Biography of James E. B. Thorn
Oneida County, NY Biographies





The keynote to the character of James Edward Bennett Thorn, now deceased, who for more than sixty years was connected with the transfer business at Utica, was fidelity to responsibifity, and he will be remembered as one of the best known and most highly esteemed citizens of Utica. He was born in a house that is stifi standing on Jay street, this city, June 10, 1829, being a son of Stephen Thorn, who was born in Kent county, England. The father came to America and was married at Albany, New York, to Mary Ann Bennett of New York city. They took up their residence in Utica where he entered the harness business at 41 Genesee street. Very soon after the Erie canal was opened in the '20s a company was organized to carry on the transportation business and a relative Springate Thorn became interested in the company which was known as the Utica Line. In 1835 Mr. Thorn also became interested in this concern as a member of the firm of Eli Avery & Company, with which he continued during the remainder of his life.

Mr. Thorn of this review received his preliminary education in the public schools and in the Free Academy at Utica. At the age of seventeen years he secured employment as a clerk in the establishment of Grannis & Greenman, dealers in drugs and groceries, with whom he continued for two years and for one year was engaged in the dry goods business. In 1848 he became connected with the Utica Line as clerk in the office at Albany and a year later was made agent for the company in that city. He showed remarkable business eapaeity and in 1850 went to New York city as junior member of the firm of Shaw, Judson & Thorn, New York representatives of the Utica Line. He continued at the metropolis for seven years and then returned to Utica as a member of the firm of Shaw, Thorn & Company, Mr. Judson having retired in 1856. The firm became Thorn & Pomeroy in 1872 and had charge of the business of the Utica Line until November 1, 1891, after which time Mr. Thorn was the sole owner and carried on a general transfer, forwarding and commission business upon a large and lucrative scale. He was identified with the same company from February 1, 1848, and it was principally owing to his ability and good judgment that it attained its great success. He was also identified with a number of other commercial interests of the city.

On the 1st of August. 1855, at Bethel, Sullivan county, New York, Mr. Thorn was united in marriage to Miss Hannah H. Roosa, a daughter of Charles Baker and Amelia Elmore (Foster) Roosa. The father was born at New York city and engaged for many years in the merchandising business, later serving as postmaster of the town. He lived retired for several years before his death. The mother was a native of Orange county, Florida. Three children came to bless the union of Mr. and Mrs. Thorn, Sarah Amelia and Delia Roosa and Charles Baker Roosa, who died in infancy. In politics Mr. Thorn gave his support to the republican party and in religious faith was affiliated with Grace Espiscopal church. He was a member of the Utica Machanics Association, serving as director for many years. He was also a member of the 'Mechanics Six," a firemen's orgathzation, the Central City Hose Company, and the Wide Awake Hose Company, being for a long time identified with the Exempt Firemen's Association. He was prominently connected with the Utica Citizens Corps, the Odd Fellows, the Masons and the Elks, and was noted for his generosity and public spirit, no worthy applicant for assistance ever being turned away by him empty handed.

On February 12, 1910, the city was called upon to mourn the death of Mr. Thorn whose demise elicited expressions of profound regret. He passed away at the age of eighty years, eight months and three days and of him it may be said that through life he presented an example of industry, steadfastness of purpose and faithfulness to chosen ideals well worthy of imitation by a younger generation. Mrs. Thorn resides at the old family homestead and is greatly respected for her many attractive traits of mind and heart.

From:
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


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