1. William Thorne was born about 1617 in England.
He FREEMAN on 2 May 1638 in Massachusetts Bay Colony. He died between 1657
and 1664 in Jamaica, Queens, NY. He REMONSTRANCE on 27 Dec 1657 in Flushing,
Long Island, NY. Another of the combination father and son signers of the Remonstrance
was the Thorne family; William Sr. and William Jr. Like so many of his friends
and neighbors William Thorne Sr. followed the pathway to Flushing in order to
escape the religious intolerances of his earlier New England associations.
The first New England reference to William Thorne is that of his admittance as
a freeman to Lynn, Massachusetts on May 2, 1638 having (possibly) arrived that
year in the ship "Confidence" from England. He is also shown to have
served on a Salem jury on June 29, 1641. Shortly thereafter he was convicted
of giving assistance to escaped prisoners and was fined f 6 2/3 for "concealing,
hiding and supplying." This display of sympathy toward non-conformists
and antipathy toward existing authorities presaged an early departure from the
Massachusetts Bay Colony.
This finds expression in a entry of the Quarterly Court (Salem) dated February
28, 1643 referring to "Divers of Lynn Gone to Long Island and some not warned."
Included in the group were the names "Goodman Thorne" and "Michael
Miller". A further entry stated that "Michael Millner of Lynn, cited
for idle and unprofitable spending his time" had gone to Long Island. That
William Thorne was just an ordinary person of no social pretensions is adduced
by the appellation "Goodman" as distinguished from that of "Mr."
The expression "not warned" apparently refers to the fact that certain
of the non-conformists, sensing the immanency of interrogation by the local magistrates,
took this opportunity for their hasty departure prior to being served with a
summons to appear.
The evidence is very strong that William Thorne (and possibly Michael Milner)
left the Bay Colony and migrated to Long Island as one of the friends and close
followers of Lady Deborah Moody. Both he and the Flushing blacksmith were named
among the patentees of flushing in October 1645, Milner being identified therein
as "Michael Milliard".
Lady Deborah Moody was the daughter of a member of Parliament (Walter Dunch)
and the widow of Sir Henry Moody of Wiltshire, England, a baronet created by
King James in 1622. She arrived at Lynn between 1638 and 1640 and in the same
year united with the church of Salem. She became impressed with the views of
Roger Williams and his utterances upon the invalidity of infant baptism (Lady
Moody was actually associated with Anabaptists in London prior to her hasty departure).
A strong-willed and determined woman she made no secret of her non-conformist
views. Just as Roger Williams was forced to leave the Bay Colony Lady Moody was
first admonished and finally excommunicated for her views that infant baptism
might not be an ordinance of divine origin. Although personally respected by
many of her neighbors "she removed to the Dutch against the advice of her
friends", being accompanied by her son (Wrong! at this time, her son was
still serving as a member of the Star Court in London for Charles I) and a small
group of friends.
To these emigrants there was considerable attraction in the idea of helping found
under Dutch auspices and near to Fort Amsterdam, an essentially English settlement,
where fellow countrymen could congregate and settle in the congenial atmosphere
of a common language, customs and heritage. The Dutch were interested in stimulating
new settlements and in developing trade so that Lady Moody was able to obtain
a patent from Governor Kieft without great difficulty. Gravesend has the distinction
of being the only settlement where the original patentees were headed by a woman,
and one who enjoyed the respect and confidence of both Governors Kieft and Stuyvesant
to an unusual degree.
Gravesend was first settled in June 1643, several months after the emigration
from Lynn. The timing was unfortunate in its coincidence with the increased intensity
of the Indian conflicts. Repeated raids necessitated the settlers fleeing to
Flatlands and it is probable that Lady Moody and her adherents, including Thorne,
returned to Gravesend only after August 30, 1645 when Governor Kieft and the
Indian sachems negotiated a treaty of peace which brought at least a temporary
respite to hostilities. Later that same year (December 19th) the Governor and
Council of New Netherlands granted a formal patent to Gravesend to Lady Moody
and her associates.
Only fragmentary portions of the first Town Minutes of Gravesend are in existence.
