WILLIAM BYRON THOM
William Byron Thom was born at 93 North Main Street in New London, Ohio, the son of James and Martha (Sawyer) Thom. While he was very young his mother passed away and he went to live with his grandfather, Alexander Thom, and his uncle and aunt, Russell and Margaret Thom Godfrey, at "Riverside" in Ruggles Township, Ashland County, Ohio.
Attending the country district school until he reached high school age, he took part in the literary society, the "spelling bee" and other school activities, and became thoroughly imbued with the life of the country. As soon as he was ready for high school, he went to live in New London, with his uncle Jesse and Aunt Jannette Thom Perkins. In 1876 he went to Bedford, Indiana to attend school, having been drawn to that particular school by reason of a cousin, James Beattie, being Professor of mathematics there. After two years of study in this school, he went to Mt. Union College at Alliance, Ohio. Mr Thom spent some time in Kansas and later in Colorado. At one time he published the Red Cliff Comet at Red Cliff Colorado. As his health became impaired, he went to Norwalk, Ohio to live with his father and stepmother, where he remained until his father's death in
1910, when he went back to Denver, Colorado and to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he remained for two years, writing for papers there.
From the West he went to New York, where he took up his favorite work, that of the newspaper business, and worked for the New York Sun and the New York Times. He contributed many articles to various magazines, mostly of an historical nature, as that was his particular literary bent. His memory was extraordinary and his writing of past events became prolific. In 1934 Mr Thom retired from active work in New York, and came back to his old home town -- New London -- where he did considerable writing, also contributing to the local paper, in which he was greatly interested. He must certainly have felt that "What is remembered dies -- what is written remains," hence, determined to set down in writing many of his "recollections."
On December 20th, 1945 William B. Thom passed away. Funeral services were held at the Fitch Funeral Home with Revs. Mitchell and Kettenring, officiating. Interment was in the family lot in the Grove Street Cemetery on December 22nd, 1945. Most of the history that we have today of the Village of New London was due to the work of Mr. Thom. He also loved the Big Four Railroad and the early history of the railroad here in New London was written by him also. A memorial plaque to Mr W.B.
Thom can be found in the sidewalk on the south side of the New London Public Library. Though spending most of his life elsewhere, he was a man that truely loved his home town. New London people should remember his name.
Thomas S. Neel in 1992 put together a book entiled The Columns of William Byron Thom, a history of his articles on New London, Huron County and Ruggles, Ashland County and the Big Four Railroad. It can be purchased at the New London Historical Society or from Tom Neel (169 East Main St., New London OH 44851) for $10.00 plus $3.00 shipping/handling. It is a wonderful history of our home town.
V.K. Neel from book by Thomas S. Neel