Biography of George R. Thayer
Riverside County, CA Biographies





GEORGE RICHARDS THAYER
Possessing the qualities of perseverance and manliness characteristic of the New Englander, Mr. Thayer has made an unqualified success of the battle of life. A veteran of the Civil war, he is one of the oldest members of Riverside Post No. 118, G A R His birth occurred March 14, 1840, in Weymouth, Mass., his father, Nicholas Thayer, who was a native of Braintree, Mass., being a descendant of John Alden, famed in the Courtship of Miles Standish, and who, as we all know, honored the Mayflower with his presence. Mrs. Nicholas Thayer was prior to her marriage Thais Shaw and was born in Abington, Mass.

George R. Thayer received a common school education in Waymouth and upon the declaration of war between the north and south attempted to enlist in the first company to leave his native town. Failing in this, owing to the large number of applications on file, he became a member of Company H, Thirty fifth Massachusetts Infantry, August 8, 1862. His regiment went first to Readville, Mass., where the recruits were drilled, going thence to Washington, where they joined General Reno's brigade of the Ninth Army Corps, later commanded by General Burnside. After taking part in various engagements, including the battle at South Mountain, where General Reno lost his life on the 14th of September, 1862, and the conflict at Antietam on September 17, in which Mr. Thayer was wounded, his company journeyed to Washington, having been in service from Arlington Heights to Manassas. In the senate chamber, which had been converted into a temporary hospital, they slept three nights, Mr. Thayer later being conveyed to David's Island, New York Harbor, on the steamer Spaulding. Ill with fever, he remained on the island until his discharge in December, 1862, when he returned to his home, where, during a long, weary year, he slowly regained his health.

In 1865, in partnership with his brother, N. B. Thayer, Mr. Thayer engaged in the wholesale manufacture of boots and shoes in his home town. Disposing of his interest in that industry in 1875 he became part owner of the Gaff-Fleischmann Compressed Yeast Company, selling out four years later to his nephew. In November. 1879, he came to California, boarding at San Francisco the steamer Orozoba en route for San Pedro, whence the passengers, discouraged with the prospect set forth at that point, took a tug for Wilmington. Mr. Thayer traveled from that point to Los Angeles by freight, and a week later a stage coach landed him at the old St. George Hotel in Riverside. Having two years previous toe this period purchased through a friend, Alvin B. Derby, ten acres on Magnolia avenue, Mr. Thayer proceeded at once to set the property to oranges boarding in the interim with the Derby's. In March. 1880, he bought twenty acres, half of which he planted to orange trees which he had secured in San Gabriel. He then returned east with the intention of remaining two years, but on the approach of winter he relinquished his plans and in November again came west, his wife joining him a year later. Erecting a residence on his ranch, he purchased a team and cared for his trees until 1887, when he sold for $13,500 his original ten acre tract, for which he had paid $400, a like amount having been expended for trees. In 1889 he sold his twenty acre section for $11,500, after which, having disposed of his interests in that vicinity, he purchased near Cucamonga, San Bernardino county, twenty acres which he planted to oranges and lemons.

In the fall of 1887 Mr. Thayer purchased the carriage business of Clarence Stewart, Riverside, and one month later sold a half interest to William L. Peters, the two continuing together until 1891, when Mr. Peters became sole owner. Since that period Mr. Thayer has devoted his energies to his other interests, having also bought and sold several residence properties in Riverside. His own home, which he purchased in 1887, is situated at No. 234 East Eighth street, besides which he owns a cottage at No. 224 East Eighth.

In March, 1863, Mr. Thayer was united in marriage to Miss Sarah E. Spear, who died in April, 1898. Two years later, November 29, 1900, he wedded Miss Grace MacNab, a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, who has been a resident of Riverside since 1888. Mr. Thayer is one of the oldest members of Riverside Lodge No. 282, I. O. O. F., having served in every local official position offered by that organization. He is also a member of Evergreen Lodge, No. 259, F. & A. M., Riverside.

From:
History of Riverside County, California
With a Biographical Review
History by Elmer Wallace Holmes
And other well known writers
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1912


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