Can’t escape the Thorntons

From Thornton Gap to Thornton River to F.T. (Francis Thornton) Valley Road and beyond, there were six Francis Thorntons associated with Rappahannock County between 1731 and 1840, one of whom laid out Sperryville in 1817. Rappahannock Historical Society researcher Maureen Harris in 2015 wrote the definitive article on the Thornton dynasty in Virginia, titled “Will the real Francis Thornton please stand up!”

Now, Tony Lavato of Sperryville writes that he and his wife, Brenda, “have been passing this church for years wanting to stop and check it out,” referring to historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in King George, its parish dating to the 1600s. “Small world,” said Tony, the couple stumbling upon the gravesite of one Francis Thornton, who lived from July 21, 1725 to August 3, 1784.

About Staff/Contributed 5503 Articles
The Rappahannock News welcomes contributions from any and all members of the community. Email news and photos to or call us at 540-675-3338.