Thornton, William F.

Born: 1789-10-04 Hanover County, Virginia

Died: 1873-10-21 Shelbyville, Illinois


Thornton, a veteran of the War of 1812, arrived in Shelby County, Illinois, from Kentucky in 1833. He opened a general merchandise business in Shelbyville. In 1836, he won election to the Illinois House of Representatives. Also in 1836, Governor Joseph Duncan appointed Thornton to the board of commissioners of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, and he served as the board’s president from 1836 to 1843. By 1850, Thornton owned $50,000 in real property. His nephew was Shelbyville attorney Anthony Thornton.

Gravestone, Glenwood Cemetery, Shelbyville, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Shelby County, IL, 193; Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Shelby County, ed. by George D. Chafee (Chicago: Munsell, 1910), 2:996-97.