Theodore Ayers
Morris Co. Up


Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County New Jersey. Illustrated. Vol. II., Lewis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1899.

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The original American ancestor of the AYERS family was John AYERS, who was born in England in 1592 and early in the seventeenth century came to this country with his family and pastor, Rev. John WOODBRIDGE, first settling in Haverhill, Massachusetts. In 1665 he came to New Jersey with some of his children and located at Woodbridge, which was named in honor of their pastor. Among the children of John AYERS and his wife was a son,

  • Obediah, who was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1636, and who came to Woodbridge in 1668.

He was the father of nine children, of whom the oldest was

  • John, born in Haverhill in 1663.

The latter married Mary WALKER and moved to Somerset county, New Jersey, in 1717, their issue comprising seven children, including

  • Nathaniel, born in 1700, who became the father of Jonathan, born in 1739 and died in 1814.
  • John AYERS, son of Jonathan, was born in 1765 and died in 1815. He married Mary ENNIS and they had three children, among whom was
  • David AYERS, the father of our subject.

David AYERS was born in 1793 and departed this life in 1848. He was a civil engineer and surveyor by occupation and was a prominent and highly respected citizen of Basking Ridge. He married Miss Elizabeth SOUTHARD, who was a member of one of the best known families in New Jersey, and seven children were born to them.

Theodore AYERS, who is one of the oldest and most favorably known citizens of Morris county, was born in Basking Ridge, Somerset county, New Jersey, on the 22d of June, 1824, and was there reared until twenty years old, receiving his educational discipline in the classical schools. In 1844 he came to Morristown and for over a score of years thereafter was engaged in the mercantile business here. About 1866 he embarked in the real-estate and insurance business and conducted the same until a few years ago, when he retired from active life and was succeeded by his sons,

  • Theodore and
  • John B.

Mr. AYERS has always been a public-spirited man and has always taken an active part and interest in all movements tending toward public improvements. In politics he was originally a Whig, later becoming a Republican, and he has been an energetic participant in the work of his party, often being a member of the county Republican committee, and he has been conspicuous in many a Campaign contest. From the time he attained his majority he has never missed voting at an election, with one exception, on which occasion he was compelled to remain in the house on account of a severe blizzard, and he considers it a duty as well as a privilege to go to the polls and cast his ballot. He has held several official preferments, among them being that of deputy internal revenue collector, which he held from 1862 to 1866, and he also served for several years as a member of the county board of chosen freeholders, was recorder of Morristown one term and from 1876 to 1880, two terms, be was mayor of Morristown and as such gave a clean, able and satisfactory administration. For over twenty years Mr. AYERS was a trustee of the Morristown Female Seminary, and served as a member of the Morristown board of education. He is now president of the board trustees for the Evergreen cemetery and is a trustee of the Morristown Park Association.

Mr. AYERS was united in marriage in 1853 to Miss Ann Elizabeth BONSALL, a daughter of John and Eliza (ENNIS) BONSALL. She was born in New York city, where her father was engaged in business for many years. The latter retired from active life in 1847 and located about a mile and a half south of Morristown, where both he and his wife died. Their homestead was known as the BONSALL place and is the present home of Mr. and Mrs. AYERS, who moved into it in 1881. It was in this old house that their marriage took place. Three sons have been born to our subject and his wife, namely:

  • Theodore,
  • John B. and
  • Horace Frederick, and they are all prosperous and successful business men.

Mr. and Mrs. AYERS are faithful members of the South Street Presbyterian church, of Morristown, in which he was a trustee for many years and is now a deacon. He is esteemed and respected by all who have become acquainted with him during his long and useful career.

This biography was scanned and contributed by Catherine Smith DeMayo.


This page was last modified on:  01 January, 2014

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