Saturday, April 4, 2009

John T. Thornton and Nancy Elizabeth Griffin

John T. Thornton married Bettie Griffin a couple of days before Christmas in 1874 . They had been married 64 years to the day when he died on December 23, 1938 at his home in the Sandy Springs community. Their daughter Nora was my husband's great-grandmother and bride of Fisher Johnson.

John's father was Green B. Thornton, a Civil War veteran who moved his family to the area along the Prentiss-Itawamba county line after the war. I've been unable to locate Green's parents, and his name has alternately been found as Greenberry and Greenbriar. Complicating matters further, there are only two census records for Green and they both give conflicting information as to his place of birth - one indicates Georgia while the other shows that he was born in Alabama.

Nancy Elizabeth Griffin was the daughter of James C. Griffin and Sarah E. "Sallie" Evans. James and Sallie were both South Carolina natives who lived near Sandy Springs in northern Itawamba County.

After their marriage, John and Bettie lived in Prentiss County, but sometime before 1887 they moved across the head waters of the Tombigbee River to the Mud Creek area of Itawamba County. This was rather a short move in terms of distance, but the swampy area that separated the two locations created a a natural barrier to travel. It was because of this move that daughter Nora became acquainted with her future husband, Fisher Johnson, son of John Norman "Jack" Johnson and Angeline Amandaville Bowen.

John and Bettie raised thirteen natural children:

James L.
Martha F.
Carrie Lee
Charles Oscar
Mary Madeline
William Paskel
Thomas J.
Lillie Mae
Ira Green

In addition to the thirteen children listed above, John and Bettie raised a foster daughter, Dewdrop.

John died in 1938. Bettie died in 1952 and was buried next to her husband in the Sandy Springs Cemetery. Bettie was 96 years old at her death. Her mother, Sallie Evans Griffin, lived to be 90 years old, and her daughter, Nora Thornton Johnson, lived to be 88 years old. Together, those three women's lives spanned 145 years, from 1834 to 1979.

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