Thornton M. Babcock was born in Winona County, Minnesota, in 1865. He came to Dakota Territory with his parents in 1880 and homesteaded with them on a farm in Codington County.
In his farming operations Mr. Babcock specialized in raising purebred livestock, particularly Shorthorn cattle, Percheron Horses, Berkshire swine and Barred Rock poultry. Mr. Babcock was also a lover of dogs and for a time raised purebred collie dogs.
Mr. Babcock became a member of the Percheron Society of America in 1900, and he became a charter member of the State Livestock and Poultry Breeders’ Association in 1902. For several years he was chairman of the Northwestern Poultry Association, and he has been a prominent member of the Shorthorn Breeders’ Association.
He was in demand as judge of poultry and livestock shows in South Dakota. For many years he was an active member of the Purebred Livestock and Poultry Breeders’ Association.
He was one of the first members of the Farm Bureau in the state, and was largely instrumental in obtaining the service of an agricultural county agent in Codington County as early as 193, which made that county the first in the state to employ a county agricultural agent. For many years he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Codington County Farm Bureau, and served as its chairman.
He was a member of his local school board for 35 years.
In 1923 Mr. Babcock entered the legislature and served in the lower house for four terms. The first time he was elected on the Democratic ticket, and the three succeeding elections he was elected on the Republican ticket.
Mr. Babcock married Carlotta Hewitt of Watertown, South Dakota, in 1899. to this union four children were born.