Carl Sagan never proposed this theory, but it’s a safe bet that at any random moment in the cosmos, an amateur genealogist has just laid his head down on his arms at a battered library table and muttered, “Why am I doing this?” He’s surrounded by notebooks and well thumbed copies of cemetery books assembled by long gone members of the Junior League. A tote bag spills over with pages inscribed in genealogy hieroglyphics: William? 1857? North Carolina? "Sara and Amos"????! Our amateur has gone beyond the safety zone of his parents’ social security numbers. And if he ventures out of the thirteen colonies, the trail of church records and census data disappears into the wilderness; just like his folks. Which is why, he answers himself, he is doing this.
“Your letter of the 9th on the subject of Thayers is most interesting.”
Why not start a Thayer Family Association? We could give you a pretty good mailing list as a starter, and the objective of working toward publication of the genealogy would be a good initial goal to do it now.”
Hobart Holly in a letter to Phil Thayer, May 11, 1985
A genealogist never has enough filing space. The best computer programs, carefully transcribed notes, and neatly filled out charts must be supported by research and verification. Proof that your ancestor is really your ancestor, and that means paper.
It also means relying on work done by others, if one is lucky enough to find a shared surname traced by another researcher. Before the formation of the Thayer Families Association, those researching the Thayer lineage had to ferret out information themselves, or depend on work compiled by Dr. Elisha Thayer, General Bezaleel Thayer, Tomas and Luis Thayer-Ojeda, Ruth Thayer Ravenscroft, or Waldo Chamberlain Sprague. These resources, compiled at various times over a 162-year period, varied greatly in comprehensiveness and verification. Further complicating the task was the continuing growth of the Thayer family in America. The most respected of the genealogies, Waldo Sprague’s work on the Thayer Family absorbed thirty years of his life and was still confined only to the New England area. Sprague, an historian with tremendous qualifications, was hindered by the earlier, faulty research of General Bezaleel Thayer. General Thayer was somewhat reckless with verification of his data, overtaken by either enthusiasm or frustration (or both) for the task. Waldo Sprague died in 1960, his work on the Thayer Family uncompleted. The manuscript was left to the New England Historic Genealogical Society [NEHGS], and Sprague’s friend, H. Hobart Holly, hoped to see it completed and published. While held as a model of genealogical research, the manuscript was in first draft form. Holly, a retired Naval Architect and well-regarded historian and genealogist, volunteered his time with the Braintree and Quincy Historical Societies. The societies received requests for data and queries about old Massachusetts’s families continually, and Holly found himself traveling often to Boston to comb through the NEHGS archives. Holly struck up an acquaintance there with Philip Thayer, a retired Biochemist and full time volunteer researcher for NEHGS. Phil Thayer’s interest in his family, and Holly’s sincere wish that Waldo Sprague’s Thayer manuscript be produced and published, provided the impetus to begin a Thayer Family Association. But how do you come up with a significant amount of money to finance a project such as publishing Waldo Sprague’s research? Earlier estimates had put the cost of finding a genealogist to verify and prepare the manuscript at $20,000 to $25,000. Now, in 1985, the cost would be at least that much, and probably more. Braintree Historical Society’s [BHS] publication fund was depleted from an earlier project. Nor would the NEHGS finance such an amount. Lack of money did not indicate lack of interest, though. Holly reintroduced the idea of publication at BHS, and it was well received. It was similarly embraced at NEHGS. NEHGS offered, if not funding, then cooperation in making the Sprague manuscript available to a genealogist who would complete the project. In a letter to Phil Thayer, in May 1985, Holly suggested starting a Thayer Family Association to support eventual publication of the Sprague work. This avenue had worked successfully for other families in the same situation; and in addition to being a source of possible funding; an association would be a place for Thayer descendants to share information and fellowship. Phil Thayer was apparently acquainted with the idea. Phil Thayer focused instead on finding NEHGS funding. By August, it was apparent such funds were not forthcoming. More strongly, Holly wrote Thayer again:
In my letter of May 11th, I commented on a possible Thayer Families Association as you had mentioned. It looks like a very feasible idea to me. The large numbers of Thayer descendants from many parts of the country who have joined the Braintree Historical Society show a strong interest in their family. With this list as a starter, someone to spearhead the organization, and someone to produce a newsletter, would be enough to get off the ground.”
