Jeptha Thornton

Biography of Jeptha Thornton

by Ralph J. Turner


     Jeptha was the fourth child of eleven children of William (1) and Sally (2) (Todd) Thornton. He was born 11 September 1821 on what he called the Devoise river (3) in Callaway County, Missouri. See Photograph of Jeptha's mother Sally.

     Jeptha's father, was not a farmer. He was employed for 21 years in the Red River Iron Works in Kentucky, the first in the United States. He had used water power for hammering kettles and pots as early as 1810. He migrated from Kentucky in 1816, settling on Aux Vasse Prairie near Fulton in Callaway County He bought a parcel of land in Clinton County, Missouri on 2 Mar 1836 and moved there 1839. This area became part of De Kalb County in 1845. William and Adam Kerns invented a corn crusher which was used in this frontier location. According to the 1850 census he was still living near his son Jeptha in De Kalb County. In 1855 he introduced the first steam powered saw and also a grist mill in the county, which operated until 1866.

    Jeptha's father's parents were William (4) and Patsey (5) Thornton. They both died in De Kalb County, as did his parents.

     Jeptha's mother's parents were Peter (6) and Hannah (7) Todd. She was a member of the Predestinarian Baptist Church in Kentucky before she married and moved to Callaway County with her husband. She had nine children. Sally reportedly knew the medical qualities of herbs and was a good nurse as well as midwife and she was in much demand on the frontier.

     It has been claimed that Sally was the fourth cousin of Mary Todd (8), who married Abraham Lincoln. They did both have a great great great grandfather John Todd, but Sally's ancestor (abt 1615-abt 1677) was from Eling, England and Mary's from Scotland. (9) If they were related it would have to be before the 17th Century. Hannah's Cornelison (10) ancestors were of Dutch origin, coming first to New Amsterdam, then Pennsylvania and later Kentucky.

     Soon after his birth Jeptha's parents moved five miles upriver to what Jeptha referred to as Halls Creek in Callaway county. He was raised there until he was about twelve years old. His mother was a professed Christian but not his father. But they joined the `old school'  Baptist in the Bethlehem Church at what someone has transcribed as 'Cactses Prairie' (Perhaps Coats Prairie).  About 1832 or 1833 they sold out and moved seven miles up the prairie which he described as about three or four miles square. They lived about three miles from the meeting house. He was allowed to attend any religious meetings but his parents were not very involved in them. When he was about sixteen he was walking alone some nine miles from the meeting house and he asked himself if he wanted religion. He decided that he wouldn't take religion unless he could be a preacher. He promised himself that he would seek religion after he got married.

On 23 November 1839 Jeptha applied for 80 acres of land in what was to become De Lalb C., Missouri. This was some 200 miles NW of Callaway County.

On 2 January 1840, at age eighteen, he married Martha Ragsdale Walker who had been born in Tennessee on 18 March 1820. She was the daughter of Edward and Mary Walker, living nearby, but who had come from Lauderdale County in northern Alabama. They were married by William Y. Giliam, a Justice of the Peace. That spring Jeptha and Martha moved with his father's family to the Platte Purchase. They settled near the boundary line in what was Clinton County but later De Kalb County, Missouri.

Jeptha's uncle Jesse Todd had gone to the area in 1839.

In this place and time there was a lot of Christian revival activity. Jeptha remembered his promise regarding religion.

     "In the year (18)41 or near this time my mind was called in question concerning my promise that I had promist before my marraige the question came to me you promist that you would git Religien when you got maried and you had not got it and it is my aim that you was about it. These is about the words that kum through my mind... I could not git shut of it still burning in my ears.  I resolved that would try by brekaing of my bad practice. Though I was what is generally termed a moral man my sins come up in my view and I began to see that I was a greate sinner in the site of God. I viewd God as just and holy God and I seen that I was unholy and full of sin. I became very uneasy thare was seamed to be a load of guilt on my concients that I could not git off of me. I begun to try to keep the Law but the more I tryed it seamed to me that I got farther away for my thoughts became sinfull and I could not do any thing that I ought to do for when I would try sin would step in and fill my mind and I was to morn over my past sinfull heart. Then the segestien would arise what tuck place away back whare I made my promis you are seeking Religion to be a preacher I would axamine myself and I could see nothing but that I was a pore sinner and that I had a soul to save, that I had to give an account on the day of judgement for my sins and if I only could git in the rite side of God would have mercy on me but I could not git in that way thus I mourned over a hard this time I had nearly give up all efforts of my own and was made to say that if my soul war sent to hell, thy righteous lord approves it. Well I said that god would be just if he damed me but my cry was if mercy can be sent Lord have mercy on me and I am willing to be any thing. I don't want be a preacher if I only can set in the later day seat I will be happy... I became very mind begun to run over my past life to see whare I get it. I kum up to that time and could not see any thing that I thought woud l do for a hope. My burden that had hung over my mind for the last year and a half or two years was gone or nearly so. I was filled with joy.. I looked around; I was then in my born field; everything seamed diferant by this time. My mind was as clear of guilt as though I had never had committed a sin in my live that eavening and the next day things looked bright. The sun, the trees and everything in nature looked bright and lovelly...This was in the year 1842 or 3. Douts began to arise in my mind that I had brought all of these feelings on my self and that to please my parents or that I still wanted to preach. These thougts troubled my mind...My mind ws drawn out investigateing the schripturs and my own exsperence help me to form `my' doctorn views for I said that it was nothing in me that god son that he should be stow his mercies....As I hoped my wife having received a hope price too this time. She united with the Bethlehem church by exsperance and Baptism. I well remember that night that she joined. It seamed that I was left, thou was to be in one bed: one taken and the other left. I was the one left it seamed to me that after we went home that she was still left at the meeting. I was tosed to and frow but could not take courage to commit my self to the church. Something would say that all of this is to please my parents and to preach. About this time the Platte River assocition was constiuted, I think out of members from the fishing River association and near this time the contraversey over the two seed is sprung up in that association and it was investigated through out the churches, some fore and some against it. Soon assumed the name of Eturnal union, Eturnal Justification and Eturnal Children. My mind was very active in the investigation and I soon became an advocate against the Eturnal union doctorn as it was then called. The division drew close to hand though not for several years. The Bethlehem Church was divided in sentiment...I tuck a active part though I did not belong to the Church. Thare had bin two preachers ordained in the church: Jessie Todd and Wilheim C. Garrette and James Thorntin...finely they came to the point of seperation...21 members to stay in the association and 20 to go out..... and called the Church Thirdfork of Regular Primitive Baptist and called Eppy Tilerry to the pastoriel chair.." (11) Uncle Jesse Todd must have been one of those who stayed as he was in the Constitution of the Primitive Baptist church in December 1842.

