James Richard Thrasher (1913 – 1987)

James Richard Thrasher was the oldest son in a family of eight boys and three girls. His family settled in the Midland area where his father was a blacksmith. Throughout his childhood, Thrasher was constantly around horses at home and at the “smithy.” Thrasher left school after the eighth grade  to work at the Llewellyn Brothers’ Dairy, where he started out capping glass milk bottles. He worked in the milk processing plant for the next seven years.

At the age of 21, Thrasher traveled to Somerset, Pennsylvania to work in coal mining. He returned to Midland before World War II and continued to work in the mining industry. About this time Thrasher acquired one of his first carriages, an Extension Front Brougham. The carriage was given to him by Alex Sloan, a Lonaconing banker and friend, in appreciation for a loan Thrasher extended to the bank during the Depression. By the early 1950s Thrasher was a successful businessman. He began avidly collecting and restoring carriages, traveling all over the United States in order to purchase carriages from private collections, auctions, and estate sales. Upon Thrasher’s death, the Allegany County government purchased the collection from his estate.

Thrasher had a keen interest in keeping his carriages in driving condition. Many are suitable to use in parades, weddings, movies, and other events.