Thornton Family Quarterly
Volume I No. I Oct. 1969
Fall Hill Mansion
This house, built by Francis
Thornton in 1756, is situated atop a high hill, overlooking the city of Fredericksburg, Va.
The house is a beautiful two story home, practically in its original condition, filled with furniture used by the early
Thorntons. Mrs. Lynn Franklin occupies the home, (a direct descendant) a very
gracious lady, who allowed us to roam through the rooms at our leisure. There
are nine rooms: a formal living room, dining room, sitting room, kitchen, (added)
and four huge bedrooms. The ceilings are extremely high and the windows are large, with sills wide enough to sit on. These
windows were rebuilt in the early 1800’s. The floors are the originals:
wide toe nail, unfinished, and in extremely good condition. The walls, from front
to back, are wide and spacious. There is a large fireplace in every room. The
chandeliers hang low and are breathtaking. At one time they held candles to light
the dark, and these candle holders are still present on the chandeliers. The exterior of the house is faded brick, never having
been painted, and the windows are surrounded by shutters. The slave’s quarters (which was also used as a kitchen in
early days stand a few yards back from the house. This too is in its original
condition, as is the school house which Francis Thornton had built for the Fall Hill Children.
Fall Hill is full of folk
lore and tradition. Many fascinating stories have been handed down through the
family. One of the most interesting is the story of the pirate, who right after Francis Thornton built the house, sailed his
small boat up the Rappahannock River, and became ill, or was wounded in Fredericksburg.
Frances and his family befriended the man, and took care of him until he was well.
However, if I’ve got the story right, he did not leave after regaining his health, but stayed on with his new
friends, and worked for them on the plantation. He is said to have buried his
gold, which he said he had confiscated from someone before coming to Fredericksburg, several yards away from the main house. Several years later, one of the slaves, upon having had a dream, reported seeing the
gold buried between two oak trees. However, no gold has ever been found, although
there has been much digging.
Then there is the story
of Katina, the beloved Indian girl, presented to Francis Thornton by Governor Spottswood as a gift. She died at a very advanced age, and is buried in a grove of oak trees near the old barn, at Fall Hill. She taught her charges the Indian language and would be gone weeks with them every
summer, living on fish she caught, and wild birds she could talk to. For many,
many years the children of the Fall Hill Mansion said the ‘ghost’ of Katina still came to check her ‘carges’
at night. Just last year, a newspaper reporter for the Fredericksburg Star, spent
a night in the old house to see if Katina would pay her a visit.
Then there was Mammie
Nancy, the splendid old servant of Frances Thornton. She raised the children
of Francis after their young mother, Sally Innes, died, and was greatly beloved by all. Francis Thornton left her about ‘$200.00’
from the Bridge Annuity a year, and two darkies to take care of her. She lived in Cherry Hill, the house across from Fall
Hill which has since burned. She lived to be one hundred years of age. Her portrait was painted and destroyed at Fall Hill when it was occupied by the Union Troops. All the furniture in the Fall Hill Mansion was saved because it was moved and hidden before the troops
arrived. The house itself was not damaged during the war. One can almost picture
the balls, long gowns, horse and carriages of the years gone by, there at the house, Fall Hill Mansion.
Franklin Co., Va. - Franklin Co. Records
Hannah Thornton to William
Bird March 24, 1803, Samuel King Sur.
Littleberry Thornton to
Sally Stewart March 24 1807 Sur James Stewart, Min John ashworth
Allen Thornton to Elizabeth
Warren, d/o of Ambrose, Apr 8, 1799 Sur Starlin Thornton
Starlin Thornton to Sally
Mosely Aug 29, 1803 Sur David Richeson
Page Thornton and Rebecca
Frith d/o Thomas Feb 11, 1839 Sur William Scarberry
Judith Thornton to Johnson
Williams 7/6/1821 Sur James Keys
Samuel G. Thornton to
Mary J. Claughton 8/22/1844 Sur Fobert a. Scott, Min John St. Clair
Sussex Co. Va. - Marriage Bonds & Minister’s
William Thornton to Mary Parhan Sur William H. Comann Jan 30, 1809 Married Feb. 2, 1809 by Rev. James Rogers---Page
Charlotte Co Marriage
Joseph Collier to Amy
Moseley, d/o Edward Moseley, Sur William Bouldin, Dec 15, 1772 pages 82 & 82
Francis Thornton to Anne
Peltus, Married by Rev. john Fore, Oct 15, 1801
Francis M. Thornton to
Elizabeth Roach (widow) Sur John Thompson May 27, 181_?
