Biography of Wesley S. Thurstin, Jr.
Lucas County, OH Biographies

The name of Thurstin has long been associated with the law practice in Toledo through the active connection of father and son with the bar of this city. Wesley S. Thurstin, Jr., was here born on the 26th of June, 1877, and in his professional career had the stimulus of the splendid example of his father, Wesley S. Thurstin, Sr., whose career long reflected credit and honor upon the history of the legal profession in northwestern Ohio, where the family has been represented from pioneer times. The father was born in Wood county, this state, June 11, 1838, and prepared for law practice as a student in the University of Michigan, in which he completed his course just prior to the outbreak of the Civil wan With the bombardment of Fort Sumter he was one of the first to respond to the call for troops and became a member of the famous One Hundred and Eleventh Ohio Regiment commanded by General Isaac R. Sherwood, who originally was the first adjutant of the regiment and was succeeded in that position by Mr. Thurstin. It is said that the latter's military career was distinguished by courage, patience, endurance and readiness to accept any duty or danger. He participated with his command in all the battles between Chickamauga and Atlanta and later was in the battles of Nashville, Franklin, Fort Anderson, Goldsboro and Raleigh, winning advancement to the rank of captain of Company D. Later he wrote a most interesting history of the regiment, being selected for this task at the first meeting of the surviving members held in Perrysburg, Ohio, in 1878.

With his return from the war Captain Thurstin entered upon active practice of law and for almost a half century continued a distinguished member of the Ohio bar. He became a member of the firm of Bissell & Gorrill and he advanced steadily in his profession till he occupied a notable place in the foremost rank of Ohio's attorneys. He was also active in connection with the public life of the city and served for a number of years as a member of the board of education and in other positions of public honor and trust. He belonged to the Grand Army of the Republic and to the Royal Arcanum and was actively and helpfully associated with all those organized efforts looking to the civic benefit of the city and to its moral and intellectual progress.

In 1867 Captain Thurstin was married to Miss Martha J. Gorrill of Perrysburg Ohio, who was of Scotch-Irish lineage on the one side and of English descent on the other. Her father came from Cornwall, England, in 1824 and established his home on the outskirts of Perrysburg in Wood county. English is also the predominant strain in the ancestral paternal line of W. S. Thurstin, Jr., for his ancestors came to the new world about 1630, settling in the Massachusetts Bay colony. The death of Captain Thurstin occurred in Toledo, July 22, 1910, while his wife survived until 1917. In their family were seven children, four of whom are still living: Wesley S.; Ethel, the wife of Cleveland F. Bacon of New York city; Alice; and Wilbur G., both of Toledo.

Wesley S. Thurstin, Jr., pursued a public school education in Toledo to the age of seventeen years, when in 1894 he entered commercial circles and was identified with merchandising until 1901. In the meantime, like his father, he had put aside all business cares and personal interests in response to the country's call for military aid and had joined the Tenth Ohio Regiment as a private for service in the Spanish-American war. Previous to this time he had had some military, training as a member of the Naval Reserve. The regiment greatly rejoiced when one day the order came for them to proceed to the Philippines and there was not a member of the entire command that was not keenly disappointed when that order was countermanded the following day. When discharged Mr. Thurstin was serving as regimental color sergeant.' It was natural that a young man of his alertness and devotion to all that stands for the public welfare should early become interested in politics, and in 1902, when but twenty five years of age, he was made secretary of the Lucas county republican executive committee. It was not his purpose, however, to concentrate his efforts and attention upon the political game and the following year he became a student in the Ohio State University. Already he had done considerable law reading under the direction of his father and as a law student he completed his collegiate course, being admitted to the bar in the spring of 1904. He has been admitted to practice in all of the courts. He has tried all kinds of cases and tries them well. His ability has constantly increased through the exercise of effort and as the result of his continuous study of the fundamental principles of law. He always enters the court thoroughly prepared and he seems to lose sight of not a single point that will weaken the cause of his adversary or strengthen his own position, basing his every point upon the principle of jurisprudence applicable thereto. He was director of law for the city of Toledo in 1914-15. He has always given stanch support to the republican party and has long been a recognized leader in its ranks, whether in office or out of it. In 1906 he originated, conducted and defeated the proposed amendment to the Ohio constitution, providing for property classification.

On the 8th of September, 1904, Mr. Thurstin was married to Miss Ella E Sullivan, a daughter of John E. and Ella Sullivan of Toledo. Mr. and Mrs. Thurstin have become parents of two children: John Gorrill and Wesley S. (III), both born in Toledo and now pupils in the public schools. Mr. Thurstin and his family are members of the First Congregational church. He is both a York and Scottish Rite Mason, attaining the Knights Templar degree in the commandery and the thirty third degree in the consistory and is a member of Zenobia Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He likewise belongs to the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he has membership with the Spanish-American War veterans, the Toledo Commerce Club, the Toledo Automobile Club and along the strict path of his profession is identified with the Lucas County and Ohio State Bar associations; He represents an old and honored pioneer family of Ohio and like his forebears he has made his work of worth to the commonwealth, upholding the highest standards of citizenship and giving stalwart allegiance to all those activities which make for intellectual and moral progress.

Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio
BY: John M. Killits, A.M., LL.D.
S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago and Toledo

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