Alfred Wellington Thorndike

By Dr. Frank H. Walls

Alfred Wellington Thorndike was born in Washington, Vermont, on the tenth day of January, 1841. His first business venture was the driving of a pedler's wagon among the green hills of Vermont, with headquarters at Piermont, N. H.

This venture, started while he was yet in his teens, was successful, for he seemed to be a natural born salesman.

On the fourth of July, 1861, he married Miss Emily Lund, who died in Vineland, New Jersel, in 1874. This wife bore him two sons, Mayo and Fred, the latter dying in Vineland in 1878.

In 1867 Mr. Thorndike moved his family to Vineland. In 1868 his old friend and neighbor, Mr. Solon S. Gould, came to Vineland, and the two formed a partnership and bought out the hardware business of a Mr. Fisher. This business, which soon became the largest and best known of its kind in all South Jersey, was conducted by these two gentlemen for twenty years.

During these years of business in Vineland, Mr. Thorndike made hosts of friends, who were sorry indeed to have him sever his connections with the business and leave Vineland. In 1880 Mr. Thorndike married Miss Helen Weeks, of Marshaltown, Iowa. This wife bore him two daughters, Edith and Alice; the former died in California in 1889.

Owing to Mrs. Thorndike's failing health, Mr. Thorndike moved his family to California in 1887, hoping the mild climate of Southern California would prove a benefit to the invalid; but his hopes were in vain, for she died in 1888.

Mr. Thorndike entered into business in San Diego, Calif., and for thirty years conducted a large and successful business in that beautiful city, which he saw grow from a small town to a big, bustling city. Mr. Thorndike maintained the reputation in his new city that he had established in the East, of being a shrewd business man, but one who always gave a square deal.

For his third wife he came back to Vineland in 1890 and took one of Vineland's esteemable daughters in the person of Miss Amanda Whitaker. This wife bore him one son, Alfred, who is a well-known business man of San Diego.

On the 20th day of July, 1918, after a successful business career of more than fifty years, Mr. Thorndike passed away, leaving a wife and three children, all of whom reside in San Diego, California, and a host of friends to mourn his loss.