NORTHERN NEW YORK
Genealogical and family history of northern New York: a record of the achievements of her people
in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation.
New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co. 1910.
Transcribed by Coralynn Brown
The spreading branches of the genealogical tree from the stock of the Pilgrims and Puritans will ever command respect and admiration. Among these the name Thacher is not the least deserving of grateful and perpetual remembrance. Whether the Thacher family is entitled to this distinction of being classed with the ancient houses of England is not yet determined by antiquarians, but whether so or not there was a coat-of-arms borne by them in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: Gules, a cross moline argent on a chief or, three grasshoppers proper, and the crest, a grasshopper proper.
In both the English and New England parish and town records we find the name written Thacher and Thatcher, and it is so borne by different members of the same general family known to be related to each other. The two great New England families of the Thacher surname are descended from the same English ancestor.
Rev. Peter Thacher and Antony Thacher were sons of the same parents, the former a minister of the gospel, a man of distinction in the church, and a dissenter from the doctrines maintained by the dominant church, and the other likewise a minister, frequently curate in his brother's parish of St. Emonds, in Salisbury, England, although in the ship's list of emigrants Antony is called "tayler" (tailor), perhaps to conceal his identity until he safely disembarked on the soil of New England. Through the Thacher immigrants were founded two great American families, the one a family of ministers, noted for ability as church builders, organizers, preachers, and evangelists; and the other a family of statesmen, soldiers, legists and clergymen. It is through the descendants of Rev. Peter Thacher that we have the noted and numerous family of ecclesiastics, and through Antony, brother of Rev. Peter, that we have the Thachers who became so eminent in the profession of law, in halls of legislation and in the profession of arms.
Rev. Peter Thacher himself never emigrated from England, although such was his purpose previous to the death of his wife, which event caused a change in his plans. But his son Thomas came over with Antony, entered the ministry, and was progenitor of the great family of ministers which, in point of numbers and ability, surpasses that of any other single family in this country, not excepting the Worcesters and the Storrs, both of which have been remarkably prolific of clergymen.
In a recent number of a denominational peridoical it was stated that Dr. Storrs, his father and grandfather, had been in the ministry one hundred and fifty years, and that it was doubtful if a parallel case could be found in this country. The statement was promptly challenged with the "hereditary ministry" of the Thachers, beginning with Rev. Peter Thacher, who was ordained pastor of the Second Congregational Church of Attleboro, Mass. in 1748, and whose pastoral life covered a period of forty-seven years. His father, Rev. Peter Thacher, was ordained pastor of Middleboro, Mass., 1709, and continued there five years. His father, Rev. Peter Thacher, of Milton, Mass., was ordained in 1681 and was pastor forty-seven years. His wife was a daughter of Rev. John Oxenbridge, pastor of the first church gathered in Boston. Rev. Thomas Thacher, D.D., father of Rev. Peter Thacher, of Milton, was ordained at Weymouth, Mass., 1644, was pastor there more than twenty years, and of the Old South Church, Boston, eight years - in all, twenty-eight years. He was called the best Arabic scholar in America. His wife was a daughter of Rev. Ralph Patridge, first pastor of Duxbury, Mass. Rev. Dr. Thacher's father, Rev. Peter Thacher, of Salisbury, England, was instituted vicar of the church in Milton Clevdon in 1616, and remained there six years. In 1622 he was made rector of St. Emunds, Salisbury, and remained there until his death, 1640. His father, Rev. Peter Thacher, was insituted rector of Queen Camel, England, 1574, and was minister there fifty years until his death, 1624. This total pastorate of sires and sons covered a period of two hundred and twenty-seven years. The family of whom it is the purpose to treat in this place is that whose ancestor is Antony Thacher, whose father was Rev. Peter Thacher, rector of Queen Camel, 1574-1624.
(I) Antony Thacher is supposed to have been born in Somersetshire, England, and in the will of his brother (?) Peter is mentioned as being "in the separation" and living in Holland. Between 1631 and 1634 he served occasionally as curate for his brother, the rector of St. Edmunds, Salifbury. On April 6, 1635, he embarked at Southampton in the "James," of London, and arrived at Ipswich, Mass., on June 4, following. Besides his own family he was accompanied by his cousin, Rev. Joseph Avery, with his wife and six children, and his nephew, Thomas Thacher, and his man servant, Peter Higden.
