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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published by Chapman Publishing Co., in 1895.  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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LORREN THOMAS. It is an undeniable truth that the life of any man is of great benefit to the community in which he resides, when all his efforts are directed toward advancing its interests, and when he lives according to the highest principles of what he conceives to be right. Such a man is Lorren Thomas, who is a self-made, prosperous and leading citizen of Waterloo. He is the owner of the Thomas Stone Quarry, and is well known to the people of Seneca County, as well as the surrounding counties. The farm of which he is the possessor comprises sixty-two and a-half acres, and is located one mile from the Waterloo post office.

The subject of this sketch was born in the town of Fayette, this county, December 12, 1843, his parents being Samuel and Margaret (Bosserman) Thomas, the former of whom was born at Williamsport, Pa., in the year 1802. He was a lad of ten years when his father, who bore the name of George Thomas, came to this county and purchased a large tract of land, comprising some six hundred acres, near what is now the city of Waterloo. As might be expected, the region round about was very sparsely settled, and, as the newcomers had no stopping-place, they asked permission of one of the earlier settlers to put their horses in his stable, but were informed that this privilege was not for poor folk. Thus they were obliged to pass another night under the skies, but the following day the grandfather, with the aid of his sons, erected a rude structure which was used for a stable. The most interesting part of this story is, that the property which was then held by their unobliging neighbor is now in the possession of the grandchildren of him whom he refused to accommodate, while on the other hand his descendants are the ones who can now be spoken of as the “poor folk.”

In the year of 1812 the grandfather of our subject rode to Albany on horseback and there entered six hundred acres of land from the Government, for which he paid $1.25 per acre. In after years he became well-to-do, and was known as one of the most influential of Seneca County’s residents. He died about 1851, and left at his death three sons, Michael, James and Samuel, between whom the property was divided. These sons, although given very limited educations, were good business men, and followed farming the greater part of their lives. The father of our subject, however, later engaged in the distilling business, being thus occupied until 1864, when he retired from the industry worth $125,000. His next venture was in oil speculation, in which he met with both successes and reverses. Later he became interested in a foundry and machine-shop, and until 1880 gave this business his chief attention. The building which was then used for this purpose is now occupied by a firm who manufacture organs. Samuel Thomas died April 27, 1883, aged eighty-one years, and in his death the county lost one of its best citizens. Although an enthusiastic Republican in politics, he was in no sense of the term an office-seeker, as his extensive business interests engaged his entire attention.

The parental family included eight children, of whom the eldest, Mahlon B., a farmer and grain dealer at McCords, Kent County, Mich., married Jennie Thomas, who, although bearing the same name, is not a relative; they have two children. Caroline became the wife of Rev. Jonathan Thomas, also a farmer of Kent County, Mich.; two of their sons are living in Washington State, where they have a stock ranch. Levi is engaged in teaming in Rochester, N. Y., and is the father of two children. Emma married Levi Bachman, and also makes her home in the above city. Harrison was in the Sixteenth Heavy Artillery during the war, serving from 1863 until the close of hostilities. Samuel is a motorman engaged on the electric line running between Geneva and Seneca Falls. All of the sons are Republicans in politics, and are progressive citizens, of whom any community might well be proud.

Lorren, of this history, was given a fair education, attending the schools during the winter months of each year, and in the summer season occupied his time in farm work. He was in his nineteenth year when, August 19, 1862, he enlisted in the Union army as a member of Company I, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth New York Infantry. He was present during many hard fought engagements, and witnessed the surrender at Harper’s Ferry. Soon after he was sent to the parole camp at Chicago, where he remained on duty until, with several of his comrades, he was given a leave of absence and returned home. Upon again joining his regiment he was on duty at Alexandria, Va., whence he went with his regiment to Gettysburg, where he was soon after detailed to drive a team for one of the surgeons and assist in the work around the tent for sick and wounded. He was thus subjected to as much danger as though he were on the field of battle, and, indeed, the position was a much harder one to fill. He remained there until the close of the war, when he was honorably discharged, in 1865, and returned home after having participated in the Grand Review at Washington. Again settling down to the peaceful pursuits of life, he engaged in farming, and in 1870 rented his father’s stone-quarry and began its operation. He has followed this business ever since, although he afterward became the owner of a quarry.

When ready to establish a home of his own, Mr. Thomas was married, January 1, 1877, to Miss Alice Babcock, a most intelligent and worthy lady, who was born in Barrington, Yates County, May 31, 1853. She departed this life in March, 1890, greatly mourned by a large circle of relatives and friends. Besides the farm which we have already mentioned, our subject is the possessor of a farm of ninety-one acres, likewise located near Waterloo, and both tracts are under admirable tillage.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Seneca and Schuyler Counties, New York published in 1895. 

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

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

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