Jepthaand Martha lived with his parents the first year in the new place, and then bought a small place about two miles away, for his own family. He sold one acre of land for $1.50 for the first school in the region. Their first child, William (12), was born on 27 February 1841 in there. On 6 October 1842, daughter Sally(13) was born there. Martha Ann was born in 1844. Mary (14)was born on 1 July 1847, and on 9 Sep 1849, Emily (15) was born there also. On 20 Jan 1847, his aunt Patsey (16), who had married James Toney (17), left Missouri for Oregon with their five children. They traveled with five wagons, including that of Owen P. Turner (18). Daniel Barnes (19),a cousin, already in Oregon, came to The Dalles to take the women down the Columbia River by boat. Men cut timber to make a raft to float down the river. Her husband and two sons drove the cattle overland to Fort Vancouver while another son rafted down river with the wagons. She cared for her grand children after her daughter in law,Elizabeth (20), died on the trail near John Day River. They arrived at Hudson Bay Company, in Vancouver, on 20 Nov 1847. Her husband fought in the Cayuse Indian battles after Whitman massacre that took place nine days after their arrival. By 30 March 1848 the Toneys had secured Donation Land Claim 2720 on Deer Creek near the South Yamhill River near Sheridan, Yamhill County., OR. James Toney and his son William went to California looking for gold in spring of 1849. He returned and built a sawmill with his sons in Yamhill Co. Patsey was listed as 65 in the 1860 census taken at South Fork Precinct, Yamhill Co., OR. She died in 1864 in Sheridan. Her husband had moved on to Modoc County, CA by 1871. Jeptha was listed as a farmer in the 1850 census, in Missouri. On 8 Jun 1851 his son 'Joe' or 'JJ' (21) was born. Jeptha's concern about his religion continued:

     "My mind was drawn out for the wellfare of our little church (Thirdfork) in the investigation of the truth of the gospell and the order of a church. Thus I was up and down for nearly a year, alternationg between two opinons, the desire to join the church and be identified with the people of god on one hand and on the other the question was: you are doing all of this to pleas your parents and to preach...I felt willing to be any thing that the Lords will was. So about the year 50 or 51 I gave my self up to the Lord's will... and was received by the church and baptised by Elder Eppy Tillerry and was elected church clerk the same meeting that I was baptised. I served in that capasity untill I moved away in 1865. The care of the little church seamed to fall on me and my mind at times seamed to be so impressed in testimony to the truth. I hardly could hold back the impresion to preach to lost sinners was never so much on my mind as to the divining of the truth amongsth the children of god and maintaining the order of the church.(11) Uncle Jesse Todd was ordained in the Bethlehem chuch on 6 August 1845 and remained as Elder there until after Jeptha moved away.

In 1852 Jeptha's older sister Cordilly (22) traveled by wagon to Oregon in 1852 with her husband Isaac (23) and they filed for Donation Land Claim # 2265 on Deer Creek, upstream from Aunt Patsey and Uncle James Toney, in Gopher Valley, Yamhill Co. The Agee land was beautiful, but hilly, unlike the bottom land,claimed by the Toneys.