Richard Thornton to Sally
Sterling Smith d/o Robert Smith Jan 1, 1810
Pittsylvania Co. Va.
John Thornton to Susannah
Pace, aug 28, 1777
Preseley Thornton to Mary
Growby Dec 1, 1784
Richard Thornton to Sarah
Perkins d/o Mary Perkins who consents Sur Isaac Potter Dec 16, 1796
St. Pauls parish Register,
King George, Va.
John Brooke to Lucy Thornton
July 2, 1777
Halifax Co. 1753 – 1800
John Adams and Prudence
Thornton Sur Samuel Hubbard, Prudence signs her own consent, 31 Aug 1791
Thomas Jones and Elizabeth
Osborne Moseley d/o Blackman Moseley who consents, Sur Morton Clay, Wit Joseph Faulkner 13 Dec 1797, page 37
Amherst Co. Va. 1763 – 1800
Peter Presley Thornton,
bachelor & Mary McCullock, spinster, May 10,1792 Consent of her father Roderick McCullock. Certificate of marriage by
Rev. Mr. Crawford (M.R.)
Prince Edward Co.,
Va. 1754 – 1810
November 25, 1800. Llewelling
Jones and Dorothy Thornton, d/o Sterling Thornton who is Surety.
All marriage records have
been derived from said sources at the State Archives in Richmond, Virginia.
Lucy Goode Thornton July
17, 1907 Lincoln Co., W. Va.
Elendar Thornton Austin
Feb 28, 1908 Lincoln Co., W. Va.
John Bird March 31, 1919
Putnam Co., W. Va.
Henry Addison Thornton
may 2, 1919 Greenbrier Co., W. Va.
Mary Martha Wiley Thornton
Dec. __? 1927 Greenbrier Co., W. Va. (Second wife of Henry Addison Thornton)
William Marshall Goode
Sept 21, 1901 Lincoln Co., W. Va.
Catherine Goode Dec 18,
1885 Lincoln Co., W. Va.
Information above from tombstones and personal
Henry Addison Thornton July 13, 1840 Franklin
Lucy Francis Goode Aug 29, 1849 Franklin Co., Va.
William Marshall Goode Aug 30, 1817 Franklin
James Page Thornton July 7, 1815 Franklin
Sarah E. Thornton July 24, 1855 Franklin
Information above from Franklin Co. Court
Records, and from various personal sources.
The following is the Will of William Thornton
– England (1485?)
(Taken from a letter to Bessie Taylor Robinson
from Ann Thornton Taylor Bayliss, June 24, on her visit to Yorkshire, England, where many of the early Thorntons came from. This Will was taken and copied from the records at the churh in Yorkshire.)
Testimatum Willelim Thornton nuper generosi defunct
In the name of God amen, the XVLL days of
the month of August in the yere of our Lord mccccixxxvIJ. I William Thornton,
gentleman being in gude mynde, makes my testament in thes manner.
First I give and wyttes my soule to God Almighty,
and to oure Lady and to all the Feyntes of haven, and my bodye to beryd in theKyrke of Seynt Katheryn.
Also I gyve and I yet to the wrk of said
Kyrke iiijs, iiijd.
Also I gyve and I wyt my best garment to
be brought to the wit my body in the name of corsepresent. Also I gyve and I
wyt my new messe buke to the manor of Newton, to serve in Doynt Peter Chapelle to the worlde end. Also I gyvbe and I wyt to xiij Priestes beying at my exequas iiijs iiijd and to t he person of the said
Kyrk xijd. Also I gyve and wyt to John Thornton vjs viiijd. Also to Alyson Thornton vjs viijd.
Also I gyve to Isabell Thornton iijsiiijd. Also I gyve and wyt to Johannet my servant j coverlet, j payre blankettes, and a payre
of sheets and to Bagby Kyrk v jsviijd. And to William Johnson and to Thomas Tylsen
either of thame xxjd. Also to Willeim Mylsen xxd. And I gyve and wyt to distribute to pure people at my exequias for the wele of my saule.
The residue of my doodes I gyve and wyt to
Agnes my wife and Robert my son, whom I make myn executeres to dispose of my suale as they think best.
In witnesse thereof to this present testament
I have putte my seal.
