A Page from the past…

This is story about searching my ancestry on Thornton Mountain, Franklin County Virginia.

Jul18-07

A Trip on Thornton Mountain
July 19, 2003

On this sunny July afternoon I called Buddy & Louise Jordon on Thornton Mountain. I asked if I could see the Page Thornton home site and they said that I was welcome. I traveled up Thornton Mountain and just before I came to the Thornton Cemetery, I saw the road where I needed to turn south. I drove down Hickory Hills Lane that was located on a small ridge.

The lane was neatly mowed grass and trees well landscaped. I turned right at the second road and saw the Jordon home. I met Buddy and Louise at their front yard of the nice home. Buddy started my tour in his golf cart that is converted with a lift kit into a four-wheeler. We traveled back to the first road on the right. As we traveled down that lane we turned to the left. We followed an old road and after about 50 yards, Buddy pointed out a small flat on the right where an old tobacco barn had stood. When the barn had collapsed, Buddy took some of the old logs to a local mill and had beautiful chestnut paneling cut for his current home.

We traveled about another 50 to 75 yards and came to an open field that went slightly uphill. Buddy pointed out a pile of old stones to our left and this was the location of the chimney on the Page Thornton home.

Sitting there on that golf cart in that small grassy opening with large trees all around the area, it was difficult trying to imagine a farm house many years before with all its buildings, gardens and orchards. We next went down the hill about 75 yards slightly to the west and Buddy pointed out the old spring. I imagined a sizable trip to get water on a year round basis. We drove on a small lane through the trees and I tried to think about those water trips that happened over 150 years ago.

We next went back up the grade to the flat where the home site was located and up the field to another flat. Buddy pointed out a small flat where some other farm buildings were located. Colleen Thornton had said she thought that the area where she had found the graves of Page, Rebecca and the slave Gabriel.

Buddy said that Page’s father Starling had owned land up to the top of the mountain. He said that Starling had many orchards on the mountain. I told Buddy about my great-great grandfather Addison Henry and his large cherry orchards in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. It seemed to us that Addison must have learned about orchards on Thornton Mountain.

We finished our tour of the old home site by a small trip back to Hickory Hill Lane. We went up the lane to the north to a small bench made from stones that were once part of the chimney of the Page Thornton home. I noticed on one stone there were initials carved …..A.T.M. One might imagine nearly 200 years ago on a cold wintry night someone scratching those initials on a stone by the fire, but what could it mean?

I visited a while with the Jordons and thanked them for their gracious help.
Jeff Thornton

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