Saturday, August 14, 2010

Obituary: Dr. William Terrance Thornton

Dr. William Terrance "Terry" Thornton (1939 - 2010)

Dr. William Terrance “Terry” Thornton, 71, died at his residence on August 9, 2010. Born on July 26, 1939, to the late Garfus Sherman and Letha Hollingsworth Thornton, he was a native of the Parham Community in Monroe County.

Terry attended public school in Monroe County and graduated from Hatley High School, Class of 1957. He earned three degrees, including a doctorate, from the University of Mississippi.

Terry married Betty Ann Rooker of Tupelo on December 17, 1961. Terry taught briefly at Brookhaven High School before returning to North Mississippi to teach science at Milam Jr. High School in Tupelo and elementary science for the newly-created educational programming at WTVA in Tupelo. These lessons were the first educational TV to be broadcast in the state of Mississippi and were watched both by children in the classrooms and by television viewers in North Mississippi, Western Alabama, and Southern Tennessee. After two years in Tupelo, Mr. Thornton was named an NDEA fellow at Ole Miss. When he completed his doctorate, he began his college teaching career at Troy State College, now Troy University. He later taught in the Troy University System at the Fort Rucker Branch and the Dothan Branch.

Dr. Thornton was a man of many talents and interests. He played the piano and organ at numerous churches, social events, and weddings. He loved both reading and writing and was the author of numerous stories, poems, and recollections of growing up in Monroe County. Terry was a popular public speaker and conversationalist. He was a naturalist and bird watcher. Terry taught countless students and teachers to enjoy studying science.

Dr. and Mrs. Thornton have two sons, William Terrance “Teb” Thornton, Jr., (Coleen), Fulton, and James Garfus Thornton (Charlena), New Orleans; his grandchildren, William Terrance III, and Margaret Ann, Fulton, and Charles William, New Orleans; brother, Thomas Sherman Thornton, (Patricia), Amory; and several nieces and nephews.

A Memorial service for Terry Thornton will be held at 10 AM, Thursday at the funeral home with Rev. John Foster officiating. Inurnment will follow in Lann Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 5 – 7 PM, Wednesday at the funeral home.

Memorials may be given to Itawamba Historical Society, Mantachie, 38855-0007 or Sanctuary Hospice House Home Care, 5159 W. Main St., Tupelo, 38803.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at Arrangements for the Thornton family are in the care of E. E. Pickle Funeral Home, Amory; 256-2644.

Published online on 8/10/2010 courtesy of E.E. Pickle Funeral Home .

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Polygamy, Mississippi Saints, Mormon Springs, Monroe County, MS

Click here to read three of my earlier published articles about polygamy, the Mississippi Saints, and Mormon Spring, Monroe County, Mississippi.

Illness prevents me from researching and writing new material --- so I'm "dipping" into materials published in Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi Volume 1 (947 articles from the past). The CD is available; click here for information.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More about the David Z. Palmer Memorial

Click here to read a thank you from Todd Palmer, Festus, Missouri, regarding the CSA Memorial for David Z. Palmer, Sunday, June 13, 2010, at Lann Cemetery, Splunge, Monroe County, Mississippi. Additional information about that ceremony and links to previous articles regarding it are included.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Southern Unionist Family --- Shhhhhhhhh! Let's not talk about this

Click here to read one of my favorite articles originally posted August 27, 2007. Available now only on CD or at one or two sites who have been granted permission to republish this personal essay, I've had several requests from readers to run it again. And during this time of not being able to research and write, I thought it might be fun to select and repost some of my favorites from the past. Here, then, is " Shhhhhhhhhhhhh! Let's not talk about this . . ." a personal essay involving my Southern unionist family of Alabama and Mississippi.

I can hear some of my Thornton relatives saying, "Shhhhhhhhhhhh! Let's not talk about this!