Among them are records showing allocation of planters' lots i.e., farms of some
40 acres each. A number of the named allottees, including William Thorne, appear
in the Lynn records prior to 1644. There is little doubt from this close association
both at Lynn and Gravesend, that William Thorne was one of the original adherents
and close followers of Deborah Moody.
The path taken by this titled Englishwoman and her group from Lynn en route to
Gravesend in the spring of 1643 unquestionably lay through the more sheltered
passage of Long Island Sound. The original destination necessarily was New Amsterdam,
there to discuss with Governor Kieft the subject of planting a colony. Confirmation
of the itinerary may be contained in an entry supposedly made by John Bowne on
a page now missing from his famous journal. "William Thorne came from Sandwich
to Flushing 1642". The difference in dates (late 1642 as against the spring
of 1643) may be explained by variations between the old and new style calendar.
The reference to "Sandwich" alludes to the community within the Plymouth
Colony as a possible port of embarkation for Lady Moody's entourage in their
hasty exodus from Lynn. In their desire to escape the bounds of the Massachusetts
Bay Colony the group may well have found neighboring Sandwich offered at least
some opportunity to properly organize the venture.
The route to New Amsterdam would probably have been through the sheltered waters
of Long Island Sound and a stop-over at Flushing, referred to in the Bowne Journal,
could be reasonably explained as a natural desire of the group to consider the
possibilities of its becoming a potential site for the colony.
The year in which William Thorne actually settled in Flushing is not clearly
established. From pertinent language in the Indian deed to Flushing (April 14,
1684) it is probable that the actual settlement took place in the fall of 1644
or in the spring of 1645; more likely the later in view of the rigors of the
winter season. Whether Thorne actually remained in Gravesend until 1646 when
he received his planter's allotment or whether as a patentee of Flushing (October
10, 1645) he was already living in that settlement is unknown. However he had
definitely become a permanent resident of Flushing in 1648 as evidenced by his
appointment on April 27th as a magistrate, together with John Townsend and John
In July 1657, the year of the Remonstrance, there are indications that William
Thorne was a proprietor of Jamaica, founded the preceding year, and that he may
actually have resided there, as adduced from the marriage reference to a "Sussannah
Thorne" in the early Jamaica Town Records (July 10, 1667). This move to
Jamaica may have been induced by the waning activity of Lady Moody in Gravesend's
affairs and the natural desire to seek sanctuary from the serious Indian raids
in a less exposed and vulnerable community.
Governor William Kieft, a confirmed blusterer, had been exceedingly inept in
his handling of affairs with the Indians. This probably more than any other single
factor led to his ultimate recall to Holland and to his being replaced by Peter
Stuyvesant. As a result of Kieft's attempts to levy a tax on the surrounding
tribes and the unprovoked slaughter of the red men at Corlear's Hook the entire
area around New Amsterdam flamed with reprisals against the settlers. The Indians
attacked outposts in Harlem, Staten Island and Long Island, forced the evacuation
of Maspeth and for five years laid waste the fields, killed cattle, burned barns
and harassed settlers. Even nearby plantation were deserted as the fear-stricken
farmers sought the protection of Fort Amsterdam.
The general situation is well-described in a letter of November 3, 1643 by a
leading figure in New Amsterdam, Jochem Pietersen Kuyter. He said, "We wretched
people, with our wives and little ones that survive must in our destitution find
refuge together in and around the Fort at Manhattan, where we are not safe even
for an hour as the Indians daily threaten to overwhelm us. Very little can be
planted this autumn and mow much less in the spring; so it must come to pass
that those of hunger and grief as also our wives and children, unless our God
have pity on us".
Kuyter's earlier premonition of personal disaster was borne out since he was
killed in another Indian raid in 1655, at which time Stuyvesant felt obliged
to issue an ordinance prohibiting settlers from exposed locations and requiring
those in isolated bouweries to come closer to the protection of the fort. Under
these hazardous conditions to which outlying Gravesend was particularly vulnerable
William Thorne's removal to Jamaica is understandable.
When William Thorne's name next appears on the Flushing records twelve years
after his first visit, it is as a signer of the Remonstrance in which signing
he is joined by his son William Jr. a child of his marriage to Susannah Booth
whom he had married while at Lynn. In addition to William Jr, born circa 1639,
their children included John (b 1640-43), Joseph (b 1642-46), Samuel (b 1648-55)
and Susannah (Lockerson) (b circa 1645).
