Considered the progenitor of the
Thorne Family of America, William was an Anabaptist. He came to America on 10 April 1635,
possibly arriving on the ship "Confidence" at age 18 with Peter Thorne, believed
to be his brother. He was one of seventeen English families to establish Flushing, Long
Island in 1648. The third signer of the Flushing Remonstrance, he was a religious
The following links contain valuable historical information and provide much
insight into our early beginnings as a family residing in the new world and as a nation:
|Descendants of William Thorne
||This will link to a web site that
lists all the descendants of William Thorne that I currently have in the database. This
site is continually updated so check it often for recent additions.
Remonstrance of 1657
This the contents of the Flushing
Remonstrance wherein the residents in 1657 petitioned the Dutch Governor, Peter Stuyvesant
to lift his ban on religious meetings by Quakers, also included are copies of historical
archives which delineate Stuyvesant's ensuing actions.
Among other ancestors, William
Thorne and his son were the third and fourth signers of this "Remonstrance of the
Inhabitants of Flushing, L.I., Against the Law Against Quakers."
The real result of this document? It was used over one hundred years later as the basis
for the cornerstone of our current Bill of Rights, the guarantee of religious freedom
without fear of persecution. We can thank the courage and convictions of people like
William Thorne and his son for much of what we take for granted today!
||A 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 intolerance of his earlier New England associations. This document,
written by Thorne Dickenson (a descendant of William Thorne), gives a brief historical
perspective of the early Thorne family in America.
|Flushing Freedom Mile
||A brief expose from
"Newsday" of the famous Flushing street where John Bowne lived. John Bowne was
the catalyst for the Remonstrance, since he was arrested by Stuyvesant for allowing
Quakers to meet in his home. For this, Stuyvesant sent Bowne back to Holland to stand
trial for seditious acts of treason. He was returned to New Netherland acquitted of all
John Bowne is John Coutant Thorn's 9th Great Grandfather.
Quakers in the US
||A brief historical reference on
early Quakers, especially how they were persecuted in the New World.
VOYLE THORNE NOTES:
- General information
- Relevant facts regarding William Thorne
- Assumptions regarding William Thorne
William was a Puritan, with Anabaptist leanings. He
arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1635 and 1638. He was one seventeen
English families to establish Flushing Long Island in 1645 and Gravesend in 1643. He was
the third signer of Remonstrance of Flushing (a precursor to the Bill of Rights). A
religious activist. He is considered the Progenitor of the Thorne Family of America,
possibly arriving on the ship Confidence in 1635 at age 18 years, with Peter Thorne,
believed by some to have been a close relative, although there is nothing to substantiate
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 information 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 traveled 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 and only 400+ 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. He and 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.
According to the Pearsall Family Genealogy The THORNE family dates from about
1470. When Thomas Thornes of SHROPSHIRE-STAFFORDSHIRE was Proprietor of the manor and
estate of THORNES in the parish of Shenstone. It was said that members of the family had
previously been resident in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, for some 90 years.
THOMAS THORNES married Mary Corbet daughter of Sir Roger Corbet. Son Roger was
grandfather of: Roger THORNES (called The Wyse Thornes) who married the daughter of Sir
Roger Kynaston lived Shrewsbury, Shropshire d. 1531 buried St. Mary's Church. It has been
stated that the name possibly derived from any group of people, who may have lived in an
area, that was associated with thorn trees or bushes. I believe that part of this is
My hunch is that at some point in time in the very remote past, probably not
long after the Norman Conquest, when surnames began appearing, something of that nature
transpired. I don't feel that people throughout the British Isles, who happened to be
living around a thorn bush, suddenly became Hugh of Thorn/e. I think it far more likely,
that a single group of people, closely related by blood, began the use of the surname as a
means of distinguishing themselves from their neighbors. The name then slowly spread
throughout all of the British Isles. For the most part, surnames never have been a casual
The basic unit of society in feudal England was the extended family, commonly
known as the clan. With the surname Thorne, I am sure that early on in English history,
our remote ancestors, took up this name with much the same pride and sense of family/clan
identification that we have today. I have spoke with Thorn/e's all over the United States,
who steadfastly will deny any relationship with another Thorne family right down the road.
