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We are descended from William Henry Thornton (1781 – 1848) and his wife, Joanna Maria nee Perini (1802 – 1871) through their eldest son, William Henry (1818 – 1903) who settled in Australia.

William Henry the elder was baptised in Urglin parish in 1781, so we presume his parents lived in that area. Sketchy family records state that his father’s name was Samuel (born 1757) and his mother’s maiden name was O’Brien (she died about 1830). We believe that the first member of this Thornton family to settle in Ireland was a Samuel Thornton who settled in Palatine in County Carlow in about 1690.

William Henry and Joanna lived in Thornville and many of their 16 children were baptised in Urglin parish.  William Henry served in Portugal in the Peninsular War and afterwards was a barrack master in Carlow and other barracks.

We would be most grateful for any assistance with any information about William Henry Thornton and his family.

We are thinking of visiting Ireland later in 2014 and are also interested in any records we could view or gravesites or other places relating to the family that we could visit. We would also be delighted to meet any other members of the family, however distantly related!

Constance Chapman

Constance Chapman

Saturday 18th January 2014, 07:37AM

Message Board Replies

  • Hi Constance,

    Thank you very much for your message. I have forwarded it to one of our volunteers who hopefully may be able to assist or advise in some way.

    All the best,

    Genealogy Support




    Emma Carty

    Saturday 1st March 2014, 04:17PM
  • Dear Constance

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Our volunteer in Carlow has contacted me and asked that I pass the information below to you.

    Best wishes

    Clare Doyle

    Genealogy Support 


    There are two Thornton Marriages found in Corrigan papers on the web-site below.  I included the Walker/ Habit marriage as he might be connected to the wife of George Thornton but that is conjecture.

    June 5th 1817
    Urglin Co. Carlow MARRIAGE 

    Urglin Co. Carlow Marriage

    The birth marriage and death results for the Thorntons at Urglin are on-line in the Church of Ireland genealogical records on the Government site

    Three more records below: More

    Carlow Slater's Directory 1842

    Clare Doyle

    Friday 25th April 2014, 09:36AM
  • Dear Constance, I two have started to search for my Thornton ancesters. I stem from William Henry's second son Frederick for whom I have no unformation. My infomation on his mother Juana Maria di Perini born Portugal 1803, the forname seems to have Irishised over the years Joanna is that used on the Probated Will in 1849. I have bought  WHT's will in Email form from the National Arcive it is two pages of closely written hard to decifer hand writing,even when enlarged. I had hoped to learn the names of more of his children, possible names include your William henry and my Frederick as well as the unconfirmed Mathilda, Joseph and Sydney. Ifyou would like to try I could mail it. I have also managed to roughly  piece together  WHT's military service and would happly compare it to such information you may have , .Of Frederick's decendants I only have details of Mary (1850-1914) whomarried  1880 the Reverend Later Canon later Archdeacon John Healy (1850-1942) LLD Rector of Kells Co,Meath.They had ffive children Iris,Guy, Olive ,Eve Eleanor (186-1978) and Colum.Eve married 1908 the Rev arthur Meagher Cave(1884-1942) of Cork they had four children Mary, Vera Eleanor, (1914-1965),Stephen, guy and Rosemary. My mother Vera married 1939 David Ingles Campbell Robertson (1905-1978) Master Mariner they had two sons, me john stephen campbell Robertson (1940-  ) no children  and my brother David  Gordon Campbell Robertson(1941-  )  PhD Sydney Metalurgy who narried Ruth Docker they  now live in Rolla Mo USA and have two daughters and who in turn have two childern. I live in Stuttgart Germany, my mail adress I am in touch with relatives in Ireland, hoping this all helps and that you can help me fill in gaps and that we can both find more anout the 17th and  18th centuries.

    John Robertson

    Thursday 29th May 2014, 06:32PM
  • I have just caught up with this message (25 Oct 2017). I am descended from William Henry Thornton through his third? son Robert Thornton who became an British Army surgeon, served in the Crimea and is buried on Jersey with his wife. Their eldst son, Hugh Thornton, was my great grandfather. I have compiled a biographical note for William Henry Thornton (sen) which I am willing to share plus located the Bill of Sale of 1865 for his and his widow's property in Palatine. If any are interested please let me know, in the meantime I have posted some info on County Carlow IPG.

