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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM THORN. The Thorn family is one of the oldest and most honored of those who came to this part of Ohio during the pioneer days. They were Quakers in religious belief, to which the subject of this sketch also conforms. He was born at his father’s homestead near Oldtown, March 4, 1823, and is the son of William Thorn Sr., a native of New Jersey, who came to this county as early as 1804 when a single man. Here he met and married Miss Rachel, daughter of Hon. Thomas Embree, who came with his family from East Tennessee about the same time. Mr. Embree was a man of fine business ability and became quite wealthy. He purchased one thousand acres of the best land in the county, this lying about fourteen miles east of Oldtown where he prosecuted farming until retiring from active labor.

William Thorn, Sr., and his bride settled on a tract of timbered land where, laboring together with one mutual purpose, they in time built up a fine home. In later years there came to live with them Grandfather Embree and his wife and there they died. The land in later years was divided up among the grandchildren of whom there were nine and of whom, William, our subject, was next to the youngest. All grew to mature years and two are still surviving. Grandmother Embree’s maiden name was Esther Colson. On the paternal side of the house grandfather Isaac Thorne, married a lady whose first name was Hannah. They lived on the old place until their decease. William Thorn Sr. passed away in 1853. His wife survived him for twenty-one years, dying in 1874.

The subject of this notice was married in 1851 to Miss Nancy M. Beatty who became the mother of three children and who died in 1856. Their daughter Emma died in infancy. Two survived the death of the mother; Sylvester died when six years old; Alfred B., a young man of fine promise chose the drug business for his vocation and was graduated in pharmacy. He engaged with his cousin, Dr. Thorn, of Yellow Springs, as clerk in his drug store and died at the early age of twenty-six.

Our subject contracted a second marriage in 1858 with Miss Elizabeth Harvey and to them there were born five children, of whom Isaac H. is the only survivor. He is a very intelligent young man but not in very robust health. He is well-read and well-informed and has traveled extensively, having visited several States in the union. He completed his studies in the Ada High School. William Thorn has a nice little farm, a portion of the Embree estate, fitted up with good buildings and where he hopes to spend many years with his worthy wife and the friends whom he has gathered around him. Thomas E. died when twenty-one years old; Maria died in infancy; two bright little girls, Mary and Sarah, aged nine and six years respectively, were victims of diphtheria, Mary dying in 1874, and Sarah in 1875.

William Thorn was again afflicted in the death of his second wife which occurred January 5, 1874. On the 12th of May, 1875, he was wedded to a very estimable lady — Miss Elizabeth Lewis, who still remains his faithful and affectionate companion. Mrs. Elizabeth Thorn was born January 30, 1836, and is the daughter of Jesse and Hannah (Harvey) Lewis, who spent most of their lives in Warren County, this State. The paternal grandparents were Evan and Sarah Lewis, of Jamestown. Grandfather Lewis was at one time a large slaveholder but finally became convinced that the peculiar institution was a grave wrong and set his slaves at liberty. In religious belief he had been reared a Quaker, to which peaceable sect his ancestors belonged. This worthy old couple, Mr. and Mrs. Thorn, are pleasantly situated on their fine farm, a part of the original Embree purchase. The present residence is a fine structure and with its modern outbuildings and appurtenances, makes a very attractive home and a place which is often visited by many friends and relatives. While nearing the close of long and useful lives, they are quietly gliding down the stream with their eyes hopefully fixed on the brighter shore.

Mr. Thorne cast his first Presidential vote for William H. Harrison, and has later supported the principles of the Republican party, while at the present time he is a stanch supporter of the Prohibition party.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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