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Franklin, Butler-Brayne




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Interview Number


Date of Interview



Records an interview with Butler Franklin, (née Butler-Brayne Thornton Robinson), a direct descendant of Francis Thornton, III, who built a plantation near Sperryville, Virginia, in the 1740s. Mrs. Franklin contends that several prominent geographic features now located in Shenandoah National Park, including Thornton Gap, the Thornton River and Mary's Rock, were named for Francis Thornton and his descendants. Includes a genealogical history of the Thornton family in Virginia, from William Thornton, III, who emigrated from England in the 1640s, through Col. John Thornton, who married Jane Washington, aunt of the future first president. Discusses several Thornton estates, including Montpelier, the plantation built on the Rappahannock River near Sperryville, and the Thornton ancestral home, Fall Hill, in Fredericksburg ,where Mrs. Franklin resided at the time of the interview.


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Personal Names

Franklin, Butler-Brayne, 1899-2003, Interviews; Thornton, William, III, 1627-1708; Thornton, Francis, III, 1714-1749; Thornton, John, 1739-1822; Champe, John, 1752-1798 -- Anecdotes.

Family Names

Thornton family


Montpelier (Rappahannock County, Va. : Dwelling); Fall Hill (Va. : Dwelling).

Place Names

Thornton Gap (Va.) -- History; Thornton River (Va.) -- History; Mary's Rock (Va.) -- History; Rappahannock County (Va.) -- History; Shenandoah National Park (Va.) -- History, Local.


Smith, Dorothy Noble, 1915-1999


Edwards, Victoria M.

Collection Title

Shenandoah National Park oral history collection

Collection Number

SdArch SNP

Streaming Media

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(SNP050) Butler-Brayne Franklin interviewed by Dorothy Noble Smith, transcribed by Victoria M. Edwards



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