County Court House, Ozark, Mo.
Marraige License
State of Missouri
County of Christian
This license authorizes any Judge of a Court of Record or Justice of the Peace or any licensed or ordained preacher of the Gospel, who is a Citizen of the United States, or a resisdent of and Pastor of some Church in this State, to Solemize Marraige between Ross Hilton of Eaudevie in the County of Christian and State of Mo., who is over the age of twenty one years, and Edith M. Thornton of BLuff in the County of Taney and State of Mo., who is over the age of eighteen years.
Witness, my hand as Recorder of Deeds, with the Seal of Office hereto affixed at my Office in Ozark this 20th day of August 1919,
AM. Little Recorder of Deeds
State of Missouri
County of Christian   ss.   This is to certify, that the undersigned O.F. Snow did at this residence in said County on the 23 day of Aug., A.D. 1919 unite in Marraige the above named persons, and I furthur Certify that I am a Citizen of the United States and a resident Paster of Christian Church Bluff, Missouri, legally qualified under the laws of the State of Missouri to solemnize Marraiges.
Eld   O.F. Snow
Copied from Funeral Booklet held by my mother, Mrs. Mildred M. Floyd of Lumberton, N.C.
Funeral of James Ross Hilton
Services at Spokane, M.
Officiating Clergy - Rev. Clarence Jones & Esby W. Horton
Music - How Beautiful Heaven Must Be
Will Never Grow Old Up There
Jesus Saviour Pilot Me
by - Bonnie Ginden
Slyvia Melton
Chester Bilyeu
Mrs. R. Estep
Cemetary - Spokane, Mo.
Fraternal Order Attending - American Legion of Ozark, Mo.
Poll Bearers - Ernest Hilton
Maurice Chaffin
Johnne Davis
Linze Bilyeu
Dan Holmes
Memoranda - (written by his wife Edith)
Jas. R. Hilton took sick Sun. Nov. 10-35.  Dr. Farrington called.  Was taken to Springfield Jan 13-36.  Was taken from here to Fayetteville, Ark. Jan 13-36 in ambulance. Wgt 124 lbs.  Visited him there Jan 22.  Was taken by train to N. Little Rock Jan. 30-36.  Visited him there Feb. 11-36.  Returning 12th Condition improving slightly.  Visited him again Tues. March 10 - Case decided as brain tumor, other things against him but gaining in weight - 141: Has been in hospital 59 days.  Visited 2 days with him.  Visited him again Saturday morn. April 4 until Mon. nite.  about as usual wgt 147 lbs.  Left there Tues. April 21st for Hines, Ill.  Arv. Wed morn at 9:45 am.  Died there May 5 8:30 pm.  Body shipped by express via Kans. City to Springfield, Mo.  Rec'd by T. H. Chaffin.
May 8-36                    M. E. H.
15324 Aylesbury St, Silver Spring, Md 20904
August 21, 1980
Dear Mrs. Fassett,
My daughters wedding delayed a response to your letter of Aug 4.  I am sorry to have to return your money - we sold out of the book in 1965.
About 4 or 5 years ago, I sent the original manuscript of the Hiltons of Scott County to a distant relative and photographer who I beleive made copies and may have them for sale.
His address is:
Joe Davidson
1344 N. Lincoln
Burbank, California 91506
If you can't get a copy from him, I can send you the original typed copy for you to xerox - on condition it be returned to me so I can offer it again.  I have been doing this since 1965.
I can't help with the Virginia Baptist Ministeries of 1859.  E.F. Hilton got that information for me and he died in 1965.
With ____ personal regrets -
Jim Hilton
Walla Walla Wa
Aug 27, 1980
Mrs. Lu Dawn Fassett
R1 Laurel St
Marlborough, N.H.
Dear Mrs. Fassett,