After remaining a short time at Ipswich, Mr. Avery received an invitation to preach at Marblehead, and they, with their families (except Mr. Thacher's nephew, Thomas, who preferred to travel by land), embarked for that place Aug. 11, 1635, and were wrecked off the coast of Cape Ann, and all the passengers aboard the little vessel were drowned except Antony Thacher and his wife, and they lost all their personal effects. "It is ordered that there shall be forty markes given to Mr. Thacher out of the tresury towards his greate losses." (Mass. Col: Rec.). "Mr. Antony Thacher had granted him the small island at the head of Cape Ann (upon wch hee pserved from shipwrak) as his pp inheritance." (Mass. Col. Rec., March 9, 1636-37.)
In Governor Winthrop's journal it is recorded that "the general court gave Mr. Thacher 26 pounds, 13 shillings, 4 pence towards his losses, and divers good people gave him besides."
After the shipwreck, Mr. Thacher probably remained in Marblehead, for his son John was born there in 1638-39, but soon afterward he had a grant of lands at Mattacheesit (Yarmouth) and about the same time he was one of the committee for the division of lands in Yarmouth. Here he appears to have taken a prominent part in town affairs and represented Yamouth in the general court at Plymouth eleven years; once he was fined for not being present at the sitting of the court, but the fine was remitted.
He died in 1667. His first wife, Mary ____, died at Salisbury, England, in 1634, having borne him five children:
William, Mary, Edith, Peter (all drowned in the shipwreck on Thacher's island, 1635); and Benjamin, who remained in England and died there in Sept., 1639. His second wife, Elizabeth Jones, whom he married six weeks previous to sailing for America, survived him a few years.
John, born March 17, 1639, died May 8, 1713.
Judah, died Nov. 4, 1676.
Bethiah, married Jabez Howland, of Duxbury, and settled at Bristol, Rhode Island.
Samuel Thatcher, the ancestor of the following line, was admitted freeman at Watertown, Mass. May 18, 1642. No relationship is known to exist between him and Rev. Thomas Thacher, mentioned in the introduction, but the fact that they were contemporaneous settlers in the new world and bore the same rather unusual surname, would indicate that they might have sprung from the same English stock a few generations back.
The date of Samuel Thatcher's birth is unknown, but he died Nov. 30, 1669. The inventory of his estate amounted to a little more than six hundred and seventy-five pounds, a comfortable property for those days. Samuel Thatcher was a deacon, served several times as selectman, and held the office of representataive in 1665-66-68-69. Deacon Thatcher left a widow, Hannah, whose maiden name is unknown.
Hannah, born Oct. 9, 1646.
Samuel (2), whose sketch follows.
Hannah Thatcher was married to John Holmes, but she had died previous to April 16, 1682, the date of her mother's will. This will was proved April 3, 1683.
(II) Samuel (2), only son of Deacon Samuel (1) and Hannah Thatcher, was born Oct. 20, 1648, lived at Watertown, Mass., and died Oct. 21, 1726. He was a lieutenant and was admitted a freeman April 18, 1690. His wife, Mary (maiden name unknown), died Aug. 17, 1725.
Mary, born Aug. 1, 1681, died the next May.
Samuel, born April 8, 1683.
John, mentioned below.
Anna, April 30, 1688, died July 22, 1690.
Mary, Sept. 17, 1690, married Joseph Child.
Hannah, Dec. 10, 1692.
Abigail, June 6, 1694.
Mercy, Jan. 2, 1697-98.
Sarah, Nov. 30, 1699, died June 13, 1727.
(III) John, third son of Samuel (2) and Mary Thatcher, was born Jan. 22, 1686, in Watertown, and settled in Ashford, Conn. He married Elizabeth Morse, of Groton, Mass., and their descendants were located in various points in Connecticut, from which state several families seem to have removed to Vermont. As the records of the last named state are chiefly conspicuous for their absnece, it may never be determined whence came the representative of this family who located in Burlington, Vermont. His name cannot positively be determined, but it is supposed to have been Samuel Thacher, who is found among the heads of families in DeKalb, New York, in 1807. In 1809 Peter Thacher was found in the same town, but is not listed as head of a family. From this town a part of the town of Hermon was taken. Here our first definite knowledge of this family seems to begin.
Dr. Seymour Thacher was born 1800, in Burlington, Vermont, probably a son of Samuel Thatcher, and graduated at the Medical College of the State University in Burlington. He settled in the practice of his profession in De Kalb, N.Y., and later removed to Hermon, where he was a somwhat active citizen outside of his profession. From the age of thirty years until his death in 1868, he resided in Hermon, and was many years supervisor of that town. He had a large family practice, traveling chiefly on horseback, keeping two horses busy in his work. He was among the incorporators of the Congregatinal Church of Hermon in 1847, and served as one of its trustees. In early life he was a Whig, later a Republican, and was very liberal in his religious views.
