Erie Railroad Biography - William D. Thayer

William D. Thayer

WILLIAM D. THAYER, Avon, New York.
William D. Thayer was born in Livonia, New York, on November 6, 1854, being the son of M.D. Thayer, a farmer of Livingston County. He left school at the age of 18 and began work in a machine shop in Rochester as a machinist's apprentice. He worked at this for one year and, the firm making an assignment and closing down work, Mr. Thayer went home and assisted in running his father's farm, going then to Buffalo where he worked two years in a pump factory, which also closed up business for financial reasons. He then returned to farming for a short time and gave that up to take a position as engineer on a boat on Conesus Lake. He then went to South Lima, where he engaged in the grocery business, but after a year became dissatisfied and applied for a position as fireman on the Erie, receiving an appointment on November 1, 1881, and immediately accepted it. He served in this capacity for seven years, running on the Rochester Division and Attica Branch in the winter time, the company releasing him in the summer to run an engine on a Conesus Lake boat. In May, 1888, he was promoted to engineer and for a number of years ran local freight between Rochester and Avon, now having a through freight run between Rochester and Corning.

In March, 1880, Mr. Thayer was married to Miss Alida Hobin, daughter of Wallace Hobin, a liveryman of Livonia, New York. They have a promising family of nine children, of whom May, aged 18, is the eldest; Fred, Harry, Martin and Edwin are attending school, while Carrie, Emma, Julia and William remain at home. Mr. Thayer is a lodge man of some distinction, being affiliated with Division 15, B. of L. E. of Buffalo; Avon Lodge No. 570, F. & A. M.; Lodge 153, K.O.T.M.; Onnolee Tribe No. 249, Red Men, and the Avon Hose Company.

Excerpted from: "American Locomotive Engineers, Erie Railway Edition," H.R. Romans Editor; Crawford-Adsit Company Publishers, Chicago, IL 1899.

From the April, 1924 issue of Erie Railroad Magazine:
W.D. Thayer discovered a broken cross-brace on the truck of electric car 3102, while he was acting as motorman of electric train No. 411. He reported the condition to the supervisor of electric service on train 414, which prevented damage to the car and serious delay to other trains.

Back to Erie 1899 Index