Your letter received some time back and I could a number of reasons I haven't answered, is our daughter from Dolleys Park, Md. visited us in June which was a busy time for all.  Another daughter lives near by in Oregon.  An enjoyable get together, celebrating our 63rd Anniversary.  Then I developed an _______ ulcer, left ankle, and it has not responded to treatment.  Have been confined largely to quarters.  Glad to know you visited Allie & Raymond and to find them in reasonable good health.  We visit via phone quite often.  I am not familiar with the book you mentioned and if it could be located in the National Library Wa D..  This is not the correct name.  I have it Library of Congress.  If you receive a copy of Mrs. Neal's The HIltons of Scott Co. Va., look on pages six and perhaps this article will give you something to go by. 
Your great grandmother was the wife of Will Hilton, my mothers brother.  As I recall Uncle Will had a previous marraige and a son John was their offspring who was also married and left two boys (the mother deceased).  Uncle Will married Polly Bilyeu a sister of Wyett Bilyeu and your grand father Ross, my cousin was one of their children.  That was Uncle Will & Aunt Polly.
I know Ross real well and we grew up together in the hills as we called them.  Ross and I went into the Army in 1917 tho I never saw him again.
This has been a sort of miss mash reply and I wish I could give you more information.  There is another source of information you might want to explore.  The Mormons, Salt Lake City, Utah make genealogy a serious businesss tho I can't give you their address, I am sure it is availabnle however there are a number of publications on the subject which you might find helpful.  Anyhow, good luck and thanks for writing. 
Homer Johnson
602 Bayer Ave
Walla Walla Wa.
I am a retired Pharmacist.  Our older daughter followed in my foot steps.  She married a Dr. ___  They ____ extensively 8000 acres.  Our younger daughter and her husband graduated from Eastman School of Nursing ____ Rochester, N.Y.  ________.
Route 2 Box 133
Ozark, Mo. 65721
Aug 29, 1980
Dar Lu Dawn,
I have had your negatives for several days but I have delayed sending them to you because I also wanted to send a snapshot I took when you folks were here.  There was a delay in the return of my film and prints; so therefore the delay in getting your negatives to you.
I thought the negatives would be the same size as the original prints but they turned out to be smaller.  However, the lady at the studio told me an enlarger will make them any size you want.  The originals are 5 inches by 7 inches.
The names of people standing in front of Grandpa Hilton's house from left to right are as follows:
Woman in white blouse, Alice Hilton P_____, daughter of Rev. Samuel W. Hilton, myself, Raymond Johnson, grandson of Rev. Samuel W., Mary Greene Hilton Johnson, My mother and daughter of Rev. Samuel; Lucy Williams, granddaughter of Rev. Samuel; Rev. Samuel himself, Martha, his second wife; your great uncle Ben Hilton, grandson of Rev. Samuel; and Lillie Williams granddaughter of Rev. Samuel.  I hope this explanation is not too confusing.
Allie said to tell you that if she has on extra picture of one of those you like she will send it to you and save the expense of having a negative made.
As for myself I was never photogenic like my brothers and sisters and I have none suitable for reproduction.  In fact I have had only one commercially made photograph and I never did like it.
I am enclosing my check in the amount of $10.69, the difference between the cost of the negatives and the $21.00 you sent.
The studio people cautioned about handling the negatives.  They said to handle them by the edges only.
It's still hot and dry down here.
When visiting elder family members to get your hands on more family info., don't do like we did and arrive empty handed - we were true novices and didn't have a tape recorder with us !

