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.
JOSEPH THORNBRUE, who died at
his home near Mondovi, June 23, 1902, was one of the best known pioneers,
not only of Lincoln county, but of the state of Washington, having arrived
in the state in the fall of 1879. With his wife and family he crossed
the plains by wagon from Osage county, Kansas, to Almota, on the Snake
river, Washington, and during the spring following the fall of their arrival
came to Lincoln county, settling first on Spring creek, north of where
Reardan now stands. They were the first white settlers on the creek,
and almost the first in that section of the country. Mr. Thornbrue
took a homestead here, upon which the family lived until November, 1892,
when they purchased the present home of the family, where Mr. Thornbrue
spent his declining years.
Joseph Thornbrue was born December 10, 1834,
in Coles county, Illinois. He received a common school education,
learned the carpenter's trade, and at an early age removed to Bremer county,
Iowa. He was the son of Asahel and Rebecca Thornbrue, both of Pennsylvania
German descent. He was married June 30, 1853, to Julia A. McCain,
a native of Indiana, born March 15, 1834, who at the time of her marriage
was a resident of Bremer county. Nine children blessed this union,
seven of whom survive the father, as does Mrs. Thornbrue. Her parents
were Delana and Micha (Choat) McCain. Her grandfathers' James McCain
and Samuel Choat, saw service respectively in the Revolution and the War
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Thornbrue
removed to Jefferson county, Kansas, and from Jefferson county to Osage
county, this being their final move before embarking upon their journey
across the plains.
The subject of our sketch enlisted October
16, 1864, in the Fifteenth Iowa regular infantry, and throughout his service
was in the army under command of General W. T. Sherman, and with that great
soldier participated in the battle of Savannah, the famous march to the
sea, and the grand review at Washington, D. C., immediately after the war;
he was mustered out at Davenport, Iowa.
The children of whom Mr. and Mrs. Thornbrue
have been parents are: Elijah H.; John D.; Charles A.; Mrs. Emma Stinsman;
Mrs. Addie Young; Mrs. Anna Stanley, who died April 3, 1903; Joseph N.;
and George A. Elijah H. is now in Los Angeles, California; Charles
of Creston, Mrs. Stinsman, and the two last mentioned, of Springdale, and
Mrs. Young is the wife of a Methodist minister of Portland, Oregon.
Mrs. Thornbrue has been grandmother of thirty-two grandchildren, twenty-nine
of whom are living; and great-grandmother of one.
Mr. Thornbrue was a thorough pioneer, having
been born and reared, and having lived his life upon the frontier.
He was well used to the trials and hardships, as well as the joys, of the
pathfinder and plainsman.
He was a member of W. H. Bently post, G. A.
R., of Reardan, and a lifelong and faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal
church. Mrs. Thornbrue also has been a member of this church
The home of the family comprises one hundred
and sixty acres of good agricultural land, well improved, well watered,
and furnished with neat and modern buildings, choice orchard, etc.
It is one of the most desirable farms in the Big Bend.