Colusa County










            EDWARD F. THORNBROUGH.  Prior to the Revolutionary era, the Thornbrough family were identified with public affairs in England, the emigrating ancestor locating at North Carolina, where the name has flourished for more than a century.  A descendant, Birden Thornbrough, was a planter in North Carolina, although never owning slaves, and followed agricultural pursuits until his death, which occurred at the age of eighty-eight years.  His wife, whose maiden name was Hannah Smith, was also born in North Carolina, the native state of her parents, and she spent her life in this section until her death at the advanced age of eighty years.

            Born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Thornbrough was one son, Edward F., whose birth occurred at Randolph county, N. C., October 13, 1836.  He remained on the home farm and attended the schools of his community during boyhood, and on attaining his majority drove to Nashville, Tenn., there selling his teams to enable him to purchase a ticket to St. Louis, Mo.  He made the trip on the first steamer that he had ever seen.  After leaving the vessel the ambitious youth worked his way to St. Joseph, thence to Nodaway county, Mo., where a sister was employed on a farm.  At his arrival Mr. Thornbrough secured employment with prominent government contractors, driving cattle, which position he held for two years.  In the year 1859, in company with a brother and a friend, he outfitted with ox-teams and necessary provisions and started for Pike’s Peak, Colo.  However, the three adventurers became discouraged before reaching their destination and decided to come to California, taking the northern route.  Arriving at Honey Lake, the ox teams were exchanged for pack mules and the two brothers engaged in mining.  Later on they traded part of their mules for a claim near Quincy, Plumas county, but as there was too much water in that locality, the prospectors did not meet with success.  Being financially embarrassed, they walked a distance of one hundred miles to Oroville, and worked on the Feather river at chopping wood.  Disaster again assailed the brothers in the shape of receiving no pay for their services and they were compelled to sell the one remaining mule, thus providing funds to carry them to Marysville.  At this time there was a strife between the two stage lines and the fare between the towns was reduced to the small sum of $1.  Locating in Yuba City, they intended to chop wood, but incidentally hearing of the large amount of timber that was being hewn and shipped from the country along the Sacramento river, the three plucky friends walked the intervening distance of eighteen miles, carrying their provisions on their backs.  The hardships that had been endured by them since their arrival in California had greatly discouraged the brothers and the uppermost thought in their minds was to obtain the funds needed to take them back to their native state.  All winter they chopped wood with the same discouraging result of their first attempt at Feather river, and in the spring went to Nevada City, returning to Meridian in the summer.  The party for whom they chopped wood was still unable to pay them for their services and in desperation they purchased in return two hundred and fifty acres, for which they had to pay only $6 per acre.  Mr. Thornbrough and his brother cleared the land, which was so densely covered with timber that they could not build a shanty in which to live until they cleared a space.  The brother died in 1880 and Mr. Thornbrough has disposed of portions of the land from time to time until at the present time he retains forty acres, which he has rented for the last six years. He also owns a house and lot in Colusa, besides a pleasant home in Meridian, where he makes his home.

            Politically Mr. Thornbrough was reared to Democratic beliefs, but since reaching manhood has adhered to the principles advocated in the platform of the Republican party.  January 1, 1862, he was united in marriage to Loretta Carner, who was born in Coles county, Ill., January 24, 1844.  Her father, Ambrose Carner, was a native of Ohio, but removed to Illinois when that state was in an early stage of development.  In 1849 he made a trip to California with ox teams, remaining one year, then returned to Illinois and removed his family to Iowa, where he followed farming until 1860, when he began the long, tedious trip to California.  The family were obliged to stop at Camp Floyd under the protection of the government troops and were two years on the way before reaching their destination.  Upon his arrival in California Mr. Carner purchased a farm near Meridian, and followed ranching for several years, then removed to Mendocino county, where he ranched for several years.  Later he went to Orange county, where his death occurred at the age of eighty-nine years.

            Mr. and Mrs. Thornbrough are the parents of nine children: George W., a photographer and music teacher of San Francisco; Franklin D., a shipping clerk in a wholesale furniture house of San Francisco; Ella G., widow of E. G. Blockmer, a resident of this vicinity; Hannah R., the wife of E. V. Jacobs, M. D.; Lillie E., the wife of Arthur Cabeldu, residing in San Francisco; William B., a carpenter in Kings City, Monterey county, Cal.; Florence, the wife of C. E. Bickley, of Yuba City; Addie, the wife of Harry Grantley, of San Francisco; and Laura V., the wife of Arnold Sutton of Los Angeles, Cal.  It is a fact worthy of note that none of the children has ever been seriously ill.




Transcribed by Doralisa Palomares.

Source: “History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the Sacramento Valley, California” by J. M. Guinn.  Pages 608-611. Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago 1906.

© 2017  Doralisa Palomares.






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