What follows below is the extensive research of Edwin L. Thornton, and is dated June 1985.
(The following information was compiled by Edwin L. Thornton, son of Mackie Thornton & Beatrice Irwin,
grandson of Henry E. Thornton and Savannh L. Foley, great-grandson of Samuel G. Thornton & Mary Jane Claughton, and great-great-grandson
of Sterlin/Starlin thornton and Sarah/Sally Moseley.)
I have been doing some research on our Thornton ancestors during the past three years. The information
that follows I obtained from different sources. Such as: (1) Missouri and Arkansas courthouse records, (2) federal
(3) cemetery records, (4) personal interviews and correspondence.
There is room for error in this information, but I am reasonably certain of the material. I am open
to suggestions or corrections that the readers may notice.
My main area of research has been related to the movement and activities of Samuel G. Thornton (born 25
May 1811 Franklin County, Virginia and died ?01 August 1872 Hickory County, Missouri and his wife Mary Jane Claughton (born
ca/ 1828 Ohio and died ?1901 ?Cord, ASrkansas.
In more detail, I have been concentrating on the following;
(1) When did Samuel and Mary Jane Thornton leave Franklin County, Virginia to go west? I did
not uncover much evidence to answer this point.
(2) Where did Samuel and Mary Jane "first" settle after they moved west from Virginia? I have not
uncovered enough evidence to pinpoint the location of their first place of settlement. More on this later.
Anna Lee Thornton Bilyeu and other sources had alway indicated to me that it was Arkansas perhaps around the community of
Cord in Independence County. My research would seem to indicate that Arkansas is still a strong possibility, but there
is some indication that the family may have first settled in Missouri, Kentucky, or Tennessee.??
(3) What happened to the children of Samuel and Mary Jane named Dora and Ellen? I have gained considerable
information on these two children and their families. Some records had indicated that Samuel and Mary Jane had a daughter
named Susan. My research indicates that Susan and Dora were one in the same. Apparently her real name was Susan
Dora Thornton. She often used the name Dorrie.
(4) I have been seeking additional information concerning the circumstance surrounding the seperation of
Samuel and Many Jane Thornton. I have gained some additional information, but not as much as I hoped. I have some
indication that courthouse records in Hickory and St. Clair County, Missouri might reveal more information.
(5) What happenned to Mary Jane (Claughton) Thornton following her seperation from Samuel G. Thornton in
the late 1860's or early 1870's? Some success to this point.
(6) What were the names of all of the children of Samuel and Mary Jane? Stories vary, but apparently
from one to three childten died on the way west from Virginia. I have not had much success on this point.
(7) How many children did Mary Jane have that were not Sams and what happenned to these children?
At this point it appears she only had two: Will (William W.) and Joe (Joseph S.), which would go along with past accounts.
More on them later, but it appears they had different fathers and both used Thornton in adult life.
(8) Where were Samuel and Mary Jane Thornton living at the time of the 1860 Federal Census was taken?
i have been unsuccessful to this point in locating them on the 1860 census.
(9) What does the initial "G' stand for in Samuel G. THronton. I have been unsuccessful to this point.
(10) Where were Samuel and Mary Jane living at the time the 1870 Federal Census was taken. I have
located Samuel but not Mary Jane.
I located Samuel Thornton in the following census entry:
1870 - Missouri Census Hickory Co.-Montgomery Twp.
#171 Stilts, William 37 M Farmer 800 - 400 Ohio
A. 29 F K.H.
Margaret 55 F A. H.
Linette 10 F
Myra 7 F
Lyman 7 M
W. 1 M
Samuel 59 M Farm Laborer Virginia
As you can see Samuel Thornton was living with the Stiltz family and was listed as a farm laborer.
I do not know, but thought it was a possibility that Samuel might have been living with this family at the time he died in
1872, two years after this census entry. Some family informtion indicates he was living with his daughter Ruth at the
time of his death. I was able to locate some of the descendants of the William Stilts family in Missouri. I was
thinking that they might have some stories or information passed down to them about our Samuel G. Thornton. The descendants
I have located at present have been unable to help me.
Now to tell some of the things I have found out relating to the activities of Samuel and Mary Jane and their
First the readers of this material might keep in mind that the following information was gathered over the
past three years, 1982-1985. This is the first time I have set down to record much of it. So look for some
skipping around. Also one should keep in mind that in some cases I cannot be 100% certain of some information.
But it is the best information I have at this point.
I am sure most of you have heard accounts of Samuel G. Thornton and Mary Jane Thornton leaving Franklin
County Virginia and going west in the 1850's. (I say 1850's, probably 1858 or 1859, and perhaps early 1860's.)
It seems that Samuel may have left Virginia for at least two reasons: (1) Mary Jane, his wife, was considerably younger
that Samuel and apparently this did not set with well some family members; (2) Apparently there were some differences in the
family concerning the topic of slavery.