On 18 Feb 1858, back in Missouri, Jeptha's son William had married Susannah Chenoweth. She may have been a cousin or an aunt of James Chenoweth that Jeptha later bought land from in Douglas County, Oregon. This connection may have been another one drawing Jeptha and his son William to Oregon. William and Susannah had five children before they left for Oregon. On 31 March, 1853, son Jerry (24) was born to Jeptha and Martha. Samuel Isaac (25) was born on 2 Mar 1855 and Priscilla (26) on 22 April 1857. On 18 December,1859 Katy (27)was born and the last child, Rebecca (28)in 1860. Jeptha indicated that another child had died in the fall of 1864 and this would have been Martha Ann. Her mother Martha had no more children.

Jeptha and his family prepared to go to Oregon in 1864. He was 43 years old, and his wife a year older. The American Civil War was drawing to a close and civil order in Missouri had been quite disrupted, though he does not speak of that in his memoirs. The fact that his aunt and his sister and their families, long time associates of the Thornton clan, had gone to Oregon must have drawn them west. Letters may have been received extolling the Willamette valley. On 19 April 1865, after selling his farm in De Kalb County, the family, including the remaining eight their ten children set out for Oregon using one wagon pulled by an ox team and another lighter wagon, pulled by two 'good' mares.. They traveled with a ninth child, married son William and family, who had one ox team wagon, and the William. H.P. Adams (29) family. At Fort Karney they organized with a larger group that included 115 men. A Capt. Woodson was elected leader. One of William's oxen died on 22 June. They crossed the Platte River at Gray's Ferry on 23 June, reaching Green River on 16 July. They were on Bear River by 27 July, and Soda Springs on 3 August. They could hear the burbling springs before they reached them. They were attacked by Indians about 13 August at Rock Creek. The Indians ripped open the feather tics in their temporarily abandoned wagons and it raised a white `smoke' that caused them to think that their wagons were on fire. When they recovered their wagons, however, little other damage had evidently been caused by the Indians. This perception probably demonstrates their anxiety about Indian trouble. Of course Aunt Martha's husband had fought in the Cayuse `war' and must have passed back stories about that. They crossed the Snake River at Farewell Bend on 30 August 1865, attaining 1616 miles. They were on the Grand Ronde River, in Oregon, on 6 September and reached The Dalles on 19 September. The men came down the Columbia on a raft with the wagons while the women went by land. Then it took two final days to get from `Union House' in Portland to McMinnville. By that time they had totaled 2033 mi. with about 15 more to go. They were met in McMinnville, Oregon by their brother in law,Isaac Agee (24), with fresh horses. He and 'Cordilly' had been living in Oregon for thirteen years. They remained on the Isaac Agee place on Deer Creek, Yamhill Co., Oregon, upstream from the Toney Donation Land Claim a few miles for about a year. The Toney's had been there for eighteen years. Some sparks must have been made on the first meeting of the families, because on 10 Jun 1866, Jeptha's daughter, Mary(14), married John Agee (30). They were first cousins, since John was the son of Isaac and Cordelia (Thornton) Agee. Cordelia was Jeptha’s sister. They later moved to Wilbur, Douglas Co., OR and settled there and had 12 children.

Look at photographs of Jeptha's family.

In the spring of 1866 Jeptha commenced to erect a cabin, fenced 40 acres, brought in horses, cattle, sheep and hogs worth about $150 on some land west of Isaac Agee and northwest of James Lady, including a garden of nearly a quarter acre. He moved onto this claim about 15 Jun 1866. This was attested to and signed by Isaac Agee and his son John on 7 Nov 1866. This was preemptive claim #400, for which he paid $202.65 on that day in Oregon City, Owen Wade, register. On 18 May 1869 he received a patent for this land, which was the west half of the SW quarter of sect. 6, T5S R6W and the east half of the SE quarter of Sect. 1 T 5S and R7W containing 162.12 acres in the Highland area of Yamhill Co., OR, west of the Agees about 7 miles and N of Willamina about 7 miles.

On 11 November, 1866, two other of his Jeptha and Martha’s daughters married in Willamina in what might have been a double ceremony. Daughter Sally Griffin married William R. Stephens and Emily Jane married James Murray.

Emily Jane and James settled in Yamhill Co. and had six children. James Murray’s parents were Charles Murray and Elizabeth Mary Sullinger, from Louis Co., IA, had probably come with Isaac and Cordelia (Thornton) Agee in 1852. They settled in Muddy Valley just east of Gopher Valley, Yamhill Co., OR.

Sally Griffin and William went to Douglas Co. She must have moved to Douglas Co. after the birth of her son Jeptha M. Stephens, on 24 Oct 1871.

Soon after these marriages Jeptha and Martha and their diminished family must have departed, for on 27 Nov 1866, he bought 320 acres for $1600, from Leonard and Julia Ann Buell(31). The new location was 170 miles south, in Oak Creek, Douglas County, Oregon. On 30 Jan 1867 he bought from these same people for an undisclosed amount, more land(32). On 8 May 1868 he bought 298 acres of land for $1000 from Willis Benefield and his wife.(33)

Jeptha’s eldest son William Edward did not immediately follow his parents to Douglas Co., but remained in Yamhill Co., until 1868.

Jeptha joined the Umpqua Baptist Church that year.

On 1 Mar 1869 Jeptha and Martha's granddaughter Leetia Agee, baby daughter of John and Mary (Thornton) Agee died just under two years of age, in Douglas Co. This probably was in Wilbur, where they settled.

