Daniel Thayer Jr.

The Thayer family is a prime example of an extensive and intricate lineage. While Daniel Thayer Jr. claimed interest for himself in the James Hunter Machine Company during it’s time as a grist mill, his brother Henry D. Thayer served in the 52nd Massachusetts infantry during the Civil War.

The Thayer family is one that has an extensive history within the North Adams community. The patriarch of this family was Daniel Thayer Jr. He was born on March 21, 1801 in Conway, Massachusetts to the Reverend Daniel Thayer and Nancy Thayer. He was the eldest of their children, as they would go on to have another son, Daniel’s little brother, Dennis, who was born in 1808.

Daniel Thayer Jr. married twice in his life, his first wife being Rebeckah Hunt Thayer, who ended up having only one child with Daniel, and that would be the eldest, Stillman Thayer. Sometime later she passed away, Daniel married Flavilla Holbrook Thayer, who would go onto have three kids with Daniel, Eliza, born in 1842, Henry D, born in 1845, and Merrit, born in 1850.

Not much is known about what Daniel did for a living up until 1849, when he was sold interest (a part of) in James Hunter Machine Company. The James Hunter Machine Company, now known today as Morrison Berkshire Inc., focused its production in many areas, but during Daniel Thayer Jr.’s time as a partner, they were a grist mill, a planning mill (a place where boxes were made), and eventually, in 1855 became a machine shop, and they also specialized in making stoves.

In 1856, Daniel Thayer Jr. sold his interest in the company to other parties, so that he might go and pursue other interests However, on June 15, 1857, Daniel Thayer Jr. died. Within the Thayer family members buried at the Hillside Cemetery, there is another member of the family that is worth talking a bit about. Henry D. Thayer may have been one of the middle children, however, he had a pretty exciting life. He grew up helping out on the farm. When he turned 18, he went off to join the Union Army, as it was right around the time that the Civil War was starting up. Henry joined the 52nd Massachusetts Infantry, Company B. Henry earned the rank of Private within the military, however, while he was stationed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for basic training, he contracted an illness, and later wound up dying from it in 1863.

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