John L. Thorne was born in Winkleigh, Devonshire, England on May 18th, 1814. When twelve years old, he began working in a dry goods store and continued in that line until coming to America in 1834. For 23 years, he resided at Batavia, New York, and was a leading merchant there. He came to Hastings in 1856.
He joined L. S. Follett in banking from 1857 to 1861.
He was mayor of the city in 1860 and 1863-64. Miss Josephine Chapman, of Mattawan, New Jersey, became his wife in 1863. In late 1862, he issued small denomination scrip as a change substitute. The scrip circulated widely in Saint Paul.
John L. Thorne of Hastings filed to organize Thorne’s Bank on September 1, 1863 with a capital of $27,500. Thorne was president and Sidney Mills, Jr. was cashier. American Bank Note Company engraved a 1-1-2-5 plate. A total of 4,100 sheets amounting to $36,900 in notes was issued. There was $622 in notes left unredeemed in 1869. The bank was succeeded by the Merchants National Bank of Hastings, Charter 1538, which continued to redeem the state bank notes.