Matthew Thornton

Burial Location Visited DoI Signer Grave #
Merrimack, New Hampshire July 1, 2010 21st Visited


A photo taken from the small New Hampshire                              This is Thornton's final resting place, just
cemetery where Matthew Thornton is buried.                               yards away from the marker in the photo
That marker in the background is not the                                    to the left.
patriot's actual grave, but a larger monument.


Visiting Thornton's grave, scant days before                                               Thornton was one of three New
Independence Day.                                                                                  Hampshire residents that
                                                                                                             signed the Declaration. The
                                                                                                             other two are buried in nearby

                                       *** Interesting Facts ***

* Born in Ireland in 1714, Matthew Thornton immigrated with his family to New England. The Thorntons originally settled in what is now known as Maine, but they uprooted themselves again years later and moved to Massachusetts. When he came of age, Thornton pursued a career in medicine.

* Due to his skills as a surgeon, Thornton was appointed to join a group of New Hampshire militiamen that aimed to capture the Fortress of Louisbourg. The structure, which was located in Nova Scotia, was built by the French, who were one of Great Britain's enemies during the War of Austrian Succession. The New Hampshire soldiers, who were still British subjects at the time, attacked the fortress in what became known as the Siege of Louisbourg. As a demonstration of Thornton's skill, only six men died under his watch, and all of them from an illness.

* An important figure in New Hampshire's history, Matthew Thornton was the president of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, as well as an associate justice on the colony's Supreme Court. In late 1776, he was elected to the Continental Congress, which had adopted the Declaration of Independence earlier in the year. Though he could not vote for the approval of the document, he did sign his name on the bottom of it, one of only 56 men to do so.

* Though he stopped practicing medicine in 1780, Thornton did not remove himself from politics quite yet. For the remainder of his years, he continued to be a strong voice in the government, and was a senator in the New Hampshire Legislature. Additionally, he was a member of the general court.

* Aging gracefully, Thornton was quite able in his later years. His mind still intact, he is known to have written several political essays for local newspapers. He also penned one long essay that was called "a metaphysical work". Spanning 73 pages, it was never published. The octogenarian passed away during a visit to Newburyport in 1803, and was laid to rest in Merrmack, New Hampshire, where he had made his home.

Spouse: Hannah Jack Thornton (1742-1786)

Last Words:

* As is the case with many people from this time period, Matthew Thornton's date of birth has been forgotten. It is known that he was born in 1714 and passed away on June 24, 1803. From that, we can tell that he was either 88 or 89 years old when he passed, but without a precise birthdate, we cannot tell which one.
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