When in several instances I have been able to prove their blood kinship! Whether the name
be spelled Thorne or Thorn makes NO difference whatsoever. In my own direct line back to
William Thorne, it was my line of the family that seems to have dropped off the final E.
Yet our immediate clan has always retained it.
I am convinced that whether your own specific Thorne ancestor is our William of
Flushing or yet another, more recent arrival, we are ONE FAMILY. My training as an
anthropologist, has taught me that while isolated occurrences can happen, they are highly
unlikely and investigation will frequently identify the common link.
I have carried the task of tracking down our early Thorne roots, to the very
best of my ability and resources. It will remain to future generations to carry the task
home. I am told by family members, who have traveled in England on historical hunts, that
there are literally mountains, of as yet not cataloged papers and manuscripts. In this
information based society and with the aid of computers, someday the full story will come
William Thorne is the 9th Great Grandfather of Philip Voyle Thorne.
William Thorne is the 10th Great Grandfather of John Coutant Thorn.
The genealogical material contained in this record regarding William Thorne
of England, Lynn, Massachusetts and Long Island, NY, covering the first 6 generations down
to John 6 Thorne and Mary Birdsall of Newburgh, NY is derived from the archives of the New
York Genealogical and 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 descendants seem to have largely ignored their family
history. Thus, the information was retrieved from many family histories with whom the
Thornes have married, as well as all the other usual sources. Macy feels that the
information is accurate and reliable.
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REGARDING WILLIAM THORNE
- William Thorne was born "not later than" 1617, undoubtedly in England.
- William married Susannah Booth before 1636, either in Massachusetts or England.
- Between 1635 & 1638, he arrived in Boston.
- 2 May 1638: William Thorne was made a Freeman of Massachusetts Bay Colony at
Lynn, Mass. This indicates that at this point, he was a Puritan in good standing with the
Church of Boston; it further offers proof that he was of legal age, a man of some means
and was held in good social standing.
- 29 June 1641: William served on a jury in Salem, county seat of Essex County,
MA., 5 miles from Lynn.
- 7 September 1641: William Thorne was fined 6 2/3 pounds for concealing, hiding
& supplying the escaped son and son-in-law of Ann Marbury Hutchinson (Francis
Hutchinson & William Collins, all were opponents of the Church of Boston). Ann was
from Alford, Lincolnshire, England.
- 28 Feb 1643: William Thorne was found guilty in the court held at Salem, Essex
County for refusing to serve in the Military Watch. He had already LEFT Boston at this
point. He is said to have gone overland with Michael Milner to Sandwich in Plymouth
Colony; he and Milner eventually arrive in New Amsterdam, in time to become part of the
Patent at Gravesend (June 1643).
- June 1643: Lady Deborah Moody left Boston for Rhode Island and eventually New
- June 1643: Lady Moody received a Patent for the Village of Gravesend on Long
Island. William Thorne was one of the original Patentees.
- September 1643: Anne Hutchinson and most of her family were murdered by the
Mohican Indians at Rye, New Amsterdam.
- September 1643: The Mohicans next attacked Gravesend. Moody's followers along
with William Thorne beat off several successive Mohican attacks, killing many of them in
the process. Only the Moody group's homes survived this uprising.
- August 1645: Governor finally ended war with Indians.
- 10 October 1645: William Thorne is granted a Patent for a village at Flushing
Creek, along with sixteen other Englishmen.
- 19 Dec 1645: Dutch Governor Kieft grants final Patent for Gravesend to Moody,
Thorne, et al. He had confiscated the original.
- 21 March 1656: William Thorne granted Planters Lott at Jamaica, Long Island, he
was not one of the original seventeen but of the second group.
