Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

Henry George Thayer  

Hon. Henry George Thayer, is a resident of Plymouth, Marshall county, Indiana, where, for may years, he was been an active and prominent business man. He is the son of the Rev. Geo. H. Thayer and Hannah Thayer, nee Griffin, and was born April 20, 1834, at Euclid, Onondaga county, N.Y.
His father, now an octogenarian, was born in Broome county, N.Y., Dec. 29, 1807, and is now ninety-two years of age and still enjoys a fair degree of health. He cam to Indiana in 1846 when the subject of this sketch was twelve years of age. In his youth notwithstanding school houses were few and far between, he managed to acquire, in the district schools, and at the Onondage County Academy, where he graduated with honor, a good English education, and at the age of nineteen, commenced teaching school. At the age of twenty-three years he entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has continued up to the present time, a period of sixty-nine years, more or less active in ministerial work, without compensation, relying on other resources of revenue for the support of himself and family. In his early years of preaching in New York, he often walked from five to twenty-five miles on Sundays to meet his appointments, and being zealous in his work, he preached from one to three sermons. It was a time when the church was laying its foundations for its future strength and glory, and when its young ministers with scarcely more equipment than the apostles and the "seventy" preachers possessed when they wrought a wonderful work in the cause of their Master. The old veteran of the Cross stands high as a theologian, and his spirituality and ability is acknowledged, not only by the laity, but by the bishops and clergymen of his church, and his elucidations of scripture is one of the distinguishing features of his still vigorous mentality. To hear him discourse is like listening to echoes from the pulpit in far-away days, when men were called, as Jesus called the fisherman, and the world stood amazed at their knowledge and achievements. A time when the Methodist church was on horseback, and laterally had its headquarters in the saddle. It was that grand era of camp meetings when the forests resounded with songs of praise and when men went to the meetings to laugh and remained to pray. In those early days the Rev. George H. Thayer was a participant in the great work of urging forward Christian civilization, not only in New York but in Indiana, and now, at the great age of ninety-two years, with mental and physical faculties well preserved, when in a reminiscent mood, doubtless find exhaustless satisfaction in retracing the pathways of his long life and in noting the monuments of progress he had helped to erect. His first presidential vote was cast for Andrew Jackson, one of the most illustrious warriors and statement America has produced, and to hear a man say "I voted for Andrew Jackson", carries the listener back more than half a century, and in all of our seventy-five millions of population, few are living with such a record, nor is it much more modern for a man to claim that he was an "abolitionist". It is required courage, both moral and physical, to be an "abolitionist", when the country was "half free and half slave", a condition which Abraham Lincoln said could not "always exist". It was a time, which, like the dark days of the revolution, "tried men's souls", a time when coming events cast their dark shadows athwart the pathway of the republic, and the Rev. George H. Thayer has a right to boast that he had an opportunity to plead the cause of the slave, and therefore an individual interest in the proclamation that struck the fetters from millions of chattel slaves and permitted them to realize the blessing of freedom. Since the organization of the Republican party he has been identified with it, and has contributed to its success. The Thayers in America are descended from the brothers, Richard and Thomas Thayer, who emigrated from England and settled at Braintree, Massachusetts, about the year 1630. They came from Braintree, Essex county, England, with the Massachusetts colony and assisted in founding the town of Braintree, Norfolk county, Massachusetts, under a grant of the colony. Their lineage is traced directly to Augustine Thayer of Thaydom, a village in the county of Essex, near London. He was a favorite of the king, was granted letters patent, a coat of arms, and became one of the nobility of England.

The early education of Henry George Thayer, the subject of this biological mention, began in the common schools of New York, taught by graduates of the State Normal school at Albany, who were men eminently competent to give instruction to their pupils, and this elementary education was supplemented by a course in the Iron City Commercial College at Pittsburg, Pa. from which he graduated in 1857, when twenty-three years of age. He came to Indiana with his parents in 1847, who first settled at Peru, Miami county, Ind. The trip from New York to Indiana was made from Syracuse, N.Y. on the Erie Canal to Buffalo, N.Y., thence on Lake Erie to Toledo, O., thence by the Wabash & Erie to Peru. At that time Peru, though a small town, was a great trading and shipping port, to points east and west. From Peru, his parents moved to Marshall county in 1849. During his residence in Marshall county, he taught a country school one term and then took up his residence in Plymouth, where he has since resided.

