Matthew Thornton: His Epitaph was “An Honest Man”
|Matthew Thornton (Wikipedia)|
He was the fifty-fifth delegate to sign the Declaration of Independence, even though he signed the historic document three months after July 4, 1776. He was a Presbyterian, and a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church of Londonderry, New Hampshire. He was in local, state, and Federal governments, serving his fellow citizens. But beyond all these kudos, it was said that he was “consistent and zealous Christian.” He was Matthew Thornton.
Born in Ireland of Scottish ancestry, from the northern Ireland Protestant section of that country, Matthew Thornton was brought to this country by his parents at the age of three. Settling in what later on became Maine, God’s providence preserved them from hostile Indian attacks. Once, his parents and Matthew had to flee a burning cabin to save their lives. They all moved to Worcester, Massachusetts. Later they moved to Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1740, where Matthew would live for the next four decades.
Studying medicine there, Matthew Thornton became a successful physician. Even through this, he served his country, accompanying New Hampshire militia as they fought the French. In other regiments, death came heavily through fighting and disease, but in Dr. Thornton’s regiment, only six soldiers lost their life in the campaign, due to the skill of this man.