Merced Express, March 20, 1909


THORNTON–Near Merced, Cal., March 12, 1909, William Thornton, a native
of Ireland, aged 69 years.
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Merced Express, March 20, 1909


William Thornton, one of the pioneer citizens of Merced county passed
away at his home a few miles west of Merced on the 12th instant, after
an illness of some weeks.

Mr. Thornton was born in County Derry, Ireland, Nov. 15, 1839, and came
to California in 1864, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, arriving in San
Francisco June 29th. He lived in Napa valley three years and then one
year in San Francisco. In 1868 he came to Merced county with a party of
government surveyors, and he became a resident here. In 1869 he was
united in marriage with Miss Julia Whalen in San Francisco. In 1874 they
took up their residence on the farm seven miles west of Merced, which
has been the family home ever since. The farm comprises over 700 acres
of good land. Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Thornton, eight of
whom, with their mother, survive. There are four sons and four
daughters, as follows: P. J. Thornton, John J. Thornton, William D.
Thornton, Joseph F. Thornton, Mary A. Thornton and Miss M. S. Maddux,
all of whom reside in this community. The oldest son, P. J. Thornton is
the county clerk; Miss Margaret Thornton is a successful school teacher, and
all the members of the family are engaged in useful business
occupations–well known and highly respected.

For some years Mr. Thornton has been an invalid, being badly crippled
from rheumatism and seldom left his home.

In all the years he resided in Merced county he was universally
respected and proverbial for his honorable dealings with his fellow men.
He was a man who had the confidence of all the people and his word was
as good as his bond. During his last illness she had the attention of
the best medical skill and care of a loving family. The funeral took
place from the Catholic church Monday morning last. Rev. Father McNamara
conducted the services. The floral offerings were many and the cortege
one of the largest that ever passed through the streets of Merced, which
was evidence of the respect and esteem in which the deceased was held.

Contributed by; Carol Lackey