Johnson's Island, CSA POW Camp, Rededication Ceremony for Southern Memorial

On June 12, 2010, Johnson's Island (in Lake Erie) near Sandusky Bay, Ohio, was held a rededication ceremony to mark the occasion of the 100th year of the bronze CSA memorial. The service, marked with pomp, color, and ceremony, featured re-enactors from Kentucky serving as a color guard and a military band played "Dixie." For more information about this rededication service, photographs, and a link to a video of the band playing "Dixie" go to

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Amazing Grace --- Bagpipes

Watch and listen to Bagpiper Jean Orcutt perform Amazing Grace at the Palmer Monument Dedication Ceremony, Sunday, June 6, 2010, at Lann Cemetery, Splunge, Monroe County, Mississippi. Click this link:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Palmer Memorial Service, Lann Cemetery

For a short article about the marker dedication ceremony for Private David Z. Palmer, CSA, see the post at HILL COUNTRY ---

Within the article are photographs and video. The videos show the Flags, the Color Guard, the firing of the three-volley Musket Salute, and the playing of Taps on the bagpipe.

The colorful and moving service was conducted Sunday, June 6, 2010, at Lann Cemetery, Splunge, Monroe County, Mississippi.

Signs of the season: Ripe Blackberries

For photographic proof that some blackberries are getting ripe in the Hill Country on June 6, 2010, click this link:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bagpiper piping at my grave marker Sunday at Lann Cemetery

Yes, there was a bagpiper at my grave marker at Lann Cemetery. Click here to hear and to see the video --

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Poor Southern Whites: The Only Ethnic Group in America Not Permitted to Have a History

by Terry Thornton

Reasons why Family Historians should read SALVATION ON SAND MOUNTAIN is the subject of a short essay at HILL COUNTRY. Click the following link to read my review of Dennis Covington's little masterpiece, Salvation on Sand Mountain:

Monday, May 31, 2010

An Invitation to the Memorial Service for David Palmer, CSA Veteran

You are invited to a memorial service for C.S.A. Veteran David Z. Palmer to be conducted at Lann Cemetery, Splunge, Monroe County, Mississippi, at 2:30 PM, Sunday June 6, 2010.

Palmer served in Company B of the 3rd Battalion of the Mississippi State Troops and the service is to mark his grave and to honor his memory. David Palmer was born January 3, 1817 and died June 21, 1887.

Several out-of-state family members are expected to attend this ceremony which will feature re-enactors from local historic military units providing color guard and rifle salute. A bagpiper is expected to be a part of the program.

Hill Country residents will find this sort of memorial service to be a moving and colorful tribute to one who served in the cause of his country. Please make plans to attend to both learn more about our local heritage as well as to welcome Mr. Palmer's relatives to Hill Country.

Historic Lann Cemetery is located near Splunge in the eastern part of the hills of Monroe County, Mississippi. It is the burial place of both Southern Confederates and Southern Unionists who survived the war and learned to live peacefully as neighbors in Hill Country.

If you need help with directions to Lann Cemetery, please email It is recommended you bring your own folding chair. Please be advised there are no facilities nor buildings at Lann Cemetery so come prepared.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Markings on stone: mistakes are difficult to correct

Mistakes made in the carving of grave markers are difficult to correct --- and care should be taken to "get it correct" the first time. Here is a short article about a strike-over on a marker with the epithet "Mark the perfect man . . ."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Two little angels . . .

is today's post at HILL COUNTRY. Here is the link:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thornton Road: The Video (in two parts)

Two new "through the windshield" videos have been posted at Hill Country. I drove Thornton Road (yes, it is named after me) recently and posted the results. If you like to drive on gravel country roads, this might be of interest to you too.

Here are the links:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hills, Horses, and High-flying Flags

Hills, Horses, and High-flying Flags is the title of a Hill Country Ramblin's Column at HILL COUNTRY. Click this link to read:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Inventory of grave marker names: FULTON CEMETERY, Itawamba County, Mississippi

by Terry Thornton

An inventory of the names on the grave markers at Fulton Cemetery has been posted at Itawamba County Mississippi Book of the Dead. The alphabetized listing of the names is based upon a photographic record of the cemetery done May 13, 2010. The list contains 463 names, year of birth and death, as well as a link to the photograph of the grave marker.

