George Washington Thatcher was born February 1, 1840 in Springfield, Illinois to Hezekiah and Alley Kitchen Thatcher. In 1844 the Thatcher family moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, and in 1847 they moved to the Utah Territory settling in present day Salt Lake City, Utah. In the spring of 1849 the Thatcher family moved to Auburn, California working in California's Gold Rush. Hezekiah, among his other economic ventures, opened an eating house with lodging in Auburn that proved quite profitable. During this time George worked for his father as a hotel keeper, a rancher, and in merchandising. After acquiring a firm financial basis, in 1857 the Thatcher family returned to the Utah Territory. In 1858 George worked with the Native American Agent, Jacob Forney, on a mission to the southwest Native American tribes. From 1860 to 1861 George was employed by the Russell, Majors, & Waddell Co. as a Pony Express rider.
On April 4, 1861 in Salt Lake City, George married Eunice (Luna) Caroline Young, the daughter of Brigham Young the territorial governor and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From 1861 to 1867 George was the manager of his father-in-law property in Big Cottonwood. George also managed the Salt Lake Theatre and Brigham Young's interests within Salt Lake City. In March 1867 George took a second wife, Fannie Young, another daughter of Brigham Young and the half sister of his first wife. From 1868 to 1869 George and John W. Young supervised the construction of the railroad grade for the Union Pacific Railroad in Echo and Weber Canyons. In 1871 George, in partnership with John W. Young and H. P. Kimball, oversaw the construction of track for the Utah & Northern Railroad Company. (See Caine Coll 26: The John W. Young Papers.)
In 1873 George was called to serve as a missionary in Great Britain for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After serving a one-year mission, George returned to the Utah Territory and formed another partnership with John W. Young and H. P. Kimball to construct the Utah Western Railroad. In 1847 George was elected as a member of the Salt Lake City Council and served a two-year term.
In 1876 George moved to Logan, Utah were he continued to work as the Superintendent of the Utah & Northern Railroad Company until 1882. In 1877 he became the Trustee for the Brigham Young College (formerly in Logan). In 1883, Logan's first bank, the Thatcher Brothers & Banking Company was formed through a partnership between George W. Thatcher, Sr., Moses Thatcher, Sr. (George's brother), H. E. Hatch, W. D. Hendricks, S. T. Josselyn, and W. A. Rossiter. George served as the bank president until 1902.
From 1893 to 1896 George was a member of the Utah Commission and in 1894 he was elected Mayor of Logan for a two-year term. In 1900 he was the Utah Democratic party's candidate for nomination as Governor of Utah. In 1900 he also represented Utah as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention held in Kansas City. George W. Thatcher, Sr. died at his home on December 23, 1902.
Source: "George W. Thatcher" The Crimson, Brigham Young College, Logan, Utah, Vol. 1, No. 5 (April 22, 1904).
This three-box collection contains the papers of George W. Thatcher, Sr. spanning the period of 1872 to 1917. This collection is comprised of seven volumes and loose papers consisting of George's correspondence, legal papers, financial papers, and papers relating to Thatcher's children, George W. Thatcher, Jr. and Jean C. Thatcher. The bulk of this collection consists of George's outgoing correspondence in the form of his letterbooks.
Books 1-5 consist of George's five letterbooks which contain nearly 2,700 pages of his outgoing correspondence spanning the period from 1880 to 1901. His correspondence discusses his business ventures, railroading, banking, political activities, family life, Mormonism, polygamy, his brother Moses Thatcher, Sr.'s 1896 expulsion from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other topics. Book 6, George W. Thatcher, Jr.'s 1891 diary, was written during a missionary trip through southern Utah with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' YMMIA program. Book 7 consists of notes taken by George W. Thatcher, Jr. during his studies at the University of Deseret in 1885. Books 8 and 9 consist of Jean C. Thatcher's notes on music and her "Commonplace Book," which records quotes, essays, and other personal notes. box 3 contains correspondence, financial papers, legal papers, and other material connected to George W. Thatcher, Sr.
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George Washington Thatcher family papers, 1872-1917. (COLL MSS 47). Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives Department.
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