The Thayer Family

These were the ancestors of my grandmother's family on my father's side.

At the right is the wedding photo of Jennie Marcia Thayer, wife of Harvey Louis Copeland. They were married on June 30, 1899 and were my grandparents

This is the Thayer Family  story,
 as I know it.

Jennie Marcia Thayer

Your return trip to ...



Thayer Family Roots

Flags courtesy of ITA's Flags of All Countries used with permission.

Free JavaScripts provided
The JavaScript Source

Deep into the Past


I was prompted to delve into our Thayer ancestors. Jennie Marcia Thayer was my paternal grandmother. research reveals the marriage of first cousins Isaac Thayer (1695-?) & Miriam Thayer (1699-1749) as well as the fact that Thomas Thayer (1596-1665) & Margery Wheeler (1600-1673) were the 1st generation of the family in America. It was discovered that back in England, Augustined Thayer, of Thaydon, a small village in the County of Essex, had been granted a coat of arms ... Lincolnfield Heraldic office.

The origin of the Theyer name is, as all surnames were, signified by a person's profession or locality or some personal peculiarity, or the name of animal types. Judge Horace Metcalf's note to Dr. Elisha Thayer of Dedham, Ma. who had studied the English law indicated that the Thayer name had many spellings i.e., Thayer, Thear, Their, and Theyer. But there is more.

It was Hanger Taylifer (ie: taylor) who relocated from France to Great Brittan. He was my 20th great grandfather back in the 11th century.  In France, William V DeAngouleme Taillefer was the last to carry the surname Taillefer. The first to bare that surname was Guillaume I Taillefer, my 30th great grandfather who was born in 895 AD. His grandfather, Gerold I von Vinzgau Duke of Swabia was the first of the Germanic ancestors to reside in France. The family at this point were Anglo-Saxon Germanic and at one point had laid claim to land in England as King Hengest De Kent (420-488AD), my 42nd great grandfather. Several generations earlier we enter the era of Mythology with the claim that Woden or Odin or Sigge of Åsgard would have been my 48th great grandfather. Obviously, some who post ancestors have vivid imaginations. I end my quest at this point.

It is interesting that some of these earlier Germanic ancestors would have interacted with the last of the Roman occupiers of Europe but I found no evidence of this in my searching. But we did see the Thayer name descend from Taiillefer.

See Relationship Chart This chart goes a generation deeper into Mythology but it is consistent with historical evidence for the time regarding the distribution of peoples.

Of interest is the following from Wikapedia:

Hengist (d. 488?) and Horsa (d. 455?) were legendary brothers said to have led the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes in their invasion of Britain in the 5th century. Tradition lists Hengist as the first of the English kings of Kent. According to early sources Hengist and Horsa arrived in Britain at Ebbsfleet on the Isle of Thanet. For a time they served as mercenaries for Vortigern, King of the Britons, but later they turned against him (British accounts have them betraying him in the Night of the Long Knives). Horsa was killed fighting the Britons, but Hengist successfully conquered Kent, becoming the forefather of its kings. A figure named Hengest, who may be identifiable with the leader of British legend, appears in the Finnsburg Fragment and in Beowulf.

And also ...

Taillefer is a cantata for choir and orchestra composed by Richard Strauss in 1903, Op. 52, TrV 207. The text is a rendering of the medieval tale Taillefer by the German poet Ludwig Uhland (1787–1862). The piece was written to celebrate the centenary of Heidelberg University and was premiered on the same day that Strauss received his honorary doctorate from the university, on 26 October 1903 in the newly built Heidelberg Town Hall with Strauss conducting. It is written for a mixed chorus with three soloists, tenor (Taillefer), baritone (Duke William of Normandy), and soprano (the Duke's daughter and admirer of Taillefer), with a large orchestra. The work was performed at the last night of The Proms in 2014.


It is obvious that History emerges from Myth and it is sometimes difficult to delineate the two. In any case, I think this is facinating.