This witnesses ect. Pr. March 17, 1488-9
The following gives a detailed description
of the arms, crest, motto, etc. of the Thornton Family:
Argent, a chevron sable between three hawthorne trees oroper.
CREST: Out of a ducal coronet or a lion’s
MOTTO: None recorded. Few of the older arms
were accompanied by recorded mottos. Deo spes mea (My hope is in God) has been
used by one Yorkshire Line.
AUTHORITY: Crozier’s “General
Armory”, 1904 Edition, Page 126.
Burke’s “General Armory, 1878
Edition, page 1010.
TINCTURES AS SHOWN BY DESCRIPTION:
The shield is silver.
The chevron is black.
The hawthorne threes are dark brown with
leaves of dark green, and are with reddish pink blooms.
The coronet is gold.
The lion’s head is naturally colored.
Crozier records for descendants of William Thornton, of the Hills, Yorkshire, who settled in York County, Virginia
in 1646, Scarborough, Yorkshire, was the center of residence of this family. Kirkland
Hall, Lancashire, was the seat of one line. This line bore the lion;s head red. A line owning the estate of Birkin, in Yorkshire, bore the lion’s head purple,
and placed a coronet around the neck of the lion’s head rather than under itl A Yorkshire line with branches in Norfold
and Cambridgeshire, bore the same arms, but changed the crest to a dragon;s head and wings of silver issuing from the coronet
of gold. O’Hart, in hid “Irish Pedigree”, Volune 2, states
that the Thorntons of England were among the 12 families whom Queen Elizabeth divided 100,000 acres in the County of Limerick
which she had taken away from the Fitz Geralds, Earls of Desmond. This accounts
for the branches of the family which settled in Ireland.
HENRY ADDISON THORNTON
A Biographical Sketch
Perhaps one of the most controversial figures
of the Thornton family line who migrated into central West Virginia shortly after the end of the Civil War, Henry Addison
(Addison H., and just simply Henry in some records) Thornton was born July 13, 1840, in Franklin County, Virginia, the first
child of Page and Arebecca (Firth) Thornton. He was raised in the foothills of
the Blue Ridge Mountains, on what is still known tody as Thornton Mountain (presumably named after his grandfather, Starlin(g),
or Sterling,, who bought the land), which is approximately two miles northeast of Ferrum, Virginia, and four miles southwest
of Rocky Mount, the County Seat. Addison (It appears he went by this name early
in life) was surrounded by three brothers Page James, Thomas Sterling, and john, as well as four sisters, Malinda Emma, Sarah
E., Abigail and Rebecca Ann.
The mountains of Franklin County couldn’t
secure Addison from the Civil War; in fact, he was inducted into the Confederacy just two short months after the first shot
was fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, in April 1861. From the Confederate
Muster Rolls, we find the following information:
Thornton, Addison H. 2187 No Medical Cards
Card # 15 No Personal Papers
Company Muster Rolls
June 15, 1861. Enlisted at Young’s Store, Franklin County, Va. As a Private under Major James G. Lavender.
Sept.-Oct 1861, Oct 31, 1861 Absent on sick
furlough from 17 Oct. 1861
Nov-Dec 1861 Dec 31, 1861 Present, Sick in
Jan-Feb 1862 Feb 28, 1862 Absent AWOL since
24 Feb 1862 in Franklin Co.
May-June 1862 June 30 Absent sick at Drewry’s
Bluff Since 27 june
Oct. 31 1862 Present
Dec. 31 `1862 Absent
Feb. 28, 1863 Present
Promoted from 3 Corpl to 5 Sergt. To rank
for 1st Sept 1863 per Reg’t Order #107 Dated H. 257 Va. Vol.
Prisoner of War at Point Lookout, Md. Date
of Arrival, Ceity Point, Va. April 5, 1865. Captured at Five Forks April 1, 1885. Released June 20, 1865. Pt. Lookout,
Md., Register #2 oage 702.
Name appears as signature to an Oath of Allegiance
to U.S., June 20, 1885 #29 Sheet 18
Resides in Franklin County, Complexion fair,
Brown hair, blue eyes, 5’7”
He was awarded the Southern Cross of Honor
(Medal), and this in the possession of Mrs. Earl Harford, Rainelle, W. Va., his youngest daughter by his second marriage. Henry Addison’s brother, Page, who also fought for the South, became ill with
measles at the end of the War and was hospitalized.