William Thorne Jr., son of the patentee and himself a Remonstrance signer married
Winifred ------- and had three sons, William (The third of that name), John and
Richard. The baptismal records of the Dutch Church identify him as "Wilt
Toorn". This branch of the family migrated to Madnan's Neck (Great Neck)
and is readily distinguishable from the families of the other three sons of the
patentee, John, Joseph and Samuel who all remained in Flushing or a longer period.
William Jr. (the signer) is listed among the inhabitants of Hempstead in 1673,
as a freeholder in 1685 and had already acquired substantial land there in 1683
as evidenced by a deed from Edmund Titus to "Will Thorne of Madnan's Neck"
(Queens County Deeds Liber A, page 143). His three sons continued to add to the
family's property at Great Neck. Their father, possibly in contemplation of death,
deeded to his son Richard on February 24, 1698 "all and every parcel of
land I have on said Great Neck together with all the housing (as above Liber
A, page 165). Richard Thorne during the previous year had bought other property
at Great Neck from Daniel Whitehead of Jamaica and Samuel Moore of Newtown (supra
Liber B, page 77).
John Thorne, second son of the original patentee, married Mary Parsell, daughter
of another Remonstrance signer, Nicholas Parsell and continued to live in Flushing.
He apparently accumulated considerable property since in 1670 he sold 50 acres
at Mattagarrison's Bay (Little Neck Bay) to Anthony Field, (supra Liber A, page
85) and sold additional land to him in 1683. In 1696 John Thorne sold 90 acres
to Charles Morgan "on the south side of the hills" (supra Liber A,
page ? March 12, 1696). John's will, dated July 23, 1709 indicates that his death
took place about that time. By it he devised all of his housing, lands and meadows,
goods and chattels to his wife and children.
Joseph Thorne, a third son of the patentee, married Mary Bowne, daughter of John
Bowne in 1690 and likewise remained in Flushing. He too traded in land, selling
a tract of 60 acres to Paulas Amerman of Flatbush in 1696 for the sum of f 55
(supra Liber B1, page 321). Joseph remained in Flushing throughout his life and
died there "the 3rd month 1727". Three of Joseph's sons, including
Israel, the eldest, moved during the period of 1725-50 to the Nine Partners Patent
(northeast of Poughkeepsie, Duchess County) where they became active in the Quaker
Samuel Thorne, the last of the sons of the patentee is infrequently mentioned
in the early records. He too acquired property at Little Neck Bay, buying 50
acres from William Chatterton in April 1673 (supra Liber A, page 77) and as late
as 1694 was still at Flushing, buying land consisting of 20 acres from Joseph
Tindall (supra Liber B1, page 292).
Since the Thorne family has been so frequently identified in the records with
the acquisition and sale of real property it may be timely to consider briefly
the general customs of the early Dutch with respect to patents and land grants
or "ground-briefs" as they were called. Using the Flushing Patent from
Governor William Kieft as an example, it required that "a complete number
of families (to be determined by the Governor General) shall settle within a
space of two years". It Further provided that the settlers build a town
or towns, together with the necessary fortifications, required that after ten
years the settlers pay a rental of 10% of the revenues derived from the produce
of the land and make appropriate payments in butter and cheese from their dairy
In certain respects, including the affirmation concerning the right to enjoy
liberty of conscience, the Flushing patent varied from others of the period.
Some patents included an undertaking to provide the particular village with military
protection when needed. Other stipulations agreed that when the appropriate number
of families, perhaps 24 or 30, had settled they would be provided with a good,
pious, orthodox minister. Still another proviso was the agreement that no other
competitive village or settlement would be permitted until the prior community
had obtained its requisite number of families.
Apart from the town patents, land grants or ground-briefs were given directly
to individual settlers on the "out-plantations" or outlying farms somewhat
removed from the communal centers. Generally within the town patent each eligible
inhabitant or freeholder received by lot a grant of meadow land. Those entering
the town subsequently were required to petition the town for membership or acceptance
and upon becoming freeholders would thereafter share in the allocation of the
undivided town lands.
