Born: 1789-01-17 Caroline County, Virginia
Died: 1870-05-07 Chatham, Illinois
Flourished: Sangamon County, Illinois
Soon after their 1808 marriage, Thornton and his wife Judith left Virginia and moved to Kentucky. At the outbreak of the War of 1812, Thornton enlisted in the Army, gaining the rank of lieutenant. In 1834, the Thorntons moved their family of eleven to Sangamon County, Illinois, and settled near the present-day town of Chatham, where William built up a farm. The Thorntons were original members of the first Presbyterian church organized near Chatham. In 1860, Thornton owned $5,000 worth of real estate.
John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 714; History of Sangamon County, Illinois (Chicago: Inter-State, 1881), 830; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Sangamon County, IL, 48; Gravestone, Chatham Community Cemetery, Chatham, IL.