John Thornton (Courtesy Kansas City Parks and Recreation, Kansas City, MO; portrait by George Caleb Bingham.)
24 Dec. 1786–24 Oct. 1847. Ferry operator, military officer, judge, lawyer, politician. Born in Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Thornton Sr. and Sarah Jane Allison. Moved to Kentucky, ca. 1795. Studied law and admitted to bar. Moved to Old Franklin (near present-day Franklin, Howard Co., Missouri), 1816. Married Elizabeth Trigg, 10 Feb. 1820, in Old Franklin. Moved to area that became Clay Co., Missouri, 1820. Operated ferry in Jackson and Clay counties, Missouri. Represented Clay Co. in Missouri House of Representatives, ca. 1824–1832. Served as Speaker of the House, 1828–1830. Colonel in Clay Co. militia, 1834. Reelected to Missouri General Assembly, 1836. Died in Clay Co. Buried in Liberty, Clay Co.