In 1851 Mr. Thayer accepted a position as clerk in the drug store of Henry B. Pershing, and studied Pharmacy, but the compounding of medicines not suiting his inclinations, he became the confidential clerk and bookkeeper of John L. Westervelt, a dry goods merchant, with whom he remained five years. In 1859 Mr. Thayer formed a partnership with N. R. Packard in the grocery business, and subsequently in the dry goods business, with Hon. A. L. Wheeler as a silent partner. Since 1858, the principal business of Mr. Thayer has been dealing in grains, in which he was been continuously engaged for forty years. In 1881 he formed a partnership with George W. Mears of Philadelphia, under the firm name of Thayer & Mears, commission merchants and buyers of grain, doing a large business in that city and throughout the west. This partnership was dissolved in 1882. Mr. Thayer is the president of the Indiana Novelty Manufacturing company, the largest plant in the world, engaged exclusively in the manufacture of bicycle rims, mud and chain guards and wooden handle bars. He was engaged for many years with his brother, Hon. John D. Thayer, deceased, of Warsaw, Ind., in the grain business at Warsaw, Huntington, and Bourbon, Ind., and Pittsburg, Pa. and is now vice-president of the Bourbon Elevator and Milling company, and is also the vice-president of the State Bank at Plymouth.

Mr. Thayer has been a Republican from the organization of the party, to the present time, and an active and influential member of the party. He was president of the board of education of the city of Plymouth in 1874. He served as chairman of the Republican district, and held the position for six years. He was district president elector in 1880, and voted for Gen. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur. In 1888 he was alternate delegate from the state at large to the National Republican convention held in Chicago, and assiduously labored to secure the nomination of Benjamin Harrison as a candidate for the presidency. He was the first elector at large of Indiana in 1896 and was elected by the Electoral College of Indiana as a messenger to carry the vote of the state to the vice-president, Adlai Stevenson. Mr. Thayer was nominated in 1872 by his party for joint representative of Marshall and St. Joseph counties and in 1884, to represent the Thirteenth congressional district in congress, but in both cases was defeated with the other nominees of the party. In 1893 Mr. Thayer was appointed by Governor Matthews one of the directors of the World's Columbian exposition, to fill the unexpired term of the Hon. Clem Studebaker, and discharged the duties of the honorable position in a way eminently creditable to the state.

Mr. Thayer occupies honorable positions in the great fraternities of the times. For thirty years he has been an Odd Fellow and has held the office of Noble Grand of his lodge for several terms and was appointed by the Grand Master C. F. Northem as one of the committee for erecting the new temple of the order at Indianapolis. He was filed the presiding chairs of all the various subordinate societies of Free Masons, and was elected an served as Grand Commander of Knights Templar of Indiana in 1880-81. he received the Scottish rite 32d degree in Indianapolis in 1876, and the following year at Boston, Mass.., was elected Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the 33d and honorary member of the Supreme Grand Council of the Scottish rite, the Northern Masonic jurisdiction. In 1878 Mr. Thayer received the degree of Royal Order of Scotland at Milwaukee, and is now a member of Murat council of the Mystic Shrine at Indianapolis. Honorary membeship had been conferred on Mr. Thayer by the Masonic Veteran's association of Illinois, by the Illinois College of Inspectors-General Thirty-third Degree Valley of Chicago; the Ascolon Commandery Knights Templar, St. Louis, Mo. and by the commanderies of Valparaiso and Frankfort, Ind. Mr. Thayer is also a life member of the Grand Encampment of the United States and also an honorary member of Ancient Ebor Preceptory, York, England,having been elected in 1883. Besides, he has held the office of grand patron of the Order of the Eastern Star if Indiana, as also grand marshall of the General Grand Chapter of the United States. Mr. Thayer for thirty-three years has bee a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Plymouth, Ind.

On July 29, 1856 Mr. Thayer married Mary E. Van Valkenburgh, and six children have been of the union, three of whom have died. George Henry graduated from Cornell University, New York; James Wesley graduated from Pennsylvania Military Academy, at Chester, Pa; and Mary Angelicia, graduated from St. Mary's College, Indianapolis. Mr. Thayer's family take an active interest in Masonary. Mr. Thayer and his daughter are members of the Order of Eastern Star, and Mrs. Thayer is a past matron of the order, while the two sons, George H. and James W., are past commanders of the Plymouth commandery, Knights Templar. Mr. Thayer has earned the right be addressed as one of the progressive men of Indiana, since from the beginning his career had been conspicuously active and of high endeavor, and while having secured wealth and the comforts of life his home is dignified by the presence of his aged and justly distinguished father, whose sun is declining amidst surroundings of peace and repose.