Henry Addison married Lucy Frances Goode,
Oct 17, 1865, in Franklin Co. Va. She was the daughter of William Marshall Goode. Lucy was born Aug 29, 1847. She had two brothers, Thomas W. and William M., and one
sister, Sarah Alice, who later married Thomas Sterling Thornton, brother of Addison.
Right after the Civil War, Henry Addison,
Lucy, and we believe Thomas Sterling, and the rest of Lucy’s family came to W. Va. Seeking new fortunes. Many southerners lost everything during the war, and there were probably the circumstances that brought
out Thorntons to the Turkey Creek area in Putnam, Co., W. Va. Woodson Bird, only
living son of Lucy Thornton Bird, by her second marriage, tells us (as was told to him by Lucy) “That when they first
settled near the Putnam-Lincoln Co. line, the county was untouched, wild, and beautiful.
They had to build fires at night just to keep the bears and other wild animals away.
They build a 16’ log cabin and moved in even before the doors were hung.
Someone would have to stand watch over the gardens with a gun at times just to keep the wild animals out.” Thus
began the lineage of the Putnam County Thorntons; from the mountains of Virginia to the rough, unsettled hills of West Virginia.
Henry and Lucy had five children: William
P. Thornton born April 16, 1867, Katherine J. Thornton born Sept. 8, 1869, Elendar Thornton born Oct 22 ,1871, Addison Lee
Thornton born May 9, 1874, and Thomas J. Thornton born Oct 22, 1877. The 1870
Census of Putnam County, W.Va. shows Addison age 29 as being a farmer, Thomas
Sterling (in the same house) as farmer and laborer age 20 and Sarah and Lucy “keeping house”. It is known though, that Addison operated a small grocery store.
Two months before his last child by this marriage was born, he made such a trip to town. No one knows for sure what
life was like in the 1800’s except that it was tough and hard. Maybe this
is what prompted Addison to take the action he did. He left his horse and buggy
in Jurricane, and is believed to have gotten on a train, and was never seen by Lucy or his family again. (This was in the fall of 1876. Until the compiler of this
biography began searching the Thornton family, no one knew what had happened to him or where he had gone.
After considerable time and many phone calls
to various people, Henry Addison’s second home was found: Cornstalk, W. Va. (Greenbrier Co.). It is told by his daughter, Mrs. Earl Harford that he worked for ahile in the lumber yards in Rainelle,
W.Va., and it was here that he met his second wife, Mary Martha Wiley. They had
thirteen children; the last being born when Addison was 65 years old. His children
were: Mamie, Done, (died young), Ida, Bertha, Ica, Olin (Wink), theo, Ode, George, Grover, and Lewis. We have no dates of births, deaths, marriages, on these children.
The names were given to us by Mrs. Harford. (Ica) Her mother, Mary Martha Wiley,
was born (1880) and died December __?. 1927. She and Henry (Here he went by the
name “Henry”) lived for awhile in the “Old Company House” in Rainelle, W. Va. Their final home was near Cornstack, W. Va. The foot of the mountain where one parks his car to walk to
the house site (approachable only by foot) is about a mile from the Post Office at Cornstalk, on a small dirt road going northwest. The house used to set about halfway up the mountain, which is about a 20 minute walk
from the car.
It is a two-story log house, with “barn
and two outbuildings.” His cherry orchard, reported to be one of the finest in Greenbrier County was their main source
of income. In addition he grew rye, wheat, corn and some tobacco. There are cherry and apple trees still standing, giving evidence to the fact of a splendid orchard. At this level of the mountain, a magnificent view of the Greenbrier Valley is offered.
This mountain is now completely uninhabited, and has never known gas, electricity or running water. The house itself was not
very big: one main room downstairs, and three up. After Henry died, May 2, 1919,
Mary Martha moved back to the town of Rainelle. The house in which they had lived
was torn down some years later, the late 1920’s. and all that is left is
a pile of lumber stacked by the small mountain stream which still cuts its path down the mountain.
Henry Addison is buried in a small, abandoned
cemetery about a quarter of a mile southeast from the home site, on the Old Crookshank Farm.
One has to keep his eyes open or he will completely miss it. An old fence
surrounds the cemetery as well as hundreds of wild rose bushes. The grave itself
is completely covered by weeds and vines. There is no marker, but Mr. Harford
pointed out his grave. Henry and his wife are buried beside each other. The graves are completely unattended and been for many, many years. There is no road to the home site, and not even a path to the graveyard.
The scenery is breathtaking from the mountainside, especially in the fall, when we were there.