Accounts of their journey west vary. But it seems that on the way west the family picked up some man
who had a stomach problem, perhaps flu or fever. It seems that some members of the Thronton family had to stop along
the road for a few weeks. It seems that the man died and one or two of the Thornton children. Some accounts say
three children died. Some say one boy and one girl. Others say maybe two boys?? Based on birth records in
Franklin County, Virginia, it seems that one of the children that died on the way west probably was Carroll Thornton,
born in 1853 in Franklin County Virginia. At any rate it seems they all were buried along the road. I do not know
the state where this occurred.
Perhaps I should insert at this point the following. I talked to Cecil Wheeler of Quiny, Missouri
twice concerning the trip of Samuel and Mary Jane. Cecil married Everett Wheeler, one of the sons of Ruth Thornton Wheeler.
Ruth Thornton was the third child of Samuel and Mary Jane Thornton. Cecil took care of Ruth Thornton Wheeler for several
years in the 1920's and 1930's. Cecil is now about 82 years old.
It was from Cecil that I obtained a considerable amount of information relating to the trip of Samuel and
Mary Jane west. She cautioned me on several occasions with the comment 'as best as I can recall', when she was telling
me what had been passed down to her.
Accounts have been passed down that Samuel and Mary Jane first settled in Arkansas after coming west.
Perhaps in a river bottom area. (By way of the area around Cord, Arkansas could be considered a river bottom area, more
on this later.) The story usually goes that they settled in Arkansas shortly before the Civil War.
In talking to Cecil Wheeler, she says that she can recall Ruth (Thornton) Wheeler telling about the family
first settling in Arkansas shortly before the Civil War. It seems that soon after the war started the Thornton home
was destroyed by "bushwhackers' in the area. According to Cecil the "soldiers" would not let the Thorntons go
back into the house for personal possessions, not even the family gun. It seems that the home was destroyed by fire.
It seems that after the home was destroyed that some "soldiers
advised Mary Jane she should go north
to a "safe" area around Osceola, Missouri (St. Clair County). According to the version that Cecil related to me in the
summer of 1983, it seems that Samuel was not home at the time the home was destroyed. But Anna Lee Thornton Burns Bilyeu,
it seems she had told me several years ago that Samuel was home at the time.
This next item is somewhat out of sequence. Anna Lee always told me that she had always heard that
her dad, Henry Thornton, was 7 years old when the family left Virginia and that Ruth Thornton was 14 years old. If we
have the birth dates correct -- Henry 1855 and Ruth 1845, -- then that would make the year 1862 before they left Virginia.
Perhaps they were 7 and 14 when they arrived in Arkansas?? Again deed records in Franklin County Virginia seem
to indicate that Samuel sold his land and equipment in 1858. One would assume he left shortly thereafter.
Cecil related to me the story of Mary Jane and her children walking from Arkansas to Missouri following
the destruction of their home in Arkansas. Evidentally they walked north to Osceola, Missouri in St. Clair County.
Cecil indicated to me that all of the children came north to Missouri except Dora. Dora, according to Cecil, went
to Kansas along with Samuel to work in a salt mine. I had heard accounts from Anna Lee earlier that Dora and Samuel
remained in Arkansas to work in some type of mine or mill.
Concerning the trip north from Arkansas to Missouri,Cecil told of the following recollections. Cecil
indicated she could recall Ruth Thornton Wheeler telling about Mary Jane taking handouts from people along the way, also of
gathering nuts and berries to eat. Cecil also said Ruth told of Mary Jane taking mmilk on occasion from farmers cows
in order to fedd the children.
Several of us have probably heard accounts of Mary Jane taking up with a man or some men along the way north.
Accounts of this story vary. Cecil says that the main reason that Mary Jane took up with some men, was for economic
reasons. In other words, to obtain necessities for the children. Cecil was somewhat reluctant to talk in great
length about Mary Jane and events surrounding her activities with these men. Cecil indicated Ruth related to her several
things and she, Cecil, did not feel comfortable talking about them.
i had heard the story several times for other sources that Mary Jane took up with a soldier while going
north. Cecil, in 1983, indicated to me that the man was not a soldier. She also indicated to me that there was
more than one man involved.
It seems that Samuel and Dora joined up with Mary Jane in the St. Clair County Missouri area after the Civil
War. Perhaps 1865 or 1866. It seems that when Samuel arrived a man was living with Mary Jane. At this time
indications are that Mary Jane was living in southeast St. Clair County, Missouri, near presnet community of Gerster, Missouri.
Cecil indicated the man living with Mary Jane was probably a different one tha Mary Jane met on the way north.
At any rate it seems that Samuel soon realized what was going on. Accounts are that he asked the man
to leave and he styed on and on. Eventually Samuel moved out of the house, perhaps to live with daughter Ruth or someone
As far as the children of Samuel and Mary Jane are concerned., I do not know if they were living with Mary
Jane at the time Samuel returned or not, but would be of the opinion that at least some of them were.
It appears that shortly after Samuel joined up with Mary Jane in say 1866, that the family moved just across
the county line into Hickory County, Missouri. Probably near the community of Quincy, Missouri. Although there
is some confusion as to whether Mary Jane moved to Hickory County before Samuel joined up with her. At any rate, it
appears that they lived for a time on what was called the "Cline" place.