He married Elizabeth Smith, born 1801, in De Kalb, daughter of Daniel Smith, one of the pioneers of that town, and granddaughter of Richard Smith, who was born at Lyme, Conn. in 1730-31, and died at Roxbury, Conn., Jan. 20, 1807. Daniel Smith was a member of the large company which went from Woodbury, Conn. in 1776, to join Washington's army in New York.
1. Jane Caroline, born Aug. 1, 1833; became the wife of Jay J. Matteson, who was a manufacturer of chairs, and later kept a hotel at Russell, Potsdam and Champlain, New York, where he died.
2. Sarah, Dec. 1, 1836; is widow of D.M. Robertson, an attorney of Canton, N.Y., and resides in Redlands, California. Mrs. Robiertson has much literary ability, and is also a fine artist, winning many prizes for her work.
3. Clara, Feb. 20, 1838; married a.A. Aiken, of Decorah, Iowa, Brookings, North Dakota and finally of San Diego, California, where she died.
4. Edwin, mentioned below.
Edwin, only son of Dr. Seymour and Elizabeth (Smith) Thacher, was born Oct. 12, 1840, in the town of De Kalb, but moved to Hermon at an early age. He was a student at Woodbury Academy, Woodbury, Conn.; Gouverneur Wesleyan Seminary, Gouverneur, N.Y., and subsequently entered Rensselaer Polynecknic Institute at Troy, New York, from which he was graduated as a civil engineer in the class of 1863. He immediately entered upon what has proved to be a successful career in the line of his profession, and was employed for six months following his graduation as assistant engineer on the Cedar Rapids & Missouri River railroad in Iowa. Then until the close of the civil war in 1865 he was assistant engineer on the United States military railroads, Department of the Cumberland, with headquarters at Nashville, Tennessee. In 1866-68 he was principal assistant to the chief engineer of the Louisville, Cincinnati & Lexington railroad at Louisville, Kentucky.
For two years following this he was resident engineer of the Louisville Bridge Company, of that city, and for nine years, from 1870 to 1879, he was calculating engineer of the Louisville Bridge and Iron Company. For eight years, from 1879-87, he was calculating and chief engineer of the Keystone Bridge Company at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For a year following this he was chief engineer of the Decatur Iron Bridge and Construction Company, Decatur, Alabama, and in 1888-89, he was vice-president and receiver of the same company. From 1889 to 1894, he was occupied as consulting engineer and bridge contractor, with offices at Louisville, Kentucky. For five years, 1894-99, he was associated with W. H. Keepers as consulting engineer and bridge constractor at Detroit, Michigan, under the style of Keepers & Thacher. They constructed the concrete-steel arch bridge over the Kansas river at Topeka, Kansas, at that time much the largest bridge of its kind in the world. In 1900-01, Mr. Thacher contracted with the United States government for the construction of the bridges in Porto Rico [sic?]. On May 1, 1901, Mr. Thacher became associated with William Mueser, under the style of Concrete-Steel Engineering Company, with headquarters in New York City, and has thus continued down to the present time. The greater number of the concrete-steel arch bridges that have been erected in the U.S. up to this time have been designed by this firm. They are now extending the bridge at Topeka to cover ground subject to floods; building a causeway over Galveston Bay, 10,642 feet long; Grand Avenue Viaduct, Milwaukee, 2,068 feet long; and other large structures.
Mr. Thacher is keenly interested in everything that pertains to the world's progress, and is identified with many societies and organizations designed to promote the world's best development. Among these may be named the National Geographical Society; the American Society of Civil Engineers, of which he was one of the earliest members, having joined in 1869; American Society for Testing Materials, and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Alumni Association of New York City.
He entertains liberal religious views but is not identified with any church organization. In politics he is a steadfast Republican. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, affiliating with Hermon Lodge, No. 500, F.A.A.M., of Hermon, N.Y; and St. Lawrence Chapter, No. 132, R.A.M. of Canton, N.Y. Mr. Thacher is one of the most democratic of men in character and habit and possesses a personality which draws about him and retains friends.
He married, April 22, 1872, at Indianapolis, Indiana, Anna Elbertine Bartholomew, born Nov. 19, 1848, at Northampton, Mass., daughter of Harris and Deborah Spaulding (Coleman) Bartholomew. Her father was a merchant in Indianapolis, and had children: Pliny W., Harris, Jane, Anna E., Myra, Francis, Liela, Alice, Violet, and Ada.
Mr. & Mrs. Thacher have one daughter, Bessie, born Dec. 2, 1875. She graduated from Miss Belle Pier's private school at Louisville, Kentucky, and was married June 7, 1905, to John C. Sample, civil engineer, residing in Flushing, New York
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