Is your surname Thorndike?

Research the Thorndike family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Israel Thorndike

Birthplace: Beverly, Mass
Death: May 09, 1832 (77)
Boston, Suffolk, MA, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Andrew Thorndike and Anna Thorndike
Husband of Mercy Thorndike; Sara Thorndike and Anna Thorndike
Father of Elizabeth Francis

Occupation: sailor, merchant
Managed by: Gwyneth McNeil
Last Updated:

About Israel Thorndike

Israel Thorndike (1755–1832) was a sailor and merchant, born in Beverly, Massachusetts. He went to sea at an early age, commanded a privateer during the American Revolution, and became active in the early China trade. He was elected to the Massachusetts legislature 13 times. In 1810 he moved to Boston, and his mansion became a center for political and social discourse. Along with Elbridge Gerry, he helped to create the gerrymander. A member of the Federalist Party, he belonged to its Essex Junto.

In 1814 he sailed the 14 gun vessel Hyder Ally from Portland, Maine on a privateering voyage to the East Indies. She had a crew of 30 and carried sixteen guns: 10 18-pounder carronades, two long 18-pounders, and two long 9 pounders. Apparently some of her armament may have come from HMS Boxer. In May, HMS Owen Glendower captured the Hyder Ally off the Nicobars. The American had already taken two prizes, and sent them back to the US, but the Royal Navy later intercepted both and retook them, one at Cape Elizabeth, Maine and the other at Mount Desert Island.

Thorndike is considered to have been the fiftieth wealthiest American of all time (adjusted for inflation), having left an enormous fortune.

view all

Israel Thorndike's Timeline

April 30, 1755
Beverly, Mass
July 8, 1778
Beverly, MA, United States
May 9, 1832
Age 77
Boston, Suffolk, MA, United States