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These transplants where welcomed and brought to the country economic growth with new industries and taming of wild lands. The natural course of events lead to a multi-cultural society with people of mostly English descent and those of mixed descent being English-Scot, or English-Irish or, as defined above, as Scot-Irish. The Scots also brought with them their spiritual heritage; Presbyterianism. Churches where planted and grew which soon found them in conflict with their Catholic and Angelican Church neighbors.
At the start of the 18th century economic and political tensions rose. Passage by the British of the Sacrament Test Act of 1704 exacerbated already harsh natural disasters, resulting in migration out of Ireland. Their Presbyterian Church roots stretched across the Atlantic and upon arrival in their newest homeland the Scot-Irish settled America's Middle Colonies,established new church bodies, and continued their religious traditions. The British crown created natural enemies in the colonial Scot-Irish citizens, fueling anti-British sentiment, the very same ruling class who had driven them across the Atlantic. It is estimated that fully 40-50% of the American Revolutionary Forces where of Scot-Irish heritage.
In this wave of people was one known as Thomas Towles Thornton, a young, "tall and straight" fellow who left his homeland of Donegal, Ulster, Ireland, for the shores of Colonial Virginia at the age of 18 years. 1773 is the best approximated date of his arrival given his birth year of 1755. A survey of the Revolutionary militia muster roll of Lancaster County includes names such as "Presley" and "Thornton." For instance, "Presley" was a name associated with Bacon's Rebellion of 1676.
It is reported that Thomas T Thornton (click on his name to see records from the DAR) joined the service of the Revolutionary War on the British side and then on the American side. Virginia as deeply divided by loyalties to both sides of the brewing conflict, in as "Thornton" is a popular surname with English origins, it is not impossible to understand Loyalist tendencies. Before the War came to a close Thomas "joined his lot" with the Americans. As a member of the Delaware regiment he was instrumental in fighting the battle of Eutaw Springs in South Carolina where he was wounded.
Upon return from the war he married Elizabeth (Betsy) Robertson, (sister of James Robinson, who rose to the rank of a general in Revolutionary War, and fought with Generals Marion, Sumter and Lee. He participated in the battles of Kings Mountain, Eutaw Springs and Cowpens, explored rugged terrain with Daniel Boone and settled Tennessee where a county is named in his honor). In the year 1782 and made their home in Salisbury, North Carolina eventually migrating to Kentucky where they are buried in Bourbon in the area that is now known as "Little Rock." It is believed that Thomas raised his family in the Presbyterian church. To this couple where born three children, Henry Presley (1783 Bourbon, KY-1865 Paoli, IN), Benjamin, and Margaret.
(Note: find Geo See biography sketch in History of Burbon County .... Kentucky, text link below)
Benjamin married the sister of George See, Elizabeth See, to this home where born two daughters; Juliann and Martha Harriet. Benjamin stayed in Kentucky and worked the farm.
|Henry Presley Thornton|
The Braxtans where not to be outdone by the Thorntons. Like the former, the Thorntons migrated from the South to Indiana. It is likely the Land Act of 1804, attracted such families. The legislation included the Northwest Territory which is presently known as Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and parts of Minnesota. The Braxtans relocating for the promise of a slave free home; the Thorntons for room to grow their family and opportunities as they may present themselves. Indiana was admitted to the Union in 1818 this being the same year Henry and Martha's 6th child was born in Paoli.
References and futher reading:
HISTORY: of Lawrence, Orange and Washington Counties, Indiana From the Earliest Time to the Present; Together with Interesting Biographical Sketches, Reminiscences, Notes, Etc. Chicago, Goodspeed Bros., & Co., Publishers, (1884) Weston A. Goodspeed, Leroy C. Goodspeed, Charles L. Goodspeed. Bourbon County, KY
(searchable text link)
History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas counties, Kentucky (1882)
(searchable text link)
The Annals of a Family, J.F. Thornton (1940)
BBC-History of Wars and Conflicts in Ireland
Plantations of Ireland
The Ulster Plantation - History - Related Links