Thornton Family History

Descendants of William Thornton and Miranda Robinson

of Grafton, NY Ionia Co. Mich, and Fond du Lac, WI


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William (2) Thornton was born 26 Nov 1808 in NY, the son of William Thornton (1) and Mary Brenenstuhl.  His father was a Revolutionary War soldier, born in RI  Early on, the Thorntons moved to Renssalaer Co NY, and William and Maranda's first two children are recorded as being born in Grafton NY.

William (1) and Mary Brenenstuhl Thornton are buried in Pittstown NY, in the Pittstown Corners Baptist Disciple Cemetery.

The following information is supplied from Phyllis Draper (pdraper@adelphia.net) concerning William (1)

William (1) was in the Revolution - probably not much more than 15 yrs old at the time.I do  have copies of  some pension records that are very difficult to read. I think the jist of them is that Mary was granted the pension after William died.. Nothing there about Father being born in RI. 

In a book, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awarded by State Governments, by Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck, it lists on page 529   Thornton, William. N.Y. Matross. 9 jul 1790 . 600 acres 
In the NY Genealogical & Biographical Record, Vol 32. page 160 I found: Onondaga Records 1791          Thornton, William, late private Art. Regt, illiterate, transfers to James Palmer Jr. of Kinderhook. Deated at Kinderhook March 3 Vol. 33 , page 160         Onondaga Records  1793-1794
      Wm. Thorrington ( I have seen Thorrington used many times in place of Thornton .- twice when I knew the person signing was illiterate and most likely unable to proofread )  of Pittstown, late matross Art. Regt., illiterate, transfers to John Comstock, Joel Abbott and Richard Lush, lot 44 Camillus  Date Oct 24.

Camillus is near Syracuse NY and was formerly Onondaga Indian land. In the aforesaid book it states that the state of NY purchased the land from the Onondaga Indian Nation and the Cayuga Nation in 1788 and 1789.Further purchases from the Oneida and Tuscaroras were also made. The Indians had supported the British during  the Rev. War.The tract contained over one and a half million acres.  Within 3 days after the final purchases from the Indians, NY held the balloting for distribution of the land.  The name of each veteran was written on a slip of paper and put into a box. The name of each lot was written on another slip and placed in a seperate box.  As a slip was drawn from each box, they were matched as the veteran's land. The veteran then received patent to their land on condition that the land be settled within 7 years. They also had to pay surveying costs. The formula for issuing NY bounty land grants was                    private:   500 acres

Somewhere along  my research, I remember reading that if a soldier was in an extra dangerous position, he received an additional amount.  This may account for William Thornton getting 600 acres, as from what I could find, a matross loaded cannons. 


Here is a transcript of William's Revolutionary War Pension file, from descendant William Hall:

"Revolutionary War Pension
Claim # W20089

A True and Perfect Inventory or Schedule, of all the House and personal property (?? clothing and bedding excepted), of William Thornton as pensioner of the U States.

No real estate -  Personal estate as follows, vis

1 Hog $1.00
1 iron post 75/100, 
1 tea kettle 50/100, 
1 bake kettle 50/100, 
1 dinner kettle $1.00 
---------- $  3.75
1 small finishing wheel $1.00, 
One large Wheel $2.00, 
6 knives and forks $1.00, 
6 ???? 19/100 
---------------  4.19
6 Pewter spoons 50/100, 
4 ?? 12.5/100, 
6 earthen plates 37.5/100, 
3 bowls 18/100
-------------------------   1.18
1 ?? 50/100, 
4 chairs $2.00, 
1 maple table $1.00, 
One chest 75/100
------------------------    4.25
=========
$13.37

I am a common laborer, unable to do much by reason of Rheumatic complaints, which I am constantly afflicted - my family  consist of a wife aged forty - nine, and seven children. vis. Polly aged sixteen, Catherine aged fifteen, William aged fourteen, Phoebe aged Eleven, Larry aged ten, Hannah aged Eight, Michael aged four years. And I do solemnly swear that the forgoing Schedule of Property, the number, names, and ages of my family are true according to the best of my knowledge.
Jan 2, 1821
Sign with his mark, William Thornton
Sworn in Open Court"


William (1) married Mary Brenenstuhl, and they were the parents of: 

Mary/Polly Thornton b. ca. 1805; married Benjamin Morse

Catherine Thornton b. ca. 1806; married Samuel Morse

William (2) b ca. 1813? married Maranda Robinson

Phoebe Thornton 

Larry Thornton

Hannah Thornton b. ca. 1813

Michael Thornton, b. 9 Aug 1816 in Housick, Renssalaer Co NY; died 5 Oct 1891 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada; married Sarah Morse. 


William (2) married Maranda Robinson, and their first two children are born in Grafton, Rensslaer Co. NY.  About 1845 William and Maranda migrate to Ionia Co. Mich, where they remain for 20 years, and where they add seven more children to their family. 

In 1866 William and Maranda decide to move to Wisconsin, where Maranda's father, brother and sister had already settled.   The purchase land in the township of Auburn in 1866, and their last child is born here.

William (2) and Maranda Thornton had ten children:
William Clark Thornton (July 2, 1844 - 21 Oct 1919)
Andrew Almiriam Thornton (25 May 1846 - 2 June 1925)
Mary E. Thornton Flynn (31 Jan 1849 - 31 July 1881)
Sarah Thornton Kuter (17 June 1851 - 13 Aug 1950)
Harvey James Thornton (13 Sept 1854 - 10 Aug 1922)
Charles Thornton (Jan 1856 - ?)
Harriet Thornton Thompson (1858 - ?)
George Thornton (1860 - ?)
Samuel Thornton (1864 - ?)
John Benjamin Thornton (4 Sept 1867 - 2 June 1936)

Thanks to the efforts of Evelyn Luedtke, another family genealogist who worked on this line, all ten lines of William and Maranda's descendants have been located.


*** At  ww.rootsweb.com/~nyrensse/pension.htm  on page 10 you can fine Thornton, William, Private, etc  listed. I have also found him in "Abstracts of Rev War Pension Files"
*** Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awarded by State Governments, by Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck
*** NY Genealogical & Biographical Record, Vol 32. page 160
*** Revolutionary War Pension Claim # W20089
***In the 1880 census for Fond du Lac Co. WI, William (2) states that his mother was born  in NY, but his father was born in Rhode Island.