Found on Ancestry.com today May 21, 2010:

Wills of Sterling Thornton and John Seawell - Gloucester, VA

Surnames: Thornton, Bird/Byrd

John Seawell married the widow of Frances Thornton? Sterling also names his brother John Thornton in this will.
Appreciate any comments. – Donna

Sterling Thornton is the half brother of John Seawell..
His mother Jane Sterling Clack was married to William Thornton,Sr.,Honorable,House of Burgesses of Glouchester County,Virginia and he was her second husband..
Her first husband was John Seawell,Sr. of Glouchester County,Virginia

Will of Sterling Thornton

In the name of God, Amen. I, Sterling Thornton, of the Parish of Petsworth and county of Gloucester, being in my perfect senses, do make and constitute this my last will and testament in manner following: Imprimis. I give and bequeath to my son John Thornton my whole estate, both real and personal, to him and his heirs forever, but in case my son John should die under the age of twenty-one years, and without a child or children, living at his death, then my will and desire is that my whole estate so as aforementioned be divided equally between Watt Cole, half brother to my son John, and the children of my brother John Seawell, and my brother Francis Thornton, whom they have now, that is to say, one-eighth thereof to Watt Cole, three-eights between the children of my brother John Seawell, by name, John, Sterling and Francis, and other four-eights between the four children of my brother Francis Thornton, by name James, Elizabeth, Ann and Francis, to them and their heirs forever as tenants in common. They, the said Watt Cote, and the children of my brother John Seawell and Francis Thornton, paying, and their estates above given to be chargeable with the sum of one hundred pounds to my relation Meaux Thornton, and twenty-five pounds to each of the children of Capt. William Vaughn and Capt. John Camp, whom they have had by the daughters of Mr. John Seawell, Senr., but if either of the children of my brothers John Seawell and Francis Thornton should die under the age of twenty-one years, and without a child or children, living at his or her death, then I desire and will the part or proportion of the deceased may be equally divided amongst, the survivors and their heirs.
Item. I desire that my executor hereafter named do build a comfortable house, twenty by sixteen feet, for my negro woman Cate and her children to live in, and that it be placed in the peach orchard back of the little house in the garden, and that the said Cate be annually furnished out of my estate, with two hundred weight of good pork, salt and meal, as well as clothes, and it is my will that the said Cate may never be compelled to work unless she chooses and that she may be found fire wood.
Item. I desire that the old woman Leah shall have to her own use and disposal, one-half the money she may earn as a midwife. I do constitute my brother John Seawell guardian to my son John Thornton.
Item. I desire that my estate be kept together, and land and negroes and team be worked as usual until my son arrives at the age of twenty-one years. I direct that my executor do sell my studd horse Brilliant and my old gray horse, and my large bay mare called Phoenix.
Item. I do direct and order that my executor hereafter named may, if he shall see it advantageous, sell as many negroes or personal estate as he shall think proper to purchase lands for my son John and his heirs, which, if he doth, I desire shall be in all respects under the like limitations and restrictions as the estate above devised. Lastly, I do nominate and appoint my brother John Seawell my whole and sole executor, hereby revoking all other wills by me heretofore made. I do constitute this my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this 28th day of March, 1790.
Signed: Sterling Thornton (Seal)
Test, Ben. Dabney, Alice Brodie, Jane Seawell
Recorded April 6, 1790

