Starling’s Virginia Family

The children of Starling Thornton and  Sally Moseley are proven by a pension record. A record found in “Abstracts Maryland Revolutionary Pensions”, by McGee pages 77 through 81, Maryland Service of John Pearce W5527. Page 79 refers to an affidavit in Franklin County, Virginia as follows:

“Affidavit in Franklin County, Virginia 3 February 1854 of Salley Thornton, age 76, stating she is the daughter of Mordecai Moseley, deceased; that her father was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and took sick and hired John Pearce to serve in his place; she filed the following records:

Starlin Thornton was born February 15, 1776
Salley Moseley was born December 16, 1777
Starlin Thornton was married August 29, 1803

  1. Rhoda Thornton was born June 23, 1804
  2. John Thornton was born March 30, 1806
  3. Starlin M. Thornton was born April 17 or 19, 1808
  4. Samuel Thornton was born April 10, 1810
  5. Elizabeth Thornton was born July 19, 1813
  6. Page Thornton was born July 9, 1815
  7. Burwell Thornton was born 1818
      1. Rhoda Thornton was born June 23, 1804 in Franklin County, Virginia. Rhoda married James Sebert Gadd August 17, 1827 in Franklin County, Virginia. James Sebert Gadd, Sr. was born 1808 in Franklin County, Virginia and died June 29, 1888 at Cowen, Webster County, West Virginia. His parents were William Warwick Gadd and Dicie Young. James and Rhoda moved a few times in their marriage but finally settled in Webster County, West Virginia. James is listed on the 1860 Webster County census as a miller. James Gadd and Rhoda Thornton had the following children:
        1. a son born 1829.
        2. Wilson T. was born 1831.
        3. James A. was born 1833.
        4. Harriet Elizabeth was born 1835 and died 1911 in Huntsville, Alabama.
        5. Abigail was born March 9, 1837 and died December 2, 1919 Wyoming, West Virginia.
        6. Sanford Pleasant was born 1839 and died May 15, 1864 New Market, Virginia.
        7. Sarah Abigail born 1838
        8. Andrew Powhatan was born September 25, 1828 and died March 30, 1909 Mercer County, WV.
      1. John W. Thornton was born March 30, 1806. John Thornton started construction on the log house in the fall of 1832 and dated a stone in the rock chimney. This log house was located near the Thornton Cemetery on Thornton Mountain. He married Lucy Parthana Ashworth on January 13, 1834 and took his bride to their new home on their wedding day. Lucy was the daughter of Rev. John and Susannah Brizindine Ashworth.


John and Lucy’s home is on display in Ferrum, Va.

The original home had a separate kitchen cabin behind it, it was seperated from the main structure by a narrow porch or breezeway that was open on the north side and used for storing firewood. Both log structures measured 28 x 241/2 and were a story and a half, with huge rock fireplaces and a sleeping loft upstairs. There was one small bedroom partitioned off behind and under the stairway in the main cabin where the parents slept. There were center doors, front and back, in both buildings with the rock chimneys located on the south side of the house. The kitchen cabin also served as the family dining room and had a narrow, steep stairway leading up to the sleeping loft.

John and Lucy had 12 children between 1834 and 1859. They say that the cradle was never empty for over twenty-five years. We are told that as the family grew, the older sons slept in the loft over the kitchen cabin, while the daughters occupied the “safe bedroom” which was located over the parent’s bedroom in the loft of the main house.

The children of John and Lucy Thornton are:


        1. Abner Karr  1834-1931
        2. Isabella Jane “Izzy”(Ramsey)  1836-1920
        3. John Starling  1838-1920
        4. Sarah Ann “Sallie”(Ward)  1840-1936
        5. Samuel William circa 1842-1939
        6. Benjamin Lewis circa 1844-1936
        7. Robert Judson  1845-1933 buried Milton Cemetery, Milton, West Virginia
        8. Mary Virginia (Williams)  1848-1936
        9. Martha Frances (Mullins)  1849-1928
        10. James “Jim” Pleasant  1853-1925
        11. Joseph Harvey  1855-1939
        12. Julia Franklin “Young” 1859-1953


John and Lucy Thornton both died the same week in May 1888, according to Providence Church records.

      1. Sterling Moseley Thornton was born April 17, 1808 in Franklin County, Virginia and died in the same county in 1893. Sterling married Milicent Hargrave Whitten April 18, 1843. Milicent was born circa 1820 in Bedford County, Virginia, she was the daughter of Joseph Whitten. Sterling married Sarah Frances Bell February 18, 1857 in Franklin County, Virginia. Sarah was born 1825, she was the daughter of John Meader Bell. Sarah’s sister Mary Daily was the wife of Creed Peter Oxley(later in Putnam County, West Virginia.) Sarah’s brother Peter Henry and his wife Ella Cassell brought the Bell family name to Putnam County and other areas of West Virginia.The children of Sterling Moseley and Milicent Whitten are:
        1. Sarah Elizabeth
        2. Joseph Alonza
        3. Jane
      2. Samuel G. Thornton was born April 10, 1810 in Franklin County, Virginia and died August 1, 1872 in Hickory County, Missouri. He married Mary J. Claughton August 22, 1844. Mary was born 1828 and died circa 1901 in Cord, Arizona. Samuel and Mary Thornton had the following children:
        1. Susan Medora born 1845
        2. Melvin born 1846
        3. Henry Everett born 1855
        4. Ellen born 1858
        5. Ruth Gertrude born October 16, 1848 and died August 17, 1939
        6. Carroll born November 12, 1853

An interesting story tells of the family hardships and events concerning the migration to Missouri. That story follows below:

