Our subject was born in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Aug. 1, 1836, and is the oldest child of Frederick and Fredricka (Englebright) Thies, who were natives of the same place as their son, and where they both spent their entire lives, the father dying in 1863, and the mother in 1864. They were the parents of four sons and two daughters, and those beside our subject, are now in Germany. William was reared to manhood in his native Province, and trained to farming pursuits, which he followed there until a man of thirty-two years.
In 1868, Mr. Thies set out for America, accompanied by his wife and one child. They landed in New York, and came directly to this county, locating in Jacksonville, where Mr. Thies engaged as a butcher, and where they remained about three years. He then rented a farm of the late Samuel Wood, for the same length of time, then removed to another in that locality upon which he operated for a period of twelve years. By this time his accumulations enabled him to purchase his present farm, of which he took possession in January, 1886. He has good buildings, and all the conveniences for carrying on agriculture and stock raising in a profitable manner. He has made it the rule of his life to live within his income, and meet his obligations when they became due. He has consequently been enabled to each year lay aside something for a rainy day, and ensure himself against want in his old age.
To Mr. and Mrs. Thies have been born six children, viz: Frederick T., William L., Samuel C., John C., Charles J., and Anna L. The eldest is twenty-seven years of age, and the youngest nine, and they are all at home with their parents, except Frederick. Mr. and Mrs. Thies are members of the Lutheran Church, and our subject, politically, is a decided Republican. He is the friend of education, freedom and equality, and occupies no secondary position among the reliable elements which form the basis of all society.
Mrs. Louisa (Germann) Thies was married to our subject in Germany in January, 1864. Her parents were John and Johanna (Beindchnieder) Germann, who emigrated to America in August, 1868, and settled in township 14, this county. The father was engaged in farming, and departed this life, Jan. 10, 1880. The mother is still living, at an advanced age. They were the parents of eight children, of whom Mrs. Thies was one of the younger. She was born Aug 27, 1840, and remained a member of her father's household until her marriage.