Colonel Thorn in Tuscany

I’m still trying to find a timeline for this, but it seems Thorn and his family resided in Tuscany for a period of time (maybe 1831 or 1832), after their inital relocation to Paris. Herman’s son James Jauncey Thorn was married to Therese von Leykam on January 20/1/1834 in Geneva, Switzerland, and then they moved to Florence with the rest of the family.

But prior to this, the Colonel had made some connections with the Grand Duke of Florence. When he returned to New York to claim his eldest son’s estate after his untimley death at Cambridge, there is reference to him travelling in the company of Marquis Carlo Torrigiani. Apparently, he took the young Marquis with him to introduce him into New York society. In the mean time, the Grand Duke Leopold promised to take great care of Thorn’s family.

Thorn also took with him patent machines for what sounds like an ghastly device, which was mentioned in letters from Henry Brevoot to Washington Irving.

This will be conveyed to you by Col. Thorn who goes to the US to take possession of his late son’s fortune. He carries with him sundry patent machines for fattening fowls which ought to entitle him to the Civic wreath from our worthy corporation of Aldermen. The animal is confined to a close dungeon & its food is injected by a sort of stomach pump which occasions instant syncope from which it does not recover for many hours. Thus, within a fortnight it becomes as corpulent & fat as the late George the fourth of exclusive memory. The Col’s family remains at Florence under the protection of the Grand Duke. The young Marquis Carlo Torrigiani goes with the Col. He is a nobleman of one of the most illustrious houses of Tuscany & intends to travel through the U S.

Here is a picture of Villa Torrigiani, which the New York mirror mentions as a place that Colonel Thorn lived for “the longest time.”


  1. Hi Jacqueline, yes I use it a lot, but sadly not all the google books are on it. I am going to email the University in Wisconsin where a lot of the information seems to be. Happy Easter. Hope you are well and safe?



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