HENRY G. THAYER was born at the town of Euclid, Onondaga Co., N.Y., on the 20th of April, 1834. He is the son of Rev. GEORGE H. THAYER, of whom a few words may properly be said as a prelude to his sonís biography. He was born December 31, 1807, in Onondaga County, N.Y., and in early youth acquired such a limited education as the common schools afforded. By diligent study, however, he prepared himself for admission into Onondaga Academy, and graduated from that institution with high honors. In earlier youth, his line of reasoning made him skeptical in his religious views, but, with later years and a more careful study of the Bible, came the conviction of error, and he sought to amend the past by devoting his after life to the service of the church. In 1832, he entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has ever since been a faithful laborer in the Lordís vineyard. That he is actuated in this by love and a sense of duty a evinced by that he has uniformly refused all monetary consideration for his pastoral labors, supporting his family by other means. He married Miss HANNAH GRIFFIN, in Onondaga County, N.Y., and in the labors of his life she proved a helpmate and a worthy coadjutor. In 1845, the family removed to Miami County, Ind., locating at Peru, and from thence they removed to Marshall County.

At the advanced age of seventy-four years, the Rev. Mr. THAYER is still a strong and convincing speaker and a forcible writer, and his physical and mental faculties have suffered but little from the ravages of time.

HENRY G., his son, and the subject of this biography, inherited all that strength of character and mind which has marked his fatherís life, and possesses, in addition, a strong individuality. In his youth he enjoyed but few educational privileges, as he came to Indiana with his parents when scarcely eleven years of age, and at a time when the school system of this State was in a very crude and unsystematic condition. Finally, a school was taught at Peru, Ind., and for three years he was a pupil under the fatherís instructions. Careful home training, assisted by diligent study on his own part, wrought good results, and, after the removal of the family to Marshall County, Ind., he was qualified to take charge of a school, and was engaged in teaching during the winters of 1849 --50 and 1850--51. He was yet a boy, with his plans for life all unformed; yet his natural inclinations were for a mercantile life, and in 1850 he entered upon his first mercantile experience as a clerk for H.B. PERSHING, with whom he remained for about six months. For the next five years, he was in the employ of JOHN L. WESTERVELT and RUFUS HEWETT, as salesman, book-keeper and confidential clerk. At the close of that period, he went to Pittsburgh, Penn., to complete his commercial education, and after a course in the Iron City Commercial College at that city, from which he graduated with high honors, he returned to Plymouth, and at once was tendered the position of book-keeper of the dry goods house of CLEVELAND & HEWETT, which he accepted. About six months later, he was appointed Deputy under JAMES F. VAN VALKENBURGH, then Sheriff of Marshall County, and, after serving in this capacity for a short time, in the grain trade, and erected the first grain warehouse at Plymouth. In 1859, he was associated with N.R. PACKARD in the grocery at Plymouth, and, at a later date, with A.L. WHEELER in the dry goods trade. Subsequently, he was associated with N. H. OGLESBEE the lumber trade, but in 1868 sold his interest in this industry to MATTINGLY & BLACK , in order to give the grain trade his sole attention. He has been constantly engaged in this enterprise ever since, his trade growing larger with each recurring season.

He is now at the head of the house of THAYER & MEARS, 308 Walnut street, Philadelphia, Penn., buyers of grain for export, and commission merchants.

One so prominent and valuable as a citizen could not remain long out of politics; but it is only justice to Mr. THAYER to say that, whenever he has stood before the people as a candidate, his action has been in response to repeated importunities from numerous friends, and not because he took any pleasure in being a candidate, or regarded politics as his element. His eminent qualifications have made him pronouncedly the man for the positions he has occupied, and he has served from a sense of duty. He was elected City Clerk of Plymouth in 18--, and served two years. In 1874, he was President of the Board of Education, and to his efforts the citizens owe much for the magnificent high-school building, which stands as an ornament to their city and a monument to the beneficence of free public education. In 1872, he became the nominee of the Republican party for Representative from the district composed of counties of Marshall and St. Joseph. He made a gallant fight, and his personal popularity almost overcame the Democratic majority, for he was defeated by only forty votes in the district. In 1874, he was the choice of his Republican friends for Congressman from this district, and, although not nominated, he received a flattering vote in the convention. Four years later, without his solicitation or consent, they again determined to present his name, and, at a County Convention, held in June, 1880, the following resolution was unanimously adopted:

Resolved, That the delegates from this (Marshall County), to the Congressional Convention to be held at South Bend, on the twenty-fourth inst., are instructed to cast the vote of this county for Hon, H.G. THAYER, as a candidate for Congress, and to use all honorable means to secure his nomination.