Cecil says that Mary jane had two children that did not belong to Sam. These boys being Joe (Joseph
S) and Willie (William W.). Cecil also indicated that these boys had different fathers.
Cecil would not into details, ut she indicated to me that there was some type of serious altercation that
apparently involved a man manry jane was living with or had been seeing. And this alteration was what eventually caused
Mary Jane to leave the area around Quincy and Gerster, Missouri. To quote Ceci: "Mary Jane had to leave." The
altercation apparently brought in the law authorities. It seems that it must have been a serious type of incident.
But again Cecil did not want to tlk about this topic in detail.
Cecil indicated that it was her recollection that Mary Jane did not leave the area until she had both of
the boys, by other men that Samuel. I am speaking of the boys named joseph and William. Based upon my research
to this point it seems that Joseph was born in 1866 snf William in 1871-1872 or perhaps 1874. If these things are ture,
then Mary Jane may not have left the Gerster and Quincy area until 1871-1874 time period. But as i will mention later,
I could not locate her on the 1870 Census for that region.
Samuel G. Thornton is buried in a farm field,not from from where Cecil Wheeler and her sons family were
living in 1983. South and west of Quincy, Missouri. There is not a maker for the grave. Apparently at one
time there was a large rock to make the grave site. It seems as though he was buried in some old family plot.
As I said earlier, I would guess that Mary Jane left the area around Cerster and Quincy, Missouri in the
late 1860's or early 1860's.
The story has been passed down that she left and returned to the area in Arkansas where the family first
settled after coming west from Virginia. i will offer some thoughts on this "first settled" topic later in this material.
I have some information to indicate that Mary Jane may have lived for a time in etreme southern Missouri
ornothern Arkansas before returning to the area in Indipenece County where it seems the family originally settled.
I had always been told that Mary Jane took the youngest of the chioldren that belonged to her and Sam as
well as the two boys by the other "mem", when she left the Wuincy and Gerster, Missouri area.
I am 99% certain I have located Mary Jane (Thornton) Claughton living in Independence County Arkansas on
the 1880 Census, as follows:
1880 Arkansas Census - Independence Co - Blackwater Twp.
Joseph S. 15
William W. 9
You will note that she is using the name Brunson. Courthouse records in Independence County offer
considerable evidence that this is Mary Jane Claughton Thornton. On this census entry, she is living near the community
of Cord, Arkansas. It was always the name of Cord that was associted with the place Manry Jane went after seperating
Living with her are two boys, that would match up w ith the names and birth dates associated with the two
boys t=she took with her from Missouri.
On this 1880 Census entry Mary Jane is listed as a widow. Now I do not know if this mens she
was married to aman by the name of Brunson or not. That is a pssibility of course. ntoher possibility is that
she was just using the name for some reason, perhaps to mask her identity. Perhaps this was the name of one of the men
she was associated with but never married. Perhaps she was aware that Samuel was no longer living and this is the reason
for the entry "widow".??? i have not been able to locate a marraige record for Mary Jane for the time period after she
As I mentioned earlier i have not been able to locate mary Jane on the 1870 Census. I have not checked
a great number of Missouri counties, as very few are indexed for 1870. I have checked all of St. Clair and Hickory
County Missouri. SOme entries were very dim and hard to read. I have only checked one Arkansas County for 1870,
that being Independence. One of my problems is not knowing for sure the name Mary Jane might have been using in 1870
and not knowing if she was living alone or with someone else. If she was using another name that Thronton, it seems
as though these may be possibilities: BRUNSON, HALE, HALEY, CLINE. Perhaps Claughton would also be a possibility.
As I mentioned earlier, stories seem to indicate the first place mary Jane and samuel settled after coming
west was in Independence County Arkansas near the community of Cord.
I spent one week in Independence County doing research in march of 1873. At that time I was unable
to find any deed or land records that would place Samuel G. THornton and family in Independence County in the 1850's clear
up to the 1880's. i did not have time to go through their tax records, they did not appear to be very organized.
I have written to courthouses in several counties aurrounding Independence County seeking lakd records for Samuel, but have
been unsuccessful to t his point.
i suppose there is the possibility that he did not own land, but Cecil Wheeler tells me that it was her
understanding that the family owned land at the time the home was detroyed by fire. Perhaps more work in the Independence
County Courthouse would reveal something.
I located a couple of deed references to mary Jane in the courthouse in Independence COunty in the late
1890's and early 1900's. In these references she was using the name Brunson. i also located her on the 1900
Census as follows:
1900 Census Independence Co. Ark.-Blackwater Twp. Pg. 4
81-82 Raines, Dora head F May 1845 53 div. 9-W.Va/Va/Ohio
Mary A. daug.F Nov 1887 11 s Mo/Ill/Va
Wilson, Lena A.daug F Nov1878 21
wid 1-0 Mo/Ill/Va
82-83 Brunson, Mary J. head F jul1832?69 wid 10-7 Ohio/Va/Va age 71 or 77 ?? (Dora & Mary
jane listed as farmers)
This census entry is near the community of Cord, Arkansas/ Living next door to Mary Jane is her dughter
Dora Raines. Living with ODra are two of her daughters, Lena and mary. Lenas husband died in early 1900.
