Dr. Robert Hill Thornton was my great, great grandfather; my grandmother's grandfather. He was not a medical doctor, but a doctor of divinity.  

Born in 1806, he died in 1875 at the age of 69. Click here for his death notice. 

Walter Jackson wrote an essay called:

The Reverend Robert Thornton, D.D.

"An Enthusiast for Education"

Mr. Jackson wrote this essay in 1975 for the Dr. R. Thornton Public School in Whitby. Download the essay by clicking here.

In 1875, The Canada Presbyterian Magazine published Dr. Thornton's obiturary. You may download a transcript of this obituary here. Note the interesting use of language in the obituary.


Thornton, Rev Robert HillThornton, Rev Robert Hill 2



Dr. Robert Hill Thornton was married to Margaret Thompson Thornton.

Click here for her death notice.

Thornton, Margaret Thompson 2Thornton, Margaret Thompson 1


Together, Dr. Thornton and his wife had ten children. Below is their family registry:

Thornton, Dr. Robert Hill Family Registry


Notice in the above registry, there were two children named Margaret. Why do you think that was?

My great grandfather, my grandmother's father, was Dr. Thornton's youngest son, Ebenezer James Thornton, born in 1856. He died in 1907, at the age of 51, of tuberculosis, a disease that killed many people before the advent of vaccines. 

Here are some pictures of Ebinezer James Thornton and his wife Edith Gross Thornton.

Thornton, Ebenezer James & Edith Gross, FrontThornton, Ebenezer James & Edith Gross, Back

These pictures were taken a few years before Ebinezer's death. Look at the clothes they are wearing. Why would they have had pictures like this taken? 

Here they are again, closer up.

Thornton, Ebenezer James & Edith Gross 2


My great grandfather Ebenezer really had the Movember thing going. My mother thinks I resemble him a bit. I'm not so sure. Maybe in the hairline.

Thornton, Ebenezer James 1



On the left is a closeup of Edith Gross Thornton, Ebenezer's wife, my great grandmother or my mother's grandmother. Wasn't she pretty? The picture on the right is Edith at about age 80.  

Thornton, Edith Gross 3Thornton, Edith Gross 4



So, Ebenezer and Edith had two children, Jessie and her younger sister Helen. Helen was my grandmother. In the picture below, Jessie is the one with the book.

Thornton, Jesse & Helen Frances


Below are pictures of my grandmother, Helen Frances Thornton. She was born in 1902.

The first picture is Helen at age 3, the second is at age 7, the third at age 15 in her Bishop Strachan School uniform, and the last is at age 26.

Thornton, Helen Frances Age 3Thornton, Helen Frances Age 7Thornton, Helen Frances Age 15Thornton, Helen Frances Age 26Heaton, Helen Frances

The colour picture is Helen Frances Heaton (born Helen Frances Thornton), my grandmother and granddaughter of Dr. Robert Hill Thornton, holding my son, Dustan. Dustan is the great, great, great, grandson of Dr. Robert Hill Thornton.


Some fun facts about my grandmother:

She referred to herself as a 1902 model

She saw Haley's Comet twice, each time it appeared in the 20th Century, 1910 and 1986

In 1910, when she watched Haley's Comet, she was sitting on the hill that was the future site of Casa Loma.

After watching the comet in 1910, she and her sister, Jessie, went to the local pharmacy and had their first taste of Coca Cola. She told me that they felt terribly naughty doing this. Also, they didn't like it at all.

She married my grandfather, Thomas Gilbert Heaton, who was a doctor.

During World War II, my grandfather served in the Canadian Armed Forces in hospitals in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in England.

While he was overseas during the war, my grandfather was not allowed to tell my grandmother where he was, but they had worked out a code system in advance so she always knew.

My grandmother lived to be 96 years old.