Thornton, William F. (William Fitzhugh), 1789-1873.

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Early settler of Shelbyville, Illinois, founder of the first bank in that city, Illinois legislator and president of the board of Canal Commissioners overseeing the building of the Illinois-Michigan Canal. Born in Hanover, Virginia, the son of Reuben, a lawyer, and Mildred Grywes Thornton. He was a Captain in the cavalry company of Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812 and was rewarded for his success in that with promotion to Major and in 1827 a commission from John Q. Adams to Brigadier General. He moved to Kentucky where he met and married Ann McClanahan. In 1834 they moved to Shelby County, Illinois. He was a great supporter of Henry Clay and a Whig until the demise of that party and he joined the Democratic Party. He was elected to the legislature in 1836 and also appointed to the Board of Commissioners on the canal by Governor Duncan and he was very successful in selling bonds in England to pay for the completion of the canal. He owned vast property in Illinois and in 1859 opened a bank. He and his wife had six children live to adulthood, Margaret, Mildred, Antonia, William, Thomas and Eliza. Eliza married Capt. Thomas Holloway, who fought in the Mexican War and for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

From the description of Papers, 1797-1905. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 51297866

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Thornton, William F. (William Fitzhugh), 1789-1873. Papers, 1797-1905. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Bayse family. family
associatedWith Clay family. family
associatedWith Clay, Henry, 1777-1852. person
associatedWith Democratic Party (Ill.) corporateBody
associatedWith Duncan, Joseph, 1794-1844. person
associatedWith Ficklin, Orlando B. (Orlando Bell), 1808-1886. person
associatedWith Holloway family. family
correspondedWith Illinois and Michigan Canal (Ill.) corporateBody
associatedWith McClanahan family. family
associatedWith McClernand, John A. (John Alexander), 1812-1900. person
associatedWith Minor, Lucian, 1802-1858. person
associatedWith Thornton family. family
associatedWith Wedderburn family. family
associatedWith Whig party (Ill.) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Shelby County (Ill.)
Banks and banking
Real property


Birth 1789

Death 1873

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Ark ID: w66q5cqs

SNAC ID: 74780194