It was very difficult to read that part of the above census entry that gave the age of Mary Jane.
i believev it reads July 1832. It seems that the age of 71 or 77 has beenc rossed out.??
Based on some courthouse records in Independecne County and somem family information, it seems that Mary
Jane died around 1901 and probably is buried in the Hopewell Cemetery near Cord. One land rocord indicateds she was
still living in 1900. By the way, no marker exists for her grave site. Elsie McSpaddin of Batesville, told me
it was her recollection thata stories passed down indicated Mary Jane and ODra were both buried in Hopewell Cemetery.,
More on Elsie McSpaddin later.
During the time I spent in Independence County in March 1983, i also obtained some information on the two
boys, Joseph S. and William W., that Mary Jane took to Arkansas with her.
There are a few land records concerning these two children between 1880 and 1900. Joseph S. homesteaded
a tract of land in Independence County. Both apparently used the name Thornton.
William W. THornton married Tempy Wann in December 1890 in Independence County. It appears he had
Valda Vann, Claude, Uhles, and Geneva. I have located some of the grandchildren of William W. Thornton.
All of the children are deceaed. I have not conveyed all the information I have surrounding the seperation of Mary Jane
and Samuel to thise granchildren.
According to information obtained from some of the grandchildren, William W. THorntonn many have died around
1903 from eating tainted fish. This same acoount has his wife dying about the same time. Another account is that
the first wife of William W. THornton died before he did and he married again, and died shortly after the second marraige.
In both cases, the story is he died around 1903 to 1904. I have located a marraige record for a W. W. Thornton and Lula
M. Sanders in 1903 in Independence County This may be William W. THornton.??
Still another account is that the first wife of William W. Thornton died sometime between 1902 and 1910.
I located william W. Thronton and family on the 1900 Arkansas Census living in Independence County near
COrd. I located some of his children in the 1910 Arkansas Census living in Logan COunty. They were living with
relatives of the first wife of William W. THornton. i have information concerning the death of all four of William W.
Thorntons children, and information conerning the marraige of some.
Joseph S. Thornton married Jennare Latting 20 December 1903 in Independence County Arkansas. based
on estate papers in the courthouse at Batesville, Arkansas, Joseph S. Thornton died about 15 October 1906. He is buried
in the Hopewell Cememtery near Cord, Arkansas. his stone gives the death date as 1908. but it has to be 1906 to correspond
with estate papers in the courthouse.
Joseph S. Thornton had two c hildren; Charles Edgar Archie thornton and Shelby Thornton. BOth
children died young and are buried in the Hopewell Cemetery. It appears that the child named Shelby was born five months
following the death of Joseph S. THornton. there is one account that Joseph and Jennare seperated ;rior to the death
of Joseoh, have not been able to establish this. Following the death of Joseph. Jennare remarried to a J. H. Nichols/Nickols
around 1909 or 1910. She had children by this second marraige.
In March of 1983 I located a Bell Latting living in Swifton, Arkansas. Bell is a sister to t he Jennare
Latting that married Joseph S. THornton. At that time i believe she was in her mid to late eighties. She ws ble
to give me some information concerning the Joseph S. Thornton family. She gave me a picture of the two children of Joseph
and Jennare Thornton. She also gave me a large white platter, which she said to the best of her knowledge, once belonged
to Mary Jane Claughton Thornton. According to Bell, Mary Jane brought this platter west with her from Virginia.
Bell said that before she acaquired the platter that Jennare had it.
I have plans of tyring to locate some of the children or grandchildren of Jenare (Latting) Thornton, Nichols,
by her second marraige. they might be able to provide some more information on the Thornton line. It seems that
if Jennare had a platter that belonged to Mary Jane, that she might of had possession of other things that belonged to the
thorntons. These things could have been passed on to her children by the second marraige.??
Turning to the information I have obtained on the oldest child of Samuel and Mary Jane Thornton:
The oldest child was Susan MeDora Thornton. It appears she usually went by the name of DOra or Dorrie.
Susan MeDora Thornton married Elias Swift Raines 07 February 1867 in St. Clair County, Missouri. (This marraige date
gives us some clue as to the time p;eriod that Samuel and Dora joined up with Mary Jane and the rest of the family in the
St. Clair and Hickory COunty area after the Civil War. I think one could assume tht if DOra was married in February
of 1867, then she was probably in the area at least six months prior to her marraige date.??)
Ot appears that Dora and Elias had nine children, and that two or possibly three of them died young.
One account is that one or two children may have died from rabies, perhaps froma dog bite. Mrs. Elsie McSpadden of Batesville,
Arkansas gave me the ravies account. Elsie is the daughter of Mary Raines, the youngest daughter of Dora (Thornton)
Elias and DOra had a daughter named Louhana May Raines, who was born in 1876. This daughter was the
last of the Raines children to die. She died in 1970 in SPringfield, Missouri, at the age of 94. this Louhana
raines married Andrew McTeer in Christian County Missouri. Apparently they liver very close to the Henry THornton
family at one itme, near what is known as the Glendale School, in Taney or Christian County. But it seems very few of the
later generations on the Henry Thornton side of the family knew about Dora and her descenants.
