Jesse Blackburn Thornton

Jesse Blackburn Thornton was born in 1875 in St. Joseph, Missouri. At  18, he was working in the Cincinnati Methodist Book Store when a man commented on his vulgar language, and the Lord used that comment to bring him to salvation.

   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)