Wesley and Emily Thornton were married and living in Stewart County in 1870, in Lumpkin, and are believed to be former slaves of the Thornton family/Head family who may have worked on the plantation. The census states that Emily was born in Mississippi (possibly in the 1840s?) and that Wesley was born in North Carolina (in the 1820s?)so the John Thornton family likely could have migrated from NC to GA. According to Wesley and Emily's descendents' family lore, Emily was the daughter of a slave owner (probably Burr Harrison Head) who was given to her half-sister as a wedding gift (given to Harriet). Emily was 20 years younger than her husband Wesley, who was owned by the Thorntons (also according to family lore). It is highly likely that the slave mother of Emily stayed in Mississippi with the Head family.
According to another researcher, there was a Dozier Thornton of Stewart County who was a former slave and had also apparently bought a large amount of land after his freedom. He is said to have had only one leg, may have had a brother named John, and his wife's name may have been Heidi and their children's names may be: Ollie (female), Rosie, John, Mattie, Josie. It is not known if this Dozier Thornton was one of the former slaves of the Thornton family plantation.
Also mentioned in the 1870 census for Stewart County is an 85 year old mulatto man named George Thornton whose profession is a blacksmith and he is listed as being born in Virginia. It is possible that he is connected to the Robert Thornton/John Thornton family who may have come from North Carolina or possibly Virginia.
If you have any other information on this family, associated surnames, or information on a possible plantation owned by a Thronton family in the Stewart County area and would like to contribute to this research, please contact Belinda Slocumb, your Stewart County Coordinator.
Back to the Thornton Family Page