WESLEY S. THURSTIN, JR.
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
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
Lucas County, Ohio Biographies
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