A citizen of whom any community might be proud is Daniel K. Thornton, and the people of Merced County, appreciating his public spirit and ability, elected him to the office of county supervisor, in which position he served for three consecutive terms of four years each. Not only while in office but in the common walk of life does he command the respect of all the people.
The son of Michael and Ellen (Hanlon) Thornton, he was born two and a half miles west of Merced on April 15, 1873. His father came to Napa, Cal., via Cape Horn, in 1866, and to Merced County in 1868, and bought the place on which his son Daniel was born; this he sold in 1883 and moved on to the P. Bennett ranch on the Mariposa and Merced County line. He moved again, in 1885, to Bear Creek, where he staid fourteen years; from there he went into the Planada district for six years. His next move was to the old Hooper place near Yosemite Lake and two years later he returned to Merced. He died in the fall of 1924 at the age of eighty-six years. His wife, whom he had married in San Francisco, where she had come as a girl, died about 1905. There were thirteen children in his family, ten boys and three girls, of whom eleven are still living.
Daniel Thornton was educated in the public schools of Merced County and helped his father on the ranch in the farming season. From the age of twenty to thirty he worked for wages and then was able to engage in farming on his own account, which he did on several different rented places, first on the old Twitchell place for two years and next on the old Ivett ranch of 1300 acres for two years; then on the McClosky place for a like period. His last place to rent was the Cleek ranch near Plainsburg, after which he purchased his present place of forty acres on the Athlone-Buchanan road. In all his farming operations he has been fairly successful.
Mr. Thornton was married in 1904 to Miss Jessie Frances Poor, daughter of a pioneer rancher, and they have three children; Jesse Marvin, Ronald Daniel and Theresa Belle. Mr. Thornton’s activity as county commissioner was marked by an activity for the good of the county in general and was highly commendable; the concrete highways and bridges in the county have all been built during his terms in office. Fraternally, he belongs to the Odd Fellows, the Rebekahs, and the Modern Woodmen. He is a member of the Le Grand Band and also plays the violin.
Source: Outcalt, John. A history of Merced County, California : with a biographical review of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present; Los Angeles, Calif. : Historic Record Company, 1925.