Our West Virginia Family

The children of Page James Thornton and Rebecca Frith are the primary groups in our family to migrate to West Virginia. The children of Page Thornton and Rebecca Frith that migrated to West Virginia are:

  • Addison Henry – born July 13, 1840
  • Page James, Jr. – born June 1, 1844
  • Thomas Sterling – born November 8, 1849
  • John Frith – born June 23, 1861

The first family to discuss is Page James, Jr. and his wife Henrietta Luke. Page, Jr. was born June 1, 1844 in Franklin County, Virginia and died January 1929 in Lincoln County, West Virginia. Page, Jr. was present on the 1900 Lincoln County Census, he probably migrated from Franklin County, Virginia after his father’s death in 1898.


Page James Thornton, Jr. “Little Page”

The children of Page James Thornton, Jr. and Henrietta Luke are:

  1. William Lee born July 1873; married Maude Paul.
  2. Robert Ben born 1875; married Alice Mason.
  3. James P. “Jim” born November 20, 1877; died October 12, 1964 Hurricane, WV; married Myrtle Mae Young( daughter of James and Sarah Bird Young).
  4. John William born 1876.
  5. James Edmundson 1879-1969, married Maggie Mason.
  6. Herbert born April 1882.
  7. Addison born May 1883, married Louise Higginbotham.
  8. George born June 1887.
  9. Lula born October 1889.
  10. Sarah B. “Sally” born 1891.
  11. Alberta

The third child of Page Jr. and Henrietta Luke was James P. Thornton. The children of James P. and Myrtle Mae Young are:

  1. Jewel 1902-1963
  2. Robert 1906-1982
  3. Ida Velma 1910-1998
  4. Bessie 1912-1973
  5. Maye
  6. Blondenia Anna 1918-1998
  7. Jimmie Junior 1921-1993; married Naomia Stowasser, their children are:
    1. Billy Lee married Norma Thornton, daughter of Everett and Mary Bird Thornton (Everett son of Thomas J. & Rosa Leah)
    2. Tommy Lee
    3. Roger Lewis
    4. Connie Lewis
    5. Don Lewis
    6. Virgie Mae
    7. Linda Kay
    8. Loretta Jean
    9. Mary Ellen
    10. James Harley
  8. Billy married Patricia Smith

The next West Virginia immigrant to discuss is the youngest son of Page Thornton and Rebecca Frith. John Frith was born June 23, 1861 in Franklin County, Virginia and migrated to Putnam County sometime before 1889. John married Flora Carpenter (daughter of James A. Carpenter) on September 20, 1889 by Elder Samuel Smith at Elie Carpenter’s home. The Carpenter home is thought to have been located on Turkey Creek.


The children of John Frith Thornton and Flora Carpenter are:

  1. Lewis M. born 1891, married Annie Laurie Keeling, children are:
    • Eldridge Oral   married Arbutus Jarrel
    • Wilson Armstead died January 14, 1942
    • Denver Madison lived in Colorado
    • Elva Olah married Ray Fridley
    • Elvin Leslie married Dortha Vance
    • Howard Clay married Ruby McGraw
    • Gladys Ruby died 1920
    • Boyd Morise died September 30, 1923
  2. Watty (no other information on her, only a census listing)

John Frith Thornton married Martha Keeling Mathews on August 15, 1900. Martha was born March 7, 1876 and died October 13, 1917. Martha married Arthur W. Mathews in 1893 and a daughter, Flossie Susan was born August 13, 1894. Arthur was killed in a hunting accident. John Frith Thornton and Martha Keeling Mathews had the following children:

  1. Claude T. born October 13, 1901, married Virginia Simpson.
  2. Bessie Line born 1903
  3. Noah F. born 1905, died 1969, married Gladys Barger
  4. Ezra Randolph born May 29, 1907, died February 10, 1920.

John Frith abandoned his family not to be heard from again. John Frith was not present on the 1910 Putnam County, West Virginia Census and based upon the youngest child’s birthday he must have abandoned sometime after August 1906.