English Ancestors

In England

It was discovered that back in England, Augustined Thayer, of Thaydon, a small village in the County of Essex, had been granted a coat of arms ... Lincolnfield Heraldic office.

The origin of the Theyer name is, as all surnames were, signified by a person's profession or locality or some personal peculiarity, or the name of animal types. Judge Horace Metcalf's note to Dr. Elisha Thayer of Dedham, Ma. who had studied the English law indicated that the Thayer name had many spellings i.e., Thayer, Thear, Their, and Theyer."

The father of the Thayer immigrants to the American colonies was Richard Thayer, born 2 August 1562. He, his father John (1556-1584) and grandfather John (?-1562) all lived in  Thombury, Gloucesteshire, England. Richard's wife was Dimery but nothing is known of her. They had 12 children, 5 girls and 7 boys. Two of the boys immigrated to America, Richard (1601-1664) and Thomas (1596-1665). Our line of the family extends from the older brother, Thomas.


Thomas Thayer (1596-1665) & Margery Wheeler (1600-1673)

1st generation

Thomas and Margery lived first in Thornbury, England, he was born on August 16, 1596 and she on April 25, 1600. Their first 9 children were born there. They came to America before February 24, 1639/40 and settled first in Braintree, Massachusetts with Thomas' brother Richard. They later settled in Mount Wollaston, Massachusetts. Two more children, both girls, were born in Massachusetts. The brothers received title to land in 1636. By 1641 Richard was admitted Freeman and Thomas in 1647. Thomas Thayer was a shoe maker. Richard married Dorothy Prey (1630-1705)
Thomas died in Braintree, Ma on June 2, 1665 and his wife on February 11, 1673. Among the descendants of Richard and Dorothy was Sylvanus Thayer (1785–1872), army engineer and putative “Father of the Military Academy.” (West Point)  The descendants of Thomas and Margery are the more numerous and it is from their line that my grandmother originated. See 2nd generation.

The following is from

Thomas THAYER, son of Richard THAYER and his wife Urusala Dimery, was christened 16 Aug 1596 at Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. Thomas died 2 June 1665 in Braintree, MA. He married Margery WHEELER 13 April 1618 at Thornbury, England. She was born 25 April 1600 at Thornbury, England, the daughter of Abel WHEELER and Jane SHEPHARD. Margery died 13 Feb 1672/73 in Braintree, MA.

The immigrant Thomas THAYER is the progenitor of the largest of the three branches of the THAYER Family of America. Well over 20,000 of his descendants are followed in my publication entitled A Comprehensive Genealogy of the Thayer Family of America. Thomas THAYER first appears in the records in America on 24 Feb 1639/40 when he was granted land at Mt. Wollaston (now Braintree) MA for his family of 9 heads for "40 acres more, there being in all 76 acres upon the same covenant of the three shillings per acre."

There has been much speculation concerning the exact year of immigration for Thomas THAYER. Some say as early as 1630, others as late as 1645--which was most certainly too late. In 1994, Raymond Alexander ("Rick") THAYER, TFA secretary, called the New England Historic Genealogical Society to ask about a list of possible ships which may have transported the THAYER immigrants to the Colonies. He spoke with Dave Dearborn, who was referred as an expert on the subject and was surprised to learn that the only entry ever given and available there was the name of the Captain of the ship John DRIVER, which brought Thomas to the Port of Boston, having left Weymouth, England in 1637. Evidently this was in reference to the goods which Thomas shipped from the Port of Weymouth on 22 April 1637 on the ship Speedwell. It is my understanding that the "names of the passengers were not recorded unless they also happened to be exporting dutiable goods, though some exceptions are to be found to this practice."(Genealogical Gleanings in England Passenger and Ships to America 1618-1668, by Peter Wilson Coldham.)