At the time of her death, Louhana (Taines) McTeer was living with her daughter, jesse Floye (McTeer) Bingham
in Springfield, Missouri. This daughter indicated to me that as a child she could remember Henry Thornton, Dan Thornton
and Mamie Thornton. I located another daughter, Susie (McTeer) McCoy in Modesto, California. She indicated to me that
as a child she lived close to Henry THornton and family. She knew that Mackie Thornton was the youngest of Henrys children.
This Susie recalled Elias Raines, Lena (raines) Wilson Coleman Pruett, Cordelia (Raines) Creer Pruett, the last three being
children of Elias and Dora Raines.
I located Elias and Dora Raines on the 1870 Missouri Census living in Christian County Missouri. I am not
sure why they left St. Clair County where they were married in 1867. But I am reasonably certain I have found ELias
living in Christian County in 1860 and in Taney County in 1850, along with his parents and several brothers and sisters.
Perhaps he left St. Clair County to return to the area where some of his relatives lived. I have a hunch that Mary Jane
Thornton may have went with Elias and Dora to the Christian County area after she left Samuel.???
I located Elias and Dora Raines on the 1880 census living in Pettis County (Sedalia) Missouri. In
1880 Elias was apparently working in the Missouri, Kansas, texas Railroad Shops in Sedalia, Missouri. in 1885 Elias
and family were apparently living near the community of Montrose in Henry County Missouri. Around 1885 Elias purchased
some land by mail in Christian County Missouri while living in Montrose. Shortly thereafter he moved to Christian County,
It appears that Elias and Dora seperated in the 1890's. Divorce papers in the courthouse in Ozark,
Missouri indicate they sperated 27 July 1896. But I have some evidence to indicate they may have seperated earlier.
The daughter of Elias and Doar named lena E. Raines, married William L. Wilson, 25 December 1894 in Independence
COunty, Arkansas. At this time Lena Raines would have been sixteen years old. It semms to me that she would
have not gone from Christian COunty to Independence COunty at the age of sixteen by herself.
This marraige then, seems to indicate two things to me. One, that Dora probable left Elias in 1893
or 1894 and toook the two youngest children, Lena and Mary to Arkansas with her. Second, this movement to Arkansas and
the marriage of Lena there seems to indicate that Dora and her children had some knowledge of Mary Jane Thornton being in
I suppose there is the possibility that Lena was living with her grndmother, Mary Jane, previous to her
marraige and that Dora came to Independence later, say 1896.
While I was in Independence County in March 1983,, i heard some stories that Doar and her two youngest children
walked to Independence County from Missouri probably in the 1890's.
As I mentioned earlier, Dora Raines was living next door to Mary jane Brunson on the 1900 Independence County
Census. More eveidence tht Mary Jane Brunson was actually Mary Jane Thornton.
I did locate a deed record in the courthouse in Batesville, that states Mary Jane Thornton was the mother
of joseph S. and william W. Thornton.Based on deed records and family information it appears that Susan MeDora (Thornton)
Raines died on or near 14 March 1904 near the community of Cord, Arkansas. Family information seems to indicate she
was buried in the Hopewell Cemetery near Cord, Arkansas. Again there is no marker.
One daughter of Elias and Dora was named Cordellia Ellen Raines. Cordellia first married Benjamin
Greer in 1887 in Christian COunty Missouri. Following the death of Benjamin, Cordellia married Pleasant N. Pruett in
Christian COunty Missouri. Cordellia and her second husband moved from Christian County to Independence County Arkansas
aroun 1908 or 1909.
One of Cordellias children by her second marraige was Charles Pruett. This Charles Pruett is still
living at about the age of 87 near Cord, Arkansas. i talked with him twice when I was there in 1983. He was able
to provide me with some information on his ancestors.
This Charles tells of a story he heard as a child. It seems that an old lady was involved in digging
a well not far from where he lives today. this old lady would go down into the well on a ladder and bring out dirt on
her head in some type of basket. He says there is a depression in the ground in the area where this well was dug.
This lady had two boys living with her at the time. Charles says that he is not certain, but it seems that this lady
was Mary Jane (Claughton) Thornton.
As a child this Charles Pruett says he can remember some talk about Joseph S. and William W. Thornton.
he says that William lived just across the road from where he lives today. he also says that some merchant obtained some land
fromJoseph and William in a somewhat underhanded way.
The yougest daughter of Doar and Elias was Mary Raines. mary, as you noted earlier, was living
with her mother Dora on the 1900 Census for Independence County. it appears that Mary lived with her mother until
Doara died in 1904. At that time., Mary would have been 15, She then moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma to live with her
father Elias or her brother John Burton.
Elias Raines remarried in 1904 inChristian COunty Missorui to a Laura Shipman. This Laura was a sister
to Matilda Frances Shipman who married John Burton Raines about 1899. Mary Raines married Ebner Riachards in Tulsa,
Oklahoma in 1911. Mary had one child that lived, Elsis Richards. Elsie married Ebner McSpadden. Elsie McSpadden
lives in Batesville, Arkansas. She is aobut 73 years old.
i talked to Elsie several times when I was there in 1983. She cautioned me that her memory was
not as good as earlier. She was able to provide me with considerable information on the raines children and Thornton
children. Most, but not all, of the information she gave me has checked out.
