Biography of Charles Henry Thornton of Humboldt

Charles Henry Thornton, a notable commercial photographer in Humboldt, Nebraska, was born on October 17, 1868, near St. Joseph, Michigan. His parents, John M. and Jane (Brady) Thornton, originally from England, moved the family to Iowa in 1874 and later to Nebraska in 1880. Charles transitioned from farming to photography after a stint in Kansas. He established a successful photography studio in Auburn before relocating to Humboldt in 1904. Married to Grace Elliot in 1899, they had two sons, Dale and Leland. Active in the Christian church and local fraternities, Thornton was a prominent community member and Democrat.

Charles Henry Thornton, well-known commercial photographer at Humboldt, was born on a farm near St. Joseph, Michigan, October 17, 1868, son of John M. and Jane (Brady) Thornton, natives of England, who in 1874 moved to Iowa and located at Stanton, where they conducted a hotel for three years, at the end of which time they located on a farm that Mr. Thornton had bought near there; later settling on a farm near Conway, Iowa, where they remained for three years, or until 1880, when they came to Nebraska and settled on a farm in Seward county, remaining there until 1891, in which year they moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, where their last days were spent.

Charles H. Thornton was six years of age when his parents moved from Michigan to Iowa and was twelve years of age when they came to Nebraska.

He grew up in Seward county, and remained there, farming, until the spring of 1893, when he bought a farm in Rawlins county, in western Kansas, and for three years tried to farm there, but was compelled to give it up on account of the continuous drought. He then returned to Nebraska and was for a time engaged in farming near Peru, later taking employment on a ranch in the vicinity of Concordia, Kansas, where he remained for four years, during which time he began to turn his attention seriously to the art of photography, presently opening a photograph studio at Auburn and was engaged in that business there until the fall of 1904, when he moved to Humboldt. On September 1 of that year he opened a studio at Humboldt and has ever since been engaged in business at that place, long having been recognized as one of the leading photographers in this part of the state. Mr. Thornton has a well-equipped studio and has built up a fine business, the high character of his work recommending it widely to discriminating patrons hereabout.

In 1899 Charles H. Thornton was united in marriage to Grace Elliot, of Auburn, this state, and to this union two children have been born, sons both, Dale, born in 1905, and Leland, 1915. Mr. and Mrs. Thornton are members of the Christian church and take a proper part in church work, as well as in other community good works and in the general social activities of their home town. Mr. Thornton is a Democrat, and, fraternally, is affiliated with the local lodges of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, in the affairs of all of which organizations he takes a warm interest.


Edwards, Lewis C., History of Richardson County, Nebraska : Its People, Industries and Institutions, Indianapolis : B.F. Bowen, 1917.

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