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Crosby County Biography

In Remembrance of

Dixon and Laura Thornton
If you can supply photograph, contact

Rose Spray
Birth Date:   Nov 8, 1836       Birth Date:   Apr 26, 1845
Death Date:   Dec 12, 1919      Death Date:   Apr 3, 1924


U.S.Flag   Rank: Private
Commanding Officer: Col. Standish/ Col. McClarty
Organization: Co. I,4 Missouri Cav CSA
Date of Enlistment: 28 Sep 1862
Date of Discharge: 1 Sep 1863
Enlisted: Yellville, Ark.
NAR 3-8-65, 4-29-65


Samuel Dixon Thornton was born 8 November 1836 in Missouri. When the Civil War broke out, his family was in sympathy with the North. He was first mustered into Co. 6 47th Regiment of enrolled Missouri Militia under Capt. Collier, Co. F - 9 August 1862 in Linn county, MO. by Col. J. McClurg. He is listed as deserting 8 September 1862.

He slipped away at night and joined a brigade of southern soldiers in south Missouri. He stayed in the service for the duration of the war and was not injured in any way.

He did not return to his home after the war. His wife and baby had been killed and feeling he had nothing to return to, he stayed in Louisiana, married, and moved to Texas. He moved on to Crosby County in 1867, and lived here until his death in January 1920. He is buried in the Estacado Cemetery, which was in Crosby County until a new survey about 1895 moved it to Lubbock County.

Mr. and Mrs. Priddy placed the memorial marker at the site of the grave.

Source: "A History of Crosby County 1876-1977" © Crosby County Historical Commission 1978; Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas.

Samuel Dixon Thornton was born in Missouri Nov. 8, 1835. His father, James Dixon Thornton, was of English descent. his mother, Sarah Green Thornton was born in Scotland. She came to America as a teenage girl. Samuel Dixon married near the beginning of the Civil War.

He was in the U.S. Army for a brief period but decided the Confederate states were right. He left the U.S. Army (deserted is the word). and joined the Confederate Army. This caused a rift in his family that never healed. The young wife he had left at home died in childbirth. The child also died.

Several months before the surrender of the Confederate Army, Thornton and two companions were on a scouting detail for the army. They sought overnight lodging at the Andrew Brazzel plantation in Louisiana.

Laura, daughter of Andrew Brazzel, and her sisters felt compassion for the ragged soldiers. They took material they had woven out of their looms, sat up all night, cut and made coats for the soldiers.

When the war ended, S. D. Thornton was estranged from his family so he never returned home. Remembering the girl who made him a coat, he returned to the Brazzel plantation, wooed and won Laura.

Many years later Laura, my maternal grandmother, told me of this courtship and the handsome, charming soldier. This true Civil War romance lasted 3 years, till his death, Dec. 2, 1919. They lived on the the Brazzel plantation. A son, James Gordon, and three daughters: Martha Jane, Elida and Mary were born during this time.

In 1872, the Thornton family moved near Nevada, Collin Co., TX to a farm they had rented from a Mr. Davies. The children attended school at Nevada. James Gordon became Jim and Martha Jane. Mattie or Matt.

With tears, grandmother told of the heartbreak and difficulties of this period, her homesickness, the hard work, real or imaginary slights because they were renters. Then her little Mary died.

Later Una and Ida were born. Prosperity smiled on the Thorntons. They bought a good blackland farm and built a house one-quarter mile from Nevada where they lived until 1888.

Their oldest daughter, Mattie, married Samuel W. Wright, Nov. 3, 1887. The next year the Thornton family, Sam and Mattie Wright moved by covered wagon to Crosby Co., The night before they arrived at their destination they camped at the rock house with the Hank Smiths.

Grandfather Thornton acquired a section (640 acres) from the Public Domain of Texas, located approximately seven miles from the Quaker settlement of Estacado. They raised cattle, broke virgin soil and farmed.

Grandmother Thornton was a leader in establishing First Baptist Church in Farmer Community , which she faithfully supported. She had a "green thumb". her yard was beautiful with old fashioned flowers, shrubs, trees and a grape arbor. She was an excellent cook, housekeeper and seamstress. She was much better educated than the average woman of her day.

Grandpa Thornton had never attended school. He could not read but his associates were amazed with his ability to mentally figure the acreage in a plot of land, the posts and wire needed for a fence, the shingles and lumber for a building. Patient, uncomplaining grandmother spent hours reading to him, so he was well informed.

I, remember how avidly he followed the war news during World War I, his excitement when martial music was played. He was active in getting land designated for Farmer School District and promoting other developments needed in a raw frontier country.

After a period spent on ranches in Texas and New Mexico, Jim Thornton purchased a farm near his parents. He married Miss Dora Cox. Irene, Dick and Clayton were children of Jim and Dora, he died in Oct. 1916. Dora and the children lived on the farm until 1944 when they moved to Lubbock. Dora died in Dec. 1966 and Irene died in Sept. 1977. The Thornton homestead was sold in Jan. 1977.

To date, May 4, 1977, there are two grandsons, two great grandsons and one great-great grandson among the S. D. Thornton descendants who bear the Thornton name.

Grandmother lived with Mattie after Grandpa´s death. She died Apr 1, 1924. The S. D. Thornton homestead was sold in 1926.

Members of the family buried in Estacado cemetery are S. D. and Laura Thornton, their son, Jim, daughters, Una and Ida, daughter-in-law, Dora, five infant grandsons, and one great grandson.
( Written by Lillian Wright Ross)

Source: Granddaughter Mrs. B. F. Priddy, Ralls, TX
Researched by Mrs. C. E. Sanders, chairman Crosby County Historical Comm. (1965)
Submitted by Ralls Historical Museum

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