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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
William Thorman, a representative farmer of Oran Township, residing on section 1, has been a resident of the county since 1856 and has made his home in the State since 1853, coming here from Dubuque County, where he had settled immediately after crossing the Atlantic to America from Germany, his native land. He is a son of Frederick A. Thorman, who was born in that country in 1801 and belonged to a family of three children. On attaining to mature years Frederick Thorman was united in marriage with Mary Myers in 1825.
Frederick Thorman emigrated to America with his family in 1853, locating in Dubuque County, Iowa, and in 1856 came to this county where he and his wife spent their last days. His death occurred in 1885, his wife departing this life in 1878. They were the parents of ten children: Mary became the wife of Gustavus Warner, a farmer who came to Jefferson Township in 1857 but is now living a retired life in Oelwein, the income derived from his property being sufficient to keep him and his wife during their remaining days; Frederick removed from Dubuque County, Iowa, in 1883 to Texas, where he is still living; Dora is the wife of Fred Swartz who settled in Jefferson Township in 1868, where he now owns a good farm of three hundred and twenty acres, and they have six children; William, whose name heads this sketch, is the next younger; Charlie came to this county in 1856, locating in Oran Township where he yet makes his home, and he married Minnie Schmiot in 1860 and three children grace their union; Augusta is the wife of Fred Sage, by whom she has three children, and they reside in Buchanan County where Mr. Sage owns a farm and an interest in a grist mill which he himself operates; August, who wedded Mary Schmiot in 1871, and settled on a farm in Jefferson Township, sold out in 1883 and removed to Antelope County, Neb., where he owns a large stock farm of six hundred and forty acres, upon which are many fine cattle, and they also have three children; Lewis, who in 1875 wedded Mary Meyers by whom he has four children, took up his residence on a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Jefferson Township, but at length disposed of his property in this State and removed to Northern Nebraska where he made his home for some time, when he returned to Southern Iowa; Julia took care of her parents until their death and is still living on the old homestead farm of two hundred and sixty acres, in Jefferson Township; John, who married Dora Meyers, is extensively engaged in farming and stock-raising and also in the dairy business, on a good farm of three hundred acres in Jefferson Township, and seven children have been born of his marriage, of whom five are living.
In his native land William Thorman, our subject, learned the blacksmith's trade but has made farming his principal occupation through life. With the family he came to America in 1853 and three years later, in 1856, became a resident of this county where he has since made his home. His first purchase of land consisted of an eighty-acre tract in Oran Township and upon it he at once commenced farming for himself. An industrious and enterprising citizen he worked untiringly to place his land under cultivation, and as time passed and his financial resources were increased he extended the boundaries of his farm until it now comprises four hundred acres. The many improvements upon it are all the work of his hands and stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise. He has been blessed with prosperity yet his pathway has not all been a smooth one. He underwent the usual hardships and trials of pioneer life, such as going to mill at Independence, a distance of twenty-four miles. The nearest post-office was at Corytown, ten miles away. At the time of his arrival Oran Township was not yet organized and few indeed were its settlements. One could ride for miles over the prairie without coming across any fence to impede his progress. The deer were still numerous and furnished many a meal in the pioneer homes while wild fowl of all kinds were found in abundance.
As a helpmate on life's journey Mr. Thorman chose Miss Augusta Schmiot and they were married in 1858, in Oran Township. Their union has been blessed with four children: Minnie, who was born in 1859, died February 23, 1880; Albert, born in December, 1863, is yet at home; Emma, born in November, 1867, became the wife of Emil Swartz, who owns a good farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Oran Township, and by her marriage has two children; Agnes, born in August, 1878, died in the month of January following. The Thorman family has long resided in this community and their friends throughout the surrounding country are many. Our subject has won for himself the confidence and respect of all with whom he has come in contact by his straightforward course, his self-reliance and the interest he has taken in the enterprises that are calculated to aid in the advancement of the community and its upbuilding.
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