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Texas Gothic

April 2021
1min read

With all flags flying, Jesse Thornton (opposite page, left) and his friend Frank Ross stand on the rear platform of a train watching the city of Dallas recede into the far distance—of a studio camera. The year was 1920, and although Mr. Thornton’s expression might indicate that he was setting out on a long and arduous journey, he was traveling no farther that day than home to the town of Fruitvale, Texas, about fifty miles due east of Dallas. The first Thorntons in America arrived in Virginia from Yorkshire, England, in the 1630’s and later were among the earliest settlers of Alabama and northern Mississippi. In Fruitvale, Jesse Thornton raised cotton on a farm to which he had moved his family from Mississippi shortly after the birth of his daughter Christine Thornton Rodgers of Memphis, Tennessee, who sent us this picture.

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