Saturday, August 11, 2007

Arrival: Widow's and Children's Pension Files for Henry M. Thornton

Henry M. Thornton is the brother of my great great grandfather James M. Thornton.

I ordered the pension file on June 2, 2007. It arrived today. That's a little over 2 months from order to receipt. (Genealogists like to compare how quickly the National Archives fills requests.) Now, here's what I've learned from the file.

I now have another documented date of marriage for Henry M. Thornton and Mary Hocutt. This one actually provides the location of the marriage. It was 3 Jan 1861 at the home of Mary's father Robert in Walker County, Alabama by A. J. Files.

I also have documented dates of births for the children. There is one discrepancy on a date inside the file, but there is only one instance where the date differs in the file. That is on the date of daughter Roxanna's birth. The one instance of difference is where it is being reported by her brother at a much later date. He gives an 1862 date instead of 1861. Roxanna Thornton was born 26 Oct 1861 and John Henry Anderson Thornton was born 16 Oct 1863. Mahala Jeffreys was the midwife present at the births of both children. After the death of their mother, Elijah A. Jeffreys was appointed as their guardian. That document also mentions J. L. Roby and M. L. Johnson. [Moses L. Johnson is the second husband of Mary Hocutt Thornton, marrying on 12 Dec 1869. (Bynum, Don. Fayette County, Alabama, Marriage Book 1, 19 June 1866-20 August 1879) He is said to have had 3 wives, all named Mary. Mary Hocutt Thornton is supposed to be the 2nd of the three.] The pension states that the widow's last payment was 4 Sep 1869 which probably was the last payment before her remarriage.

I have a date of death for Henry's widow Mary. We knew that she died prior to 1874, but we did not have a date. She died 3 Feb 1872 according to most documents in the file and 1 Feb 1872 according to another.

James M. Thornton, my great-great grandfather, witnessed one of the documents in the file, along with Moses L. Johnson. The document was a change in local attorneys handling the pension.

Now, I'm just waiting on the pension file of Martin V. Thornton to arrive. Since it was given to his mother, I'm hoping it will resolve some of the mysteries surrounding her.

Various documents indicate that Henry's family resided in Winston County, at Holly Grove in Walker County, and at Dublin in Fayette County over the years.

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