Monday, March 31, 2014

James and Ketiran Thornton

Yesterday I was working on my article about William Thornton, who I believe to be my 4th great grandfather.  His parents are said to be James and Elizabeth Jenkins Thornton.  Nothing is known about Elizabeth other than her name.  In 1740 when James sells some land in Massachusetts his wife had to cosign the deed.  She was unable to write so some else wrote her name down and she made her mark.  Her name was the very unusual Ketiran.  Elizabeth had presumably died and James had remarried.

I was playing around with lists of children and came up with the following:

maternal father         maternal mother  mother
paternal father          paternal mother   father

Matthew/Hannah Jack (Andrew&Mary)Agnes/John WasonWilliam/Dorcas Little (Thomas & Jane)
William/ Elinor Unknown
Hannah/William Wallace (John&Annis)Ester/James Ferguson






Dorcas (d/o elinor)



Okay, so in colonial times, many people used very distinctive naming patterns for their children. The first son was usually named for the father's father, the second son for the mother's father.  The first daughter was named for the father's mother and the second for the mother's mother.  Then the parents would name children after themselves.

If the children of James Thornton all shared the same mother and her name was Elizabeth, her name is conspicuously absent. Each of James' children named a son James.  Most of the children named a child for themselves and their spouse.  Only William named a daughter Nancy, said to be the name of their grandmother Thornton. (Error note: William did not have a daughter named Nancy, this was a transcription error)  There were four daughters named Mary and three named Catherine.  Agnes named her first daughter Catherine.  What if Ketiran was really a mangled spelling of Katherine?   This makes a lot of sense to me.

Unlike these days when all manner of made up names are used, the folks of the 18c. used well known names. Ketiran is not a name seen anywhere else.  What do you think?


NEWS FLASH 24 July 2015: I have found some new information on Katherine Thornton!!!

Yesterday I was reading the deed of sale in which James Thornton's wife was named. Her name was listed three times, in the space of four or five lines. Each time the name is spelled differently. Here they are:

I think that it is pretty clear from the first two instances, her name was Katherine. Only in the last one is it spelled Ketiran.  I have run these three names by many people and they all agree that the intended name must have been Katherine. I also believe that it is highly likely that the mother of at least some if not all of James' children was Katherine. If Katherine was not their mother, then I would put a bet on the Mother's name being Mary. The total lack of grandchildren named Elizabeth, is to me, a strong indication that James' wife was not an Elizabeth.

Okay! Found her name once more in a deed and I think this one, if you aren't already convinced, will seal the deal.

No comments:

Roles of Men, Women and Children in 17th Century Puritan Massachusetts

In 17 th century pur itan Massachusetts , the roles of men , women and children were very clearly defined . Men were the ...