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Horace E. Thayer


Posted By: Lyn Lysne - volunteer transcriber
Date: 10/7/2013 at 09:36:36

HORACE EUGENE THAYER, mayor of Canton, Lincoln county, was born at Blissfield, Lenawee county, Michigan, on the 28th of February, 1850, being a son of Andrew J. and Phoebe A. (Hill) Thayer.

His father is of the ninth generation of the family in America, being a lineal descendant of Thomas Thayer, who settled in Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1630, as one of its original colonists, having come to the new world from Braintree, Essex county, England. Andrew J. Thayer was born in Cameron, Steuben county, New York, on the 12th of February, 1829, and his vocation in life has been that of farming. He is a veteran of the war of the Rebellion, having enlisted on the 27th of February, 1863, as a member of Company K, Eleventh Michigan Volunteer Infantry, which was attached to the Second Brigade of the First Division of the Fourteenth Army Corps, and he served until the close of the war, when he received his honorable discharge. He is now a resident of Hampton, Iowa and his cherished and devoted wife is also living. She was born on the 8th of April, 1839, at Petersburg, Lenawee county, Michigan, her parents having been numbered among the earliest settlers of that county, whither they emigrated from Vermont, in the year 1830, nearly a decade before Michigan was admitted to statehood.

Horace E. Thayer received his early educational training in the public schools of Allamakee county, Iowa, and when seventeen years of age he began teaching in that county, being thus successfully employed for eight terms. He then entered the telegraph office of the Iowa Central Railroad at Mason City, Iowa, in 1883, and there he devoted a period of six months to learning the art of telegraphy. In August of that year his marriage was solemnized, and immediately thereafter he removed to Mason City, Iowa, where he was given the position of night operator in the station of the Iowa Central Railroad, retaining this incumbency until the autumn of the following year, when he received promotion from the hands of the company, being made railway billing clerk at Hampton, Iowa. This office he filled until the autumn of 1886, when he resigned from the employ of the Iowa Central Company and returned to Mason City, where for six months he held the position of night agent in the general offices of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, being then promoted to the position of billing agent and two weeks later to that of cashier, in tenure of which responsible office he there continued for the ensuing five years, at the expiration of which, in 1891, he received the promotion, over several older employees, to the position of agent for the company of Canton, South Dakota, where he entered upon his executive duties on the 2nd of July of that year. He retained this position for the long period of eight years, his service being most acceptable to the company and gaining him still further commendation, but his health had in the meanwhile become somewhat impaired and this fact, coupled with a desire for a change of occupation, led him to resign his position on the 1st of May, 1899.

He then entered into partnership with his brother-in-law, Thomas S. Stinson, and engaged in the general merchandise business in Canton, the firm securing most eligible and attractive quarters in the two-story stone building known as the Postoffice block, while to the new store was given the name of the Enterprise, a designation which is most consistently applied. The concern has taken a foremost position by reason of the progressive ideas and correct methods brought to bear, and the business controlled at the present time is second to none of similar character in the county, while both of the interested principals command the unqualified confidence and regard of all who know them. The entire business and stock of the Enterprise was purchased, February 8, 1904, by Horace E. Thayer, the enterprise being now conducted under the firm name of Horace E. Thayer.

In politics Mr. Thayer has ever given a stanch allegiance to the principles of the Republication party and he has shown a deep interest in all that concerns the welfare and progress of his home city and county. He has served three terms as a member of the board of aldermen of Canton, having been first elected in 1893, while he was chosen as his own successor in the following year, being again elected to the office in 1900. In 1902 he was elected to the mayoralty of the city, for a term of two years, and he has given a most able and business-like administration of the municipal government and has gained unequivocal endorsement as a progressive and public-spirited executive. Fraternally, he is identified with the Knight of Pythias and the Masonic order. He became affiliated with the lodge of the former in Mason City, Iowa, in 1890, and in 1892 transferred his membership to Canton Lodge, No. 52, in Canton, of which he is past chancellor commander. In June, 1902, he was initiated as entered apprentice in Silver Star Lodge, No. 4, Free and Accepted Masons, in which he was duly raised to the master’s degree.

At Eldora, Iowa, on the 8th of August, 1883, Mr. Thayer was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Bell Young, of Ackley, that state, she being a daughter of Joseph H. Young, who was a valiant soldier in the Civil war, in which he served as a member of Company H, One Hundred and Eighty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, enlisting in 1863 and receiving an honorable discharge at the close of the great conflict which determined the integrity of the Union.

Mr. and Mrs. Thayer have three daughters: Neva Bell, who was born in Mason City, Iowa, on the 1st of April, 1884; Vera Luella, who was born in Canton, South Dakota, July 31, 1894, and Nila May, who was born in Canton, May 26, 1897.

~“History of South Dakota, Together with Personal Mention of Citizens of South Dakota” by Doane Robinson, Vol 2, 1904, pgs 1006-1007


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