The 1870 Thornton household included his wife Martha, sons John 19, Jeremiah, 17, and Samuel, 15, and daughters Priscilla, 13, and Rebecca, 10, still at home with their parents. He reported himself a farmer in the census of that year, valuing his real estate at $2000 and other property at $600. On 30 March of that year he purchased another 80 acres for $500, from I. N. Muney (34), who was residing in Idaho Territory. This was later part of or adjacent to the Sunshine Ranch. This exchange was witnessed by John Chenoweth and Benjamin Agee. John had a donation land claim in the vicinity in 1852. Benjamin Agee, later Sheriff of the county, was a son of Isaac and Cordelia Agee of Yamhill County and had come to Douglas county in 1869. Jeptha became Justice of the Peace 6 Apr 1870 in the Mt. Scott Precinct.

From the 30th June to the 2nd of July of 1871 Jeptha journeyed as 'Messenger' to the 20th Annual meeting of the Siloam Association of Regular Baptists held at Providence Church, in Clackamas County, Oregon. The Oak Creek church was received into the Association in Article 2 of the proceedings. Jeptha is recorded as 'Clerk of the church' with his address as Roseburg. The Siloam Association evidently took its name from the Siloam church in Marion County, Oregon. The name refers to a miracle described in John 9. There was a pool called Siloam which meant 'sent' which held water brought by a tunnel from a spring that had been constructed when Jerusalem was threatened with a siege in the 700s BC. See more on the Siloam Pool.

Jeptha was a 'Messenger' from the Oak Creek congregation to the 21st Annual meeting of the Siloam Association from the 5th to the 7th of July in 1972, held in the Union Church in Marion County, Oregon

Jeptha opened the Oak Creek Post Office as Postmaster (35) on 18 Oct 1872. At that time there was a store, a church, a school and a cemetery there. The school building and the cemetery remain in 1997 and the Eugene Boise farm occupies the original site crossed by the North Umpqua road. (The post office closed sometime between 1910-1912.) The school operated until at least the 1920s, when a photograph was taken of a teacher and a few students, with grass growing on the roof. (36)

On 26 October 1874, Jeptha and Martha bought 220 acres from J. V. and Cynthia S. Bradley(36)for $800. On 28 Nov 1876 He and Martha bought an additional 317 acres of land for $1600 from James Chenoweth (37), son of the original settler.

On 28 Oct 1875, son Jerry Thornton married Rebecca Hunt (38) at Nonpareil, Douglas County. They had eight children. That year a set of photographs of the family was presented to Joe Thornton showing all ten children and the parents. Photograph of Joe. Photograph of Priscilla.

On 20 Jan 1878, son Samuel Isaac married Jennie Singleton (39). They had five children.

In 1880 daughters Priscilla (age 22) and Catherine (age 20) were with him and his wife (both reported an age of 58). He still listed himself as a farmer. His son Joe, got married on 1 Feb 1880 in Douglas Co., to Frances Matthews (40). They had nine children.

Jeptha was once again 'Messenger' to the 30th annual meeting of the Siloam Association held at the Scio Church, Linn County, Oregon on 1-3 July 1881. He was again recorded as 'Clerk of the Church' with a post office address of Roseburg. He was accompanied on this trip by Elders W. S. Mathews, D. L. Chan, and Fielden Templeman.

On 14 Jan 1883, Priscilla, age 25, married William Henry Kernan (41) at Oak Creek. His parents were both Catholics born in Ireland and came to this country about 1850. William was born in upstate New York. But he grew up after about age seven, in Iowa, where his family emigrated about 1860. His parents expected him to become a priest but he had come west sometime before the summer of 1880, when he was in Corvallis, Benton Co., Oregon, listing himself as a `miner' and `boarder' in the census there. He was the eldest in his family and may have run away to the gold fields before coming to Douglas County.

On 8 Mar 1884, Jeptha and Martha sold 645 acres to their son Josiah J. Thornton for $4000, in the presence of J.E. Fitzhugh and W. H. Kernan (new son in law) (42). In 1884 Jeptha was ordained an elder in the Primitive Baptist church in Oak Creek. He preached at there, at Oakland, and Nonpareil and elsewhere that he could reach by horseback by shortcuts through the hills where there were no roads. The church at Oak Creek was 24' x 40' in size.

On 15 August 1885, `Katy' , daughter of Jeptha and Martha, died at age 26. She is buried with her parents in Oak Creek Cemetery. She appears to never have married. In 1885 photographs of the family were presented to Jerry Thornton that included the parents and all ten children of the family. Photographs of Joe, Priscilla.

