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Henry Thamer


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 11/19/2011 at 01:40:28

HENRY THAMER. Among the residents of Grundy County who have prosecuted their life work successfully and are now enjoying the fruits of their prudence and energy, surrounded with comforts, able to journey through the scene of beauty and grandeur and indulge in other recreations suited to their years and according to their tastes, is the gentleman above named, who is well and favorably known to many of our readers. He is now occupying a beautiful home in Eldora, Hardin County, which cost $4,000; it is the centre of social and domestic joys, and is presided over by an estimable lady and brightened by the presence of three daughters. Mr. Thamer is the proprietor of four hundred acres of land located in Melrose Township, Grundy County, and may be truly called a self-made man, as well be seen by the perusal of his history.

He whose name heads this sketch was born in Briedenback unter Herzberg Kurhessen, Germany, March 28, 1838, and is the son of John and Elizabeth (Gimbel) Thamer, the former of whom was a weaver in that land. He is one in a family of five children, all sons, of whom three are still living: Conrad, who makes his home in Prussia; Casper G., a resident of Nebraska, and our subject. The paternal grandparents of Mr. Thamer were Joshua and Catherine Thamer, and both lived and died in the Fatherland.

Henry, of this sketch, grew to manhood in Germany, and although his educational advantages were somewhat limited, he was naturally of a studious turn of mind, and through his desire for learning and eagerness to seize upon everything liable to increase his store of knowledge he acquired a good idea of business, and after reaching mature years learned the trade of a weaver. Believing that the New World furnished better opportunities and advantages for getting on in the world than did the Old Country, our subject set sail for the United States in 1858. Having heard glowing accounts of the Prairie State, he made his first location in Tazewell County, Ill., where he was engaged at farm work for three and a-half years. The Civil War being then in progress, he enlisted as one of the vast army who spent weary months in campaign life in order to preserve the Union, and as such are deserving of the respect of all who love their country.

Our subject enlisted August 12, 1861, becoming a member of Company B, Forty-seventh Illinois Infantry, and while serving his adopted country participated in twenty-one important battles, among which were the sieges of Vicksburg and Corinth, the capture of Island No. 10, the battle of Iuka and the Red River Expedition. During his entire period of three years of service, Mr. Thamer was always found at his post of duty, faithfully defending the Old Flag, and on October 12, 1864, he was honorably discharged, and was mustered out at Springfield. Casper G., a brother of our subject, also found as a Union soldier, and likewise was a member of Company B. He bore his part bravely in the arduous and dangerous duties of campaign life, and took part in several of the most bloody engagements of the war.

After the establishment of peace, Mr. Thamer of this sketch went to Washington, Ill., where he spent two years, and in 1867 made his advent into Grundy County, with whose interests he has since been identified and has played such an important part. His first purchase of land consisted of eighty acres of raw prairie, located on section 18, Melrose Township, for which he paid $6.25 per acre, and immediately began the development of a farm, performing the arduous labors of improving the new land. A year later he returned to Washington, where his marriage with Miss Melissa, daughter of James and Elizabeth (Robinson) Mitchell, occurred.

The parents of Mrs. Thamer were early settlers of the above locality in Illinois, but were formerly residents of the Empire State. Mr. Mitchell is very popular wherever known, and by his manly virtues endeared himself to a large circle of acquaintances. He is a man of excellent judgment, firm convictions upon all subjects of importance, and is regarded as one of the substantial citizens of Tazewell County. In politics he always votes the straight Republican ticket, and has rendered efficient service as Justice of the Peace and County Supervisor for many years. His wife died August 8, 1891.

Soon after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Thamer started out on their wedding journey, which consisted of a trip by wagon to Grundy County, where they located upon the farm which the former had purchased, and there began their domestic life. Our subject continued to cultivate that property for five years, and at the expiration of that time removed to section 19, the same township, where he became the proprietor of eighty acres more, for which he paid $26 per acre. He placed his land under a high state of cultivation, added all the accessories and improvements of a model farm, and made his home on that estate from 1873 until 1892. In that time he has added to the old homestead until he now owns one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 18, a like amount on section 19, and eighty acres on section 21. He has been very successful as a farmer, and his understanding of agriculture in its various departments is broad and deep. Besides raising the cereals, he has devoted much time and attention to breeding fine grades of stock, and at one time had on his place over three hundred head of fine animals. He has been a man of untiring energy, and his success in life is proved by the fact that, although he started without money or land, he has accumulated over four hundred acres. This land he now rents, and is living retired from active cares.

Mr. and Mrs. Thamer have been blessed with a family of five children, namely: J. Charles, Lester E., Myrtle E., Ona E. and Alta Vivian. The eldest son went to Chicago in May, 1892, and is now the efficient manager of the lithographing establishment of P. M. Wilson, in that city. He is likewise proprietor of the White Star Laundry, which is located on West Van Buren Street. It is one of the best paying enterprises of that kind in the city, and turns out first-class work in every particular. J. Charles was married on the 6th of June, 1893, to Miss Louella Chapman, who is a highly educated and cultured young lady, and the daughter of Sidney Smith and Rebecca Jane (Clarke) Chapman. Her father, who was a very prominent contractor and builder in Chicago, departed this life October 2, 1893, mourned by a large circle of friends and acquaintances. He was an official member of the West Side Christian Church of that city, and by his correct mode of living gained the respect of all who knew him. Lester, the second son of our subject, is a very capable young man, and is at present holding the position of bookkeeper with the Chicago Hominy & Milling company at Chicago. The children have all been given the best advantages for obtaining good educations, and Miss Myrtle attended school at Woodbine, Iowa, for a number of years. The other daughters are students in the high school at Eldora, and are preparing themselves for useful and honorable positions in life.

Politically a stalwart Republican, our subject takes a leading part in local matters, and is thoroughly posted in the issues of the hour. He is a strong advocate of public schools, and as Director has done much to promote the standard of scholarship in his neighborhood. He has also rendered efficient service as Road Supervisor of his township for a number of years, and in 1890 made the race for Supervisor of the county. As a matter of course he is a prominent Grand Army man, and as such is connected with Buckner Post No. 154, at Eldora. In 1889 he attended the encampment at Milwaukee, and in 1892, during the Grand National Encampment held at Washington, D. C., Mr. Thamer visited the Capitol City and there met many of his old comrades, whom he had never expected to see again. With his wife he is a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and gives liberally of his means toward the support of the congregation at Eldora.

Portrait and Biographical Record
of Jasper, Marshall and Grundy Counties, Iowa


Grundy Biographies maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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