Jesse Blackburn Thornton
After finishing high school and some college, he took a break from his formal education to preach on the Methodist Episcopal circuit, then returned to complete his formal education and graduated from Illinois College in 1899.
He met and married Willia
Thorpe in 1901. With great faith, they set out for the mission field of
Madras, India in 1904 with their first two children In 1908, no longer
with the Methodist Episcopal Church, Jesse moved his growing family
(now numbering five) to Kobe, Japan for additional missionary work, and
here a fourth child was born. A one-year stint in the U.S. in 1911 (presumably for furlough) is when David
Williams Thornton was born, but the family then returned to Japan,
welcomed a sixth child, and stayed until 1926 when they returned
permanently to the U.S.
In 1926, Jesse accepted a temporary assignment at Hope Congregational Church in St. Louis. His one-month assignment eventually stretched to 24 years.
Jesse and Willia Thornton at Tadmor, circa 1930s
Rev J B Thornton at age 73 (1948)