Sunday, November 27, 2011


Partial 1887 Map, Somers Township, Kenosha County
A. Thom parcels
Section 1:  22 acres, 30 acres, and another parcel 80 acres
Section 2: 5 acres

Also:  Mrs. J. Thom owned 75 acres in Section 11 but it is not clear if this person is related to A. Thom.

Click on the map for a larger view.

Alexander Thom

Alexander Thom
NORTH BEND, September 12, 1928
"This community was shocked Wednesday morning to hear that one of her foremost citizens, Alex Thom, has passed away at 1:45 following a sudden heart attack.
Mr. Thom was in his usual good health on Tuesday and had accompanied Mrs. Thom in the car to the post office for the evening mail.  His attack came on in the middle of the night and he passed away despite medical attention.
For many years Alex Thom has been prominent in business and politics of North Bend and had been elected Mayor for four terms.  He came to North Bend in 1882 when he associated himself with Smith & Mallon, a firm engaged in handling imported horses.   His specialty was of raising blooded Clydesdale horses and Chester White swine.  Four years later he purchased a farm and turned his attention vigorously to general farming and stock raising until 1892, when he retired and again became a citizen of North Bend.  He was a staunch churchman having been a lifelong member of the United Presbyterian Church and was one of the country's leading prohibitionists and elected Mayor on a dry ticket.
He was one of the organizers and the president of the First State Bank of North Bend but had retired and severed his connections with it several years ago.
Alexander Thom was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, September 25, 1847 and would have been 81 years old this month.  He was afforded the advantages of the schools of his native land and was associated with farm enterprises.  In 1877 he came to this country and settled in Wisconsin, where for five years, he was the foreman of an estate owned by Henry B. Sherman in Dodge County, Wisconsin.
The deceased has been married three times.  His first wife was Margaret Agen of Illinois who died in 1892.  For his second wife he married Anna Colllins, who died a few years later.  On April 15, 1913 he married Laura Miller of North Bend, who survives him with one daughter, Mrs. Andrew Harvey of Fremont.  Mr. Thom was the last member of his family.
Mr. Thom was held in high esteem by everyone who knew him and he had a large acquaintance over Dodge County.  He was recognized as a radical prohibitionist and was zealous in the furtherance of the national observance.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been completed but it will probably be held from the family home Saturday afternoon at 2:30 with burial in Woodlawn Cemetery.

More About Alexander Thom
Alexander Thom  was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, September 25, 1847, and is the son of William and Christina (Chalmers) Thom.  William Thom was a farmer by vocation and both he and his wife were zealous members of the Free Church of Scotland.  Of the six children of William and Christina, three came to the United States:  William became a resident of Nebraska and whose death occurred in a hospital at Omaha, December 13, 1919; Isabelle who was the wife of James Thain of Illinois, and Alexander.  Of the other three children, James and George died in Scotland and Andrew was pastor of a church in Stirlingshire as a representative clergyman of the Free Church of Scotland.

More About Alexander Thom and B.F. Yule
Thom Barn Centennial Celebration - July 9, 1988
By Donald Harvey
Dodge County Historical Society

"For one hundred years, the candy striped barn north of North Bend, Nebraska has been a landmark for local residents and is listed as one of the historic sites and points of interest in Dodge county.
The barn was constructed during 1888 for Alexander Thom, my grandfather, by Benjamin Franklin (B.F.) Yule, a friend and master barn builder from Somers, Wisconsin.
My favorite stories during my boyhood involved this barn.  My mother, Mabel Thom Harvey, who was Alexander Thom's only child, was born in what is now the dining room of the farm house on October 8, 1888, the same year Frank Yule built the barn.  How I loved the stories of her childhood, the animals and the barn.
Alexander Thom emigrated to America in 1877, spending five years in Wisconsin.  In 1882, he came to North bend to manage the horse importing business of the firm of Smith and Mallon.  In 1886, he bought 160 acres of land, lying on the hill overlooking the Platte valley.
In March 1888, Alex Thom wrote a letter to B. Frank Yule, in Wisconsin, asking him to design a barn for the hillside, with dimensions to accommodate his Clydesdale stock and an upstairs drive-in loft.  he also requested him to figure a bill for lumber.
The original structure was built without nails and, if you look at the beams inside, you will see they are held in place by the oak "pins" which Frank Yule spent the winter of 1888 making.  Through the years I have been intrigued by the beams, supports, pegs and the angles made by them.
Following the standard practice of the time, the wall skeleton was assembled on the ground and teams of horses were used to raise the sides, or "bents" as they were called.  One newspaper account said "it took 50 teams of horses and a lot of men to pull the sides up and pin them together with pegs."
Mr. Yule's wages for the job included $191.75 cash and his fare from Millburn and Wisconsin to North Bend and his return home.  B. Frank Yule was the father of Blanche Thom, wife of Dr. James Thom of North Bend, Dr. James Thom was a nephew of Alex Thom.
The walnut mallet and broad ax used by Yule during the construction are on display at the barn.  These are a gift of his granddaughter, Mrs. Katherine Thom Knox of Lincoln.  They were given to her by her uncle, Earl Yule of Wisconsin.  Earl Yule told Katherine that his father always stood on his head stop the framework of the barn after it was all in place and that Benjamin Franklin Yule was of slight build, 5'9" in height.
Since I was only three years old when my grandfather died in 1928, I don't have many tales to tell.  There are no surviving records of the building of the barn or records of the Clydesdale importing and breeding business.
We do have two silver medals granted in 1882 and 1883 by the Nebraska Board of Agriculture.  The legend engraved on them states they were awarded for the best mare and best stallion of any age shown at the state fair during those years.
In 1893 or 1894, Alex Thom moved to North Bend and was one of the organizers and president of the First State Bank (1907).  he was also Mayor of North Bend for four different terms.  Most of the family stories seem to be centered around his North Bend life rather than the farm.
In 1935, major repairs were begun on the barn.  It needed a new foundation, shingles and was painted in 1937, but the painters left the barn red with no white stripes.  It was not until 1964 that the barn was again painted and the white stripes were added once more.  The barn was painted again in 1976 and this past year Joe Woita has restored and painted the barn for its centennial.
In 1979 Dr. Andre Harvey, my father and son-in-law of Alex Thom, gave use of the barn to the Dodge County Historical Society for the display of agricultural items.  He wished future generations to see the horse drawn equipment he knew in his youth.

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