Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Another Look at the Thornhill and Gass family

Back in March 2012, during a review of records involving my 5th-great-grandfather Thomas Jones, I wrote about a bond where Thomas was a surety for Joseph Thornhill, the brother of Elizabeth Thornhill Jones (my 4th-great-grandmother). Several weeks ago, I made a lunch time visit to the Daughters of the American Revolution Library in Washington DC. In the books for Jefferson County, Tennessee, I found reference to an 1845 county court case involving the estate of Joseph Thornhill and an unpaid debt to the estate of Samuel Gass. In order to understand the case, I need to write about the connection between these two families.

Joseph Thornhill and Mary Polly Gass had a child out of wedlock in March 1829. The child's name was Thomas W. Thornhill. Joseph and Mary Polly later married on 31 August 1830 in Jefferson County. Mary Polly Gass was the daughter of Samuel Gass and Rebecca Kerr. During his life, Samuel provided a $1000 loan to Joseph Thornhill. Samuel wrote the loan into his will, devising various proceeds to his children.

Samuel Gass died on 5 June 1839, followed by his wife Rebecca in 1840. Their sons John and Andrew Gass were named executors of the estate. Joseph Thornhill died about 1842, apparently still owing the $1000 debt to Samuel's estate. Below is a description of the court case from the Jefferson County record (note, I have corrected misspellings involving the names of the Gass family):

"John and Andrew Gass vs Joseph Thornhill

On 28 March 1836, Samuel Gass sold land. Samuel Gass departed this life and orators were appointed executors. Thornhill's notes are unpaid. On 2 June 1842 is a bill of reviver stating Joseph Thornhill departed this life intestate leaving a widow, Polly Thornhill, and the following children: Marion, Thomas, Samuel, Jane, John and Margaret, all infants." [* they were all minors]

June 1845

I do not know how the case was resolved.

Here is a list of the children of Joseph Thornhill and Mary Polly Gass:

1. Thomas W. Thornhill (March 1829 to 10 June 1909). He married Leah Warren Hart, sister of Martha Cordelia Hart Jones (3rd wife of my 3rd-great-grandfather Joseph Jones).
2. Joseph Marion Thornhill (born in 1830). He married Sarah Murry, sister of Stephen Murry who married Catherine Jones (sister of Joseph Jones).
3. Samuel Thornhill (born 15 April 1832, died in 1897). He married Margaret Elizabeth Cline, a niece of Margaret Cline Thornhill, wife of Richard Thornhill.
4. Jane Thornhill (born about 1835)
5. John A. Thornhill (born 1841, died 24 June 1865). See this timeline for more information on the infamous Captain John Thornhill.
6. Margaret Emily Thornhill (born 1 May 1842, died 24 April 1899). She married William A. Bowers and appears in the will of Richard Thornhill.

Detail on Samuel and Rebecca Gass can be found in a publication from 1992 titled "Samuel Gass and His Descendants: A Family in East Tennessee" by Gary C. Jenkins (pdf available on Ancestry). According to this document, Samuel's oldest son John Gass served in Captain George Gregory's Company, East Tennessee Militia during the War of 1812. This is the same company as my 5th-great-grandfather Thomas Jones.

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