One thing she told me that I have not been able to prove, was that mary Jane Claughton htornton had a brother
named Bruce Claughton. She indicated that this Bruce Claughton lived for a time near the comunity of Oil trough, Arkansas
in southern Independence COunty. i feel that the name Burce Claughton must have some significance in order for
her to recall it.
In mentioning Bruce Claughton, Elsie said he was connected with some effort to 'take Claughtons back
to Virginia to be placed in some shrine or burial site", She said that Bruce Claughton stirred up a mess when he was
trying to "take Claughton" back to this shrine. She could not elaborate any more on this. Again, I feel there
is some significance to this story, but have not been able to figure it out to this point.
(I, Lu Dawn, must note here that my sister Carol and I feel that this "shrine" is the Arlington National
Cemetery, in Arlingotn, Virginia.)
Link to Arlington National Cemetery Website
Once you are on the website, click on the Visitor Info button for relavent info as to those buried there.
The first contact I had with Elsie McSpadden was by phone in January of 1983. At that time I probably
should have kept better notes concerning what she told me on the phone.
One thing she told me was that she took care of Lena (Raines) Willson Coleman Pruett in her later years.
Lena, a daughter of Dora, died in 1963. In this january 1983 telephone conversation Elsie told me that she had an old
Bible that belonged to Lena Pruett. She indicated to me that this Bible probably belonged to Dora Raines and before
that to mary Jane thornton.
When i talked to Elsie in person i March 1983, she was not so certain she had the Bible, she thought she did
at one time. She did some looking while I was there but could not locate it. i offered to hlep, but she did not
want me to do this i guess, afterall, I was almost a total stranger. i might also add that her husband was recovering
from eye and heart surgery at the time.
i might insert at this point, that when i visited with Jesse Floye (McTeer) Bingham in Springfield, missouri.,
in March of 1983 she provided me with the following information. (Jesse was the daughter of Louhana (Raines) McTeer.)
She had in her possession an old piece of paper that looked to be several years old. On this piece of
paper was listed the names of all of the children of Elias and Dora Raines. it also listed most of their birthdates.
Just below the names of the children appeared the following notation:
Written in Spet. 21, 1916 by mothers oldest sister Cordela Raines Pruett from grandmas own hand write out
of old Bible which came from Claughton(was written Clatons), grandmas mother, which came from Virginia, Hawkins County.
Out to the side of this paper next to the place where it said GRANDMAS MOTHER, was written in with a different
pencil and apparently some time later, the name of Mary Jane Thornton.
The reference to mother in the first line above, wouls have to be Louhana May (Raines) McTeer. (For
some side information, I have not located a Hawkins County Cirginia, but I did locate a Howkins County Tennessee., But
I have not placed any of the Claughtons or Thorntons in that county to date.)
Getting to the point I wanted to make concerning this bible. After Cordelia (Raines) Greer Pruett died
in 1934 her husband married Lena (Raines) Wilson Coleman. Lena of course was a sister to Cordelia. It appears
from the old piece of paper that I quoted above, that the Bible that belonged to Mary Jane Claughton, was in the pssession
of Cordelia in 1916. I am reasoning tht when Cordelia died and her jusband, Pleasant Pruett, married Lena (Raines) Wilson
Coleman, that the Bible came into the possession of Lena And that Lena held the Bible until her death in 1963 at which
time it probably came into the possession of Elsie McSpadden who was taking care of her affirs at the time.
I need to go back and talk to Elsie again. i would almost bet that she has some other material that
belonged to Lena, that would be helpful in family research.
elsie did give me copy of an ancestory chart of sorts on the Thorntons and Raines. She said to
the best of her knowledge Lena (Raines) Wilson Coleman Pruett made this chart out for her, Elsie, in the 1950's. I am
enclosinga copy elsewhere in this material. All of the names on this chart do not seem to fit in, but I fell they must
have some significance.
Gooing back to Dora (Thornton) Raines. Elsis McSpadden tells me that her information is that Dora served
as a midwife in the community of COrd, Arkansas.
Changing topics somewhat again. Elias Raines had three children by his second marraige to Laura Shipman:
Dessik, Forothy and Everette.
Dessie and Everette are not living. Dorothy married a Clarence Schmoll and is living in Nowata, Oklahoma.
i have corresponded with her.
It appears that Everette Raines, the sone of Elias by his second marraige, did some family history research
on the Raines and Thornton line in the 1930's and 1940's. According to Forothy Schmoll, Everette spend some time in
the Independence County Arkansas area talking to relatives while doing his research. She ould not recall who he contacted,
but it seems to me it must have been some of the children of Elias and Dora. Dorothy said that one time she had a copy
of the research work done by Everette. But she sent her copy to a daughter of Everette in Memphis a few years ago.
I have written to this daughter several times but have not had a reply.