    Harry Hawkins

    Wednesday 25th October 2017, 02:43PM
  • Dear Harry


    I would be very interested in any Thornton information you may have an if you wish can put you intouch

    with other family members. Inparticular with Beryl McLeod who has an internet side for the whole family.

    Where do you live. I live in Germany, Beryl in South Africa. and Constance  in Australia. there are decendants

    in New Zealand and  the USA. Most of Fredericks decendants through his daughter lice in Ireland and  GB. The

    only branch to do so as, apart from  Frederick a Doctor,,they all left with their Mother.

    John Robertson

    Thursday 26th October 2017, 10:37AM
  • Hi Harry

    How nice to have another branch of the family join in the conversation!  Robert was indeed the third son of William Henry Thornton snr.

    I have looked at the County Carlow IPG but could not find your post.  I would be very interested to see your bigraphical note on WHT, and I may have material in which you would be interested. My sister and I engaged a researcher to dig into the British Army archives at TNA in London among the material that has not been digitised. While the material is copyright and we are restricted in reproducing it, the information has told us a lot that we would otherwise not have known.

    We wondered if you might have family material passed down that adds to the formal records we can find in official documents? It would be wonderful if you do.

    Do you have an account on If so, perhaps we could start a conversation through its messaging facility and go from there.

    Regards, Connie Chapman (author of the original post above)

    Constance Chapman

    Thursday 26th October 2017, 01:49PM
  • Hello Constance


    It is good to make contact. I did my original research on the Thorntons back in 1995/8 which included days at the NA in Kew, the Land Registry in Dublin and the Local Studies Library in Carlow. Also my grandmother who was the daughter of Hugh Thornton, a grandson of William Henry Sen, kept some photographs of her parents and grandparents - she was brought up by her Thornton (Robson) grandmother.

    Ancestry (I do not have an account) came along after I had completed what I wanted although the career of William Henry Thornton eluded me, that he went to Australia may explain that and I would be very interested to know how and when he  did that.

    I have just sent an email to John Robertson with some of my information on William Henry Thornton Sen., mainly his miltary career. My stuff also includes transcripts of deeds relating to WHT's properties in Urglin if you are interested and do not have them already.

    I can let you have my email if you wish. I live in Armathwaite, Cumbria, the Hawkins line comes from Devon.

    Harry Hawkins

    Harry Hawkins

    Tuesday 31st October 2017, 11:45AM
  • Harry Hawkins

    Tuesday 31st October 2017, 02:47PM
  • Hello Constance


    I have spent a couple hours chasing William Henry Thornton Junior and I am 90% certain now he is William Henry Thornton who was gazetted Ensign in 3 October 1835 in 89th Foot when he was 17yrs 2mths (Hart’s 1846). In 1845 he was Captain in the 11th Foot (North Devonshire) and 1851 but not in 1852 so assume he had left or been killed. According to Elizabeth Longford in her book Wellington: The Years of the Sword, p 22, when Wellington was gazetted Ensign on 17 March 1787 he was just 2 months short of his 18th birthday and she goes on to say that there many boys younger than Wellington higher up the ladder. S

    I found that the 11th Foot was stationed in Australia from 1845-1857 so that could be how WHT Jt got there. Is this correct?



    Harry Hawkins

    Tuesday 31st October 2017, 02:55PM
  • Hi Harry

    It would be a great idea to correspond by email. 

    WHT junior transferred from the 89th Regiment to the 11th Regiment in 1845 and came out with the 11th Regiment to Australia in late 1845, arriving in Hobart (Tasmania) on 30 December 1845. He had various postings while in the Antipodes (including a period on Norfolk Island).  He resigned his commission in 1851 and settled in Australia - the family oral tradition is that he was to go to back to England in the army but resigned his commission to stay in Australia.  I have a lot of material about his army career which I am still in the process of sorting, but happy to share with family.  

    Does your family still have the photos you refer to? I am trying to do a pictorial family tree and would love a copy of any that you may still have. We have photos of portraits of Willam Henry Thornton senior and both of his wives if you are interested.

    And I would be interested in the other material you have about WHT too, and may have material you would be interested as well.  


    Constance Chapman

    Wednesday 1st November 2017, 12:29AM
  • Constance

    I am a direct decendant of your WHT snr through WHT jnr who came to Australia with the !! regiment of foot (one and only regiment).  The !!th were sent to the then Colony of New South Wales because the 99th Regiment were becoming unruly.  

