Willard Thornton
Fictional Character
1632 series
POD: May, 1631
Appearance(s): 1634: The Ram Rebellion
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: United States of Europe (formerly United States)
Religion: Mormonism
Date of Birth: 1959
Parents: Harold Thornton (father)
Spouse: Emma Thorton
Children: David Glen Thornton, Janalee Thornton
Relatives: Arthur Thornton (brother)

Willard Thornton was a Mormon resident of Grantville before and after the Ring of Fire.

In 1980, while still in high schoool, Willard fell in love with his future wife Emma. The two eloped on the night of their high school graduation, correctly believing that both sets of parents would be profoundly opposed to their marriage. Emma's parents looked down on Mormonism, believing that the religion to be a cult. For Willard, to decision to immediately marry meant that he could not do his stint as an LDS missionary as his parents thought he should. The eloping couple spent on their so-called honeymoon in a strip motel in Charleston and Emma became pregnant. Unfortunately, their baby was still-born barely seven months into the pregnancy. Willard worked at the Home Center, sent Emma to college, and hung in there with great determination, studying LDS materials on his own.

Afterward, Willard and Emma moved to Grantville and established a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there. Following after the Ring of Fire, Willard was among the small minority of the LDS that was brought to the 17th century. After some consideration with the LDS, Willard and his fellows decided to spread their faith in this new world. In April 1633, Willard elected himself as a missionary to deliver printed pamphlets on the LDS and copies of the Book of Mormon. He decided not to require the young unmarried male LDS members to act as missionaries until after they'd had families.

Willard began his journey by biking to Fulda, where unsuccessful in passing the message. The people of Fulda were very interested in his bicycle. Willard's mission caught the attention of N.U.S. administrator Wesley Jenkins, who was concerned for Willard's safety in the delicate dogmatic environment and posted a watch on him. On advice from Jenkins, Willard went along with a group of down-time traders to Würzburg. There he met with some successful in passing out his religion. Thereafter he went to Bamberg and met Councilman Färber, who arranged a public speaking booth for Willard. In gratitude, Willard gave a copy of the Book of Mormon to Färber's wife, Lydia . On the second market day, Willard's presence was met with hostility from the townspeople and on the next day, Willard was heckled and attacked by a mendicant friar and was arrested by the local authorities. Willard was declared by the local church authorities as a heretic, condemned for inciting to riot, among other charges, and was sentenced to be publicly flogged. As he was about to be flogged, N.U.S. official Johnnie F, who arrived too late to defend Willard, knelt next to Willard in order to bear the blunt of being flogged. After being flogged, a mob of sympathizers swamped the executioner and rescued Willard and Johnnie.