The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia


THAYER, W. A., Dr. - Otsego

Caleb THAYER, father of the doctor, was born in the town of 
Hardwick, Worcester Co., Mass., Jan. 28, 1799. Moved to the 
State of New York with his family in 1829, and settled in the town 
of Otsego, in the same neighborhood which he continued to reside 
until his death. In his early residence in Otsego he was engaged in 
the manufacture of lead pipe for conveying water, and for quite a 
number of years he traveled in Otsego and adjoining counties in this 
business; but after cheaper processes of manufacture had been 
invented, he discontinued the business, and confined himself 
exclusively to farming. In an obituary notice, published in the 
Cooperstown Journal, the following is said of him:
He was descended from a long-lived ancestry, and inheriting a 
vigorous constitution, which his temperate and industrious habits 
tended well to preserve, he was enabled with very little physical 
suffering and mind unimpaired to reach a ripe old age, to which 
very few now attain. His was truly a busy life. Time to him was 
too precious to be squandered in idleness and dissipation. Ever 
ready to extend a helping hand to those who were needy, he had 
no charity for the idle and dissipated. He was very social in his 
disposition, and enjoyed with much zest the society of his friends 
and neighbors, many of whom often came to him for advise and 
counsel. In his intercourse with his fellow-man, and in all his 
business relations, he was ever guided by the principles of right 
and justice.
Mr. Thayer was twice married. By his first wife, whose 
maiden name was Hannah STEVENS, he had two children, viz., 
the subject of this sketch, and Henry Clinton. The latter was born 
in Otsego, March 1, 1835, and was drowned May 25, 1838. His 
wife died March 21, 1864, and he was again married Oct. 14, 1866, 
to H. Aurelia PIERCE, daughter of John and Sally Pierce, a further 
notice of whom will be found in another column of this work.
After his second marriage, Mr. Thayer purchased the old 
homestead of the Pierce family, upon which he made most of the 
improvements, and where he died. His death occurred Dec. 4, 1877.
Dr. W. A. Thayer was descended from an old family, several 
members of which served during the War of the Revolution with 
distinction. A near relative, Hiram Thayer, was imprisoned on 
board a British man-of-war in 1803, and was detained until 
discharged at the close of the war. An aged uncle, William Thayer, 
still survives at the green old age of eighty-five, who served his 
country in the War of 1812, and was wounded at the battle of 
Lundy's Lane.
He was born in Hardwick, Worcester Co., Mass., March 6, 1824. 
His primary education was received in the district school of his 
neighborhood. When seventeen years of age he entered a preparatory 
course for college in the Cooperstown academy, where he remained 
three years. In 1842 he entered the sophomore class of Union 
college, and graduated from that institution in 1845. For one year 
thereafter he was principal of the Sunbury academy, Sunbury, Pa. 
At odd times during his college course, and while teaching, he 
prosecuted the study of medicine with Dr. King, of Cooperstown. 
In the fall of 1846 he attended the first course of lectures at the 
Berkshire medical college, Pittsfield, his second course at Woodstock, 
Vt., from which he took his medical diploma in 1847. In the fall of 
the same year he commenced the practice of medicine in Clayville, 
Oneida Co., N.Y., where he remained two years. From thence he 
went to Cortland, Cortland Co., N.Y., where for seven years he 
carried on the drug trade in connection with the practice of his 
profession. In 1856 he moved to Monmouth, Warren Co., Ill., 
continuing in the drug trade and practice of medicine. In 1861 he 
returned to Otsego, where he remained on the homestead farm till 
1867, relieving his father from the burden of its management. 
Having purchased a farm in Oakland, Franklin Co., Iowa, he moved 
on to it, and remained till 1873. When his father moved on to the 
Pierce farm, he returned to the homestead, which he has since 
The doctor married Sept. 10, 1849, Nancy A. CRITTENDEN, 
daughter of Ichabod and Lydia Crittenden, who were natives of 
Cincinnatus, Cortland, Co., N.Y. She was born July 3, 1826, in 
Willet, Cortland Co. They have children as follows: Alfred Clinton, 
born May 10, 1851; died Dec. 22, 1852. Franklin A., born Dec. 20, 
1853; married April 10, 1877, to Fanny POPEJOY; living on the 
farm in Iowa. Henry Caleb, born Dec. 17, 1856. George Crittenden, 
born June 21, 1865. Charles Ichabod, born Aug. 1, 1868; the latter 
three living at home.
In politics the doctor has been a life-long Democrat. He has 
retired from the practice of medicine, finding ample employment 
of his time in the management of his farm. A representation of his 
home, with portraits of his father and mother, self and wife, appear 
on other pages of this work.

Excerpt from History of Otsego Co., NY, page 254


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