Will of John Seawell

In the name of God, Amen. I, John Seawell, do publish and declare this to be my last will and testament: Imprimis. I lend to be beloved wife during her life my manor plantation, being the plantation given me by my father, and also the land which I purchased of Charles Grymes, adjoining Lewis Williams and Wm. Haywood, together with the tract of land which I purchased of Joseph Seawell, dec‚€™d, called the Whitehouse Tract. I also lend my wife during her life one-third of my negroes, with the right of disposing at her death of one-fourth part thereof to any one of more of my children. I also give her to dispose of as she may think proper the negroes which came by her, viz., a negro man Armistead and two boys, Joe and Jim. I also give her one-half of my stock of sheep, cattle and hogs which are on the plantation on which I live, together with my chariott, and her choice of six horses, excepting the horses which I shall hereafter dispose of; I also give her all my kitchen furniture. The above devises, legacies and bequests I give her in bar and in lieu of dower. In addition to the above legacies I give her one-half of my household furniture, which she may taking in such articles as she may choose at the appraised value.
Item. I give to my son John B. Seawell, during the life of my wife, the land which I purchased of Horatio H. Whiting, and at the death of my wife, I give to my son John, to him and his heirs forever, the land which I have lent my wife for life; I also give my son John a negro man named Wilson, and also a negro woman called Molly, and her children in lieu of a negro of his which I sold, which was given him by STERLING THORNTON; I also give him my riding horse, a mare called Poier with a Knowesby(?) colt, and the colt from a mare called Peg.
Item. I give to my son Sterling Seawell, to him and his heirs forever, the tract of land which I purchased of Benjamin Pollard, together with the land which I last purchased of Joseph Seawell, the land which I purchased of Samuel Fairbanks, and the land called White‚€™s Point; I also give him a negro boy called Yellow Billy; I also give him a young black horse and a mare colt, which I purchased of Christopher Pryor.
Item: It is my will and desire that my plantation called Hall‚€™s, be sold, and the residue of my personal estate, excepting negroes, and after the payment of all my just debts, it is my will and desire that my whole estate be divided among all my children, except my sons John and Sterling and my daughter Frances, who are to have one-fourth less than the others, they being already provided for by the legacies which were given them by STERLING THORNTON, dec‚€™d.
Item. I give my wife one hundred and fifty pounds, and it is my wish that in the division of negroes she should have, it she thinks proper, Blacksmith Dick and his wife Lucy, and her children, my negro man called Doctor, and a negro woman called Sary, at the appraised value, which negroes are to be comprehended among those which I have given her and lieu of dower.
Item. It is my will and desire, as I have sold a tract of land to Thomas Catlett, to which my sons John and Sterling, and my daughter Frances, were entitled under the will of STERLING THORNTON, dec‚€™d, if my said sons John and Sterling and my daughter Frances do not release to the said Thos Catlett all their right and title in and to the said land, then and in that case, he, she or they, so refusing, shall have no part of my estate, but his her or their shares shall be equally divided among the rest of my children.
Item. It is my will and desire that if either of my sons John or Sterling or my daughter Frances should claim anything of my estate for the services which I may have received from the use of their negroes, then that so much as their claim or claims may amount to shall be deducted from the estate which I have given them and divided among the rest of my children.
Item. It is my will and desire that each of my daughters shall be at liberty to choose a maid, not exceeding twelve years of age, which are not to be considered in the portions which I have above given them.
Item. It is my will and desire that my wife should have a sufficiency of corn to fatten her meat and for use the ensuing year, and also that she should have one-half of my top fodder and blades.
Item: I give my sons John and Sterling seventy-five barrels of corn each, and the balance of my top fodder and blades to be equally divided between them.
Item. It is my will and desire that my land no in corn, which I purchased of Joseph Seawell and Benjamin Pollard, be sown in barley and that the crop, which made, be equally divided between my wife and my sons John and Sterling and daughter Frances. Lastly I do constitute and appoint my friend Benjamin Dabney and my son John B. Seawell executors of this my last will and testament and guardians to my children. In witness whereof I hereunto set my seal this 10th of September, 1803
John Seawell (JS)
Signed sealed and acknowledged as his last will and testament in the presence of James Trice, John West, W. C. Catlett.

Ref: Virginia Genealogies #2, 1600s-1800s
Genealogies of Virginia Families, Volume IV, Seawell, Seawell Family


Re: Wills of Sterling Thornton and John Seawell - Gloucester, VA

Classification: Query

Surnames: Thornton, Bird/Byrd, Vardaman


Many thanks for the response. However, still have a question re: John Seawell. Jane Clack was only 17 when she married William Thornton according to my dates. This is what I have on Jane and William.