- 27 December 1657: Remonstrance of Flushing is drafted and William Thorne is the
third to sign.
- Between 27 December 1657 and 12 May 1664 is the time frame during which William
is believed to have died.
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PVThorne NotesTo top of page
REGARDING WILLIAM THORNE
- He clearly held Anne Hutchinson's belief's, or were there additional ties, that
led him to support her? She had been influenced by her father reverend Francis Marbury.
Francis Marbury was an outspoken and radical Puritan minister. Reverend Marbury and his
family were from Alford, Lincolnshire, England. Alford was but a short distance from a
little village named Gunby in Candleshoe, Lincolnshire, England (will come back to this
later). Marbury was very active in Alford for many years and later went to London, where
he continued his views.
- While still part of the Boston Colony, Lady Deborah lived in the same village as
William Thorne: Lynn. They attended the same church in Lynn, undoubtedly knew one another
from that period. and they held the same religious and political views. According to Gov.
William Bradford, the closest friend she had in the colony was Thomas Savage. He was
married to a daughter of Ann Hutchinson.
- I feel there are links of blood, religious views and former acquaintances in
England that bound these families together.
- A coincidence? Thomas Fones, father of Elizabeth Fones, was an apothecary in
London. It was to Thomas Fones that Sir Henry Moody (Deborah's husband) went for his
medications, when he was terminally ill, in London. Thomas Fones died before Moodie and in
his will he made their Uncle, Governor John Winthrop, their custodian. Daughter Elizabeth
Fones first married Henry, Governor Winthrop's son. (Gov John Winthrop was from
Edwardstone, SUFFOLK, England.) After his death she married Robert Feake; they had a
daughter Hannah. Hannah Feake married John Bowne. Their daughter Mary Bowne, married
William Thorne's son Joseph. Their youngest daughter Martha Johanna Bowne married
William's grandson Joseph Thorne>John>William.
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PVThorne NotesTo top of page
In Gunby, Candleshoe, Lincolnshire, England there was a family named THORNE.
This family was resident here for at least four generations (which is as far as the
records permit). They were there at the same time as the Marbury's were in Alford.
GENTLEMAN JOHN THORNE OF GUNBY, CANDLESHOE, LINCOLNSHIRE. ENGLAND:
John Thorne (Gentleman), born 1562-1582 buried 12 June 1621.
John was married to Constance, buried 2 Sep 1617. Their children were:
- Cavendish, baptized 25 July 1610 buried 10 June 1611.
- John, baptized 3 July 1614 no further record.
- William, baptized 31 July 1617 no further record.
- Susannah, baptized 4 October 1608 no further record.
As both parents were deceased by 1621, they would have been placed with friends
or relatives, presumably in the area.
Gentleman John Thorne's father was FRANCIS THORNE; he was buried in Gunby on 7
Gentleman John Thorne's mother was JANE CAVENDISH; she was buried in Gunby on 3
Francis Thorne had brothers named Richard & Nicholas; their parent's names
are unknown and each of the 2 brothers had offspring!!
I have a feeling that this is our William Thorne, be forewarned that there is no
clear evidence linking them to us, but the odds look fairly good.
The John Thorne listed above may well be the John Thorne, who left his small
estate to Ann Pallgrave. Ann had come to Boston with her stepfather John Youngs. Youngs
led a party to New Southold on Long Island and ONE of his colonists was Ensign JOHN BOOTH.
Southold is in adjacent Suffolk county to Lincolnshire.
Further Long Island Genealogies speculate that the Francis Thorne, who was in
Rye for a short time and went back to Greenwich, Connecticut may well have been another
son that went unrecorded of our William Thorne, the Immigrant. This Francis Thorne died in
Greenwich, Connecticut 22 Dec 1690, after having lived in both Massachusetts and Rye,
Westchester County, New York. He, too, had a flair for religious controversy, but he was
in favor of infant baptism.
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