Friday, November 25, 2005

Wow. This family must have had an interesting Revolution. The father, Jonathan, was a loyalist who died in a Continental POW camp in Hartford, CT; he was captured along with two other brothers, the eldest of which apparently spent a decade in exile, probably in Nova Scotia, where his son Samuel was married. His second son, Samuel claimed he was a "minuteman" in the Continental Army, which is a peculiar thing to claim, seeing as how the "minutemen" were militia, while the Continental Army was composed of Regulars of the Line. Note that both cousins were named Samuel - perhaps "minuteman" Samuel was trying to separate himself from the Loyalist taint of his relations by claiming wartime service beyond whatever it was he actually did?

Whatever he was, Samuel's son was a bona fide war hero, Capt. Jonathan Thorn, who helped Stephen Decatur take and destroy the Philadelphia at Tripoli, among other feats. They named a WWII-era destroyer after him. Another son of Samuel's, Robert Livingston Thorn, was a ship's doctor on board the Constellation. Seems as if that end of the family ended up unusually naval, for the Thorns at least.

A grandson of Samuel's, Herman Thorn, was brevetted captain for bravery in the Regulars at Churubusco during the Mexican War, before dying in an Indian war a few years later. This makes him the third Thorn of that part of the family to die in conflicts with Indians, as his uncles Jonathan and James had both been killed in a remarkably stupid and violent fight with Indians on a fur-trading mission in what eventually became the Oregon Territory. Herman's sister Alice became a countess, if you want to believe that one. Well, this branch of the Thorns are definitely more *colorful* than the more strictly Quaker branches.

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