Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
ELLSWORTH M. THORP, who now resides
about nine miles east from Sprague, is one of the first pioneers to the
Big Bend country. His labors here for thirty years have been commendable,
both in improving the country and in making for himself a comfortable fortune
for the golden years of his life, now soon beginning to run apace.
He is also to be highly commended as one of those brave men who hazarded
their lives that there might be preserved to those who now enjoy them,
the free institutions of our beloved country, and save unsullied from treason's
minions, the stars and stripes, which now, thanks to those same brave men
and their fathers who fought before them, float over the proudest and grandest
nation the sun ever shone on.
Ellsworth M. Thorp was born in Boone county,
Illinois, on December 6, 1846, the son of Edward and Phoebe (Ellsworth)
Thorp. The father was born in Manchester, England, came to this country
with his father when twelve, and died in Kansas, in 1869. The mother
of our subject died when he was nine years of age. She was born in
Indiana. Ellsworth was educated in the public schools in Iowa and
when only seventeen enlisted in Company F, Thirty-eighth Iowa Infantry,
being mustered in at West Union, Iowa, in March, 1862, for three years
or until the war closed. He was at the taking of Vicksburg, fought
at Yazoo Pass, Fort Morgan, Fort Blakely, then was at Mobile, and later
was on duty at Galveston and Houston. At the expiration of his time,
he was mustered out, having served as a faithful private in arduous and
trying places for the entire time. He was mustered out at Keokuk,
Iowa. After the war, he settled in Iowa for a time then went to Kansas,
remaining there until 1868. In that year, he crossed the plains with
an immigrant train, landing in the little mining town of Helena, Montana.
For two years he sought the precious metal in that section, being in company
with Dr. Atkinson, who is said to be the first discoverer of gold in Montana.
His brother was with him and about 1870, they came to the Big Bend Country.
The brother stopped on Crab creek and our subject went on to the sound.
Wintering there and in the Willamette valley, he decided to return to this
side of the mountains and accordingly came to Walla Walla. In the
fall of 1873, Mr. Thorp came thence to Crab creek and took a piece of land.
He cultivated the same but did not file on it. In 1875, he went thence
to Los Angeles county, California, with an immigrant train, and there met
his future wife. Seven years were spent in that country and in 1882,
he came back to the Big Bend. He landed here with a four-horse team
and twenty dollars. He homesteaded a place near where he now lives
and bought more. His estate consists now of eight hundred and forty
acres of choice hay land, which is well improved with excellent seven-room
residence, barns, and other buildings, besides fences, and everything needed
to make the place first class and up to date. Mr. Thorp has been
school director and road overseer at different times and he evinces a keen
interest in the welfare of the country and its progress.
At Los Angeles, California, in 1876, Mr. Thorp
married Mrs. Elizabeth Knight, the daughter of Simon and Deborah (Daily)
Feeler, natives of Virginia and North Carolina, respectively. The
father followed farming in Missouri, and there remained until his death.
The mother also died there. To Mr. and Mrs. Thorp the following named
children have been born, Mrs. Eva Puls, who is the mother of two children
and is living in Lincoln county; Edward, in Montana; Alice Gibson, with
her parents; and Mrs. Frances Bogle, in Lincoln county. Mr. Thorp
is a cousin of Colonel Ellsworth, who was said to be the first man killed
in the Rebellion.