It seems, according to Dorothy chmoll, that this daughter at one time was working on establishing a claim
to some land that Elias Raines once owned in Missouri.?? perhaps she is suspect of my motives in requesting a copy of her
family history.?Dorothy Schmoll told me she would check to see if she could locate a second copy of this work, but I have
not heard from her.
Dorothy Schmoll told me tha twhen Elias Raines died, 1918, that she and Dessie and Everett went to Cord, Arkansas
to live with Mary (Raines) Richards and Lena (Raines) Wilson Coleman. It seems that they stayed about one year and returned
Elias and Dora Raines had a son named John Burton Raines. I have located a grandaughter of his, Phillis
Lescas, 79 Sophia Drive, Churchville, PA. 18966. She sent me what information she had on her ancestors.
Part of the information she sent does not add up. She said she realized this, but that was the way she
received it. You will note what I mean by looking at the enclosed copy. She did not recall exactly how this family
material came into her possession. But I would guess that part of it came from the material gathered by Everette
Raines, that I memtioned earlier in this material.
One of the things that Phillis Lescas snet, was that the father of Mary Jane Claughton was John Claughton/Clouton.
Also her information would indicate tht themother of mary Jane Claughton was a Susan Prints. This is the first time
I have come across the name Prints in relation to Mary Jane. The first child of mary jane of course was named Susan
MeDoar Thornton. Perhaps she was named after the mother of Mary jJne.???
Changing topics again. In November 1982 i visited Winnie Williams in Friend, Nebraska. Winnie
is a grand-daughter of Ruth (Thornton) Wheeler,. She has the old trunk that belonged to Ruth. She also has the
Bible that belonged to Ruth. In the Bible I located a portion of a letter written in 1928 to Ruth Wheeler by a Lena
Coleman living in Cord, Arkansas. It was largely through this letter that I had a name to track down in COr, Arkansas.
This Lena Coleman, was of course, Lena Raines.
Now to list what information i have located on the daughter of Samuel and Mary Jane Thornton named Ellen.
It was largely through information provided by Elsis McSpadden of Batesville, Arkansas, that I was able to
get a lead on Ellen Thornton.
At the present time, it is somewhat unclear s to who Ellen Thornton first married. I have located the
following marriage records in County Arkansas.
William F. haley (25) to Ella Thornton (21 on 21 August 187)_
John W. Anderson (25) to Ellen C. hale (21) on July 1879.
I am not certain, but it appears this is out Ellen C. Thornton and that she was married once before she married
John W. Andersonl
If this is our Ellen, it is the earliest that I have documents to place our Thorntons in Independence County.
Of course, I have the 1880 Independence County Census listing for Mary Jane Brunson.
I feel that this is the marriage record for our Ellen, in that records indicate that several of her children
were born in or near Cord, Arkansa, It appears that Ellen and her famioy lived in the Cord community probably through the
There is some indication that Ellen and her family may have moved to Missouri for a short time in the 1890's/??
I next located Ellen and her family living in Randolph County Arkansas on the 1900 Census. She was living
near the communities of Imboden and Pocahontas Arkansas. She was living in the same community onn the 1910 Census.
It appears that Ellen had nine children, none are still living. I have located some of her grandchildren
in Arkanasa and Texas. Some of these grandchildren have provided me with information on her descenants. Especially
hlepful was Lucy Hofstedler of Pocahonta, Arkansas. I have not gained much information on the early life of Ellen.
As best as i can determine, John W. Anderson, the husband of Ellen, was a farmer and made ties for the railroad
for a a time. It appears that Ellen and her husband sperated for a time after 1910/ My information is that John
W. Anderson died about 10 June 1930 in or neal Swifton, Arkansas. But I have been unable to locate a death certificate
or cemetery listing for him.
one of Ellens children was named Savannah, I wonder if she could have been named after Savannah (Foley)
hornton, the wife of Henry Thornton.
One of my aims was to find out when and where Ellen Thornton was born. I thought this would be an aid
in my attempt to track the movements of Samuel and Mary Jane westward.
I have come across conflicting information on her birthdate, ranging from 1858 to 866. I have also come
across conflicting information on her birthplace, ranging from Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Virginia.
I checked the 1920 and 1930 Census records which are located in Pittsburg, Kansas, in an attempt to establish
her birthdate and birthplace.
Census records would tned to indicate a birthdate of 1858 or 1859. Marraige records would tned to indicate
185 to 1858.
I do not feel that I have enough information to guess on her birthplace, but am leaning toward Arkansas or
Missouri. Her death certificate states Batesville, Arkansas, which is in Independence County.
I suppose there is the possibility that Ellen could have been born on the way west. One of the
problems I have with the birthdate of 1858, by the way of February, is that Samuel and Mary Jane apparently did not sell their
farm until the fall of 1858 in Virginia. If this is so, maybe she was born in Virginia.??
According to Cecil Wheeler, Ruth (Thornton)Wheeker stated that she could recall the birth of Ellen in Arkansas.
So I am somewhat puzzled about the birthdate and birthplace of Ellen. Stories passed down say Mary Jane carried one
child north from Arkansas, that was not big enough to walk.'