    WLT resigned in about 1852 and settled in Australia.  He was appointed a Magistrate of the Colony by the Govenor and was sent to the coastal town of Kempsey.  Later he was appointed Coroner.  Some newspapers reported that he was instrumental in developing a colder climate variety of sugar cane.  This probably stems from his time in the West Indies as an officer in the West Indian Regiment.  He married an expatriate in WI.  WLT spent time as the military commander of Launceston.  His brother Archibald came to stay with the family in 1848 by died soon after. Archie is intered in Launceston.  

    His son William Henry Lindsey Thornton was a noted pastroralist in central Queensland holding a half share in a lease of 6 million acres called Tower Hill.  He also discovered a gap in the Great Dividing Range outside the port of Townsville named in his honour as Thornton Gap.  This allowed products from central and north Queensland to be conveniently exported from Townsville.  WHLT was also a noted horse and cattle breeder.  He judged at many agricultural shows up and down the east cost of the continent.

    I have compiled a family tree in excel which gives many of the local BMD documentary references. 

    Reply by email and I will attach the file to a reply.








    Bill Munt

    Monday 2nd April 2018, 12:19PM
  • Dear Bill

    How wonderful to hear from you!

    We are also descended from WHT jnr, through William Henry Lindsey Thornton and his daughter, Kathleen Olive.  How are you descended from WHTjnr? 

    My sister and I have been doing a lot of family history research and have a lot of the army records for WHT jnr before he left the army, but have found it hard to find much about him after he left the army. You sound as if you have a lot of general family knowledge about him and we would love to learn about it!  We live in Western Australia, which makes it harder for us to find out about local history in NSW.

    Do you (of any of your relatives) happen to have a photo of WHT jnr you would be willing to share - we have been hunting for one for ages with no success.

    You did not include your email address in the post or I would have contacted you on it. 

    I very much look forward to hearing from you


    Constance Chapman

    Tuesday 3rd April 2018, 12:24PM
  • Hi All.

    I am somewhat distantly related to WHT1781, through WHT1817.

    Below, please find a newspaper article about William Henry Lindsey Thornton 1842-1932, a son of WHT1817.  This article was published in the "Cairns Post" ofr 19/Dec/1925, an electronic version of which can be found at :