1885 may have been the year of greatest membership (22) in the Oak Creek Church. (There were that many again in 1892 as well). Some members were : W. H. P. Adams, Mary E. Agee (Jeptha's daughter), Elder Joseph P. and Mary Allison, G. R. P. Atterberry, Elder John Burge, J. L. Coon, Elder Isom Cranfill, Robert and Sarah Kent, Elder William S. Mathews, Thompson Melton, W. R. Stephens, Fielding Templeman, Elder Jesse W. Thornton (Jeptha's Nephew), J. J. and Susan Thornton (his son Joe and his wife), William J. Thornton, and Mary Jane Butler Turpin. There were always 20 or more members during the period from 1882 through 1892. (It
remained around 15 from 1897 until 1921, the last time statistics were made)

On 10 June 1887, Elder Jeptha preached the introductory sermon athe the 34th Annual Meeting of the Siloam Association held right at Oak Creek from 10 -12 June. He read from John 19:30: "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit."

On 9 December 1886, Jeptha's son in law, husband of his daughter Priscilla, William Kernan (41) shot himself while cleaning his gun and died. It is not known if he was in the log cabin he had built between Buck Rock and Ace William's Mountain or not. William and Priscilla were proving up on a 160 acres homestead there perched high above and right between the North Umpqua and the East Fork (later called Little River). He was buried in Oak Creek cemetery in the middle of Thornton land. A marble `needle' monument was placed there which remained in good condition in 2001. Priscilla had given birth to three children in the three years of their marriage (43). They all later attended school together at Oak Creek. Jeptha's daughter Sally Griffin Stephans died on 6 March of that year in Douglas county too.

Sometime nearer the end of his life Jeptha returned to Yamhill Co. to preach and then because of the conflicts that he perceived in the various sects he became dispirited. This may have been over the differences between the Primitive Baptists and missionary Baptists. The 'Regular' Baptists, called Primitive and 'Hard Shell' held a strong predestinarian belief and did not believe in proselytizing. See a summary of the Primitive Baptist tenents.

"About this time I first up and went down in Yamhill County, me and my wife and daughter, and staid all winter and aimed to travel among the Baptist down thare and see if I could see any way that I could live in peace. I then wanted my wife to go with me in the mountains and we would live out our days there, the cares of old Elijah would come to me when he exclaimed Lord they have killed all thy prophets...I am left alone and they seak my life. My wife would remonstrate against that move. She would tell me that I would not be satisfyed thare.(11)"

Jeptha and Martha's daughter Sally Griffin Stephens died in Douglas Co., on 6 Mar 1887 at age 44. She is buried near them in Oak Creek Cemetery. Her son Jeptha M. Stephens died the next month on 3 April at age 15. Later her husband William Rooker Stephens went to Klickitat Co., Washington. He is not buried with her.

At the next annual meeting of the Siloam Association (oddly called the 37th) was held at the Siloam Church in Marion County, Oregon from 22 -24 June 1888, Jeptha was listed as an Elder with the Post office address at Oak Creek, but the church clerk was his son Joe Jeptha.

Two years later after his eldest daughter Sally died, Jeptha died, age 67, on 2 March 1889, at Oak Creek. The 38th annual meeting of the Siloam Association held at Luckiamute Church in Polk County, Oregon from 21-23 June 1889 did not contain Jeptha's name but rather that of his son J. J. Thornton as Church Clerk.

Jeptha's wife Martha lived another ten years and died on 15 September 1899 at Oak Creek also. Their tombstone and that of some of their children remains in the Oak Creek Cemetery within a curbed site. Nearby is the stone of his daughter Priscilla, who died in 1930 in Klamath Falls. Her body was returned to Oak Cr. and joined that of her husband, near her parents and siblings and other pioneers: Barkers, Adams, Chenoweth, Singletons, etc.

J. J. and W. E. Thornton petitioned the Douglas Co. Court on 19 April 1889: "On the 2nd day of March 1889 Jepthah (sic) Thornton died in Douglas Co., State of OR intestate...and left real and personal property therein of the value of ten thousand dollars..." The widow Martha R. Thornton, renounced her right to administer the estate and recommended her sons: J. J. and W. E. be appointed administrators. Administration of the estate was given to J. J. Thornton and W. E. Thornton by J. S. Fitzhugh, Judge on 19 April 1889. The document was signed by them, by R. S. Sheridan, J. Hamilton, and M. Tipton (the latter by a mark) and recorded the next day. On 6 May the administrators petitioned the court to allow them to sell the personal property of Jeptha's estate to pay for the funeral expenses, and claims, and it was granted. On 29 November 1889 the administrators petitioned the court to allot $400 to the widow.

The inventory was made by B. C. Agee (nephew of Jeptha), John Price and R. B. Dixon and presented on 20 April 1889 to G. A. Taylor, county clerk. It was completed and sworn to by W.E. and J. J. Thornton on 6 May 1889.

