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Thornton, John, 1720-1790



  • Existence: 1720 - 1790

Thornton was a British merchant who became a director of the Bank of England. He invested heavily in the Russian and Baltic trade and acquired wealth that he donated to Christian ministry causes. A devout Anglican, he espoused evangelical causes, regardless of denomination, and his extensive giving included evangelical ministries in various parts of the world. He is best known as having partly sponsored John Newton, the ex-slave ship trader who became an Anglican priest at Olney, Buckinghamshire from 1764 to 1780, giving him £200 a year. Thornton was the treasurer of a fund raised in England from 1766 to 1768 by American colonial preachers Samson Occom and Nathaniel Whitaker for Moor's School, an Indian charity school founded by Eleazar Wheelock in Lebanon Crank, Connecticut. Wheelock applied the fund to establish Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and in 1829 the school named one of its main buildings Thornton Hall. Thornton donated his own money so that Wheelock could build a mansion for the college president in 1771. It still stands at 4 West Wheelock Street.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

John Thornton letter

Mss 790571
Identifier: Mss 790571
Overview In English.

John Wheelock letter

Mss 784229
Identifier: Mss 784229
Overview In English.