Edward Thorp, in whose death on November 20, 1900, San Joaquin county lost one of her oldest and most esteemed citizens, was a prosperous agriculturist residing about five miles from Lodi, on a large estate which he had gained by his industrious efforts and shrewd management continued throughout nearly a half century of residence in the county. He is also entitled to distinction in this work as having been a California pioneer, and he was one of that hardy, intelligent and high-minded class of men who came to the state with worthy purposes and formed the bedrock foundation on which grew up the superstructure of a magnificent commonwealth. Mr. Thorp was a man of many fine attributes of mind and heart, as is evident from the esteem with which he was regarded throughout his locality. He had definite convictions and force of character which made him influential in all circles, and he was not one to be easily turned aside from his set purposes. One characteristic of his so well remembered by all his friends and neighbors was a peculiarly strong aversion to the "heathen Chinese," and it is said that he never had one of the celestials on his place or wore a shirt done up by them.

Mr. Thorp was born in Hart county, Kentucky, February 20, 1828, being a son of Allen and Permelia A. (Reynolds) Thorp, both natives of Kentucky. He lost his father when he was an infant, and at the age of nine years accompanied his mother to Knox county, Illinois, where he grew up to manhood and received such education as was offered in his day, his opportunities in this direction being limited. When nineteen years old he went to the Mexican war, and was two years in the service of the government. He then returned east for his wife and child, and with them, in 1853, he returned to the coast, driving an ox team and also bringing five mules along. On reaching Placer county he again went to gold mining, and continued that until 1855, in which year he took up his residence in San Joaquin county and thenceforth until his death followed ranching at the place where his widow still resides, the homestead being situated five miles southwest of Lodi. The pirncipal part of his agricultural operations was the growing of grain, and that he prospered in the various branches of his enterprise is certain from the fact that at his death his estate consisted of seven hundred and twenty acres, four hundred of which comprised the home ranch. He was a Republican in politics, and was very public-spirited, giving stanch support to all movements for the promotion of the public weal.

On New Year's day, 1899, Mr. and Mrs. Thorp celebrated the golden anniversary of their wedding, and that was indeed an occasion of joy and happy remembrance for all who were present. About seventy-five guests gathered at their home, twenty-five of them being grandchildren, and the aged couple, who had only about a year further to go along life's path before they should separated, were the center and crown of happy festivity which marked the culmination of a half century of useful and beneficent co-labors in the world's vineyard. They had been married in Knox county, Illinois, in 1849, when Mrs. Thorp was Miss Elizabeth J. Henderson. She was born in Zanesville, Ohio, November 19, 1830, a daughter of William and Eliza A. (White) Henderson, her father a native of Ohio and her mother of New Jersey. She spent the early years of her life in Delaware county, Ohio, and at the age of sixteen moved to Knox county, Illinois, where she lived until her marriage.

Of this happy marriage there were born the following children, all but two of whom are living: Allen W., who died before the parents left Illinois; Nicholas C., in San Joaquin county; John B., in San Joaquin county; Belle C., widow of George Toni and now residing in San Francisco; George J., residing on the home ranch near Lodi; Knox A., in Lodi; Eliza A., who died in infancy; Mary E., wife of Rev. Thomas Watson; Jason D., in Stockton; Zenas E., in Kings county, this state; Sarah J., wife of George mcElroy, in Kern county, this state; katie P., wife of Walter White, in San Joaquin county; Thomas H., in Los Angeles county; and Lulu, a public school teacher in Los Angeles.

Mrs. Thorp, who still resides on the home ranch and is one of the venerable and much beloved pioneer women of her locality, is a member of the White Apron Club in her neighborhood, also a member of the Ladies Relief Corps at Lodi, and takes active interest in social affairs generally.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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