Apropos of the esteem in which he is held by the people of this county, the following, from the Plymouth Republican, is sufficiently expressive. Referring to the proceedings of the convention, it said:

Mr. THAYER being called for, addressed the convention in a brief but able speech, thanking the convention for the distinguished honor shown him by the resolution, but respectfully declined to allow the use of his name as a candidate before the Congressional Convention.

Notwithstanding Mr. THAYERíS positive declination, we believe he is the man for the place. Our reasons are, aside from the fact that he is a resident of Marshall County, that his ability is unquestioned; his well-known honesty and fair dealing command universal respect, and make him an available candidate; that his success in his own varied business is a guarantee that the interests of his constituents would be looked after; that he could not be bought or sold by any man, party or clique; that his name, ability, means and practical fitness for the position would add strength to the Republican ticket; that he would make a strong canvas, and there would be no disaffection in any party of the district.

A Republican Convention was held a short time subsequently, at which Mr. THAYER became the unanimous choice of his party for Presidential Elector from the Thirteenth Congressional District, and received a large majority at the ensuing November election, casting his vote, with patriotic pride and satisfaction, for JAMES A. GARFIELD, of Ohio, for President, and CHESTER A. ARTHUR, of New York, for Vice President.

During the progress of the late civil war in our land, Mr. THAYER was uniformly patriotic, and manifested his zeal and love for the Union in many substantial ways. Although he was exempt from duty, he procured a substitute at no trifling expense, and made handsome donations to the fund raised for the supplying the quota of Marshall County. He has stood unswervingly by the cause of right and national integrity in every crisis, and is bold in the defense of his position.

He is identified with two of the leading secret organizations of the Untied States - the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons. In the former, he has passed the chairs of the subordinate lodge, and attained to the position of Past Grand; but his principal interest is with the Masonic Fraternity. He received the degrees of the York Rite in 1857, as was subsequently elected Worshipful Master of Plymouth Lodge, No. 149, serving, by re-election, for four years. He also served as High Priest of Plymouth Chapter, No. 49, Royal Arch Masons, and as Illustrious Master of Plymouth Council, No. 49, Royal and Select Masters. He was a leader in the organization of Plymouth Commandery, No. 26, K T., and was its first Eminent Commander, occupying that office for two successive terms. At the present time, he is the Eminent Grand Commander of Knights Templar of the State of Indiana, Order of the Eastern Star; also Grand Marshall of the General Grand Chapter of the United States. At the city of Boston, in 1877, he was made Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the thirty-third degree, and honorary member of the Supreme Grand Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States. He became a member of the Provincial Grand Lodge of the United States, Royal Order of Scotland, by election, at Washington, D.C., in 1878, and was initiated at Milwaukee, Wis. He is unflagging in his interest in the order, and in every respect a valuable member.

For a number of years, Mr. THAYER has been an active church member and temperance worker. He first united with the Presbyterian Church, and afterward with the Protestant Episcopal Church, with which he is now identified. He is a liberal contributor to its temporal needs, and, by his example and influence, has added much to its higher interests. In his dealings with the world, he has always been actuated by a high sense of honor, and his fairness and promptness have gained him the unreserved confidence of all. He stands at the head of the business world in this community, and his identity with the mercantile interests is almost as marked abroad as at home. The position he occupies in the world and in society is the legitimate outgrowth of a nature that would not be satisfied with mediocrity, and whose aim and ambition was always upward. Few adventitious circumstances have occurred to aid his rise in the world, and his ample fortune is the result of his industry and native business ability. He is pre-eminently one of the self-made men of our day, and his career speaks eloquently of the possibilities attainable by a young man who starts out with the right spirit.

On the 9th of July, 1856, Mr. THAYER was united in marriage with Miss MARY E. VAN VALKENBURGH, daughter of JAMES F. and ANGELICA VAN VALKENBURGH. She is a noble Christian lady, and her kindly nature and loving disposition have been a potent instrument in her husbandís success. They are the parents of six children, named, respectively, HARRY EDGAR, JAMES WESLEY, ALICE LAVANTIA, MARY ANGELICA and HORACE. Of these, HARRY E., ALICE A. and HORACE are deceased.