The 1900 Census for Randolph County Arkansas, Spring River Township, lists the birthdate of Ellen as February
I feel some more research in Independence and Randolph COunty Arkansas would help in finding more information
about Ellen and perhaps her parents.
I have been unsuccessful in locating a newspaper obituary for Ellen and her husband John W. Anderson.
The following "Tid Bits" were found among the papers I have from Edwin;s Researh Papers; thus I am including
In the 1868 Christian COunty Missouri estate of Caroline Larkins, one S. G. Dowell of Arkansas is listed as
an heir. I believe this S. G. Dowell was Samuel G. Dowell, born about 1847, son of James C. & Ruth/Ann Larkins.
And I believe that this Ruth/Ann (Larkins) Dowell was a daughter of Caroline Larkins.
In summary it seems to me that roger P. Larkins also went by the name of Samuel P. Larkins. I forget my source
but I have a page note that the middle name of Rogers/Samuel larkins may have been Page.
I need to do some checking on the 1800 Census through 1820 Tennessee Census for Larkins entries. I have
a hunch the Larkins came from North Carolina, to Tennessee, to Kentucky, and then to Crittenden County Arkansas.
There are some family stories passed down that Savannah Foley, daughter of James Albert Foley and Mary/Mahala
Larkins, was of Indian Ancestry.
There are some military records to indicate that Rogers P. Larkins may have served in the War of 1812 in the
following organization: Pvt., Capt. Benj. Warfields Co. of Infantry Mounted Regiment of Kentucky; also may have been known
as Jacksons Regt. Mounted Ky. Volunteers.
One story is that Lawrence & Mary (Larkins) Speck owned two large plantations, one on each side of the
Mississippi River. After the death of Daniels parents some of the children went to live with their aunt, Mary (Larkins)
Speck. there are some stories that they were treated about the same as the slaves the SPecks owned.
Also some stories passed down that some of the Larkins, Daniels, and perhaps Dowells, and other marraiges
in this family split over the Civil War issue, and this was probably the reaon some left the Crittenden/Mississippi County
Arkansas area and moved to the Christian County Missouri area in the late 1850's ad early 1860's/ But I have locted
one of the sons of Rogers P. Larkins living in Taney County Missouri a early s 1850, so I do not know for sure if the Civil
War was amajor issue to the family or not.
April 18, 1855 - Adms Record Crittendrn Co Ark for one Samuel P. Larkins, James C. Dowell-Administrator.
Anna Lee (Thornton) Burns told me that Judge O. larkins was born out of wedlock to Mary Ellen larkins when
she was young, perhaps 16. The father apparently was of Indian Ancestry. Judge took his mothers maiden name.
When Mary Ellen Married James Albert Foley, Judge went with the family. Judge was born in 1849, and Mary Ellen married
James Albert Foley in 1854. So of course, Judge O Larkins was a 1/2 sibling to the children of James A. Foley and Mary
James A. Foley & family were living in Mississippi County Ark on the 1860 Federal Census. 1870 Census
Christian COunty Mo.-marion Twp. #93. 1880 Christian COunty Mo. Census-Lynn Twp, page 6. 1900 Census
Boone County Ark-Omaha Twp.
There are some reports that James Albert Foley was from Scotland or England. One family source says
he came to Ameria due to TB. This is the same source tha sayd he was very well educated, and after he was married reutrned
to England? for about one year, and then returned to America. (I need to check passenger arrival records to see if I
can find information to back this up.)
I have not been able to find any record of James Albert Foley being naturalized. If he was, and a record
exists, it could very likely tell something about his parents an where he came from in Europe.
(Need to check and see if i can find anewspaper obituariees for James A & mary Ellen in Boone County,
taney County & Christian County.)
Edwiun has the following information on the Group Sheet for james A. Foley...
Family stories say james A. Foley came to America at age of 12 as a stowaway on a ship. Worked for a
time in a bakery in St. Louis. He was a bookeeper for Siegler Lumber Co. in Springfield Mo. area. Henry Thornton
went to work for this lub=mber CO. and this is how he met Savannah Foley.
Obituary of Savannah Foley
Savannah Foley was born October 29, 1861 in Psringfield,
Mo., and married to Henry Thornton December 24, 1878, in Christian County. To this union twelve children were born.
One died in infancy; her son Clyde preceded her to his resting place five days before she passed way. Clyde was twenty
years old, and was a good boy, a great help in the song service at church. How we will miss him! The children all but
one were at home when the death angel came. Mrs. Thornton was baptised upon confession of Christ into the one body which
is the Church of Christ in 1908, and lived a consistent christian until death. She was a devoted wife and a kind and
loving mother. Just as the sun was finishing its labors on February 1, 1917, the beautiful life of Mrs. Thornton completed
its mission on earth and answered the summons, "Come up higher." She was 55 years, 3 months and 11 days old, a little
past Noontide of life. She left us and passed out to that haven of rest where sunset never comes, but where the day
is one perpetual sunshine. The funeral services were conducted by Elder O. F. Snow. The text was Rev. 21st Chapter,
11th Verse, "And her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal." Burial was in