William Medler Thistle (1862-1940) was born at Whitbourne, Herefordshire, on 17th January 1862, the eldest of five children of Francis Thistle, a blacksmith, and his wife, Pleasance (née Grimes). In early childhood, he moved with his parents to Ombersley, Worcestershire and then, some time between 1865 and 1871, moved to Badsey, where they were living at the time of the 1871 census.
In 1873, William, aged 11, emigrated to Canada with his parents and siblings. Shipping records reveal that the Thistle family arrived in New Orelans in the United States in October 1873 on board Liberty, having boarded at Key West or Havana. At the time of the 1880 census in America, they were living at Osage Township in the county of Allen, state of Kansas. William, like his father, was employed as a blacksmith.
In about 1892, William married Nellie Schafer. They had three children. They lived at Spring Street, Atchison City, Kansas, in 1900, William employed as an RR line repairer. In 1910 they lived in Shannon Township, Atchison City. William was now manager of a telephone company.
William was naturalised as an American citizen on 12th September 1917 whilst living at Atchison, Kansas. William remained living in Kansas for the rest of his life, dying at Atchison in on 30th January 1940, aged 78.