Biography of Alva Thorn

ALVA THORN. one of the most progressive and successful agriculturists of Madison County, is the owner of a handsome farm of 260 acres, located in Van Buren Township, and has the added distinction of belonging to that class of self-made men of which this County is justly proud, His methods of farm management show sound judgment combined with deep scientific knowledge of his vocation, and the results of his labors demonstrate the fact that high-class farming as an occupation may be made profitable as well as pleasant, He has been a resident of this region throughout his career, and during this time has firmly established himself in the respect and esteem of his fellow-citizens through his public spirit and strict integrity.

Alva Thorn was born on a farm in Van Buren Township, Madison County, Indiana, and is a son of Charles and Eliza (Knight) Thorn , His father, a native of Illinois, came to Madison County as a youth with his parents, Stephen and Jane (Lewis) Thorn, the former of whom entered land here from the United States government and continued to follow agricultural pursuits throughout his life, Charles Thorn followed in the footsteps of his father, adopting the vocation of tilling the soil, and through a life of industry and perseverance succeeded in becoming a substantial and influential man of his community, He and his wife were the parents of five children Alice, who married Marison H. Johnson and is now deceased; Zina, who became the wife of James M. Gilmer; Elizabeth, who died in girlhood; Mary, who married Geo, Underwood; and Alva.

Attending the district schools of Van Buren Township during the short winter terms and devoting the rest of the year to helping his father in cultivating the home farm, the boyhood of Alva Thorn was passed in much the same manner as that of other Indiana farmers’ sons of his day, and when he reached the age of twenty-one years he was thoroughly prepared to engage in the battles of life, He started his career as a farmer on a tract of land rented from his father, a part of the old home place, but subsequently purchased a property of his own, to which he has since added by purchase from time to time. On this land he has erected good and commodious buildings, including a comfortable modern residence not far from Summitville, and various other improvements have made this a very desirable property, In addition to being a successful general farmer, he has met with a gratifying success in breeding hogs and cattle, and as a business man is recognized as being possessed of more than ordinary ability.

Mr. Thorn was married March 22, 1888, to Miss Martha J. Johnson, of Tan Buren Township, daughter of Reuben and Sarah (Hastings) Johnson, old settlers of Madison County, Mrs. Thorn is a native of Grant County, Indiana, born August 30, 1863, the fifth in a family of seven children, two sons and five daughters, namely: Daniel B., a resident of Grant County, an agriculturist and manufacturer; Sophronia E., the widow of Andrew Dickey and a resident of California, and she has four children, two sons and two daughters; Mary E., wife of William R. Lewis. a resident of Grant County and a shoemaker by trade; Robert R., a resident of Van Buren Township, an agriculturist and married; Mrs. Thorn, next in order of birth; Amanda M., wife of Wilson T. Leach, a resident of Madison County and an agriculturist; and Nancy A., deceased. Reuben Johnson, the father, was a native of Indiana and by vocation was an agriculturist, He was educated in the common schools, was a Democrat politically and was a member of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, Both he and wife were members of the Missionary Baptist church. Mr. Johnson died in 1901, aged sixty-five, and Mrs. Johnson is now a resident of Fairmount, Indiana, She was born in Indiana, Mrs. Thorn was reared and educated in her native County and she has faithfully performed the duties of wife and mother in establishing their nice and pleasant home, When she and her husband began their married life they had but little cash capital, but a large fund of ambition and aggressiveness to make their way independently, which they have done, and they have the respect of their many friends. Their pretty home is known as “Fair View,” To their union have been born three children: Claudia B., who married Otto Carmony, and is engaged in farming in Van Buren Township and they have one little daughter, Nilma Irene; Vedah Pauline, who married Walter Kirkwood, of Fairmount Township, and has one son, Hubert D.; and Simon C., who is attending the public schools in the eighth grade. The family is connected with the Methodist Episcopal church, in the work of which Mr. Thorn takes an active interest.

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Madison County IN,

Forkner, John. History of Madison County, Indiana: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests. Chicago: The Lewis publishing company, 1914.

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