The liquidation of assets yielded:

Hogs sold $189
Brown 4 yr mare $110.
16 - 2yr cattle $221
9 cows $180
16 yearling cattle $51
Folack Muly (sic) bull $25
5 cows and yearling $85.50
sheep #1118.75
wool from sheep $409.75
oats $154
102 bushels wheat $51.
Cox Brother's note $160.
threshing machine $100.
harness, plow, harrow, accounts (?) $56.50
2 yearling mules $120
carpenter tools $27.
bay horse $114.50
gray mare $100
gray colt $30
a hack $100
two - three year old horses $130
a note of J. J. Thornton (Jeptha's son) $2000

The Jeptha and Josiah Jeptha (his son) Partnership debts paid were:

Flint & Taylor Bank $203.75
wool packs and twine $55.
labor on place $20.50
M. Tipton & son note $2112.36 for note of $2000 at 10%. signed on 9 Feb 1885 by Jeptha and J. J. Thornton (but crossed out). Payments made of $200 each on 10 Feb 1886, 7 Feb 1887, 16 Feb 1888, and 28 Feb 1889, then $1066.66 on 9 Jun 1889 and $870, on 25 Jul 1889. (balance?)
Joseph Tipton $26.50
Dr. Miller $15

Sheridan Bros. $23.60
The debt at Sheridan Bros. Hardware was the last year, but the bill listed three years of purchases and shows what kind of products the partnership used:
a keg of nails $4.50 and 2 files and sand paper $0.35 on 3 Jan 1887.
9 lbs of Shoe shape $1 on 1 Feb 1887
A box of Winchester 44 cartridges $0.75 on 7 Apr 1887
The partnership had paid $20 on account on the 26th of Jun 1887.
50 lbs of twine for $7.50 on 28 Jul 1887
6 and a half lbs of Horse show for 40 cents on 18 Aug 1887
16 lbs of of shope on 19 Sep 1887 for $1.60
A box of something on 22 Oct 1887 for $0.70
The partnership had paid $7.50 on account on 3 Jan 1888
46 and a one quarter lbs. of annodized wire for $3.70 on 6 Apr 1888
Something for 65 cents on 10 of Jun 1888
A double harpoon fork and pulley for $5. and 14 lbs. of rope for $2.10 on 26 Jun 1888
The partnership had paid $3. on his account on 14 July and left a remainder of $2. on 14 July 1888.
50 lbs. of 10 d nails and 10 lbs. of 4d nails on 31 Jul 1888 for $0.90
Borax and tool steel for $0.90 and shoe shape for $0.60 and 100 lbs. assorted shoes for $6. on 3 Aug 1888.
5 1/2 lbs of 5/8 " rope and 2 lbs 7/16" rope and a copper oiler and a box of copper rivets,all for $2.05 on 13 Aug 1888.
3 cans of axle grease and a file for $0.70 on 14 Aug 1888
A sheet of iron for 25 cents on 24 Aug 1888.
8 1/2 lbs of shape & 8 lbs of iron for $1.35 on 20 Oct 1888
45 harrow teeth 1/2 for $2.70 on 24 Nov 1888
A keg of horse shoes for $6. on 27 Dec 1888
2 rim locks on 12 Feb 1889 for $0.70.

W.H. Thornton note of $100 of 20 Oct 1888 and interest of $9.50, on 18 Dec 1889
A hat for Adams $19 (?).
William Love $357.50 for a 13 Nov 1886 note of $325, plus interest. paid to 22 Jun 1889
expenses on (?) $31.50

Jeptha’s individual estate paid:

appraisers and justices fees $7.50
Dr. Brower $25.
P. Benedict, casket and box $72.
Review publishing $12
Estate road work $5.75
F. G. Oehme, MD $59. 19 Apr 1890 for 5 visits @ $11 after 17 Feb 1889 and 4 prescriptions @ $1. on 1 Mar 1889.
to Carl Feiber for rock around grave $25, hauling rock $10, cutting and placing rock around graves: $25. on 28 Oct 1890.
monument $185.
amount advanced to widow $400
Administrator's fees $410
Attorney fee to J. W. Hamilton: $100 13 Sep 1890
A. C. Marsters & Co. Drugs and stationery , Roseburg for a visit and medicine on 1 Mar 1889: $10.50
estate tax year $101.50 to B. C. Agee, sheriff
clerk's fees $13.75 to G. A. Taylor on 3 Nov 1890
J. J. Thornton $60.

Cash on hand from liquidation
and after debts paid: $279.49

Property on hand
Real estate $5700.
household goods $100.
partnership property on hand (his half)
hay rake $12.50
mower $12.50
felt harness $2.50
note against Jeptha's son,W. E. Thornton $25.
note against Jeptha's son in law, W. R. Stephens $82
note against J. P Allison $19.50
miscellaneous bank accounts $50.
hay on hand $15.
fanning mill $2.50
harrow $5
2 wagons $20
cider mill $7.5
blacksmith tools $17.50
141 3/4 acres land Tipton place $1250.
hay fork $4.

The cattle went to nephew Benjamin Coats Agee, the hogs to Samuel and James Chenoweth and the sheep to James Chenoweth. The wool to M. Josephson, the bay horse to William Gillam,
The brown mare foal to Mr. Smith, The bay mare and the hack and bee hives and carpenter tools to the widow Martha. The two and three year old horses, a yearling gray colt and a harness to Alex Thornton. J. C. Atterbury took the threshing machine, the oats went to Joseph Carlow, the wheat to Rose & Flook. and Marks & Co.