    ln the record of splendid names of
    North Queensland pastoral pioneers not
    one is more lustrous than that of Wil-
    liam Henry Lindsey Thornton
    of Tower Hill. He came to
    Queensland in 1861, sixty-four years ago,
    and in 1862 took over the management
    of Dotswood station. lt may be safely
    assumed that Mr. Thornton is not young.
    He came to Australia, in 1845, which is
    80 years ago ; but to look at him who
    would think he was even that age? A
    smart, spare, keen man, straight as a
    lance, and about middle height; he looks
    good yet for a gallop over the ranges of
    the North or for a day's hard work on
    a cattle camp. But I saw him in the
    North about 47 years ago, and there is
    a change. In those days of 1878 Mr.
    Thornton was a splendid horseman,
    lean, tanned, and wonderfully active.
    Few in Queensland, if any, are better
    judges of horses or cattle, and few bet-
    ter know and understand the North,
    writes Spencer Brown in thc "Courier."
    lt will be noticed that the Lindsey in
    Mr. Thornton's Christening names is
    spelt with an "e." His grandfather
    Lindsey on the maternal side was Com-
    missary General in the West Indies, a
    distinguished soldier and administrator
    and the paternal grandfather fought all
    through the Peninsula War, including
    Toulouse, Vittoria, and thc Pyrenees
    and married a lady-in-wating at the
    Court of Portugal. Mr. Thornton's
    father was born in the palace at Lisbon.
    His grandfather was badly wounded in
    the battle of the Pyrenees, having been
    in command of a Portuguese legion to
    which he was appointed by thc Duke of
    Wellington, and he died in Hongkong in
    1848. As already stated, Mr. Thornton
    came out in 1845 with his father, who
    was a captain in the army, and was in
    charge of a vessel which brought 200
    convicts, and joined the 11th Regiment,
    the old Devons, at Hobart in about
    November, 1845.
    Arriving in Queensland in 1861, Mr
    Thornton decided for the bush. Mr.
    Phil Summer, with his party, had taken
    up country on the Burdekin. The party
    included Edward Cunningham, Michael
    Miles, Stenhouse, and Christie Alling-
    ham, most of whom were well-known in
    the North. Cunningham and Alling-
    ham were there in my time, that is, in 18?8.
    The last named was a brother of Wi-
    liam and Johnston Allingham. The
    party included Dotswood in their hold-
    ings, and in October, 1862, or 63 years
    ago, Mr. Thornton joined them with the
    cattle. The morning after his arrival
    the youngster was put in charge of the
    station, and had the usual rough experi-
    ences of the men who laid the founda-
    tions of pastoral life in those latitudes.
    It was hard work with the cattle, and
    it was necessary to be watchful of the
    blacks, who in many parts of the coun-
    try were by no means amiable. Mr
    Thornton found the pass to the coastal
    area now known, as Thornton's Gap, and
    that opened a short route to Cleveland
    Bay, where Townsville now stands. In
    1863 he was on the beach, the wonder-
    fully fine stretch of yellow sand where
    Cleveland Bay rolls blue waters and
    lacey foam to the feet of the fine city
    now of 24,000 people, the capital of the
    North. Townsville in those days was
    scarcely a name, probably it was not
    even put on the map as a compliment to
    Robert Towns, the Captain Towns who
    ran his ships round Cape Cleveland to
    the roadstead sheltered by Magnetic Is-
    land, and who started cotton planting
    on the fertile lands between Ross Creek
    and Ross River. Only lately Mr
    Thornton and I talked over the later
    days when I was there, though really a
    man who did not arrive until 1878 was
    more or less of a new chum. But we
    both knew Bohle, the engineer from
    whom the Bohle River is named, and
    who gave me letters of introduction to
    James Gordon and Andrew Ball when
    I came to Queensland. Mr. Thornton
    knew them in earlier days, and also the
    Ross from whom Ross River and Ross
    Creek are named. And many more
    he mentioned, and old memories were
    revived. One of the names discussed
    was that of Robert Christison, but he
    was more of a Bowen than a Townsville
    man, and he selected Poole Island for
    the meatworks to operate; where he had
    formed a company. As stated in my
    "Memories," Mr. Thornton was a mem-
    ber of the company, and he showed me
    last week his scrip, or certificate of
    shares, and the ominous notice of
    After nearly four years on Dotswood,
    Mr. Thornton went to Tower Hill,
    which then belonged to the same firm,
    Hervey and Summer, and later on, took
    over the station. He converted it into a
    fine property between 1866 and 1901,
    selling out in the last mentioned year,
    and his name became well-known
    throughout Queensland in his first ten
    years there. The Tower Hill cattle were
    good, but cattle raising was, as now, not
    always very profitable ; but the Tower
    Hill horses were always profitable. The
    late owner of Tower Hill is one of the
    old school, and most of his contem-
    poraries have passed away. Some of
    the names will bring to his mind the
    older generation—the Allinghams at
    Barrett Vale and Disraeli, Henry Rourke
    who in 1877 was at Dotswood, W. A.
    Vanneck at Denham Park—later, I think
    Lord Huntingfield and well known in
    the Lockyer district. William Hann at
    Maryvale, the Whites at Ravenswood,
    thc Annings at Reedy Springs, Scott
    Bros. at Arthur's Plains and other
    places, Johnston Allingham at Spring
    Lawn, John Stevenson at Aberuthven,
    the Romes at Blackdown, Edkins at
    Mount Cornish—which is getting away
    south—W. Looker at Stainburn, and the
    Christisons at Lammermoor. But, bless
    us, one might fill a page of these well
    remembered names of North Kennedy
    and Mitchell. As a fact, Mr. Thornton
    must have some sadness in looking down
    the avenue of the splendid years of the
    late sixties and the seventies. Thc trees
    are tombstones ; yet there is the know-
    ledge that the pioneers well and truly
    laid the foundation of Queensland's pas-
    toral greatness, and they will not be soon
    forgotten. Yet Mr. Thornton is cheery,
    and as they say of another notable, "still
    going strong."
    lt is a long call from thc days of
    Prodigal to those of Mandrake, the last
    named being the very handsome chap on
    which Mr. Thornton won a Townsville
    blue ribbon in recent years. Mandrake
    was a rather difficult horse to manage.
    Mr. Thornton carried the reins in his
    left hand, not a rein in each hand, as
    we see the police at the Exhibition; and
    like Colonel Venn King, when mounted
    he seems to be part of the horse, or like
    the Centaur of old. Mandrake was
    bought by Mr. Rodgers, an Indian ship-
    per, for a good round sum. The horse
    was by Mr. Thornton's Centennial from
    Madame by Le. Beau by Sir Hercules
    from Blue Bonnet. Madame was from
    a mare owned by Mr. Tom Rusden, of
    Shannon Vale, near Glen Innes. "Now
    I'll tell you something about "Prodigal"
    —bred by Mr. Haly at Tanbinga, and by
    the imported Arab Beeza, and to which
    horse Mr. Harry Bracker lately referred.
    "Prodigal was not owned by George
    Rankin when he did the best of his rac-
    ing, but by John Rankin, a brother.
    Mr. Thornton tells me that Mr. Rankin
    was on Bowen Downs station, and then
    manager of the cattle station, Mount
    Cornish. Prodigal belonged to a man
    named Smith, known as "The Duke,"
    because of an aristocratic nasal contour;
    and he gave the horse to a girl who was
    working on Bowen Downs, and she sold
    it to a jackaroo on Mount Cornish for
    £18. "Rankin found out through me
    what Prodigal could do, for he beat a
    good horse of mine." Mr. Thornton
    continued, "and he got him from the
    jackaroo, giving a very good horse in
    exchange." In one race at Randwick,
    Prodigal ran a dead heat with a horse
    owned by John Tait, and Tait would not
    divide. In the run off Prodigal won.
    And now, when I could give pages more
    about Mr. W. H. L. Thornton and peo-
    ple and horses. I must conclude—but
    voting Queenslanders should put at the
    back of their heads the name of this
    most worthy and distinguished pioneer.
    One son fought in the South African
    War, another in the Great War, and W.
    H. L. Thornton finds fault with the
    almanac in that he was not able to join
    them. At present he is on a visit to his
    daughter, Mrs. J. C. Young, at Sunny-