When Rick called NEHGS once again in 1995, he spoke with Mr. Dearborn's Assistant, Jerry Anderson, and was informed that there, were two recorded sailing vessels in the period between 1607 and 1670 with the THAYER name; one, the "Blessing" captained by John DEVINE, which evidently brought Thomas to Boston Harbor on 8 April 1637(The Complete Book of Immigrants, Volume I, 1607-1670, by Peter Wilson Coldham); the other was the "Speedwell" which followed shortly thereafter and carried Thomas' goods.

Thomas THAYER was a shoemaker, as can be seen by his will, dated 21 June 1664. This has been published in full in the 1835 THAYER Memorial by Dr. Elisha THAYER and elsewhere. Birth; Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Thornbury, Gloucester, England parish register, "Thomas TAYER," Godfathers were Thomas GIBBS and William DIMERY. Marriage; Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Thornbury, Gloucester, England parish register.


   Fernando Thayer (1625- 1713) & Huldah Haywood (1636-1660)

2nd Generation

Fernando Thayer was born in Thombury, Gloucesteshire, England on April 18, 1625 and was most likely in his teens when he came from England with his parents,  Thomas Thayer and Margery Wheeler.  He married on January 14, 1652,  Huldah Haywood born October 1636 in Braintree, Ma, daughter of  William Haywood (1604-1659) and Margret Knight (1606-1675) who were originally from Limestone, Stepney, England.

The couple had 3 girls and a boy born in Braintree and later a boy born in Weymouth, Ma. Huldah died on September 1st 1690 in Braintree and Fernando on March 28, 1713 in Mendon, Ma.

There is another Marriage in 1690 of Fernando reported in One World Tree to an Anna Freeburg (1648-1748)  It could be an incorrect date or the date of death of Margery may be wrong. It may also be that some of the children of Margery are actually those of Anna. (See 4rd generation)

This from ...

 David Greenadded this on 23 Mar 2009

Note.— Ferdinando Thayer, second son of Thomas and Margery Thayer, resided with his parents in Braintree, Mass., until after the death of his father, when he and others removed to a new plantation, called Nipmug, afterwards called Mendon, Worcester County, Mass. He was one of the largest proprietors of the said township ; his residence or homestead was a little south of the present center of the town, on the Providence Road ; held many offices of honor in his town and commonwealth ; was a man of wealth in his day and age of the world, and his sons were all provided with farms by him, and several of his sons became extensive land dealers, and many of their descendants occupy those farms to this day, and have never changed names in title for over two hundred pears ; six of his children bor n in Mendon, Mass., the records of which were destroyed by King Phillips war from 1666 to 1680, which is lost by that war—Preserved Smith Thayer.

Mendon was first settled by the whites' as a plantation in 1662, and continued in that union until 1667, when it was invested with town privileges by the general court of the commonwealth, and so remained until the breaking out of the Indian hostilities in 1675, when the settlement was broken up, the settlers flying to Braintree and Weymouth, where they staid till 1679 or ,80, to January 3d, 1680, after which date there is no interruption up to the present time.—Alexander H. Allen, Town Clerk of Mendon.

Ferdinando and Huldah were my 7th great grandparents.

During this period there was a continuing dispute regarding land claimed by Ferdinand's cousin, Richard Thayer, my 1st cousin 9X removed. It was claimed that Richard was in possession of deeds that were not valid. He even appealed the dispute to the king of England. At one point suits were brought against him by Roger Clapp and others. (We assume Roger was related to Thomas Clapp, my 8th great grandfather.) Of course it was in later generations that the Thayer and Clapp families merged  indirectly via the Pomeroy & Copeland Families. (Samuel Clapp (1710-1773) and Mary Pomeroy (1710-1754) and Elizabeth, married David Copeland. and Harvey Lewis Copeland (1875-1954) & Jennie Marcia Thayer (1878-1900)  One of the deeds was in question because Richard defaulted on the loam used to purchase the property and another was a deed from a local indian which may have been completely fraudulant.


