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Thornton Home, Newburgh

Submitted by Tamara Kincaide.

Thornton Home a home for retired Presbyterian ministers, their wives and retired missionaries existed in Newburgh for many years. Its first site was in Evansville, then was moved to Newburgh where it remained 59 years before being relocated to Kansas City MO. The idea took shape in 1895 when a young Cumberland Presbyterian minister Dr. J. H. MILLER wanted to provide the home for aged ministers, their wives and missionaries of the church.

Mrs. NESBIT a member of the Cumberland church relayed to MILLER that a wealthy woman of Petersburgh, Mrs. THORNTON wanted to help with a $6000 offer to help. A ten acre two story house was purchased on outer Lincoln in Evansville. A matron was procured and Dr. W. J. DARBY was elected superintendent.

In 1908 the home burned down No one was injured but all was lost. Dr DARBY went to Newburgh and selected a ideal site overlooking the river. It was once the home of ROBERT PHELPS and wife JENNIE BATES. After the death of Mrs. PHELPS the house burned and the property being sold to Mrs. HELEN DODGE AMES a noted opera singer from Evansville. She had built a summer home on the property. Mrs. AMES consented to sell her property to the THORNTON HOME as a place of residence. 115 acres overlooking the Ohio River was an ideal place.

Dr. MARY PHELPS a practicing physician gave funds for an infirmary in 1916 as a memorial to her mother JENNIE PHELPS. The farm prospered and the home self sustaining where residents and staff grew their own fruits and vegetables while raising chickens, hogs, cattle and sheep. On the farm also a herd of dairy cows.

As the years passed state regulations and the changing way of living made it no longer feasible to butcher the meat or produce their own milk. Some of the land was sold by 1940 there were 50 acres for the use of the home and its residents.

In 1953 PHELPS infirmary was replaced with a modern structure required by law for retirement homes. It was dedicated OCT 11 1953 in honor of Rev. FORREST STITT minister of Newburgh Presbyterian Church who spearheaded the fund drive.

Mrs. NANNIE EDWARDS was matron at this time with Miss ROSE PAPEN a nurse named associate superintendent. There were 17 guests at the home , a number that grew to 27 by 1955. Times changed and pensions and social security now was provided for retiring ministers.

Making a new opportunity for ministers and their families to live independently after their retirement. In 1967 the Presbyterian board moved the THORNTON HOME to Kansas. The property was placed for sale to Dr. VICTOR JORDAN a retired dentist.



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