2111. George Robinson Thorne
USA was born on 29 Sep 1837 in Vergennes, Addison, VT. He died on 14
Sep 1918 in Lake Forest, IL. FOUNDER OF MONTGOMERY WARD & UNION SOLDIER.
From page 12 of the "THORNE FAMILY" by Bruce Thorne, we have this
GEORGE ROBINSON THORNE, son of Hallet & Sarah (Frost) Thorne, was born in
Vergennes, Addison County, Vermont, September 29, 1837, & died September
24, 1918. His early years were spent in the usual manner of the New England
farmer of that period with the experience and disciplinary tasks that life exacted.
When about twenty years old he determined to try a new mode of existence and
accordingly left the homestead and migrated to the middle west, settling in Kalamazoo,
Michigan. Here he took a position in a drygoods store, which he held until the
outbreak of the Civil War. Afire with patriotism he immeadiately enlisted, serving
as lieutenant quartermaster in the Army of the Missouri with headquarters in
St. Louis through the period of the war. He then came to Chicago, Illinois,
and engaged in the lumber business until the Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed
most industries. In 1872 he sold out and went into the then unknown mail order
business with his brother-in-law, AARON MONTGOMERY WARD. Together with unusual
farsightedness they anticipated the needs of a coming age, and provided forthe
utilization of methods that would bring comfort and luxury to the tiny hamlet
as well as the crowded city. The business was started in a loft over a livery
stable on Kinzie Street between Rush and States Streets, Chicago, the office
force consisting of Mr. Thorne, Mr. Ward and one clerk. From this small beginning
the firm grew and in 1889 was incorporated as Montgomery Ward Company with Mr.
Ward as president and Mr. Thorne as vice-president. Mr. Ward retained the office
of president until his death in 1913, although he retired from active management
some years before that time. George Robinson Thorne served ably as vice-president
from 1889 until 1910, although like his partner not in active work with the organization
for some years prior to this date. The early growth of the mail order business
was most remarkable and much can be said for the wise management and business
acumen of George Robinson Thorne, coupled with his high sense of honor and his
integrity in all transactions. He gave his undivided attention to the upbuilding
of the business. One by one his sons also, upon the completion of their education,
entered the firm under the tutelage of their father. At the time of Mr. Thorne's
retirement the annual sales of the house "had reached the vast sum of forty
millions of dollars. Their trade had extended from coast to coast and a branch
house had been established at Kansas City, Missouri, to look after the trade
of the southwest"
After his retirement Mr. Thorne spent much of his time in travel visiting every
point of interest in countries near and far, practically every country on the
globe. He was an enthusiastic golf player and was the president, from it's beginning
of the Midlothian Country Club, being one of it's organizers.
Mr. Thorne died September 24, 1918 after an association with firm of Montgomery
Ward of over forty-five years. The part he played in the business advance of
the city of Chicago can not be estimated. The integrity and fine force of the
man was admirable to the highest degree.
E N D E X T R A C T I O N
He was married to Ellen M. Cobb in 1863.
Ellen M. Cobb was born in 1863 in Kalamazoo, MI. George Robinson
Thorne USA and Ellen M. Cobb had the following children:
William C. Thorne.
Laura Belle Thorne.
James Ward Thorne.
Mable C. Thorne was born in Sep 1880 in Illinois. She died in 1905.
Charles Hallett Thorne.
George Arthur Thorne.
Robert Julius Thorne.