Transcribed from "History of North Washington, an illustrated history
of Stevens, Ferry, Okanogan and Chelan counties", published by Western
Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
ALVIN R. THORP is doubtless the
oldest settler in Okanogan county. He passed through this country
as early as 1869 but did not locate permanently here until some time afterwards.
He has one of the best farms in the county, two and one half miles north
of Loomis on Toats Coulee creek. His land is supplied with plenty
of irrigating water and he is holding the oldest irrigation right on the
creek. He can raise any of the products of this latitude and has
an abundance of grapes, peaches, apples and general farm produce.
Mr. Thorp has cut as high as four crops of alfalfa in one year on one piece
of land, and he usually harvests three. He has been very enterprising,
experimenting with various productions, and has made a good success in
raising peanuts. It is stated, however, that Mr. Thorp first planted
roasted ones, but failed to have very good success with that variety.
Alvin R. Thorp was born in Howard county,
Missouri, on December 22, 1832, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Still)
Thorp. The father was born in Madison county, Kentucky, and was one
of the earliest pioneers to Missouri. He died in Platte county of
that state in his eighty-sixth year, ten years since. The mother
was a native of Missouri and died in Platte county. Her grandfather,
Joseph Still, was killed by the Indians and she was an orphan. He
also was a native of Kentucky, and one of the first settlers in Missouri.
The early ancestors on both sides were Virginians. Our subject is
the oldest of thirteen children, ten of whom are living, scattered in various
parts of the United States. He grew up on a farm and received his
education from the subscription schools of the time. On May 6, 1852,
he left his old home and started across the plains with his uncle, Joseph
F. Still, to California. He drove an ox team all the way and finally
arrived in Placer county on August 27, where he spent some time in freighting.
Joseph F. Still, the uncle, was a true pioneer
and a man of excellent qualities. He wrought faithfully for the opening
and upbuilding of California and remained there until his death, in 1900,
being then eighty years of age. Learning of his sickness, our subject
hastened to his bedside and fortunately arrived there about three weeks
before his death. Mr. Thorp followed mining in the San Jose valley,
California, and in 1858 came to the Fraser river, in British Columbia.
It was with great credit to himself that he made his way through the then
deep wilderness and gave his attention to prospecting and mining.
He remained there enduring all the hardships and privations known to the
pioneer and miner. In 1869, he came to Rock creek and quit mining
and since that time says he has never turned the dirt in search of gold.
He operated a pack train there for a couple of years and then took a trip
to Omaca, near the Alaska boundary line. This journey was attended
with extreme suffering, for they were blocked in the ice and caught in
snow storms. As they fell short of provisions it was a struggle between
life and death, and a question whether they would ever get out of the wilderness
alive. After this he came to Marcus. At that time there were
very few people in this whole northwestern part of the Inland Empire.
He soon turned his attention to farming and stock raising, and located
his present place, where he has labored assiduously since. He packed
his supplies from Walla Walla and later from Sprague and went to Fort Colville
to get his mail. He has watched the coming of pioneers one after
another, until finally the country has become one of the prosperous and
well settled sections of the northwest.
Mr. Thorp married Julia, a native woman, and
they have one child, Charles M. Thorp, who married Nellie Runnels.
Her father, George Runnels, was one of the earliest pioneers of this country.
Mr. Thorp has about seventy-five head of cattle, and some fine horses,
and is one of the well to do men of Okanogan county. In all the many
years which he has resided here, Mr. Thorp has always shown himself a man
possessed of unswerving integrity, and has displayed sagacity and industry
in his labors.