James (Jauncey) Thorn and Therese von Leykam

I have already mentioned that one of the most rewarding aspects of this project is how it has acquainted me with new relatives. This week, I heard from Jacqueline who is a descendant of James Jauncey Thorn, Herman and Jane’s second eldest son.

As a memory jog, James Jauncey Thorn (b. 1814; d. 1845) is buried in Pere La Chaise cemetery, Paris. He married Baroness Therese Von Leykham (b. 1808 approx; d. 1856), sister-in-law of Prince Metternich, in 1834 in Geneva, Switzerland. James was only 31 when he died. They had three children, Jane, William and James. James Jr married Countess de Bastard d’Estang. Jane Mary, the daughter, married Eugene Cruger and that is Jacqueline’s line. Jacqueline is also putting together her own family history, and she kindly shared some of her private portraits, including James Jauncey Thorn himself.

James Jauncey Thorn

I have been a little frustrated with Google Books snippet views, and am unable to borrow copies of the books I want to access, due to their location. But I did see something that suggested that James Jauncey Thorn abducted Therese von Leykam. I’m not sure if the comment was tongue in cheek, or serious. Herman was opposed to the union, but relented when he realised the social advantage of the marriage:

Meanwhile, the Prince of Metternich married Miss Leykam in Vienna. The sister of the new princess had also had her story. She was abducted by Captain Thorn’s son, Mr. Jousey. Captain Thorn wanted to oppose the marriage, but learning that his son was going to become the grand chancellor’s brother-in-law, he coaxed and gave his blessing…

Filling in the blanks can be dangerous with snippet view, but it seems to be as I explained.

My son also translated these passages from German for me:

Among the strangers a rich American of dubious origin – Thorn – emerged. More than the Amphitryon himself (Greek Mythology meaning a great host), I was attracted to the mother [wife] of his sons, Therese von Leykam. She, the younger sister of the late Princess Antoinette Metternich, if less lovely and enjoyable as her, was still popular, and with the musical sense inherent in her family, knew how to liven up the somewhat stiff parlour. Liszt was a frequent guest. One day Thorn led me through the ceremonial rooms and, with the satisfied expression of a rich upstart, remarked: “Je suppose, que le prince Metternich verrait avec plaisir, que sa bellesoeur, n’est pas trop malétablie.” (I suppose that the Prince Metternich comes with pleasure as his sister in law is not too badly set up)

The poor Therese, who entered into the marriage in such circumstances, saw her young husband slowly die and returned to America with her children, so it is said, under quite unfortunate circumstances accompanied by the parents-in-law. The fate of the others is unknown to me.


Antoinette von Leykam

But it [the death of Antoinette in childbirth] struck the Leykam family hardest. The mother, who only days before received the congratulations of the whole community for a great ball at the residence of Archduke Karl, of her few friends and the numerous envious, and proud, with a secure future, was so soon next to her daughter’s corpse a true picture of despair!

I had been coming these two years, during which time the Leykams had achieved their boldest desires and lost everything again, like it was a dream. I was not a witness to the family’s emotions before and after that period; I can therefore only speak of hearsay. 

Herr von Leykam, the father, earlier in tariff services, Badischer (a region) Chamberlain, then later appointed as an envoy to Brazil in Frankfurt, which post he never took up, accompanied both of his sons from University to Göttingen and, during the religious service for the anniversary of the death of his daughter, was overcome by the blow and suddenly passed away. His widow remained with her younger daughter, under all sorts of unusual experiences, long in Italy, entered into an unusual second marriage and married Theresine in Florence to the son of a rich American man, Thorn. 

I have not been able to find out the cause of James’s death at the age of 31. There is a mention of it in the Illustrated London News, Februaruy 1st, 1845:

Mr Thorn, whose brilliant preparation for private theatricals excited so much interest and expectation, and which Ms Alice Thorn was to have made her debut with so much ? as a prima donna, has had the misfortune to lose his second son– death suddenly stopped all their gaiety, and all is now silence and sorrow at the splendid hotel.

Therese moved to New York after she lost her husband. She is mentioned in shipping records as arriving in New York aboard the ship, Zurich in September 1845, along with her children and the younger Thorn children, Eugene, Ida, Ellen etc. Therese’s sons did not receive any inheritance when Herman later died, as they had already been bequeathed money from their Uncle William’s estate.

James Jauncey Thorn

The ship’s log had Therese aged 30, which means there is a discrepancy between this record and her date of birth, which would have put her closer to 37.

…at the port of New York aboard the ship Zurich on 9 Sep 1845. The traveling party included Col Thorn age 60, Mrs. Thorn age 45, Mr. Alfred Thorn age 18, Mr. Eugene Thorn age 16, Ellen Thorn age 9, Ida Thorn age 7, Mr. La Conte de Ferussac age 25, Madame La Conte de Ferussac age 20, Mrs. Jauncey age 30, Miss Jane Jauncey age 10, William Jauncey age 8, James Jauncey age 7, and servants Mrs. Page, Miss O’Conner, Miss Stenner, Mr. Laurens, John Lusan, Edward Hinchman, Jane Hinchman, Joe Hinchman, and John Hinchman.


  1. Just checking in as I search for information and I see you have the portrait of Frances “Fannie” Jones Cruger ( Mrs Eugene) identified as her daughter in law..an oversight I’m sure..also the spelling of the NY Cruger family is with a C…
    I hope you are staying safe in this new Covid world we live in…


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