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Joseph Thorne
Joseph Thorne was born probably about 1667 and died in July 1753. On November 9, 1695, he married in a Quaker wedding, Martha Johanna Bowne, who was born August 17 1673, and died August 1, 1750. She was a daughter of John and Hannah (Feake) Bowne of Flushing, and a sister of Mary Bowne, who married Joseph Thorne's uncle Joseph Thorn4 (Rec. v.3, p185; v.6, p99 & v.7 p87,88).

Martha Johanna Bowne was no doubt named for her mother's half sister Martha Johanna (Winthrop) Lyon, only child of the marriage of Henry Winthrop, son of Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts, and his first cousin Elizabeth Fones; the latter was a daughter of Thomas Fones, a merchant of London, and the Governor's sister Ann (Winthrop) Fones. On following his father to Massachusetts in the spring of 1630, a year after his marriage, Henry Winthrop left his wife at Groton Manor, England, with his stepmother, the Governor's third wife, as both women were with child and planned to come later. On July 2, 1630, the day of his arrival in Salem on the ship Talbot, he went out with friends to an Indian village, saw a boat across a bay and attempted to swim over to it but, being seized by cramps, was drowned in full sight of his friends, none of whom was able to swim. The young widow was still in England, having given birth on May 9, 1630, to a daughter who was christened with a double name, Martha Johanna, unusual for this period. Faced with the prospect of having ultimately to support his widowed daughter-in-law and her child, the thrifty Governor Winthrop naturally looked about for a suitable young man of pious character, goodly estate, and great promise, the future Governor William Coddington, he attempted to interest him in the widow. Shortly afterwards William Coddington went to England and visited the widow but he married, instead, another. Thus Elizabeth was still a widow when, on November 2, 1631, she arrived in the Bay with her daughter as passengers on the ship Lyon. In less than three months, however, she had found her second husband, Robert Feake, and had married him. Robert Feake, a gentleman of some standing in Massachusetts, had come over in the Great Fleet in 1630 with the Governor, and later obtained large landholdings in Connecticut (Lawrence Mayo Shaw, The Winthrop Family in America, 1948, p59-61). It was one of their daughters, Hannah Feake, who married John Bowne. Due perhaps to financial difficulties and domestic troubles Robert Feake lost his mind. His wife deserted him, and caused a scandal throughout New Netherland and New England by an affair with her husband's business manager, William Hallett. On the death of Elizabeth Fones, eventually recognized as his wife, William Hallett married (2nd), Susannah (Booth) Thorne, with of William Thorne1, with unhappy results (which are chronicled in the Third Annual Report of the New York State Historian 2:182, 252-4, 257, 323,403; The Record 53:18). Some of the family lines so curiously broken or tangled by death, separation, and remarriage were reunited when the two Joseph Thornes married daughters of John and Hannah (Feake) Bowne, the famous Quakers of Flushing, Long Island. Their home, part of it built in 1661, is still standing, and is now a shrine to religious freedom (Rec. v.11, p12-24; v.86, p212-221 & Bowne Gen., 1948, p5-8).

Not much is known regarding Joseph Thorne. He and his wife were not included in the Flushing Census of 1698, and no record has been found to shown where they were at the time. However, Joseph Thorne lived in later life on Whitestone Point, directly west of his younger brother William Thorn3, presumably on land formerly belonging to their father John Thorn, but the extent of his holding is uncertain.

Quite probably Joseph Thorne was a plain and undistinguished man; but he was a good Quaker, for he and his wife appear frequently in the Flushing Friends Records. A pleasant light is shed upon their household by a beautifully worded provision in the will of Deborah Hicks, widow of Thomas Hicks, executed June 14, 1712, and proved July 24, 1712: "May daughter Martha I bequeath to my loving friend, Martha Thorne, and my Daughter Hannah I bequeath to my dear cousins, Robert and Phebe Field, desiring them to bring up my dear children in the way of truth and fear of God" (WNYHS:2:96 cf. NY Co. Wills:8:157).

The will of Joseph Thorn of Flushing, yeoman, executed January 3, 1753, proved August 4, 1753, remembers sons John, James, Samuel, and Thomas; grandson Samuel Thorne "who did live with me"; grandchildren Thomas and Mary, children of son Joseph, deceased; and Edward, William, Joseph, and Catharine, children of son William, deceased. His wife had already died. Son James, who inherited the home place, was directed to distribute 200 to the other sons then living, and the children of the two who had died (WNYHS:4:444 cf. NY Co. Wills:18:341). The names of the children of Joseph and Martha Johanna (Bowne) Thorne, with their dates of birth, are all shown in the Flushing Friends Records, which although kept in Flushing, covered at the time the entire Province of New York (Rec. v.4, p34).

John Thorne had six children:

  1. Samuel, born July 12, 1696.
  2. Joseph, born October 16, 1698. Died not later than 1753.
  3. John, born March 4, 1702. Died October 7, 1764.
  4. Thomas, born April 25, 1704.
  5. William, born July 15, 1706, Died in 1735 at Woodbridge, NJ.
  6. James, born September 2, 1709. Died between 1766 and 1784 in Flushing.

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Last modified on May 15, 2006.
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