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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published by John M. Gresham & Co. in 1891.  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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J. L. THAYER, stands well up in the front rank of the prominent business men of Chautauqua county, and, although comparatively a young man, has rushed ahead until he has reached an eminence of which many an older man might feel proud. J. L. Thayer was born in the town of Mina, Chautauqua county, New York, February 9th, 1851, and is a son of Ichabod and Fidelia (La Due) Thayer. The former was a native of Milford, Massachusetts, while his wife came from this State. Ichabod Thayer came to the Empire State before the first score had been counted in the years of this century, and in 1824 he settled in Mina, Chautauqua county and followed farming until 1864, when he retired and moved to Westfield, where he lived until he died in 1888, when he had passed his eightieth year. Although not a politician, as the word is usually understood, Mr. Thayer held many of the town offices and discharged their duties well. Grandfather La Due carried French blood in his veins and came to the town of Mina early in its history. He was a popular man and was one of its first supervisors.

J. L. Thayer spent his early life on a farm in the town of Mina and completed his education at the Westfield academy. His first business experience was clerking during the year 1866 at Brooklyn, but he staid there less than a year and then went to school for about the same length of time, afterwards coming to Dunkirk and clerking in a store in 1869. The two succeeding years were passed in the employ of B. Fenner, at Sherman, and then Mr. Thayer bought an interest in his employer’s business. Two years later he purchased the entire establishment and embarked in business for himself. Mr. Thayer has added to and enlarged his place until now he conducts a double store and carries a line of drugs, jewelry, wall-papers and other stock equal to the best in the county. One store is sixty-five feet deep, the other forty-three. Mr. Thayer was active with Mr. Sperry, Mr. Corbitt and others in establishing the new State Bank and he was one of the first village trustees.

In 1873 he married Julia E. Horton, who came from Erie county, and their union has been blessed with two children — one son and one daughter: Amos H. and Susie C.

Politically, J. L. Thayer is a democrat and has been secretary of the Union school and academy since 1881, which rank well with any school in the county. He is an astute business man, a good financier and an agreeable companion. No store bears a better reputation than his and it but reflects his own private character.

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This family biography is one of 658 biographies included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published in 1891. 

View additional Chautauqua County, New York family biographies here: Chautauqua County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Chautauqua County, New York here: Chautauqua County, New York Map

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