As with all family associations, catering to common interests would be the major purpose. A specific focal point can also be very valuable. Participation in the publication of a Thayer Genealogy would serve such a purpose. The membership would be very valuable contacts for a researcher to complete and bringing up-to-date the Sprague material. Financial involvement might materialize but that should wait and be played by ear. Further, the association membership would be a prime group for sale of the book. However, the idea of a Thayer Family Association would remain a backburner issue for three more years.
The Lady In Oregon
Genealogist Patricia Thayer Muno wrote to the BHS seeking information on her Thayer line for the first time in 1982. In 1988, when the issue of a Sprague publication was still percolating, Muno wrote again. In the intervening years, she had put together a significant body of data on the Thayers.
Holly, after establishing a relationship with Patricia Muno, was sold on the quality of her work. And Muno made it clear that she planned to publish her own Thayer genealogy. Holly realized that Patricia Muno had the qualifications, commitment, and intent he and Phil Thayer had looked for in a genealogist to present the Sprague material. After floating the idea of Patricia Muno’s involvement to BHS and NEHGS, Holly approached her. As far as the Sprague material was concerned, Holly expected to give Muno photocopies of the 1,500-page document to work from. Control of the material was critical to NEHGS; concerns about formatting, including wills, deeds, and similar records, and how many generations the research would cover, were all issues to be ironed out. Still convinced a Thayer Family Association [TFA] was the best vehicle for supporting the proposed Sprague production, Holly wrote to Phil Thayer, May 5, 1988:
Since there is not yet a TFA, I suggest a group of Thayers to supervise the project, and handle the financial end when the time comes for that - and that doesn’t seem to be as impossible a dream as it did a year ago. This is the way the Pennimans did their book.”
In Oregon, Patricia Muno had meticulously combed through all the Thayer data she could compile and spent years verifying, then creating a computer database, from the records. Impressed with Sprague’s work as she authenticated, and then compared it against her own data, Muno found the offer from Holly and Phil Thayer to become involved in a Thayer genealogy a good one. Publishing her own research on the Thayer family was financially out of reach - the same problem BHS and NEHGS had confronted. In his letter to Muno of July 27, 1988, Phil Thayer mentioned the possibility of a TFA to provide funding, but emphasized the interest he and Holly had in finding “angels” (those willing to make large donations) to obtain the money. The angels’ idea, Thayer wrote, was the one he and Holly were most interested in pursuing. Patricia Muno was extremely interested in working with the Sprague data toward publication. But she was soon to find it was a project with serious restrictions.
The Infernal Machine and Other Matters
While Patricia Muno felt Waldo Sprague’s material to be a piece of the Thayer puzzle, NEHGS saw it as a stand-alone work. NEHGS demanded that Sprague’s manuscript be published exactly as written. NEHGS also wanted complete inclusion of miscellaneous details, such as wills and deeds. Insisting on complete ownership and total editorial control of any work Muno might produce, NEHGS demands reduced Muno’s role to that of a typist. “Out of respect” to Sprague, NEHGS’ directors wanted the manuscript limited to the seven generations Sprague had compiled. Further generational data would be published separately, and the entire document was to be presented in Register style. Any mention by Muno of computerizing the data was completely rejected.
Phil and HHH were afraid my intentions for a Thayer genealogy would be a computer printout!”
Patricia Thayer Muno, 1997 While Holly was not committed to using computer programs, he did disagree strongly with publishing Sprague’s manuscript verbatim.
Waldo Sprague did not finish his work or carry it to any logical stopping point. He had intended to complete it and then put it into publishable form. I feel that Mrs. Muno’s approach would be carrying on Waldo’s work and be much more of a tribute to him than would be the publishing of his incomplete workdraft.”
H.H.H. to Phil T. September 9, 1988 After obtaining a copy of Sprague’s manuscript, Patricia Muno analyzed the realities of publishing it verbatim. The Sprague material, while meticulously researched, was laden with detail Muno felt would hinder the modern Thayer researcher. Muno’s personal goal was to publish a comprehensive, yet “accessible” genealogy, without including random biographies, wills, deeds, and matters such as “how many feather pillows Abigail was left” -- all information better collected elsewhere. As for Register style, she felt it would never encompass the large Thayer family. Muno countered the NEHGS offer; she would not only incorporate Sprague’s data into her comprehensive Thayer family genealogy, but return to NEHGS all of Sprague’s research logged into a modern computer database. NEHGS was not interested.
“It Is Time To Stop Fiddiddling…”
Frustrated by NEHGS’ stance on publication of the Sprague material, Hobart Holly revived the idea of a family association. On October 4, 1988, Holly wrote Phil Thayer, including a photocopy of a BHS September newsletter.