The undivided lands and meadows, laid out in areas of approximately the same
size were then subjected to a drawing by lot, with subsequent frequent swapping
the order of the day. For example, if William Thorne drew lots 1 and 23 in the
new division, he might trade with Robert Field who wanted lot 23 to go along
with lot 24 which had already drawn, and hence was willing to give up lot 2 which
he had also drawn. Thus each of the two participants through the exchange would
emerge with two contiguous plots. Generally the complications of multiple trading
were more complex than the simple example cited before any one individual could
effectively assemble a substantial number of contiguous parcels.
In form and contour the plots were frequently laid out in long and relatively
narrow strips fronting upon the bay, cove, steam or waterway abutting the tract
to be subdivided. This was a favorite mode of dividing meadowland borrowed from
Holland and gave to each farmer his settled water privileges and enabled him
to remove crops by scows in the absence of available roads. Salt hay being needed
for the bedding of cattle small parcels of salt meadow were allocated to each
freeholder. These meadows were utilized wherever found, often at quite a distance
from the house lots and were usually conveyed as a necessary appurtenance to
the home site when the latter was sold.
Many of the real estate transfers involving members of the Thorne family undoubtedly
represented the assembly of various tracts into single consolidated farms or
were sales of marginal parcels to neighbors who were similarly engaged in consolidating
their holdings. However the most significant document of the entire period as
it affects the Thornes is the one which discloses that prior to 1698 Joseph Thorne,
Samuel Thorne, Benjamin Field and others had already bought 5,000 acres at Bucks
County, Pennsylvania. Among the influences contributing to this rising tide of
emigration to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, particularly for the Quakers, were
the William Penn purchase of 1682; the well publicized offers of New Jersey plantations
to be accompanied by complete freedom of religion; and the resurgence of Anglican
domination on Long Island under the sponsorship of Governor Cornbury.
The twenty five year period between 1685 and 1710 witnessed the migration from
Flushing and Newtown of many of the Remonstrance families including the Chews
(Tues.), Blackfords, Fields, Harts, and Stocktons. Migratory trends within the
respective family groups appear to have been governed primarily by religious
considerations. Thus the members of the Thorne family remaining in the town of
Hempstead were generally identified with the Anglican Church. This is also true
of some who continued to live in Flushing, as evidenced by a petition to the
legislature from Flushing on May 27, 1761 praying for incorporation of the Church
of England, claiming that they had no minister of their own, that they had erected
a decent church and intended to provide for the support of a clergyman. Among
the petitioners were William and Benjamin Thorne, to whom particular interest
attaches since they were owners of substantial property at Whitestone which shortly
thereafter was acquired by Francis Lewis and constituted an important part of
that patriot's 224 acre farm. That part of the Flushing branch of the Thorne
family remained strongly Anglican is further evidenced by the fact that the rector
of St. George's Protestant Episcopal Church in Flushing during the years 1820
to 1826 was Rev. John G. V. Thorne.
It is indeed fitting tribute to their common ancestor and Remonstrance signer
William Thorne that later generation of the family included Quakers, Episcopalians,
and probably adherents of other faiths. He who had learned religious tolerance
under the precepts of Lady Deborah Moody in Lynn and Gravesend and who had reaffirmed
that doctrine in Flushing in December 1657 certainly would not have denied that
right to freedom of conscience to his own succeeding generations.
He was buried in Quaker Cemetery, Flushing, NY. He is believed to be buried
in the Friends Cemetery in Flushing. He was Puritan and Anabaptist. William
was a Puritan, with Anabaptists leanings. He arrived in the Massachusetts Bay
Colony between 1635 and 1638. He was one 17 English families to establish Flushing
Long Island in 1645 and Gravesend in 1643. 3rd signer of Remonstrance of Flushing
(precursor to the Bill of Rights). Religious activist. Considered the Progenitor
of the Thorne Family of America. Possibly arrived on Confidence (1635) age/EST
18 years, with Peter Thorne, believed by some to have been a close relative,
though there is nothing to substantiate this position.
The genealogical material contained in this record regarding William Thorne of
England, Lynn, Mass and Long Island New York covering the first 6 generations
down to John 6 Thorne and Mary Birdsall of Newburgh, New York is derived from
the archives of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Record. The individual
responsible for much of the work must be recognized. He was Thorn Dickinson.
