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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Thacher

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 589-593 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The coat-of-arms of this noted New England colonial family is described thus: gules, a cross moline argent, on a chief d'or three grasshoppers argent; crest, a grasshopper proper. Antiquarians incline to class the Thacher surname with other patronymics of remote English origin, and while hardly more than indefinite attempts have been made to trace its origin, the results achieved in that direction have not been entirely satisfactory; hence we are able to record only two generations of the English family, anterior to that of the immigrant ancestor who came over to New England in the year 1635.

(I) Rev. Peter Thacher, earliest ancestor of the particular family here considered, of whom there appears definite knowledge, was instituted vicar of the parish of Queen Camel, England, in 1554, and continued in that office until the time of his death, 1624. There is ample reason for the belief that this Peter Thacher was father of Rev. Peter Thacher, first of Milton Clevedon and afterward of Salisbury, England.

(II) Rev. Peter (2) Thacher, who is believed to have been a son of Rev. Peter (1) Thacher, of the parish of Queen Camel, was born in Somersetshire, England, entered Queen's College, Oxford, May 6, 1603, took the degree of A. B. at Corpus Christi, 1608, and the degree of A. M. in 1611. He was installed vicar of Milton Clevedon, Somersetshire, 1616, became rector of St. Edmund's Church, Salisbury, Wiltshire, 1622, and sustained that office until his death, February 19, 1640. He was interred under the altar tomb which still stands on the north side of the churchyard of St. Edmund's, and which bears this inscription: "Here lyeth the bodye of Mr. Peter Thacher, who was a laborious minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Parish of St. Edmunds for ye space of XIX yeares. He departed this lyfe the Lord's Day, at three of the clock, ye XI of February 1640. Let no man move his bones." The baptismal name of Peter Thacher's wife was Anne; children:

  1. Thomas, born May 1, 1620; see forward;
  2. Martha, November, 1623;
  3. Elizabeth, January, 1625;
  4. John, January, 1627;
  5. Samuel, 1638;
  6. Barnabas, August, 1640.

There is no record to indicate that any of these children other than Thomas ever came to this country.

(III) Rev. Thomas Thacher, eldest son of Rev. Peter (2) and Anne Thacher, was born at Milton Clevedon, Somersetshire, England, May 1, 1620, died in Boston, in the colony of Massachusetts bay, October 15, 1687. He early became a convert to the Puritan principles advocated by his father in the ministry, and on account of which the latter himself had determined to come to America, but was compelled to change his plans and remain in the mother country, much against his desire. Thomas embarked in the ship "James," in company with the family of his uncle, Anthony Thacher, and arrived in New England, June 4, 1635, at Ipswich. Soon afterward Anthony Thacher had occasion to pass from Ipswich to Marblehead and embarked in a small vessel for the short voyage; but young Thomas Thacher, says Dr. Cotton Mather's "Magnalia," "had such a strong impression upon his mind about the issue of the voyage that he, with another, would needs go by the land, and so escaped perishing with some of his pious and precious friends by sea." History records the events of this momentous voyage and how the vessel encountered a severe storm in the night of August 14, 1635, and was cast upon the rocky shores of an island off the eastern extremity of Cape Ann; and how, of the twenty-three passengers on board, only two, Anthony Thacher and his wife, survived the disaster, and even they lost all the goods carried on board the ship. In allusion to this event, Thacher's Island received its name, and is so called to this day.

Thomas Thacher studied theology under the instruction of Rev. Charles Chauncey, of Scituate, Massachusetts, who afterward became second president of Harvard College. His first pastorate was at Weymouth, Massachusetts, where he was ordained and installed January 2, 1645, and he continued there until 1664, when he removed to Boston. In Weymouth he was the first practitioner of medicine, and in Boston he practiced medicine from 1664 until February 16, 1670, when he was ordained first pastor of the historic old South Church. "In his ministerial labors, he was most faithful and affectionate; among his excellencies was a peculiar spirit of prayer, and he was remarkable for the copious, fluent and fervid manner of performing the sacred exercise." President Stiles speaks of him as "the best Arabic scholar known in the country," and always says that he published a Hebrew lexicon. As a physician he wrote a medical treatise called "A brief Guide to the Common People in the Small Pox and Measles," which is said to have been the first work of its kind printed in Massachusetts. Mr. Thacher married (first), May 11, 1643, Eliza, daughter of Rev. Ralph Partridge, of Duxbury, Massachusetts. She died at Weymouth, June 2, 1664, and he married (second) in 1665, Margaret, widow of Jacob Sheaf and daughter of Henry Webb. Children by first wife:

  1. Thomas, died April 2, 1686; was a merchant in Boston; married Mary, daughter of Thomas Savage.
  2. Ralph (or Rodulphus), entered the ministry and preached many years at Childmark, Martha's Vineyard; married, January 1, 1670, Ruth, daughter of George Partridge, of Duxbury.
  3. Peter; see forward.
  4. Patience, married William Kemp, of Duxbury.
  5. Eliza, married Captain Nathaniel Davenport, who was killed in the Narragansett fight with King Philip's Indian warriors, December 19, 1675; she married (second), in 1677, Samuel Davis.

(IV) Rev. Peter (3) Thacher, son of Rev. Thomas and Eliza (Partridge) Thacher, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, July 18, 1651, died in Milton December 17, 1727. He was graduated from Harvard College in 1671, went to London in 1676, to complete his theological studies, and remained there one year. From the seal which his father used in sealing letters sent to his son during his absence in England was taken the coat-of-arms which is now held by his descendants; and his will, also sealed with the family arms, now in the Suffolk registry, Boston, was dated February 12, 1721. In 1681 Peter Thacher was ordained pastor over the church in Milton. He had been living in Barnstable, Massachusetts, and on the day of departure for his new home he was escorted by a cavalcade of fifty-seven horsemen as far as Sandwich. The remaining years of his life were spent in Milton, where he labored faithfully and zealously among his devoted people. The diary which he kept during his life throws a strong light on the habits, duties and people of the parish which he served.

Mr. Thacher married (first) November 21, 1677, Theodora, daughter of Rev. John Oxenbridge, of Boston. She received from her parents a large estate in lands, which her husband managed. She died in November, 1697, and he married (second) Susannah, widow of Rev. John Bailey. His third wife was Elizabeth, widow of Rev. Jonathan Gee. On the death of Mr. Thacher the larger part of his estate fell to his eldest son, Oxenbridge. One item in his will mentioned "eight brick houses in London, with room for a ninth." His will mentions two negro boys, Sambo and Jemmy, valued at 120 pounds, and three negro girls, valued at 55 pounds; he gave to his son Peter his negro body servant, "because I think he will be kind to him." His watch, which has been transmitted to lineal descendants, is now in the rooms of the Bostonian Society, at the Old State House. Children of first marriage:

  1. Theodore.
  2. Bathsheba.
  3. Oxenbridge, born May 17, 1681, died October 22, 1772.
  4. Eliza, March 7, 1682, died February 10, 1715.
  5. Mary.
  6. Peter, October 16, 1688; see forward.
  7. John, died young.
  8. Thomas, born 1693, died 1721.
  9. John.

(V) Rev. Peter (4) Thacher, son of Rev. Peter (3) and Theodora (Oxenbridge) Thacher, was born in Milton, Massachusetts, October 16, 1688, died April 22, 1744, "having sustained a ministerial character of great respectability, and received a large number of members into his church during the later years of his ministry." He graduated from Harvard College in 1706, and was ordained at Middleboro, November 2, 1709. Mr. Thacher married Mary, daughter of Samuel Prince, of Sandwich, and had ten children:

  1. Mary, born November 22, 1711.
  2. Mercy, April 9, 1713, died December, 1745.
  3. Peter, January 14, 1715, died 1785.
  4. Samuel, June 10, 1717; see forward.
  5. Susanna, January 22, 1719, died December, 1747.
  6. Thomas, May 13, 1721, died December 10, 1744.
  7. John, April 12, 1723, died January 2, 1748.
  8. Oxenbridge, July 12, 1725, died June, 1776.
  9. Moses, October 22, 1727, died November 1747.
  10. Theodora, October 12, 1729, died July 27, 1732.

(VI) Samuel, son of the Rev. Peter (4) and Mary (Prince) Thacher, was born in Middleboro, Massachusetts, June 10, 1717. There was a Captain Samuel Thacher, of Middleboro, who commanded a company of men from that town in 1759, during the French and Indian war. Samuel Thacher married, 1758, Mrs. Sarah Kent (one account says he married Deborah Bennet). The names of all of their children do not appear, but among them was a son Nathaniel.

(VII) Nathaniel, son of Samuel and Sarah (Kent) Thacher, was born probably in Middleboro, Massachusetts, 1767, and spent the earlier years of his life in Rhode Island. Soon after 1800 he removed to the southern part of the Phelps and Gorham purchase in New York state, and was one of the pioneers in the town of Troupsburg and its vicinity. He was a shoemaker by trade, but a farmer by principal occupation. One account says that he settled in Troupsburg about 1807, lived there a few years, and about 1810 removed with his family to Hornellsville, and settled in that part of the town where Terry's mills stood. In 1812 he removed to the Henry Hart farm, as afterwards known, lived there about ten years and then took up his residence in the village of Hornellsville. Later on he "conceived the idea" of going west, which he did, and still later went south, and died in Florence, Alabama, August 24, 1824. In 1787 Mr. Thacher married Lydia Place, of Gloucester, Rhode Island, who survived him. They had four sons and two daughters. One of their sons was the late Judge Otis Thacher, one of the founders of the Presbyterian church in Hornellsville, a leader in Masonic affairs in the locality for many years and until the "Morgan excitement," when he withdrew from the order, and associate judge of the county court by appointment in 1840. He also was one of the founders and trustees of Alfred University, and held military commissions under Governors DeWitt, Clinton and William L. Marcy. Another son was Deacon Mowrey Thacher, whose diary of early events of Steuben county history ever has been regarded as reliable authority in the region of which it treats.

(VIII) Samuel Olney, son of Nathaniel and Lydia (Place) Thacher, was born in Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1789, and removed with his parents to Troupsburg soon after 1800. He married, 1814, Martha, daughter of Judge George Hornell, in allusion to whom the town of Hornellsville (now the city of Hornell) was named. A century and more ago Judge Hornell was the most conspicuous character in the history of the region named for him, and was a son of Rev. Nicholas Hornell, a native of Sweden, who during a religious rebellion there sought refuge in America. He settled near York, Pennsvlvania. Judge Hornell's wife was Martha, daughter of Uriah Stephens, a settler in the vicinity of Hornellsville soon after 1790.

(IX) George Hornell, son of Samuel Olney and Martha (Hornell) Thacher, was born in Hornellsville, June 4, 1818, died at St. Augustine, Florida, February 15, 1887, and is buried in Albany Rural cemetery. He received a thorough academic education, afterward entered Union College, and graduated with the class of 1843. He settled permanently in Albany in 1849, and thereafter was closely identified with the business and political history of the city until about the time of his death. He engaged extensively in manufacturing pursuits, and for many years was head of the carwheel works which afterward was continued by his sons. A strong Democrat throughout the period of his active life, he first became a factor in Albany politics in 1859, when he was elected member of the board of aldermen. He was elected mayor of the city four times, and served in that office from May 1, 1860, to May 5, 1862; from May 1, 1866, to May 5, 1868; from May 6, 1870, to May 6, 1872; and from May 7, 1872, to January 28, 1874, when he resigned. Mr. Thacher married, in Schenectady, June 15, 1843, Ursula Jane Boyd, who died April 13, 1874. They had two sons, John Boyd and George Hornell Thacher.