“I think you will find this bit from the BHS interesting,” Holly wrote. In case Thayer missed it, Holly pointed out that of ten new BHS members listed, five were Thayers. Further, the size of the Thayer family, the availability of leads from BHS membership rolls to comprise a mailing list, and the objective of publishing the Thayer genealogy all added up to “a favorable time to form a TFA,” Holly wrote. But Phil Thayer continued to press for a compromise with NEHGS, using the Sprague material and Muno’s work in some collaboration. NEHGS still feared any presentation of the Sprague document in what Phil Thayer described to Patricia Muno as, “…a skeletal, computerized sketch of ancestral linkages.” In June of 1988, three years after first suggesting a family association as a resource for Thayer descendants and publishing the genealogy, Holly wrote Phil Thayer a formal, seven point letter, the first of which read:
It is time to stop fiddiddling, become realistic, and take some positive action.”
Addressing each hindrance in the Sprague-Muno project, Holly strongly and decisively made a case for a family association, convinced it was the only route through which to accomplish the publication of a Thayer genealogy. Holly saw no true commitment from NEHGS to ever publish the work of Waldo Sprague; he rightly feared the possibility, if action was not taken to publish a good Thayer genealogy, of another Bezaleel-like manuscript; and he pointed out that Patricia Muno would eventually publish her Thayer work, with or without the Sprague/NEHGS seal of approval.
I see no reason to believe she will not do a credible job,” Holly wrote. “…possibly exactly what you and I and many others would like to see.”
Loaded for bear, Holly laid out a course of action and summarily “elected” Phil Thayer to take charge, and removed NEHGS from the picture. With the help of Holly, Mr. Willard Rockwell of the BHS, and Oregon resident Jim Thayer, Phil Thayer could, according to Holly, provide Muno with access to the Sprague material, oversee the development of her work, and arrange for financial support of the project.
Perhaps A Family Reunion
One hopes Hobart Holly did not sit by his mailbox, waiting for a reply from Phil Thayer. If one came, it has not been saved.
Starting a family association is a daunting task, and Phil Thayer may not have wanted to touch it with a ten foot pole - and understandably so. Undeterred, Holly kept his ear to the ground, looking for volunteers. In the summer of 1989, Holly received a letter at the BHS from Will Thayer of Connecticut. Along with his request for data to further his own research, Will Thayer apparently suggested the idea of a Thayer Family Reunion, possibly in 1990. Holly was inspired. It was a new pointy stick with which to poke Phil Thayer. Shortly thereafter, Holly cheerfully reported to Will Thayer that Phil Thayer (possibly thinking it was the lesser of two evils) had begun investigating the idea, gathering “pointers” from a participant in a reunion of the same sort. Holly enthusiastically supported the idea. In his remarks about how to organize the event, the words “family association” can seamlessly be substituted for “reunion.” It was never far from his mind.
A Real Show of Interest
By 1990, with the continuing support of Jim Thayer, Holly had convinced Phil Thayer to test the waters. Though far from the goings on in New England geographically, Jim Thayer was so enthusiastic about a possible TFA that he had even visited Boston to meet with Holly and Phil Thayer.
The first of several letters were mailed to fewer than one hundred people who had shown interest in a Thayer Family Association. The response was very positive; enough so that, in March of the following year, a more formal mailing was distributed and a notice submitted and printed in the Braintree Historical Society newsletter. Detailing a proposed formation of a Thayer Family Association open to Thayer descendants and interested persons, the memo stated several goals for the TFA. Along with providing a “focal point” for family history, organizing family reunions, and issuing a publication with articles and queries, the TFA hoped to sponsor “the development and publication of a rigorously researched family genealogy, more up to date and more accurate than the only one presently available (1874.)” The members of the organizing committee were listed as Jim Thayer of Oregon, Will Thayer of Connecticut, and Phil Thayer of Massachusetts. Hobart Holly was rightly listed as an Advisor. Volunteers for the roles of officers and directors were solicited. Holly was able to write Jim Thayer in late April of “…generous contributions and a real show of interest.” In Oregon, Jim Thayer was staying in touch with Patricia Muno. Publication of a definitive, comprehensive Thayer genealogy was a stated goal of the newly forming TFA, and this ambition still meshed perfectly with Muno’s own hopes for her Thayer work. While the next year was devoted to defining membership and roles of the eventual TFA officers and directors, Hobart Holly continued to nip at the heels of Phil Thayer. Calling himself “unofficial needle” as well as a recognized TFA consultant, Holly advised, cajoled, pestered, and nosed Jim Thayer, Phil Thayer, and Will Thayer into action when their focus was elsewhere.