HENRY G. THAYER born at Euclid, Onondaga Co., N.Y., on the 20th of April, 1834 and died 18 Apr 1905 - Plymouth, Marshall, Indiana buried Oak Hill Cemetery Plymouth Marshall County Indiana He is the son of Rev. George Harris THAYER and HANNAH GRIFFIN

He married 9th of July, 1856 Plymouth, Marshall, Indiana Mary Elizabeth VAN VALKENBURGH born Oct 12, 1836 Schenevus Otsego County {Chatham, Columbia} New York and died 23 May 1910 London, England buried Oak Hill Cemetery Plymouth Marshall County Indiana daughter of James Fletcher VanValkenburgh and Angelica Crippen VanValkenburgh.

They are the parents of six children
    HARRY EDGAR Thayer born Jul. 8, 1857 Plymouth, Marshall, Indiana and died Oct. 4, 1859 Plymouth, Marshall, Indiana buried Oak Hill Cemetery Plymouth Marshall County Indiana

    George Henry Jr. Thayer born Sep. 5, 1860 Indiana and died Jan. 27, 1934 Plymouth Marshall County Indiana buried Oak Hill Cemetery Plymouth Marshall County Indiana; married Mary Louise Munson born 1862 died 1953 buried Oak Hill Cemetery Plymouth Marshall County Indiana
      George H. Thayer Jr., a member of on of the pioneer families of Marshall County and for many years a summer cottager at Lake Maxinkuckee, died at his Plymouth home last week at age 74. The Thayer family founded and operated the Plymouth Novelty Manufacturing Company, which for may years was leading employer in Marshall county, and a graduate of one of the first classes in Plymouth High School.

      31 Jan 1934 Culver Citizen
    JAMES WESLEY Thayer born 1 Apr 1864 Indiana and died 16 Dec 1922 Plymouth Marshall County Indiana buried Oak Hill Cemetery Plymouth Marshall County Indiana; married 5 April 1888 Marhsall county, Indiana Sarah Venetta Hall born Dec. 12, 1865 Columbia City, Dubois, Indiana and died Jul. 14, 1917 Plymouth Marshall County Indiana buried Oak Hill Cemetery Plymouth Marshall County Indiana daughter of Alexander Hall and Frances Wendle

    ALICE LAVANTIA Thayer born Apr. 5, 1868 and died Jan. 25, 1869 buried Oak Hill Cemetery Plymouth Marshall County Indiana

    HORACE Thayer born 22 May 1870 and died 1870

    MARY ANGELICA Thayer born 27 Jan 1872 in Indiana and died 1966 buried Oak Hill Cemetery Plymouth Marshall County Indiana; married 1897 Wiliam Henry Young born Mar 1863 Seaton Carew, Durham, England and died 1950 buried Oak Hill Cemetery Plymouth Marshall County Indiana [or born Newcastle, Northumberland, England son of Benjamin V. Young and Catherine [-?-]
      1911 they lived Haydon, Stormont Road, Highgate Hornsey Middlesex England

      Mary Angelica Young 415 PArk Ave. Mishawaka, Ind. Country of birth or Allegance USA-England Naturalization 1934
Year: 1860; Census Place: Plymouth, Marshall, Indiana; Roll: M653_278; Page: 608;
Household Members: Name Age
Henry G Thayer 26
Mary E Thayer 23
Mary Ragan 12

1870; Census Place: Center, Marshall, Indiana; Roll: M593_342; Page: 64A;
Household Members: Name Age
Sherry Thayer 36
Mary Thayer 32
George Thayer 10
James Thayer 6

Year: 1880; Census Place: Plymouth, Marshall, Indiana; Roll: 297; Family History Film: 1254297; Page: 133A; Enumeration District: 105;
Household Members: Name Age
Henry G. Thayer 46
Mary Thayer 43
George H. Thayer 14
James Thayer 16
Angelica Thayer 8
Luvanda Cummings 50 Sister
Jess F. Vanvalkinburg 72 Father [in-law]
Catherine Shumaker 25 Servant

Year: 1900; Census Place: Plymouth, Marshall, Indiana; Roll: 391; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0074;
Household Members: Name Age
George H Thayer 32
Mary L M Thayer 38
Edgar M Thayer 12
Paul M Thayer 8
Henry G Thayer 66
Mary E Thayer 63

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