Generation No. 1

1. JANE3 CLACK (JAMES2, JAMES1) was born 09 Jan 1721 in Gloucester Co., Va, and died Abt. 1792. She married WILLIAM THORNTON 25 Jan 1738 in Brunswick Co., VA, son of FRANCIS THORNTON and ANN STERLING. He was born 09 Jun 1721 in Gloucester Co., Va, and died 02 Nov 1790 in Brunswick, now Halifax Co., VA.

v. JAMES THORNTON, b. 11 Jul 1743; m. ELIZABETH JONES SMITH, Oxford or Granville Co., NC.
vi. JOHN THORNTON, b. 13 Sep 1744; d. 1822; m. CATHERINE YATES, 1789.
vii. FRANCIS THORNTON, b. 22 Jan 1747; m. (1) JANE* BOSWELL; m. (2) UNKNOWN LACY.
viii. WILLIAM THORNTON, b. 14 Apr 1751, Brunswick, Brunswick, VA; m. SARAH GOODRICH, 16 Feb 1774, Brunswick Co., VA; b. Aft. 1755, Brunswick, Brunswick, VA.
ix. STERLING CLACK THORNTON, b. 12 Aug 1753, Gloucester Co., Va; d. 1790, Gloucester Co., VA; m. MRS. MARY JONES, Bet. 12 Feb - 17 Mar 1777, Amalia Co., VA.
x. REUBEN THORNTON, b. 28 Mar 1756; m. PRUDENCE JONES, 06 Mar 1784, Amelia Co., VA.
xi. HON. PETER PRESLEY CLACK THORNTON, b. 12 Nov 1765, Brunswick Co., VA; d. 06 Aug 1856, Amherst Co., VA; m. MARY/ELISABETH MCCULLOCK, 17 May 1792; b. 25 Feb 1771, Amherst Co., VA; d. 19 Sep 1851.

Now then I also have this under my notes on the wife of John Seawell:*In the unabridged version of Maria Edwards's account of the Seawell family, written on 22 June 1859, is the following:

A description of the marriage of John Seawell to Jane Boswell, widow of Sterling Thornton, and named two step-sons, Francis Thornton and Sterling Thornton, who "were fond of him". Then she goes on to describe these two Thorntons:

"Sterling, the elder (from whom my husband and mother got their names) was a man of wealth and influence and a very polished gentleman, was a great racer and owner of the celebrated horse. He had but one son, a young man named John, who was a student at Wm. & Mary College when he died. His death occurred in this wise: Returning home to spend Christmas, he was was detained on the
shore at Yorktown until a late hour waiting to be ferried over, when at length he crossed he went to the residence of Aunt Cary at Gloucester Town to pass the night. There he was taken sick and died in a few days. Having no other child his father divided his estate at his death between my grandfather's children (he had only them) and his own brother Francis Thornton's three eldest, equally. My father had a great many of his uncle Sterling'spapers, and I have often seen his name written by himself and always spelled Sterling.
My brother Sterling has changed the spelling to Stirling. I know not why. Francis Thornton, the other brother, had numerous children and several wives, and has many descendants now living in Gloucester County, and some in otherparts of Virginia and other states. His daughter Elizabeth married to a sea captain named Harry Brown, was the mother of Eliza Norman Brown, and intimate
acquaintance of ours, with whom the fate of some members of our family seems blended...."

The paragraph states that Maria Edwards's father had many of Sterling Thornton's papers. I have been trying to find the original hand written version of her narrative. I wonder if these other papers might also be in the possession of whoever has the narrative. My copy was typed up by Dennis
Myers who borrowed it from a descendant of the Seawell family perhaps 40-50 years ago.
Does anyone know where the original hand written version of Maria Edwards's narrative is located?

Allen Cooke
Sub: Bob Thornton - June 6, 2005
NOTE: IF Jane Bowell was a WIDOW of Sterling Thornton, Sterling's Will would not have divided his estate between John Seawell's children and his brothers Francis ??? Other records indicte she had first married Francis Thornton which is indicated by the naming of her son, Francis. - DE

This is my sticky wicket. Can you resolve this tangled mess?

Many thanks again for the response.
- Donna



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