Isaac Thayer (1672-1754) & Mercy Rockwood (1672-1700)

3rd generation

Isaac Thayer (Child of Fernando & Huldah) was born in 1672 in Mendon, Ma. On February 1, 1693.  He married Mercy Rockwood. She was a daughter of John Rockwood (1641-1680) and Joanna Ford (1643-1724) and was born in 1672 in Mendon, Ma.  The couple had two boys and two girls; Mercy, Isaac, Ebenezer, and Comfort.  Isaac was a farmer. She died on December 18, 1700 in Mendon and he in December of 1754 at Cape Ann, Ma.

Josiah Thayer (1670-1728) & Sarah Bass (1670-?)

3rd Generation

Josiah Thayer, (Child of Fernando & Huldah) was born on the 14th of January, 1670 He married Sarah Bass in 1690.  She was born in 1670.

 They were the parents of 8 children; Sarah, Josiah, Susan, Miriam, Jonathan, Rebecca, Bathsheba, and David. Josiah, a farmer, died in 1728. It is not known when Sarah died..


Isaac Thayer (1695-?) & Miriam Thayer (1699-1749)

4th generation

Isaac Thayer, born in Mendon, Ma on September 24, 1695  on March 18, 1716 married Miriam Thayer, born June 3, 1699. She was the daughter of  Josiah Thayer (1670-1728) and Sarah Bass (1673-1719) Their common ancestor was Fernando Thayer, their grandfather. They were 1st cousins, reportedly not unusual in early Massachusetts. (See note in credits)

They were the parents of 13 children, 6 boys and 7 girls. There was; Isaac, Susannah, Ichabod, Josiah, Jacob, Abraham (who died at birth), Eunice (twin), Miriam (twin), Mary, Abraham, Noha (Infant death), Rebeca, and Bathsheba. They lived in Mendon, Ma and later relocated to Bellingham, Massachusetts. Miriam died in 1749 in Mendon, Ma. In 1750 Isaac married Mary Metcalf (1725-1760) and in in 1760 married Margaret Snow (1700-?) The date of Isaac's death is not known.


Abraham Thayer (1734-?) & Patience ? (1740-?)

5th Generation

Abraham Thayer born October 5, 1734 married on April 8, 1757,  a girl named Patience who had been born May 25, 1740. We know nothing of her parents or her family name. The first of their children; Josephine, Ichabod and Susan were born in Mendon, Ma and the family moved to Orwell (Addison Co) Vermont where our ancestor Ezra and girl Mary Ann were born. There were a total of  5 children, 2 boys and 3 girls. Abraham was a farmer. Nothing more is known of this generation.


Ezra Thayer (1773-1854) & Pamela Ketcham (1782-?)

6th Generation

Ezra Thayer was born in Orwell Vermont in 1773. Pamela Ketcham was born in Sudbury, Vermont on September 3, 1782. She was the daughter of  Thomas and Mary Ketcham. Ezra and Pamela were married about  1800. An infant died at birth in 1801. They raised 11 children, 4 girls and 7 boys; Abraham, Lorenzo, William Riley, Lucy M, Ezra Ketchum, Erastus D, Mary A, Henry Hanson, Permelia, Elias, and Barnard K. Ezra was a farmer. Hi died on October 19, 1854 and his wife on March 7, 1858.


Lorenzo Thayer (1805-?) & Marcia Baker (1807-?)

7th Generation

Ezra Thayer, born in 1805, married, on October 22, 1831,  Marcia Baker who was born in 1807. He set up his farm in Summerset, New York where he also served as Justice of the Peace. They had 5 children; Oscar James, Darwin Alonzo, Sarah Emma, Ezera Newell, and Julius Alonzo. The dates of the parent's deaths are unknown.


Oscar James Thayer (1840-1879) & Abigail Amelia Doolittle (1851-1926)

8th Generation

Oscar James Thayer, sometimes recorded as "James O" was born on March 10, 1840 in Summerset, Niagara, New York. He was a carpenter - joiner by trade. On the 23rd of November in 1862 he married Jane Anne Levey. She was born in 1841, the daughter of Joseph Levey (1816-1891) and Sarah Janse Putman (1819-1905) Oscar and Jane had a son, Charles Lesbey Thayer, born on November 8, 1863. There were no more children and Jane died on January 4, 1871 when their son was only 8 years old.

