Dr. Thornton House
This small house is thought to be the oldest structure in Yanceyville, Caswell County, North Carolina. It is located on the south side of West Main Street at the intersection with Cooper-Rogers Road. It dates from around 1810 and probably was built by a member of the Graves family, which owned most of the land in Yanceyville at one time. The original part of the structure is the two-story westerly component. There were two rooms on each floor. The one-story easterly section was a later addition.
The following is from An Inventory of Historic Architecture: Caswell County, North Carolina, Ruth Little-Stokes (1979) at 201:
Photo 323. Dr. Thornton - Tom P. Hunter House. Early 19th century. Tiny 1.5 story frame Federal house which is apparently the oldest structure in Yanceyville. Interesting compressed arrangement of front door and flanking windows. Interior is 2 rooms, equal in size, with corner fireplaces and an enclosed corner stair. Retains ornate original woodwork.The building has been modified and now serves as a private dwelling.
The Dr. Thornton most likely is Dr. Robert B. Thornton (died 23 February 1875). He lived in the house and had an office there. He married Susan Frances Smith. Their daughter, Donna Rebecca Thornton (1840 - 1897) was the wife of Jeremiah Graves, Jr. (1835-1901), who grew up in the Dongola Mansion in Yanceyville (just across West Main Street from the Dr. Thornton House).
At one time the Dr. Thornton House was the Samuel P. Hill law office. Samuel P. Hill represented the widow of murdered Senator John W. Stephens, who left a considerable estate.
Later, the house became the home of the Thomas Parks Hunter (1894-1943) family. A daughter of Thomas Parks Hunter and Sarah Jeanette (Nettie) Powell, Sallie Katherine Hunter, married Garnett Clements Cooper in 1942. The Dr. Thornton House remains in the Cooper family.
When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977, William S. Powell (1977) at 339.
Caswell County North Carolina Will Books 1843-1868, Katharine Kerr Kendall (1986) at 7.
An Inventory of Historic Architecture: Caswell County, North Carolina, Ruth Little-Stokes (1979).
The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 159-160 (Article #138 "Garnett Clements Cooper" by Mrs. Sallie Katherine Hunter Cooper)
Caswell County Family Tree