The Newsletter Begins
In August of 1992, the first Thayer Family Association newsletter was mailed out to the fledgling membership. The organizing committee announced its move toward “active recruitment” to fill administrative roles - in light of the fact that only one brave soul had volunteered for a job.
Holly saw the reluctance of the organizing committee to establish proper authoritative and board positions as a threat to the young group. In October, Holly suggested that Phil Thayer become Secretary, as he had offered to be, and that “key people” Jim and Will Thayer be called upon for other offices. Raymond (Rick) Thayer, of Braintree, had volunteered to help and Holly thought his talents should be utilized, also. Though he was ready to contribute, Rick Thayer was not interested in becoming an officer. In December, Phil Thayer sent a letter to the new membership, proposing officers and Board nominees. These were Will Thayer, President; Jim Thayer, Vice President; and Phil Thayer, Secretary/Treasurer. Proposed Board Members were Thayer Eldridge, Catherine Naughton, Paul Hutchins, Garland Jeffrey Thayer, Robert Knighton, and Howard Thayer. When the proposed ballots were returned and recorded, all nominees were approved.
A Founder Passes…
Rick Thayer had been unable to resist the call to take a TFA officer’s position. In February of 1993, he found himself in the role of Acting Secretary, and Treasurer, assuming Phil Thayer’s positions. It was his difficult duty to inform the TFA membership of Thayer’s unexpected death following heart surgery on February 2.
The Thayer Family Association was his dream,”
wrote Rick Thayer about Phil Thayer.
…and I, for one, will press on to see his dream realized.”
Even Tricia felt the impact of Phil Thayer’s death and made this statement several years later:
Rick picked up the pieces and carried us forward.”
Patricia Muno, 1997
In May, a few months after Phil Thayer’s death, Rick Thayer published and mailed another volume of the TFA newsletter. He was able to report membership at two hundred people, and also that Thayer Eldridge had taken the role of Acting Secretary. While membership was the immediate focus of the TFA, more basic issues came to the foreground. Most critical was the debate over who could belong - would only those who could show “blood proof” of their Thayer ancestry be members, or would it become a surname organization? Many members of the TFA, including Patricia Thayer Muno, would be excluded for membership if the TFA became a lineage organization. Despite years of research, Muno had not been able to trace her father’s Thayer line.
The membership of the Thayer Family Association overwhelmingly supported becoming a surname organization, and became the Thayer Families Association [TFA] in 1994.
While the officers and board members of the TFA debated the surname problem, the establishment of bylaws, and membership, there was also intent to bring Patricia Muno into a more prominent position. Not only was Muno’s Thayer genealogy invaluable, her skills as a genealogist and expertise regarding the Thayer family were a plus for the TFA. Muno was offered the position of Historian/Genealogist of the TFA. She formally accepted at the 4th Annual TFA meeting in June, 1994. That meeting also saw the election of Albert Thayer Morton as a director, replacing Thayer Eldridge. Morton was also made Membership Chairman. As a consequence of Muno and Morton’s efforts, membership saw a dramatic increase. All officers and board members felt their responsibilities grow. Muno lessened one duty for the Secretary/Treasurer by bringing in another Rick Thayer, of Bremerton, Washington, to publish the newsletter. Under Rick Thayer’s editorship, the newly renamed Thayer Quarterly became an additional benefit to members, and showed the TFA in its best light.
The Purposes Have Remained Constant
1995 was a year of growth and stabilization for the TFA. Membership increased steadily and the availability of online communications allowed many members and officers immediate access to each other. The ability to communicate so frequently and easily developed tremendous cohesion among TFA-ers.
Patricia Thayer Muno stated that she had of this writing, over 45,000 names in her computer genealogy database and has spent over 20 years accumulating this valuable information.
Another Founder Passes On
In 1996, there was a change in the majority of directors. New members were anxious to contribute, and a renewed energy was brought into the organization. One of the important strides in recent TFA history was the creating of the TFA Homepage on the Internet, developed and maintained by Rodney Lee Thayer, who was introduced to the Association via the fast developing media called email. Another important milestone was the election of Al Thayer Morton as the most motivated and dynamic President the TFA has had.