“It seems Aunt Ruth (daughter of Sam and Mary) was 14 and my dad, Henry Everett, was 7 when they left Virginia around 1858. There was Dora and Melvin, between them, and 2 younger ones; it seems Grandpa Sam had married Mary Claughton, a very young girl, much younger than Grandpa. She had one sister, her mother had died and her father was a minister. Grandpa Sam’s family disapproved so strongly that Sam sold his holdings and left for the West. On the way they picked up an old man who was ill with a stomach disorder. The family contracted whatever it was, and they had to camp for a few weeks. The old man and the two youngest children died. They made their way on into central Arkansas. Another daughter, Ellen, was born there. During the time they were there (war time) the vandals known as “Bush Whackers” raided them, taking everything they had and burning their home. They were advised to go North, so Grandma and the children, except Dora, started the long journey on foot. Grandpa and Dora took work in a mill of some kind. How they knew where they were going I cannot figure. They had to cross the Boston Mountain range and several rivers. But they made it to near Osceola, Mo., in St. Clair County. They lived on roots – bark – wild berries – acorns and an occasional handout from a sympathetic farm family. They had to take turns carrying the little one which had the burden greater. I know this territory well and she must have traveled at least 250 miles. Somewhere along this trip it seems she met a soldier who befriended her in some way. Later when he was wounded, she took him in and cared for him. We do not know how long before Grandpa Sam and Dora joined them but some way they all got back together again. The children were all farmed out it seems to anyone who would give them food and clothes for work. Aunt Ruth went to work for a Wheeler family and soon married their son. Dora worked for people at Quincy, and married a Mr. Rains. Melvin and my father, as soon as they were big enough, started following the saw mills. It seems the soldier had stayed on and on – until Grandpa Sam saw what was happening. He asked the man to leave but he refused. So Grandpa Sam left them and went to live with Ruth, where he lived until he died, which by other dates must have been in the early 1870’s. Grandma continued to live with the soldier and they had two boys.”

    1. Elizabeth M. Thornton was born July 19, 1813 in Franklin County, Virginia and died 1888. Elizabeth married Owen Stanley. Owen was born 1822 in Patrick County, Virginia and died September 3, 1857 in Franklin County, Virginia. Owen and Elizabeth had the following children:
      1. Ferdinand born 1841.
      2. Burwell born September 20, 1842 and died May 30, 1922.
      3. Swinfield born 1845.
      4. Sarah E. born 1849.
      5. Peyton born 1847.
      6. Pleasant Brown born February 8, 1852.
      7. George Hadin born 1854.
    2. Page James Thornton was the sixth child born to Starling and Salley Thornton. Page was born July 9, 1815 in Franklin County, Virginia and died December 12, 1898 in the same county. Page married Rebecca Frith on February 12, 1839 in Franklin County, Virginia. Rebecca was the daughter of Thomas Frith and Elizabeth Scarborough, she was born August 28, 1822 and died August 20, 1906 in Franklin County, Virginia. Page and Rebecca are both buried in a family cemetery just up the hill from the location of the Page Thornton home.Page Thornton was known as “Big Page” to distinguish from his son Page James, Jr. who was called “Little Page” by family and friends in Franklin County.Big Page was an expert carpenter and cabinet-maker, as well as a farmer. Page and Rebecca raised eight children in a log bodied home on Thornton Mountain. The log home had a log partition downstairs, it was a story and a half with one large room upstairs. The kitchen was a separate cabin, located some 50 yards from the main dwelling.Page J. Thornton, Sr. served in the Confederate Army Homeguard during the Civil War without compensation according to Franklin County records. His wife Rebecca and 4 dependent children received an allotment each month from the county, that was provided for the wives of children of indigent soldiers. Page and Rebecca’s two oldest sons, Addison Henry and Page, Jr. also served in the Confederate Army. Shortly after the Civil War, Addison Henry, Page, Jr., Thomas and John Frith moved from Franklin County, Virginia and migrated to West Virginia.On December 7, 1908, the Page Thornton, Sr. heirs sold his land to William Lee Stanley  ( a grandson of Elizabeth Thornton Stanley). A daughter of William Stanley grew up on the farm and stated that the Page Thornton farm house was a larger log home than the John & Lucy Thornton cabin.The children of Page Thornton and Rebecca Frith are:
      1. Addison Henry was born July 13, 1840
      2. Page James, Jr. was born June 1, 1844 and died January 12, 1929, Lincoln County, West Virginia; married Henrietta Luke, September 15, 1872.
      3. Rebecca Ann was born June 18, 1847and married Ira J. Young November 28, 1878.
      4. Thomas Sterling was born November 8, 1849, Franklin County, Virginia.
      5. Abigail J. was born November 20, 1852; died September 25, 1890.
      6. Sarah E. was born July 24, 1855; died January 6, 1906.
      7. Melvina Emma was born April 11, 1858; died July 1, 1922; married Faithful Saul, 1877.
      8. John Frith was born June 23, 1861; married (1) Flora Alice Carpenter daughter of James A. Carpenter on September 20, 1889; married (2) Martha Keeling Mathews on August 15, 1900.
    3. Burwell Thornton was the seventh child born to Starling and Salley Thornton. Burwell was born February 14, 1818 in Franklin County, Virginia and died November 8, 1864 in Franklin County, Virginia. Burwell married Ruth Willis on January 8, 1856 in Franklin County, Virginia. The children of Burwell Thornton and Ruth Willis are:
      1. William Edward born 1856.
      2. William Earl born 1858.
      3. George Thomas born 1859.
      4. Sarah Ann born 1862.
      5. Mary Jane born 1862.

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