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Carroll County Biographies


Charles Spurgeon Thorpe, owns and operates the Edgewood farm on section 7, Elkhorn Grove township, and was born in the old house on the edge of the timber on the blanks of Elkhorn Creek, December 16, 1857, a son of Lucius Smith and Phoebe A. (Biles) Thorpe, the former born near Batavia, N. Y., in November 15, 1825, and the latter in Bradford county, Pa., October 28, 1832. They were married June 19, 1854. The Thorpes were of English ancestry coming from England and Scotland, at an early day. About 1846, Lucius Smith Thorpe came to Illinois, and having a brother at Mt. Morris, settled there, but in 1847, came to Elkhorn Grove township, buying an interest in a saw-mill, his partners being Harry Smith, and Horace L. Thorpe. They operated in Elkhorn Grove, which then contained as fine timber as could be found in this part of the state. In time this mighty forest was felled, the lumber being converted into beautiful houses and substantial business blocks. In the course of time he bought the partners out, in 1860 he built a grist-mill, and it was operated in conjunction with the other mill. Customers came to these mills from all over the surrounding country. Mr. Thorpe was a surveyor, and was appointed deputy county surveyor under a Mr. Funk. At the death of the latter, Mr. Thorpe was made county surveyor to fill out his unexpired term, and then elected and re-elected to the office. He returned to Pennsylvania for his bride, and brought her back to the home he had made for her in the Illinois wilderness. She bore him three children: Eva, who married D. F. Rogers (now deceased) and lives in Chicago; Carrie, who married D. E. Hall and they reside at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; and the subject of this sketch.

Charles S. Thorpe was the only son, and spent his boyhood days attending the district school and Polo high school, and at the age of seventeen he went to work in the grist-mill. Later this was turned into a roller mill, but on account of the scarcity of wheat, he bought twelve acres of land and began farming. From time to time he has added to his holdings until he now owns 130 acres which is in a high state of cultivation.

In November, 1890, Mr. Thorpe was married to Emily F. Buswell, born in Wysox township, January 14, 1867, being a daughter of Joel B. and Laura N. (Shoemaker) Buswell, natives of Vermont and Ogle county, Ill. Mr. Buswell was about seventeen years old when he came west. Mr. and Mrs. Thorpe have two children: Mildred, born May 24, 1895, a graduate of the Polo high school, class of 1912, who is being carefully trained in vocal and instrumental music; and Charles Lucius, who was born February 25, 1909. These children are beloved by their relatives as the boy is the only grandson on the Thorpe side, and Miss Mildred the only granddaughter on the Buswell side. In politics, Mr. Thorpe has always been a Republican.

During the many years Mr. Thorpe has resided in his present neighborhood, he has seen many changes take place. Had he been told when he bought his first land the remarkable increase in value which would come about, he would have thought the one speaking out of his mind. The revolution in agricultural processes has been just as remarkable, however, and he has lived to see his calling elevated to the dignity of a business of great moment, for upon the farmers of the country depends its very life. Such men as Mr. Thorpe are very necessary to the growth and development of any community. They go steadily ahead, always willing to join in public movements, anxious to secure good roads, honest government and satisfactory educational advantages for their children. The history of Carroll county would not be complete without a record of the life and work of Charles S. Thorpe.

Transcribed by Carol Parrish
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Carroll County, Vol. II, Munsell Publishing Company, 1913, p. 913-914.

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