In an unpublished document, Rick Thayer of Braintree wrote,
The purposes of the Thayer Families Association have remained constant… despite many changes of venue.”
One of those changes of venue was the death of Hobart Holly. Hobart, probably the strongest motivating voice for the formation of the Thayer Families Association, died November 25, 1996, after a bout with pneumonia. Newsletter Editor Richard A. Thayer created a Cumulative Index of every name occurrence in the newsletters from 1993 to present. That was a monumental task and is sure to aid other researchers in the future to track down the specific issues of those individuals who may have appeared in it. In light of the continued growth and success of the Thayer Families Association, perhaps Phil Thayer and Hobart Holly serve as the TFA angels they once sought.
An exciting point was that Patricia Muno’s book, The Thayer, Tayer, Theyer Families of Gloucestershire England 1500-1660 book went into its 6th printing. There was a wonderful demand for this extensive research volume that outlined our ancestors in their home country, that gave some very interesting detail as to what life was like in those times. The TFA t-shirts project, headed by Judith L. Young-Thayer had progressed well and had been expanded to other items, like pins, buttons and patches. Well over 100 people attended the meeting and reunion in 1997
“The smell of old books…”
The CEO of the Henry Thayer Company gave a well-received presentation to the membership present at the reunion, and gave a t-shirt to be auctioned at the end of the meeting, proceeds going to TFA
Madora Boyd and Patricia Thayer Muno took one day after the annual meeting to go on a “cemetery hopping excursion” as Boyd stated. They had arranged the event with Marylin Munn Strand and her husband Warren G. Strand, with Rick Thayer of Quincy, MA as the “unofficial tour guide.”
We stopped first at the Braintree Historical Society Library. OOHH the smell of old books! Clean, well-cared for, and loved old books! I got goose bumps there, as soon as I smelled them.”
Madora Boyd, 1998 Plans were being set for the reunion for 1999, and initial planning for the West Point, NY reunion was starting to take shape. Volunteers were asked for to help out with both reunions. The proposal for a publishing fund was discussed among the directors and membership. A fundraiser was held during the reunion to aide in establishing initial money for the fund.
It’s All In The Planning
Family Membership and the Bylaws revision were the hot topics at the reunion / meeting held in Braintree, MA in Jun. Discussion was held during the meeting on establishing a new family membership, which was voted in by the membership present and new renewal fees were established at that point, and incorporated into the bylaws.
Plans were being made for the reunion / meeting to be held in West Point, NY in 2000. General Sylvanus Thayer would have been proud of the initiative and hard work members of the association were doing in order to make the 2000 reunion a reality. A signing ceremony was held to make the TFA Publishing Fund and to be maintained by BHS.
A Year Filled With Milestones
Rodney Lee Thayer, who resides in Japan on active duty serving in the Navy, took on duties as Editor of the Thayer Quarterly. His first issue was Spring 2000. That was the first newsletter to be edited by a member so far from the United States, and email and the Internet proved to be invaluable tools for this purpose.
The 10th Annual Reunion & Meeting --- the first held outside of Braintree, Massachusetts --- was held in West Point Military Academy, and yes, it was held in Thayer Hall. This reunion, dubbed the Y2K Reunion had 153 attendees. The youngest present at this reunion was 6-month-old Brittany Thayer, daughter of Timothy Deane and Barbara Thayer. Brittany is the 13th descendant of Richard, the Immigrant. The oldest present was Richard James Thayer, born 26 Aug 1914. Richard is the 11th descendant of Richard, the Immigrant. The TFA Publication Fund was created and the goal set at $10,000. The fund, to be maintained by the Braintree Historical Society, was given a standing offer that it would be doubled if the goal was reached by 31 Dec 2001. James Burdett Thayer, Sr. and his sons made this offer, and the goal was met. Rodney Lee Thayer, as a way to record and display headstone/burial information, announced the creation of the Headstone Project. The project was started from Thayer’s own collection of headstone pictures and burial data. Response to the project was well received, and a vast amount of data has become available on the TFA Website. Later in the year, Patricia Thayer Muno announced the release of Volume 2 of the Comprehensive series, the Descendants of Nathaniel Thayer - A Comprehensive Genealogy of the Thayer Families of America. This volume had 292 pages representing 13 generations of Thayers.
Ups & Downs
The 11th Annual Reunion & Meeting held in Braintree, Massachusetts (dubbed Y2K+1) had a turnout of 33 members. Some suggested that moving to different cities each year might bring a better turnout. A survey was conducted to determine interest in moving the reunion.
