Thomas C. Thornton was born on October 12, 1794, in Dumfries, Virginia. Thornton was a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1841, he became president of Old Centenary College in Mississippi. Thornton was originally a member of the Baltimore Conference but transferred to the Mississippi Conference. He joined the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1845 but returned to the Methodist Church five years later. His writings supported the institution of slavery. Thomas Thornton died in Mississippi on March 22, 1860.