His daughter Priscilla, his son William E. and wife Susanna Thornton, his son in law John and wife Mary E. Agee, his son Jeremiah Luke, his daughter, Rebecca Thornton, and his son Samuel Isaac and wife Mary V. Thornton, conveyed to Jeptha's other son, Josiah Jeptha Thornton, all their interest in 1513 acres that had belonged to Jeptha and Martha R. Thornton at the time of his death. The debt must have been paid in 1889 by his children, or by Josiah alone, to retain the land in the family.(44)

Their white marble tombstone in Oak Creek Cemetery read on opposite sides:

BORN Sep. 11. 1821 DIED Mar 22 1889.
A precious one from us has gone
A voice we loved is stilled
A..home Which never cup be filled
God in his wisdom has recalled
The boon His love has given
And the The soul is safe in Heaven"


BORN Mar. 18, 1820. DIED Sept 18, 1899
Rock of Ages cleft For me,
Let me hide Myself in thee."

Look at Photographs of Jeptha's family.

Sources: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1850 Census, De Kalb Co., MO.

1860 Census, De Kalb Co., MO.

1870 Census, Mt. Scott precinct, Douglas Co., OR: household 5, p 22, from Hiday (compiler), Genealogical Forum, Portland, 1972

1880 Census, Mt. Scott Precinct, Douglas Co., OR: family 128, p 157. from Hiday (compiler). Genealogical Forum, Portland, 1972.

Agee, Roy. Article for Thornton and Todd reunion of 1962. Clarksdale MO Reunion, 1962.

Douglas County OR Deeds: Bk 3, p 455, Bk 4, p 692,693, Bk 7 p 190, 198, Bk 8 p 180, Bk 16, p 526, 227.

Douglas County OR Probate records 1889 and after.

Keel, Rene and Kay Livermore. Douglas County Cemetery Records Book 1., Gene Soc. of Douglas Co.,OR 1988

Leach, Virginia E.. Letter: Virginia E. (Burdick) Leach of Reedsport, OR to Larry Thornton before 1992.

Thornton , Jeptha. Autobiography. Roseburg News Review,(OR) Monday 11 Mar 1889.

Thornton , Jeptha: Essay, before 1887. Douglas Co., OR. donated to Gen. Soc. of Douglas Co. by Betty Read Thornton.

Thornton, Larry. Thornton Family, Grants Pass, OR, 1994.

Thornton, Weldon: Thornton database, Poulsbo, WA, 1997.

Turner, Ralph J. : Photographs, notes, rubbing, Oak Cr. Cemetery, Douglas Co., OR, 1992-1997.

Unknown derivation: A map of Oak Creek Cemetery in the Douglas County Museum (OR) completed after 1930.


(1) WilliamH. Thornton (II), born 8 October 1792, Rowan County NC, died 6 September 1858, De Kalb Co., MO.

(2) Sally Todd, born 19 Jun 1793, Rowan Co.,KY, died 14 September 1891, Clarksdale, De Kalb Co., MO.

(3) Possibly the Aux Vasse Riveror one of its tributaries.

(4) William Thornton (I), born 11 August 1765, Yorktown, Virginia, died 1843, Bayfield, De Kalb County, MO.

(5) Martha Ann, `Patsey' Owen, born 18 October 1765, Lunenburg County, VA, died after 1850, Clarksdale, De Kalb Co., MO.

(6) Peter Todd, born 23 June 1756, Easton, PA, died 23 February 1841, Madison County, KY.

(7) Hannah Cornelison , born 17 July 1756/1757, Rowan County, NC, died 1844, Madison County, KY.

(8) Mary Ann Todd, born 13 December 1818, Lexington, Fayette County, KY, died 16 Jul 1882, Springfield, Sangamon County, IL.

(9) Mary Ann Todd's ancestor, Samuel Todd, born about 1632 and Sally Todd's ancestor: Joseph Todd, born in 1630, and died 20 September 1699, in Philadelphia, PA, were believed to be brothers.

(10) Gerret Cornelison, born 17 November 1696, died 8 February 1799, in Loudon County, VA, and Marietje Lammers, born about 1700, in Ulster County, NY, also died in Loudon County.

(11) Jeptha Thornton's Reminiscences written about 1885.

(12) William Edward Thornton was destined to be a Baptist minister. He died on 26 Feb 1910 in Springfield, Lane Co., OR after working in several Oregon and Washington churches.

(13) Sally Griffin (Thornton) Steffans died on 6 March 1887, Douglas Co., OR.

(14) Mary Elizabeth (Thornton) Agee died 10 Jan 1920, Wilbur, Douglas Co., OR. Photographof Mary. Later Photographof Mary and John Agee together.

(15) Emily Jane (Thornton) Murray died 3 Nov 1931, in Glenwood, Washington at age 82. Her husband James Murray died in 1925.

(16) Martha `Patsey' (Thornton) Toney, born 8 Octobber 1792, Rowan Co., NC, died 1865, Sheridan, Yamhill Co., OR.

(17) James Toney, born 23 October 1798, Franklin Co., VA, died in April 1891, Suirprise Valley, CA.

(18) Owen Price Turner, born 10 December 1813, Franklin Co., VA, died 11 May 1896, in the west.