The next West Virginia immigrant is Thomas Sterling Thornton and Sarah Alice Goode. Sarah was the daughter of William Marshall Goode and Sarah Oxley. Thomas Sterling was the son of Page Thornton and Rebecca Frith and was born November 8, 1849. Thomas and Sarah’s marriage date is not known but was after the Civil War probably around 1869. Thomas was listed on the 1870 Putnam County, West Virginia Census as a head of household, his age listed was 20 and Sarah’s was 17. Thomas and Sarah had migrated to Greenbrier County, West Virginia. They are on the 1900 Census along with their son Thomas W. Thomas was located in the Blue Sulphur District of Greenbrier County, West Virginia. Thomas had an older brother Addison Henry that had abandoned his family in Putnam County around 1878 and moved to Greenbrier County, around Rainelle, West Virginia. Thomas and Sarah had the following children:

  1. Thomas William 1875-1917, married Minnie Etta Perkins at Alderson, West Virginia.
  2. Rufus Hopkins 1870-1963, married Rhoda Ann Alford
  3. Emma born 1873, married William Neal
  4. Flemon Page 1877-1931, married Elsie Jane McCallister.
  5. Benjamin born 1870

The remaining male child of Page James Thornton and Rebecca Frith to migrate to West Virginia is the oldest – Addison Henry Thornton was born July 13, 1840. He was raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, on what is still known today as Thornton Mountain (presumably named after his grandfather Starlin(g), or Sterling, who bought the land). Thornton Mountain is approximately two miles northeast of Ferrum, Virginia, and four miles southwest of Rocky Mount, the county seat. Addison Henry Thornton 2187 Card #15 enlisted at Young’s Store, Franklin County, Virginia, as a private June 15, 1861 under Major James G. Lavender 57 Virginia Volunteers. (Young’s Store was located in the clearing below Young’s Cemetery. Young’s Cemetery is located on Hawpatch Road just south of the intersection with Swellin Road. Young’s Store was a Post Office and enlistment station for Company B 57th VA CSA.) The enlistment was complete July 22, 1861 and the company marched 200 miles to Richmond and arrived July 29, 1861.

Company Muster Rolls :

  • Absent on sick furlough from October 17, 1861; Present, sick in camp November-December 1861
  • Absent AWOL since February 24, 1862 in Franklin County, Virginia
  • March and April 1862 – present
  • Promoted from Private to Corporal May 21, 1862
  • Absent sick at Drewry’s Bluff June 27-30,1862
  • December 31, 1862 Absent
  • February 28, to April 1863 present
  • May to June 1863 – present
  • July 1863 – present
  • August 1863 – present September 1, 1863 Addison was promoted from 3 Corporal to 5 Sergeant per Regiment Order # 107 Dated H 57 Virginia Volunteers
  • October to March 1864 – present
  • May 1864 – present
  • June 1864 – present
  • July 1864 to March 1865 – present

April 1, 186addisonhenrythornton5 Addison was captured at Battle of Five Forks. General Sheridan captured 4000-5000 Confederate soldiers that day.

Addison was a Prisoner of War at Point Lookout, Maryland Released June 20, 1865 at Point Lookout, Maryland, Register #2, page 702. Name appears as signature to an Oath of Allegiance to U.S., June 20, 1865 #29, Sheet 18. Resides in Franklin County, Complexion fair, brown hair, blue eyes, 5’7-3/4″.

Right after the Civil War, Henry Addison, Lucy, and we believe Thomas Sterling, and the rest of Lucy’s family came to W.Va. seeking new fortunes. So many southerners lost everything during the war, and these were probably the circumstances that brought our Thorntons to the Turkey Creek area of Putnam County, W.Va. Woodson Bird, the son of Lucy Thornton Bird, by her second marriage, tells (as was told by Lucy) “that when they first settled near the Putnam-Lincoln County line, the county was untouched, wild, and beautiful. They had to build fires at night to keep the bears and other wild animals away. They built a 16′ log cabin and moved in even before the doors were hung. Someone would have to stand watch over the gardens with a gun at times just to keep the wild animals out.” Thus began the lineage of the “Putnam County” Thorntons from the mountains of Virginia to the rough, unsettled hills of West Virginia.

Curry District of Putnam County, WV near the Lincoln County line.


  • The map above shows the location of the Thornton farm as number 4.
  • The number 1 shows the location of the road from Bridge Creek toward the Old Turnpike (Rt. 60).
  • The number 2 shows the location of the Bird farm and W.P. Thornton store.
  • The number 3 shows the location of the farm owned by Thomas Jefferson Thornton in 1920 when his son Leonard Edward was born.
  • The number 5 shows the Trace Fork of Mud River.



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