Lee County Biography


James B. H. Thornton has been a resident of Lee county since 1867 and has contributed substantially to its growth and development, having been since that time closely and influentially connected with agricultural interests here. He is today the owner of a fine farm of one hundred and twenty acres on section 31, Bradford township, and by his intelligent and capable management of this property has surrounded himself with a gratifying degree of prosperity. He is, moreover, entitled to a place in this volume as a veteran of the Civil war. He was born in Oldham county, Kentucky, September 15, 1840, and is a son of Phillip C. and Adeline (Hall) Thornton, also natives of that state. They moved to Missouri in 1844 and both died there. Of their eight children five still survive.

James B. H. Thornton was reared in Missouri and he remained at home until 1861. In that year he enlisted in Company A, Eighth Kansas Volunteer Infantry, and he served for four years, four months and nineteen days in the Civil war. He was appointed captain of Company K, Twelfth Regiment of colored troops, and he served in this capacity for two years and five months. He took part in the battle of Nashville and although he was in the thick of the fight, came out unwounded. He was discharged at Nashville, Tennessee, and with a creditable military record returned to Missouri. He remained in that state until 1867 and then came to Lee county, Illinois, where he has since resided. From the beginning he gave his attention to general farming and he has since been identified with agricultural interests here. In 1875 he moved upon the farm which he now owns and its present excellent condition is a visible evidence of the care and labor which he has bestowed upon it. The farm comprises one hundred and twenty acres on section 31, Bradford township. and is a valuable property in every particular, provided with a comfortable house, substantial barns and outbuildings and modern machinery.

In Lee county Mr. Thornton married Miss Delia E. Shaw, who was born in Bradford township, December 15, 1845. She is a daughter of Sherman and Melinda (De Wolf) Shaw, natives of western New York. The parents went to Michigan in 1836 and in the following year moved to Lee county, Illinois, where in 1839 the father entered from the government the farm now owned by the subject of this review. He made his home upon this property until 1855, when they moved to Lee Center, where they both passed away. Of the eight children born to their union Mrs. Thornton is the only one now living. Mr. and Mrs. Thornton have become the parents of six children: Adeline D., the wife of Edwin E. Pomeroy, of Bradford township; Manley P., an attorney at Worthington, Minnesota; Harry F., a resident of Lee county; Alice L. and Edward S., at home, and Florence Alberta, the wife of Erwin Felhauer, of Whiteside county, Illinois. The family attend the Congregational church.

Mr. Thornton is connected fraternally with Lee Center Lodge, No. 146, F. & A. M., in which he has been senior warden for two terms. His daughter Alice is a member of the Eastern Star at Franklin Grove and Rebekah Lodge, No. 759, of Lee Center. Mr. Thornton was one of the early settlers in Lee county and he has witnessed a great deal of its development, his own well directed activities being a contributing factor in progress. He has won a degree of success which places him among the men of ability and worth in his community.

History of Lee County 1914 by Frank E. Stevens


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