He was a Thorne descendant, who never married, was an engineer by profession and
a grand lover of his Thorne birthright. The man who oversaw this publication
on the family of William Thorne is named Harry Macy, an imminent Long Island
genealogist. I spoke personally with him in June of 1992. He said it was the
most singularly extensive family project they have undertaken to date. It was
of particular difficulty as William's descendents seem to have largely ignored
their family history. Thus the info was retrieved from many family histories
with whom the Thornes have married, as well as all the other usual sources. Macy
feels that the info is accurate and reliable.
It is generally believed he came from Dorsetshire, however, there is no evidence
to support that. There was another William Thorne, who for a short time, became
embroiled in a legal matter in New York. In a statement to the court, this William
Thorne declared that he was from Dorset in old England. This William has been
proven to be another Thorne. The info regarding our William Thorne and Dorset
must stem from this instance. While there are those who feel he may have arrived
aboard the English ship THE CONFIDENCE. In fact, there is no William Thorne of
record on any ship arriving in Boston during the years of 1635-1638. Many of
these early English arrivals travelled under false names as they were fleeing
the evils of Charles I and his Star Court. While other ships were limited to
a set number of passengers per family. In cases of the latter they would travel
with friends or family under their family names.
On 2 May 1638 He was made a FREEMAN of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which indicated
that he was a landowner and a man of at least modest means. It also gave him
the right to vote, which was limited solely to landowners. At this time there
were about 10,000 people in the colony only 400 plus had the right to vote. One
of these was our William. He was a man of tremendous political and religious
convictions, which led him to be at odds, with the status quo from the outset.
That trait seems to have come down to us from him through these many generations.
Many of his offspring were to later become Quakers and as such the family has
played an active role in founding of what was eventually to become a very powerful
and diverse nation.
The information on Jonathan 7 Thorne and his parents comes from Quaker records
at the Haviland Library in Manhattan and Shirley Anson's compilation of the
Quaker records of the Marlboro Monthly Meeting. Family documents tell us of Jonathan
and Cornelia (Jones) Thorne but not of his parents. At Jonathan's 2nd marriage
to Charity C. Rider, He testifies in the recording of that marriage that his
parent's were John and Mary Thorne of Newburgh New York. The information on
the births and the marriages are not only from family sources but Daniel Oliver
Thorne (last grandchild of Francis and Laurinda Thorne) has the pages from
his Grandfather's journal showing the family from Jonathan and Cornelia Thorne
to their Grandchildren.
(See Philip V. Thorn's Notes for more information.)
He was married to Susannah Booth about 1636 in England.
Susannah Booth was born before 1617 in England. She died in 1675 in
Flushing, Long Island, NY. She was buried in 1675 in Quaker Cemetery, Flushing,
NY. Philip V. Thorne Notes:
Susannah Booth Thorne's exact parentage is unknown. There was an Ensign John
Booth who came with Reverend John Youngs to New Southold on Long Island. He resided
on Shelter Island. Youngs was a militant puritan with strong anti Quaker feelings.
In more than one instance Booth sided with the quakers against Youngs. Given
this bent towards religious tolerance and given the fact the Reverend Youngs
group was from Southold in Suffolk County, England (next to Lincolnshire) we
have some circumstantial evidence tying the Booths and Thornes to the same
general area. There was a very large and very ancient Booth family in Great
Grimsby an old seaport and military site at the mouth of the river Humber,
Lincolnshire. Travelling inland from Grimsby, not far from the Humber River lies
the City of THORNE. Thorne is located in South Yorkshire and is less than 35
miles from Grimsby and is less than 60 miles from where Gunby was formerly
situated. Further it's only about 80 miles south towards London to Southold (John
Youngs and John Booth)
In the City of Thorne there are numerous Thorne place names but MORE interesting
is the widespread occurrence of the names PURDY and BIRDSALL.. These were all
families that early on under Charles 1 had strong Anabaptist leanings. The Thorne,
Birdsalls and Purdys were largely Quaker families in the New York Colony. These
3 families had numerous inter marriages.
Gary Wayne Williams of Indiana, a Thorne/Booth descendant, gives Susannah's father
as Nicholas Booth, without documentation. William Thorne and Susannah Booth
had the following children: