last modified:
15 Dec 2003
Frances Bentley Braford
Bentley-Braford Clipping Collection 
Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin 
Amy Braford Thornton 

Index to names

Contains names of brides, grooms, maiden names of mothers when given, from marriage notices and anniversary clippings, names of deceased and maiden names of wives and mothers from obituaries. Does not include any names of "people who attended" from obituaries, marriage notices etc.

further information on the clippings can be obtained from:
Tracy Reinhardt at:

Bentley & Braford Family Histories includes indexes, documents, photos of various family lines

Frances Bentley was born near Lomira, in Dodge Co. WI on 4 Oct. 1859. She was the daughter of Susannah Owen and George Bentley, who immigrated from England ca. 1850. She married, on 24 Oct. 1883, (Andrew) Gilson Braford, the son of Andrew Stephen and Caty Parsels Braford. Gilson's grandfather, Abiram Braford, served in the War of 1812, and came to Wisconin before 1848. Abiram and his wife Sally are buried in Rohlf cemetery, only a mile from Andrew and Gilson's residences.

Gilson and Frances resided in sec. 6, Towh of Ashford, Fond du Lac county in a house built on the Braford family's farm. Frances and Gilson were the parents of Amy, George and Mildred Braford.

At some point in time, Frances started a collection of newspaper clippings, certainly about her own family, but also about the neighbors, and an occasional clipping about an event that caught her attention. As was common in this era, Frances pasted her clippings into an old seed catalog, for preservation and reference. The clippings sometimes contain a date, usually written in pencil by Frances. There is no indication of the source of the clippings, but they appear to have come from the Fond du Lac Newspapers, since the occasional article not about family or neighbors, concern Fond du Lac residents.

Amy Braford, born 20 Sept 1884, continued her mothers collection. Amy married John Thornton, and resided in the Armstrong and Marblehead areas of Fond du Lac county. Amy and John were the parents of: Frances, Ethel, Amy, Fern, John, Alys and Glen Thornton.

The clipping collection is contained in 7 different scrapbooks. The first scrapbook has the words 'Postcard Album' embossed on the cover. It measures 8-1/2 x 14'', with green slotted sheets. This book contains the earliest clippings of the collection,from 1906 thru 1922. There are 36 pages of clippings in this book, including about 10 pages of beige paper that were at one point bound together, possibly in a different book.

The second 'book' is actually a seed catalog, and contains 66 pages of clippings, dating from about 1910 to 1925. This book is in poor condition, with many pages showing rodent damage and spotted and discolored pages.

The third book is a purchased 'scrapbook', with two holes in the pages and cover, and a braided string to tie the pages and cover together. It contains 38 pages of clippings, dated from 1937 to 1947, with one or two older clippings.

A fourth book is another actual 'scrapbook', with the name 'Mrs. Arthur Marshall' written in the front cover. This scrapbook's owner was Ethel Thornton Marshall, a daughter of Amy Braford Thornton. This books contains family clippings, and telegrams not yet cataloged or indexed into the collection. The beginning clippings are dated 1939.

The fifth book is a large scrapbook, measuring 11 x 14, with black sheets. It contains 24 pages of clippings from the 1930's and 1940's. This book is not yet indexed or cataloged into the collection.

A sixth book, is a Harley-Davidson ring binder. with individual sheets of paper, owned by Frances Thornton Laing, daughter of Amy Braford Thornton. This book starts with a clipping of Frances' marriage to William Laing in 1926. The book contains 68 pages of clippings not yet cataloged or indexed into the collection.

The seventh book in the collection, is also the creation of Frances Thornton Laing. The book is a 1962 Sears catalog, and contains 122 pages of obits, news stories, jokes, 'True Life Adventures' and other clippings. Not yet cataloged or indexed into the collection.

The eighth item in the collection, is one large manila envelope containing a large collection of clippings not yet placed in any scrapbook by Frances Thornton Laing. Not yet indexed or cataloged into the collection.

Amy's daughter, Frances Thornton Laing, became the third generation (and the most prolific) in the family, to fill a scrapbook with family clippings, as well as clippings of her schoolmates, her doctors, and friends. Frances and her husband Bill Laing (of Oak Center) resided in Milwaukee, but kept a summer/retirement farm near Princeton. Her clippings will be indexed and added to the collection at a later date.

* Tracy Reinhardt's conversations in the 1980's with Fern Helmer, and Frances Laing, surviving daughters of Amy Thornton,

An older sister of John Thornton, Sarah Thornton Kuter, of Wisconsin Rapids, also maintained a clipping collection. Contact Tracy Reinhardt for more information.

*** Viewers are cautioned to verify the data contained in these early clippings.

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This site represents an ongoing effort to document, and collect data related to the history of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin.
and to share this data with other researchers at no charge.
If you have corrections or additions to share, please contact Tracy Reinhardt by email at

All works copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
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Copyright © 2009   by Tracy Reinhardt


** Ruth Shaw Worthing, The History of Fond du Lac County, as told by its Place-Names, 1976.
** The History of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1880.

** Portrait and Biographical Album of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, Chicago: Acme Publishing Company, 1889.
** A. T. Glaze, Incidents and Anecdotes of Early Days and History of Business in the City and County of Fond du Lac from Early Times to the Present, Fond du Lac: P. B. Haber Printing Company, 1905.
** Maurice McKenna, ed., History of Fond du Lac County, Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912. 
** Wisconsin Volunteers: War of the Rebellion 1861-1865 
** Plat Book of Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, C. M. Foote & Co.  1893