– As in the case of Josiah Bartlett who we posted on last week, Thornton was a delegate from New Hampshire.
– Signed the Declaration of Independence when he was 62 years old.
– Lived from 1714 (exact date of birth is unknown) to June 24th, 1803.
– Was born in Ireland, but came to America with his family when he was three or four years old.
– Grew up in Worchester, Massachusetts and eventually became a doctor by studying with an established physician. He then set up his own successful medical practice in Londonderry, New Hampshire.
– Married Hannah Jack in 1760. Thornton was 46 and Hannah was only about 18. They had five children.
– Served as surgeon to a unit of five hundred New Hampshire men during the first Battle of Louisburg during the War of Austrian Succession or “King George’s War”.
– Was the first president of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
– Thornton, who was an active patriot, likely played a role in helping New Hampshire become the first of the original 13 colonies to create a government totally independent of Great Britain.
– Was a strong Christian and a devoted follower of George Washington.
– Although he couldn’t be present to vote for the Declaration of Independence, he signed it later on November 4th, 1776 (the day he took his seat in Congress).
– In 1776, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas and later was raised to the office of Judge of the Superior Court (around 1777).
– Was a member of the General Court and a senator in the state legislature.
– Also served as a member of the council (1785), and held the office of Justice of the Peace from January 1784 until his death in 1803.
– Caught and survived whooping cough when he was around 80 years old.
– Continued writing political articles for newspapers into his 80’s and was still practicing medicine as well.
– The city of Thornton, New Hampshire is named for him.
-Photo credit: Wikipedia public domain
– For You They Signed, 2009, Marilyn Boyer