Sunday, September 20, 2009

William Pascal Thornton

I love this photograph of William Pascal Thornton and his mule. The mule was a central character to life in early Itawamba County. Many photographs taken in the early part of the 1900s included the family mule, such as this 1914 photo. Eventually though, the family car replaced the mule in family photographs. The mule was no longer necessary for transportation, and tractors eventually replaced mules in the fields. Willie's granddaughter, Laura, provided this photograph (thank you!), and she said that to her knowledge Willie never owned a car or had a driver's license. He loved to fish and could fish for hours at his fishing hole in the Twenty Mile Bottom.

Willie was married to Beulah Ann Stanford, and the 1930 census-taker found the Thornton family living on the "Jay Senter" Road in northwestern Itawamba County.

1930 Census
Itawamba County, Mississippi
Beat 2
Jay Senter (Jacinto) Road
Willie P. Thosten 38 MS MS MS farmer, married at age 21
Bula A. 36 MS AL AL, married at age 19
Cecil R. 17 MS farm laborer
Troy A. 15 MS farm laborer
Rubel M. 12 MS daughter
Paul L. 6 MS son
Eva L. 4 MS

Willie's sister was Nora Thornton Johnson, my husband's great-grandmother. The siblings were just two years apart in age, with Willie being the older of the two. Nora was 88 years old when she died in 1979, but Willie lived to be 100 years old! He died in 1989.

I understand that the Thornton family reunion is usually held every 4th Saturday in September at the Ryans Well community center. That means it is coming up soon! The Itawamba Thorntons descend from Green B. and Mary Thornton, who were Willie's grandparents. Green and Mary are buried in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Prentiss County, just across the border from Itawamba County, on land that was once owned by Green.

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