Jonathan Thornóborn on 8 January 1779 at Schenec-tady, N.Y.ówas appointed a midshipman on 28 April 1800. Subsequently serving with the Navy during the Tripolitan War, Thorn volunteered to take part in the hazardous expedition to destroy the captured frigate Philadelphia, which lay beneath the guns of the shore batteries in heavily defended Tripoli harbor. On 16 February 1804, Lt. Stephen Decatur, Jr., led a party of these volunteers in the ketch Intrepid into Tripoli and burned the erstwhile American frigate.
Attached to the schooner Enterprise, Thorn was then assigned to Gunboat No. 4, under Decatur's command. In this vessel, he participated in the attack on Tripoli, with Commodore Edward Preble's squadron on 3 August 1804. Specially commended by Decatur for his conduct in this battle, Thorn received command of one of the Tripolitan gunboats captured and commanded this vessel in the engagement with the Tripolitan pirates on 7 August.
Commissioned a lieutenant on 16 February 1807, Thorn became the first commandant of the New York Navy Yard at age 27. In 1810, he was granted a two-year furlough to command John Jacob Astor's sailing bark Tonquin in a voyage slated to take the ship to the Pacific Northwest to establish a fur trading post. Anchoring off Nootka on 5 June 1811, after a voyage which had taken the ship around Cape Horn to the Hawaiian Islands and to the mouth of the Columbia River, Thorn soon began trading with the local Indians. Angered by what they considered a bad business deal, the Indians came on board Tonquin and, in a brief, bloody action, massacred Thorn and his crew.
The name Thorn was assigned on 22 January 1941 to DD-505, an experimental 1,150-ton destroyer ordered on 9 September 1940 from the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Kearny, N.J. However, the contract was cancelled on 10 February 1941 and replaced by a contract for the Gleaves-class destroyer, Thorn (DD-647).
(DD-988: dp. 7,600 (f.); 1. 563'; b. 55'; dr. 19'; s. 30 k.; cpl. 250; a. 2 5", ASROC, Sea Sparrow, 2 Mk. 32 tt.; cl. Spruance)
The second Thorn (DD-988) was laid down on 29 August 1977 at Pascagoula, Miss., by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Systems, Inc., and launched on 3 February 1979 with Mrs. Patricia Palmer Ansley serving as sponsor. Thorn was scheduled to be commissioned in early 1980.