Spring 2022 Newsletter
Membership renewal is from January to March 1st. Please encourage your friends to join. We are always happy to have new members. Our bylaws have been changed to reflect an increase in membership dues as follows:
Individual Member $ 15 Life Member $150
Youth (18 & under) $ 5 Organization $ 45
Make checks payable to Village of Thornton Historical Society and mail to PO Box 34, Thornton, IL 60476. A form may be downloaded at https://www.thorntonilhistory.com/membership
· 1931 Illinois License Plate
· 33-1/3 Album "Live from the Golden Horseshoe" artist: Emil Pratscher 1969
· 3 bottle caps "Old Fashioned Lager Beer"
· Unopened 16 oz. bottle of RC Cola from Koch's (Eddie & Ray’s) Market 1968-69
· Covid Pinback
· 50ml bottle Dead Drop Pecan Whiskey produced by Thornton Distilling Co.
MUSEUM HOURS & DOCENTS:
The museum is open the First and Third Saturdays January-April from 1:00pm to 3:00m or by appointment. Call 708-877-6569. Please sign up at our next meeting to be a docent or to provide refreshments for a meeting.
UPCOMING MEETING DATES & PROGRAMS:
February 28 at 7:00 p.m. General Meeting – Illinois Trivia Party with Elaine Egdorf
March 28 at 7:00 p.m. General Meeting – Program: “Watseka” by George Pat Godfrey
April 25 at 7:00 p.m. General Meeting – Program: “Foods of Our Forefathers” by Peg Kapustiak
Beginning May 7, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Museum open every Saturday through October
May 9 at 5:30 p.m. Annual Dinner Meeting (Location TBD)
GIFTSHOP: Our giftshop has unique items such as Thornton Coverlets, T-shirts, Quarry and Brewery history books, photo notecards and much more. They make great gifts!
DONORS: Our sincere thanks to the following people and businesses who have made generous monetary donations to the Historical Society: Skyline Furniture, Sally Cooper Harth & Ray Altmann.
NEWS: Please check our Historical Society website for news, www.thorntonilhistory.com. Questions, comments or photos please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For those of you on Facebook, the Historical Society has a page and there are also many old photos posted on a Facebook page called The Real Thornton, Illinois.
HOLIDAY RECAP: Our Holiday Open House was a huge success and a very festive event. A full house of folks attended and enjoyed our homemade treats and Santa Claus. We sold many items from our gift shop and realized approximately $260 from our raffle of items from the Thornton Distillery. Proceeds benefited the Thornton Historical Society.
DIGGING INTO THORNTON’S PAST – How Thornton Got Its Name
General. W. F. Thornton was born in Virginia in 1789, and moved to Shelbyville, Illinois in 1834. He accomplished much in his lifetime, held many notable positions and was active in politics. His service as one of the original members of the Board of Commissioners of the Illinois and Michigan Canal led to his association with Gurdon Hubbard and John H. Kinzie, the men who would go on to found our village. Thornton became president of the canal board, Hubbard served as treasurer, and Kinzie was toll collector and an inspector for Chicago. In this time before railroads, when canals were vital modes of transportation, the I & M Canal project sought to provide a direct water link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River that would shift the center of Midwestern trade from St. Louis to Chicago. When a financial crisis halted work on the canal and threatened its completion, Thornton traveled with bonds to London where he secured the financing necessary to rescue the project.
Gen. William Fitzhugh Thornton
An early biography of General Thornton describes him as a forcible, logical speaker and a walking budget of facts and statistics. He was thought to have read more and know more than anyone else. In business he was prompt to meet his engagements. Acquaintances have described him as a charitable man of an exceedingly social disposition with whom it was a genuine pleasure to meet.
Local historians have long believed that Kinzie and Hubbard held Thornton in such high regard that they named our village in his honor. Williams Street (originally platted as “William” Street) may be a nod to the General’s first name. Today a photo of General W. F. Thornton hangs in our village hall where he can inspire greatness in our local dealings.