    Below is the obituary of WHT1817 from :

    Colonel William Henry Thornton, of the 11th

    Imperial Regiment, died at the residence of his

    daughter (Mrs. F. R. Peel), Woolwich, on Friday.

    He was a son of the late General Thornton, of the

    Peninsular War, and had reached the advanced age

    of 85 years. An Irishman by birth, he enlisted in

    the British Army as ensign, and gradually advanced

    in rank. After a brief service in the West Indies,

    where he married Miss Lindsay, the deceased with

    the rank of captain came out to New South Wales,

    in command of the 11th Imperial Regiment, which

    was located for a time at the old Sydney Barracks,

    Wynyard-station. Upon the completion of the

    Victoria Barracks Captain Thornton transferred his

    troops to Paddington. Subsequently he left with the

    11th for Tasmania. He was afterwards raised to the

    rank of major, and upon the regiment being ordered

    home, some years later, the deceased gentleman re-

    signed his command and retired with the rank of

    colonel. Following upon his retirement from

    military life the late colonel left Sydney for the

    Macleay River, in which district he engaged in

    pastoral pursuits for some years. He also subs-

    equently filled the dual positions of coroner and police

    magistrate in the district. For the last 15 years he

    has resided in the suburbs of Sydney with his son-in

    law and daughter (Mr and Mrs. F. R Peel). Mr.

    W. H. L. Thornton, the well-known pastoralist of

    Queensland, and Mr. R. F. J. Thornton, of Cool-

    gardie, W.A., are sons of the deceased colonel.


    These three generations of William Henry Thorntons all have memorials in

    Kind regards,
    Robyn Morley


    Wednesday 2nd December 2020, 07:57PM
  • I have attached a chart of my relationship to WHT1781 who is the "great grandfather of the husband of my 2xgreat-aunt" ...


    Wednesday 2nd December 2020, 08:03PM

    Attached Files

  • roboz888

    Wednesday 2nd December 2020, 08:52PM
  • Hi Robyn

    How wonderful to hear from you! My sister and I have long wanted to make contact with the Rudder side of the family tree!  We were aware of Annie Thornton's marriage to Eugene Rudder (and of their children, from birth records), but the Rudder family is so large and complex that we were not confident of going further with documenting it.

    You mentioned communicating by email, which I think is a great idea, but did not include your email address. Mine is  Can you please send me an email and we can take our discussion forward more easily that way.

    Best wishes

    Connie Chapman 

    Constance Chapman

    Friday 4th December 2020, 08:47AM
  • Hi Constance.  Mty email address is
    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Regards, Robyn Morley


    Saturday 5th December 2020, 07:03AM