Fulton Cemetery is presented at the Book of the Dead in four parts:
Post 2 contains the Surnames A - G
Post 3 contains the Surnames H - M
Post 4 contains the Surnames N - Z and Unknowns

Other Itawamba County cemeteries previous posted to the Book of the Dead include
Use the information in the right-side bar of the Book of the Dead to move from section to section.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ridings Family Murders at Bigby Fork

For another account of the 1880 triple murder of the Henry Brown Ridings family of Bigby Fork community which straddles the county lines of Monroe and Itawamba Counties, Mississippi, and for information about the author of Backward Glances, the following article at Hill County may be of interest:
BACKWARD GLANCES by Samuel Wallace Tapscott of Bigby Fork, Mississippi

Monday, May 10, 2010


Posted by Terry Thornton

Scott K. Williams' article, BLACK CONFEDERATES IN THE CIVIL WAR, is an interesting read. It can be found at the following link:

Thanks to Alabama cousin Carl Thornton for calling my attention to this article.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

An important and must-read opinion piece from the DAILY JOURNAL 05-09-10

Posted by Terry Thornton

Sonny Scott of Sparta, Chickasaw County, Mississippi, is a community columnist for the Daily Journal published in Tupelo. His column today, Schools may be reaping important unintended negative consequences, is one of those rare, "right-on" articles about many of the major problems facing society and public schooling in what passes for education today.

I've searched for a link to the Journal's online version but don't find Scott's article there --- so go out and find a copy of page 7A, May 9, 2010, of the Sunday Journal and read what Scott has to say. I think you'll agree with him that "you can't make apple pie out of road apples."

UPDATE: Readers "Randy" and "Ann" advised me that the column was now on the Journal's website. Here is the link (thanks to Randy);

Readers of the print version of the Daily Journal are fortunate to have access to Sonny Scott's column --- but I wish the Journal would also include his work in their online version so the world could read his words.

Because Scott started his piece with the old country proverb about apple pie, I'll end this endorsement of his work with another food proverb: You can't make mayonnaise if you don't break eggs. Maybe some school administrators, but, more importantly, some parents will read Scott's words and start "breaking eggs."

Friday, May 7, 2010


Some of the names mentioned within the Civil War letters which Addison Fletcher Burdine wrote to his wife Ruth Standefer Burdine are listed in the article

The Burdine and Standefer families were early pioneering groups in Hill Country settling in Monroe and Itawamba Counties. Mr. and Mrs. Addison Fletcher Burdine (and other relatives) are buried in New Hope Cemetery, Parham, Monroe County, Mississippi.

The article includes a link to the transcription of the letters done by Carol Ann Burdine.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hill Country column in MONROE JOURNAL

Digging for water in the Hill Country is the column for this week's Monroe Journal. Click to read.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Latin names for relatives?

Do you use the proper Latin names for your relatives? If not, help is available at Hill Country HOGS Blog. Click here.

Quilt squares and grave markers

Examples of how quilt and grave marker photographs can help document a community is the subject of the post at Hill Country HOGS Blog. Click to read.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Another Friendship Quilt located in Hill Country

The Friendship Quilt Project at Itawamba Historical Society continues with the study of a third quilt from the area. Photo and short article at Hill Country HOGS Blog (click to view).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Some suggestions and hints about doing a photographic inventory of a rural cemetery

So, you wish to inventory a cemetery? Some hints about the process and some examples of grave markers you might encounter --- A Photographic Essay is a feature article at Hill Country. Click here to read.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pickle Cemetery, Monroe County

A four-part series present Pickle Cemetery of eastern Monroe County, Mississippi. This historic cemetery of Hill Country is found in the following articles:

An Introduction: Map, General Photograph, A Video, and Information about the cemetery and the inventory of names
A - K Surnames
L - P Surnames
R - W Surnames

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The grave for R. U. READY

A short essay and a photograph about the grave for R.U. READY has been posted at Hill County HOGS Blog. Click here to read the article and to view the grave.