I learned that the Alabama State Census was now available for searching at Ancestry.com for the years 1820-1866. I decided that I would search for my ancestor James M. Thornton. I searched for the surname Thornton in Fayette County. All of my hits were from the year 1866 although the collection description states that 1820, 1850, 1855, and 1866 are available. I found James in township 14, range 10 west in Fayette County. There were 2 males under 10 (William Walter and John Sherman) and one male over 20 (James) and 1 female under 10 (Alice) and one over 20 (second wife Nancy). All of the children were from the second marriage. [The source information provided by Ancestry is: Ancestry.com. Alabama State Census, 1820-1866 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009. Original data: Alabama State Census, 1820, 1850, 1855 and 1866. Montgomery, Alabama: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Rolls M2004.0008-M2004.0012, M2004.0036-M2004.0050, and M2008.0124. His record was on page 5 or image 3 for Fayette County. There was no individual roll number given for the Fayette County images. That's going to make it difficult to cite Mills' style if it cannot be found on the ADAH site.]
I'm going to have to spend a little more time with it to locate the household in which James' son by his first wife was residing. He was reared by his maternal grandparents, Ashley and Celia Aldridge. We know that Ashley was living in 1860 but deceased by 1870. Celia was still living in 1870. I have been unable to locate either of them in the 1866 variation, but if, after browsing the township in which they resided (and it's too late to tackle that job tonight), I don't find Ashley under a misspelled name (and do find Celia), then I can narrow down his date of death a bit more!
Wasn't it nice of Ancestry.com to give me some Saturday night genealogy fun? And that after an afternoon of research at the North Carolina State Library & Archives!
By the way, late this afternoon there was a really horrible storm that popped in and out of downtown Raleigh. It was so quick that if it had not made such a "commotion" that I might not have known it occurred at all. However, I got to watch orange and white construction barriers that were being used to block off a nearby street flying through the air. They didn't fly far -- but they did fly a bit after being lifted off the ground. There was a lot of paper flying high in the air as well. (I'm glad they weren't the copies I made earlier!)