One noteworthy attendee in 2001 was the Thayer Quarterly Editor, Rodney Lee Thayer, who flew from Japan to attend. He stopped in Michigan to bring his father Richard D. Thayer from Thompson, MI. For the first time since he became active in the Association (1996), Rodney was able to give his own Director remarks concerning the Website and also gave his remarks as TQ Editor. His remarks in previous years had always been emailed to other members, to be read at the reunions. The TFA Publishing Fund received $240 in donations from the sale of TFA t-shirts and other memorabilia. A newly designed shirt was displayed, featuring a large TFA logo. Chuck Hooper mentioned that he had made an interesting discovery when he found a “Doug Thayer” on a memorial for those who perished in the Mt. St. Helens eruption of 18 May 1980. It is still unknown about the background of that individual. TFA reached the Publication fund challenge presented in June of 2002, by raising $10,683 by December. The sons of James B. Thayer matched the $10,000 with a donation to the publishing fund in the name of James B. Thayer, one of the founders of the Thayer Families Association and sons have matched the ten thousand dollars. The money is to be used for future publications of Thayer genealogical works.
And Into The Electronic Age
The 12th Annual Reunion & Meeting was well received in Braintree, Massachusetts, with 62 attending. It was voted on at that meeting to take the reunion to other cities every odd year, starting in 2003, and to host it in Braintree, MA every even year. This proposal was passed by the membership, and immediately plans were set into place to host the 2003 reunion in Frankenmuth, Michigan.
The TFA Publishing Fund was at $26,500 and is available for publications involving Thayer genealogy. The Thayer Headstone Reference book of 302 pages representing 2,597 records was published. For each book sold, Rodney Lee Thayer has donated $5 to the TFA General Fund. Kate Welton Kuzmich suggested at the reunion about the possibility of distributing the newsletter in electronic format. That became reality in the fall with the initial emailing of the electronic version. Color photographs were in the second emailing. That effort proposed by Kuzmich has saved TFA printing and mailing costs of the paper version. The Editor emails the master TQ issues from Japan to the United States, for printing and distribution. That process happens four times a year, once for each quarterly and is a common practice to pass large files via the Internet. A milestone in 2002 was that the Editor was underway on a ship at the time to send in the newsletter, so it was sent, and the electronic version was sent to Kuzmich, both via email from a Naval ship that was underway out at sea! Technology at its best! In addition to the newsletter becoming available in electronic format, back issues were also introduced in electronic format on CD-ROM, another milestone that takes the association into the modern era. Membership in the TFA not only spans throughout the United States, but also includes members who live in 6 other countries; Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, England, Japan, and Panama.
The Cumulative Index was updated to include line and generation of a name and also whether the data comes from a list or an article.
The newsletter also published the first newsletter with foreign writing in it. It used the Thai language as the intro to an article written by the Editor’s wife Soontaree, who is from Thailand. The Unplaced Thayers, a popular and information producing part of the TFA Website, received assistance in the placing of 23 Unplaced Thayer’s. Unplaced Thayers are individuals who cannot be placed into any of the original lines of the Immigrants. Those finally “placed” Thayer’s will probably result in information that will provide links from the Thayer immigrants to future generations. Patty Kaye Stuart has extracted and computerized the 1930 US census for all Thayer genealogical information. That information is invaluable to the researcher, and Stuart’s work on computerizing that information has made the job of searching through it much easier.
Sources and Acknowledgments
The History of the Thayer Families Association is a work in progress. As one of the largest Family Associations in America, members can expect the TFA to be a resource for many years to come. The material covers events up to the time of this writing, in May of 2003. This manuscript could not have been written without the generosity of Mrs. Patricia Thayer Muno of Oregon, Mr. Rick Thayer of Massachusetts, and Mr. Albert Thayer Morton of New York, all of whom sent every scrap of paper collected in TFA history, carefully saved and photocopied. Further, all three patiently answered requests for more information and interviews. Many thanks also to Mrs. Judy Young-Thayer of Virginia and Madora Boyd of Washington for their careful proofreading and feedback. All information herein is taken from personal correspondence, TFA documents, and interviews. Dates are given where appropriate and as frequently as possible without destroying readability of the narrative. The original work was created by Elizabeth Parker Vaulin covering the period from 1985 to 1997. Due to Elizabeth’s insight and sense of responsibility, she recorded this information for future generations to read. We are all indebted to her for taking on this task and putting this material in a logical order. Thank you.