(19) Daniel Barnes, born 4 March, 1824, Crawford, IN, died 27 October, 12896, Gold Hill, Jackson County, OR. He was the son of Frankie Thornton, brother of Jeptha's father and thus Jeptha's german cousin.

(20) Elizabeth (Adams) Toney, born 7 September 1818, died 9 September, 1852, in Oregon. Her father and mother: William H. P. and Anna (Todd) Adams are buried in Oak Creek Cemetery Douglas County, OR, near the curbed Jeptha Thornton family site.

(21) Josiah `Joe' Jeptha died 24 Jan 1941, Eugene, Lane Co., OR.

(22) Cordelia or Cordilla (Thornton) Agee, born 1815, Madison County, KY, died 1893, Yamhill County, OR. She is buried in the Agee Cemetery in Gopher Valley, Yamhill County, OR, with Isaac.

(23) Isaac Agee, born 18 October 1811, Callaway County, MO, died 9 September 1900, Gopher Valley, Yamhill county, OR.

(24) Jeremiah `Jerry' Luke Thornton died 12 Dec 1939, Douglas Co., OR

(25) Samuel Isaac Thornton died 12 December 1939, Douglas Co., OR.

(26) Priscilla Cordelia (Thornton) Kernan died 12 January 1930 in Klamath Falls, Klamath Co., OR.

(27) Permelia Katherine Thornton died 15 Aug 1885 in Oregon, at age 25, never having married.

(28) Calhorn Rebecca Thornton's probably died in Oregon, her death date is unknown. She also never married.

(29) Their tombstones, near the Thorntons in Oak Creek Cemetery, Douglas County, OR, read: "William P. Adams died Feb 27 1879 Aged 56 yrs & 18 d'ys. Jesus lover of my soul. Let me to thy bossum fly." And "Elizabeth, wife of W. H. P. Adams born Feb 8 1808, Died Oct 3, 1891, Age 83 Yrs. 76 Mo. 7 25 Days, Blessed are they that died in the Lord."

(30) John Agee, son of Isaac and Cordilly(Thornton) Agee was born on 23 April 1838, in Clinton Co., MO. He was twelve when he walked the Oregon trail with his parents and nine siblings in 1852. One of his sisters, Malissa Ann Agee, born 3 April 12841 in De Kalb County, MO died on the trail on 15 August 1852. John died on 25 April 1912 in Roseburg, Douglas Co., OR and is buried in Wilbur cemetery with other members of his family. When Jeptha's family arrived he was 26 and Mary was 17.

(31) The west half of the Theodore W. Prather Donation Land Claim in T26S R4W. This was witnessed by Joshua Dixon and Willis Bennefield.

(32) All in Section 30 T26S, R4W. This was witnessed by Joshua Dixon, Justice of the Peace, Mt. Scott precinct.

(33) This was part of the Willis Benefield DLC in Section 29 and 30 of T26S, R4W, Douglas County.

(34) In Section 25, T26S R5W, Douglas County. This was later part of, or adjacent to the Sunshine Ranch. This exchange was witnessed by John Chenoweth and Benjamin Agee. Chenoweth had a DLC nearby. Benjamin Agee, later Sheriff of Douglas County was a son of Isaac and Cordilly Agee of Yamhill County and thus Jeptha's nephew. He had come south from Yamhill County in 1869.

(35) This Post Office was in Section 29, T26S, R4W.

(36) In Section 29 of T26W R4W, Douglas County.

(37) In Section 29 and 30 of T26S, R4W, Douglas Co., OR ( The Willis Bennefild DLC).

(38) Rebecca Bryant Hunt born 20 Sep 1856, Gerro Gbordo, Floyd County IA, died 29 Jan 1937, Oakland, Douglas County, OR.

(39) Mary Virginia `Jennie' Singleton, born 2 Mar 1855, Roseburg, Douglas County, died 12 Oct 1935, there.

(40) Frances Emeline Matthews, born 30 Jul 1863, Topeka, Shawnee, Co., KS, died 23 Oct 1937, 1937, probably in Ore1gon.

(41) William Henry Kernan, born 1853, Syracuse, Onondaga County, NY, died 1887, Oak Creek, Douglas County, OR. His father was born about 1823, in Ireland and died 7 April.1887, Arcadia, Carroll County IA, the same year as his son, and Margaret Whalen born Dunshaughlin, County Meath, Ireland, died 19 September 1898, Lee, Iowa.

(42) In sec 25 T26S, R5W and sec 29 and 30 T26S, R4W, Douglas County.

(43) John Jeptha Kernan, born 28 January, 1884, Oak Creek, died 1947, Portland, Multnomah county, OR; Martha Margaret (Kernan) Turner/Agee, born 3 September 1885, Oak Creek, died 11 Jun 1935, Klamath County, Oregon; William Henry Kernan, Jr., born 22 November, 1886, Oak Creek, died 1 April 1939, West Side, Lake County, OR.

(44) This included the Willis Benefield DLC in sec 29, and other parcels in sec 28 and 30 of T26S, R4W, Douglas Co., OR.

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Look at photographs of Jeptha's family.