On February 14, 1872 Oscar married Abigail Amelia Doolittle, born January 18, 1851 of Chauncey Butler Doolittle (1803-1863) and Delight A Dean (1820-1897). Oscar and Abigail had three daughters, one of whom did at birth..  Nellie Cordelia Thayer was born on August 1, 1875 and Jennie Marcia Thayer was born on August 11, 1878. A year after Jennie was born, on Christmas day, Oscar Thayer died and Abigail was left to raise the family. In 1889 when her step son married, Abby moved to 39 Bolivar in Cleveland, Ohio with daughters Jennie and Nellie. In about 1891 they moved to 281 Scovill (close East side) The family apparently attended a Modern Spirituality Church. On March 28,1892 at the age of 13, Jennie gave a recitation at a celebration commemorating the 40th anniversary of the movement. Both girls were school teachers. Nellie married Edgar R Emmerson on June 13, 1899 and on the 30th of that same month Jennie married Harvey Lewis Copeland. (see below) The Thayer and Copeland families probably knew each other at the Church.
Abigail died in Cleveland on February 21, 1926.


Harvey Lewis Copeland (1875-1954) & Jennie Marcia Thayer (1878-1900)

9th Generation

On June 30, 1899, at the age of 21, Jennie Marcia Thayer married Harvey Lewis Copeland who had been born September 6, 1875, the son of James Harvey Copeland (1835-1928) and Alice Harriet Bingham (1854-1929). Harvey, or "Lew" as he was commonly known had just served a year in the army during the Spanish-American War. On the 2nd of May in 1900, a son was born, Alden James Copeland. Just 11 days later on May 13, 1900, Jennie died at the age of 22 probably due to complications (infection) of child birth. Lew and his infant son moved back to the home of Lew's parents.

The "Royal connection"
Of note is the fact that Jennie Marcia Thayer is the link to Royalty in the line that comes through Abigail Amelia Doolittle and continues to Alden J Copeland and his decendants.

On January 21, 1904 Harvey Lewis Copeland married Katherine Ellen Stuart. She was born December 7 1882 but we know nothing of her parents.  Harvey Stewart Copeland was born in 1905 and Mary A Copeland in 1907. For the most part, Alden, or "Al" as he was known, continued to live with and was raised by his grandparents. Harvey Stewart married in 1930 and Mary in 1932. Katherine died on October 12, 1954 and Lew followed closely on October 25 of the same year.

This story can be continued at:  Alden J Copeland



"Al" (Alden James Copeland) was to become my father, but that's another part of the story. I refer you to the "Family" page for more ... much more.

I am proud of this "Thayer" heritage and all it brings with it.

~ Don
December, 2009
Rev. November 2016


A great deal of the information on this page was provided by Marilyn Copeland, Daughter of Alden and my sister. Some details were filled in from One World Tree and You may find additional information about the Thayer family at the Thayer Family Web Site.

Note on First Cousins ... married Generation # 4 ... From Thayer Family Association 12/09/2009

Isaac Thayer b. 24 Sep 1695 Mendon MA (Vital Record) son of Isaac Thayer & Mercy Rockwood
Isaac Thayer b. va 1672  Mendon son of Ferdinando Thayer & Huldah Hayward 

Miriam Thayer b. 3 Jun 1699 Mendon MA (Vital Record) daughter of Josiah Thayer & Sarah Bass
Josiah Thayer b. 14 Jan 1669 Mendon MA (Vital Record) son of Ferdinando Thayer & Huldah Hayward 

They were first cousins which was not unusual in early MA where population was short and especially on the frontier.  Let me know if you need any additional Thayer info.  Take care. 

Jerry Thayer, Newport News VA