Thursday, September 24, 2009

Green B. Thornton 1822-1892

With the Thornton family reunion coming up this weekend, it is only appropriate to say a few words about Green B. Thornton. Green is the earliest known ancestor of the Thornton clan of northern Itawamba and southern Prentiss counties. He was born November 17, 1822, probably in Georgia, and died January 14, 1892 in Prentiss County. His full name is probably Greenberry, but I hesitate to label him as such since I've not found that name for him anywhere, but his middle initial definitely was "B".

Green's parents are a mystery. It is one of those brick walls that we encounter although usually not this quick in most of our family lines. Complicating matters is that I've only found Green in the 1870 (Itawamba) and 1880 (Prentiss) censuses although I know he was in Mississippi in 1850 and 1860. I've spent hours looking for him so if anyone has better luck than I have, please let me know about it.

Green served in the Civil War under Col. Aaron Hardcastle, enlisting in Itawamba County on November 3, 1863 in the Third Battalion, Mississippi Infantry, Company D. His company originally was part of the 33rd Regiment but was later reorganized under the 45th Regiment. Some online records indicate that Green enlisted in Company B in Choctaw County, but after viewing the muster rolls at the National Archives I know this is incorrect information. His widow's pension application in Prentiss County indicates that he was discharged in April 1865 in Atlanta.

Green was married to Mary whose last name may have been Dunlap, based on family information passed down through the years. In her application for Green's Civil War pension, Mary indicated that they were married in 1851.

The Thorntons lived along the Itawamba-Prentiss line. Deed records in Prentiss County show that Green and Mary owned the land where the Pleasant Valley Cemetery is located today, and it is in this cemetery that they are buried. Green's marker, held together in the picture above, is broken in half while Mary's marker is missing altogether. I don't know what happened to her marker - thankfully, it was listed in an earlier listing of the cemetery so we know it existed. Plus, her descendants are aware that the marker once was there.

Below are the census records I've found for Green and Mary. Note that the two records have conflicting information as to their places of birth. It sure would be nice to find them in another census. Based on answers given by their children in subsequent censuses, I believe that Green was probably born in Georgia and Mary in North Carolina although at least one child indicated in one census record that Green was born in Florida. All of these answers likely have some truth in them. Green probably did spend some time in Florida, and the couple probably also lived in Alabama at some time, maybe as children.

1870 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Township 9
Green Thornton 45 AL farmer 200 real estate/300 personal property
Mary 38 AL
Margarett 19 MS
John 17 MS
George 15 MS
Biddie 12 MS
Martha 8 MS
Charles 3 MS
(only Thornton in Itawamba County in 1870)

1880 Census
Prentiss County, Mississippi
4th Supervisor's District
G. B. Thornton 55 GA GA GA farmer
Mary 46 NC NC NC
Martha 16 MS
Charles 11 MS
Ira 8 MS
Marietta 6 MS
Willie 3 MS
Neighbors: Kizer, Gann, Wright

Children of Green and Mary:

Margarett Priscilla, b 1851, married William C. Gann
John T., b 1853, married Bettie Griffin
George Washington, b 1856, married Mary Jane Gann
Biddie Ann, b 1861, married Jasper Greenberry Franks
Martha A., b 1864, married James Elbert Pounds
Charles M., b about 1865, married Susan A. Shackleford
James Ira, b 1870, married Mary Della Unknown
Mary Etta, b 1873, married John Henry Morgan Schoggen
William Henry, b 1876, married Olar Burton
Fannie, b 1888, died as infant

I would love to hear from descendants of any of these children of Green B. Thornton and especially would love pictures!


Amy Franks Carpenter said...

Currently working on my own family tree and found this very helpful. I am a great great granddaughter of Green B. Thornton. Biddie Ann and Jasper Franks are the line I follow. I am pretty sure that Mary's last name was Dunlap or at least that is what is written in my baby book.

Mona Robinson Mills said...

Thanks, Amy, for dropping by. If you have any old pictures to share, I'd love to see them. My husband and I spent part of today visiting the old homeplace of Green's son, John T. Thornton, in Itawamba County. E-mail me at