Hannah Jack Thornton
Wife of Matthew Thornton, Signer of the Declaration of Independence
1742 – 1786 A.D.

Hannah Jack, who married Dr. Matthew Thornton, in 1760, was of Scotch-Irish descent, as her husband. She was eighteen years old at the time of her marriage to Dr. Thornton, who himself a man of middle age, having been brought to this country at the age of three years, in 1717, by his father, James Thornton, who settled in Wiscasset, Me. After completing his medical studies, young Thornton removed to Londonderry, N.H., to practice.

Mrs. Thornton was a daughter of Andrew Jack, who settled near Chester, N.H., prior to 1747, at which time his name appears on the Presbyterian records as warden. He had emigrated to New Hampshire from Londonderry, Ireland, but his family was originally Scotch, as was that of his wife, Mary Morrison.

Dr. Thornton had held appointment as an officer in the State militia and a commission as Justice of the Peace, under Governor Wentworth, and, upon the abdication of that Executive in 1776, he was appointed a member of the provisional government. In September of the same year, he was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress and was permitted to add his signature to the Declaration although that measure had been adopted four months previously. He was again a member of Congress in 1777 and afterwards as a judge of the Superior Court. He died in 1803, having outlived his wife about seventeen years. Both were buried at Thornton’s Ferry, N.D.

Matthew Thornton Historical Marker

Five children were born to Dr. and Mrs. Thornton, four of whom grew to maturity. James, born in 1763, was marred to Mary Parker, and one of his sons, James Shepard Thornton, had a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy. The torpedo boat Thornton was named in his honour [sic]. Matthew Thornton, the youngest son married Fanny Curtis of Amherst. He became a prominent lawyer of his native State. Mary Thornton married Hon. Silas Betton of Salem, N.H., and Hannah married John McGaw, of Bedford, N.H.


The Pioneer Mothers of America: A Record of the More Notable Women of the Early Days of the Country, and Particularly of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. Third Volume, Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.