(X) John Boyd, elder son of George Hornell and Ursula Jane (Boyd) Thacher, was born at Ballston Spa, Saratoga county, New York, September 11, 1847, died in Albany, February 25, 1909. His earlier literary education was acquired under the instruction of private tutors, and in 1865 he entered Williams College, graduating A. B. cum laude, 1869. Subsequently he received from alma mater the degree of A. M. After leaving college he took a course in bookkeeping at Folsom's Business College, and he also gained a practical knowledge of his father's business by entering the moulding department of the foundry and there learning the trade of a moulder. Subsequently he became actively interested in business with his father, and upon the death of his parent, he and his younger brother succeeded to the proprietorship of what has long been known as the Thacher Car Wheel Works, one of the leading industries of Albany. But it is as a public man and author that Mr. Thacher was perhaps best known. His active interest in political affairs dated from the year 1883, when he was elected senator from Albany county, and during his incumbency of that office he was an active and efficient supporter of all measures proposed for the benefit of working men and women. From that time on, he was closely identified with the political history of his country, was a public speaker of wide repute and one of the most ardent advocates of democratic principles in the entire state. He conducted the Albany bicentennial with much success and credit to himself. Twice he was elected mayor of the city of Albany, and served in that capacity from May 4, 1886, to April 20, 1888, and again from January 1, 1896, until December 31, 1897. He was appointed a member of the World's Columbian Exposition, 1890, by President Harrison, and was made the chairman of the executive committe of the bureau of awards. Among his more prominent contributions to current literature there may be mentioned here his Christopher Columbus, His Life, His Works, His Remains, The Continent of America its Discovery and its Baptism, Charlecote, Cabotian Discovery and Little Speeches. On September 11, 1872, John Boyd Thacher married Emma, daughter of George Treadwell, of Albany.

(X) George Hornell, younger son of George Hornell and Ursula Jane (Boyd) Thacher, was born in the city of Albany, November 20, 1851, and was educated in Professor Whitbeck's private school, Williams College, where he entered for the class of 1872, and Bryant and Stratton's Commercial College, in the latter taking a short business course. Later he entered his father's car wheel works as clerk and apprentice, and still later became foreman of the establishment, continuing in that capacity for several years. In 1880 he went to the mining regions of Colorado, remained there until the latter part of 1883, then returned to Albany, and in October became business partner with his father under the firm style of George H. Thacher & Company, and as successors of the former firm of Thacher, Lathrop & Company; and after the death of his father, 1887, Mr. Thacher, in company with his brother, John Boyd Thacher, continued the business as before, and still retained the old firm name of George H. Thacher & Company, as since known in all business circles, although upon the death of his brother, in 1909, Mr. Thacher became sole proprietor.

In 1887 Mr. Thacher succeeded his father as member of the board of directors of the Old Albany City National Bank, became himself its vice-president in 1889, and was its third and last president. He is now vice-president of the Albany City Savings Institution, a director of the Union Trust Company and of the National Commercial Bank of Albany, a member of the Fort Orange, Canoe, Camera and Country clubs, and a thirty-second degree Mason. He was appointed a member of the city board of water commissioners in May, 1892, and resigned that office December 1, 1894. Mr. Thacher is an active, capable business man, and his interest in promoting the industrial and institutional welfare of the city has been shown in many ways. He married, January 1, 1880, Emma Louise Bennet, of Albany. Children:

  1. George H. (2), born April 14, 1881.
  2. John Boyd (2), October 26, 1882.
  3. Thomas Oxenbridge, March 22, 1884; married, June 2, 1909, Helen Lavie of Brooklyn, N. Y.
  4. Emma Louise, October 23, 1885, died February 27, 1893.
  5. Roland Throckmorton, June 7, 1887, died November 26, 1892.
  6. Kenelm Roland, February 1, 1892.
  7. Edwin Throckmorton, April 29, 1896.

George H., John Boyd (2) and Thomas O. are engaged in business with their father.

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