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Declaration of Independence Signers - Matthew Thornton
October 25, 2011
Matthew Thornton - Declaration of Independence Signer
This month we continue with some fun facts and history about the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. Continuing with the New Hampshire signers, this month's feature is about Matthew Thornton.
Matthew Thornton was born in Ireland in 1714. He came to America with his parents when he was only four years old. After spending their first winter on their ship, which was anchored along the coast of Maine. Eventually they put down roots in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Thornton studied under a man named Dr. Grout, and eventually became a physician himself. Moving to Londonderry, New Hampshire, he set up practice there, and built a successful medical practice.
Dr. Thornton married late in life, finally marrying at age 46. His new wife, Hannah Jack, was only 18 when she married him. They had five children - James, Andrew, Mary, Matthew and Hannah.
In 1745, Dr. Thornton served as the surgeon for New Hampshire Division of the American army during the Siege of Louisburg. After the battle, he returned to his practice and also became a member of New Hampshire's colonial legislature. He eventually was elected the first President of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
Thornton was chosen as a delegate to the Continental Congress, arriving on November 4th, 1776. Arriving too late to actually vote on the Declaration of Independence, he was able to sign the newly adopted document on his very first day in Congress. Since he was one of the last men to sign his name to this historic document, he was unable to sign near the other New Hampshire delegates. The space directly below those signers had been taken by Samuel Adams, so Thornton added his signature at the bottom of the right hand column instead.
Matthew Thornton was also appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and not long after was promoted to Judge of the Superior Court of New Hampshire. He served in that position until 1782.
In the 1780's, Thornton continued to practice medicine, but he also became a farmer. He purchased a farm on the banks of the Merrimack, near Exeter. He became a member of the General Court and also served as senator in the state legislature. He became Justice of the Peace in 1784, and continued in that position until his death in 1803.
Fast Facts About Matthew Thornton
Sources: " For You They Signed by Marilyn Boyer; "Matthew Thornton Of New Hampshire: A Patriot Of The American Revolution (1903) " by Charles Thornton Adams and ushistory.org
Pages of Interest
There are a few pages on the website that might be of particular interest to you at this time of year...
Facts About Halloween has some great fun facts about this popular American holiday. It also has some pretty lame Halloween riddles that you might enjoy, plus a really fun and ghoulish recipe for "Severed Fingers Cookies". I think that I had even more fun making those cookies than the kids did eating them!
Veteran's Day is fast approaching, and you can find some facts about this important holiday on our Facts About Veteran's Day page. There is also a new section of the website where we are asking visitors to submit veteran's stories from their family. You can find a link to submit your stories on the Veteran's day page.
Speaking of Veteran's day, did you know that we offer free e-cards to send to Veteran's? You can personalize them by choosing your favorite image and adding your own text. The cards are completely free and easy to send. Visit the Veteran's Day ecards page to send your ecards.
I made my first video this month, titled "Great Quotes from American History". You can view it on Youtube here. The video features some of my favorite quotes from American history, along with some beautiful portraits and paintings from history. If you have time, I'd love it if you would comment and/or "like" the video, and share it with your friends and family if you think they would enjoy it! Future plans are to make some "fun facts" videos about our founding fathers and some of our presidents.
I also finished a new calendar for 2012, with the same title, images and quotes that I used for the video. You can purchase it at my American History Zazzle Shop. While you are there, be sure to check out some of our newest products. I've been busy designing and adding new gifts and apparel for the shop, all with American history themes. You can find famous paintings and documents from history on iPad cases, iPhone cases, keychains, mugs, t-shirts, buttons and more. I continue to add new items to the shop weekly, so it might be a great place to do some early Christmas shopping!
American History Fun Facts on Twitter and Facebook
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