Antrim’s Grove

Excerpt from “The Reunion” by Elma Hewitt, President Emeritus

“When I was a child in the thirties, the reunion was held in what was referred to as the Antrim’s Grove, across the Grand Island Road from George and Rada Antrim’s house (but was actually LaDru Thornton’s land).  It had tall fir trees and picnic tables.  It must also have had an outhouse someplace, but I don’t remember where it was.”

The Reunions were held there in 1932 -1938.

“Ladru Thornton’s house and grove was across the road from George Antrim’s house (not a relative) right before you go down to Grand Island. The grove of fir trees was referred to as Antrim’s Grove even though it was on Thornton’s land.

Ladru Thornton was a Hewitt cousin. Sarah Jane Matheny (b.1847), daughter of Adam and Sarah Jane Layson Matheny married Samuel Smith Thornton, brother of John Thorton, who married Ann Eliza Hewitt.

LaDru Thornton made his living selling used cars. He invested wisely and bought up a lot of land around there.”

Ann Eliza was born 19 December 1841, in Platte County, Missouri, the first child of Henry and Elizabeth Matheny Hewitt, the only daughter of ten children, the only child born in Missouri, the only one to die under seventy years of age, and the only one of the Hewitt children to make the epic journey of 1843 across the plains to Oregon; all the sons were born in Oregon. On January 28, 1864, she married John L. Thornton. The Thornton’s belonged to the United Brethren Church and had six children before both parents died in the prime of life. Ann Eliza was forty-one when she died 12 August 1883. John survived her by only three years, dying 17 May 1887. Both are buried in the cemetery at Hopewell, Oregon. Ann Eliza’s much younger brother, Jasper L. Hewitt, in his later years, wrote a memoir of his family. He described his sister caringly: “Ann Eliza Hewitt, my only sister, was married when I was yet in my fourth year so can not remember but one event before her marriage of her home life. One of our cousins a very large girl Elizabeth (Lizzie) Matheny who was much larger than brother Mathew, backed him against the wall and bit his arm leaving the marks of her teeth as you would suppose Mathew’s howl raised Ann Eliza quick and as Mother was not at home that day the sight of the bitten arm caused Ann Eliza to throw Lizzie on the floor and administer a spanking that, with the seen [sic] just before it, made an impression [that is] yet is quite vivid in my memory. As a little boy I loved to spend the day with my married sister whom I loved for she was so good to me and as her family grew up, I spent many happy days in her home. She had a good husband a thorough Christian man member of the “United Brethren Church.” They had a lovely family of children . . .

DESCENDANTS: Ann Eliza’s children were as follows: (1) Mary Elizabeth Thornton, born 23 October 1864, Yamhill County, OR., married 31 May 1885 to Charles Dayton Ott (1858-1936), had one child, Otto Thornton Ott (1886-1956), who has many living descendants; Mary died 18 May 1891 at the age of twenty-six. Like her mother, Mary was the oldest child, the only surviving daughter among several siblings, and, like her mother, died an untimely death. (2) Edgar Henry Thornton, born 7 March 1866, married 21 April 1891 to Lea Emma “Libby” Ott, (sister to Charles D. Ott, who married Edgar’s sister Mary), one daughter, Florence Thornton Phelan (1895-?); Edgar practiced medicine in Portland, died from hydrophobia (rabies) on 21 June 1915, buried at Hopewell (3) Olive Thornton, born 30 June 1869, died 10 September 1869. (4) Linzy Matheny Thornton, born 11 December 1870, Yamhill County, OR., married 6 April 1901 to Lily Pearl Hill (1872-1907) and in 1913 to Mayme Le May (1876-1958); he had no children, died 2 May 1936, buried Hopewell, OR. (5) Olin Dow Thornton [again, the vestige of Lorenzo Dow’s influence] born 20 April 1873, practiced dentistry, married 24 November 1897 to Mary Elizabeth “Lady” Hill (1876-1936), died 27 February 1938, buried at Hopewell, no children. (6) Ruth Thornton, born and died on September 7, 1875, buried at Hopewell. (7) Carl Doan Thornton born 9 December 1876. Married 22 August 1913 to Mrs. Mattie (Squire) Smith (1882-?), one son, Edgar Hewitt Thornton (1917-1989), died 9 May 1935, buried Hopewell, OR. (8) Jasper Thornton, born 19 April 1879, died 1 May 1879, buried Hopewell, OR. (9) Ladrue Leslie Thornton, born 1 November 1880, Married 22 September 1918 to Rada F. Antrim (1895-1962), died 20 June 1950, buried at Hopewell, children: Leo Maze Thornton (1922-), John Antrim Thornton (1925-1925, and Myron Thornton (1926-1926).” [Contributed by Don Rivara]

LOCATION: Antrim’s Grove was on the Southeast corner of Henry and Elizabeth Hewitt’s Donation Land Claim. Ladru Thornton’s house and grove was across the road from George Antrim’s house (not a relative) right before you go down to Grand Island.

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