Lee County IL Biography


Emery L. Thorp is one of the principal farmers and stock-raisers in Alto Township, where he has extensive farming and stock interests, and he is also a leader in the public life of the county as a member of the Hoard of Supervisors. He is a native of Illinois, coming of one of the pioneer families of the Northern part of the State, and he was born in Little Rock Township, Kendall County, January 30, 1859. His father, Henry Thorp,a retired farmer of DeKalb County, was born in the State of New York, and his father, Leonard Thorpe, a native of the same State, of which he was a resident until 1840, when he came to Illinois. He made the journey on the lakes to Chicago, which was then but a small, swampy settlements and he found Northern Illinois but sparsely inhabited. There were no railways or other means of transportation, save by team. Mr. Thorp started out from the future "World's Fair City" on foot to explore the country to seek a location that suited him. He finally selected a tract of land in Big Grove, Kane County, and for a few years was identified with the early settlers of that section. He removed from there to Kendall County, and was actively engaged in agriculture there for a number of years. He finally retired from active business to the town of Piano, where he passed away at a ripe age. The maiden name of- his wife was Miller.

The father of our subject was very young when he accompanied his parents to their pioneer home in this State, lie was reared to the life of a farmer, and earned on that occupation in Kendall County until 1861. In that year he bought land in Somnnauk Township, DeKalb County, and for thirty years was a prominent farmer in that locality. He accumulated a comfortable property by his operations, and in 1891 retired from active work to enjoy it at his leisure. In early manhood he was married to Belinda Loomis, a native of New York, who has been an important factor in his prosperity. They have reared three sons, of whom our subject is the eldest, Leonard and Lyman the names of the others.

He of whom these lines arc written received a substantial education in the local district school of Roman Alto Township and in the village schools of Somanauk and Piano. He made his home with his parents until his marriage, and on his father's farm was well trained in all the branches of agriculture. He rented a farm the first year of his marriage, and then located on the farm where he has since resided, including the southwest quarter of section 11, Alto Township. In 1888 he bought the southeast quarter of section 10, of the same township, and has a farm that is comparable with the best in this section in regard to cultivation and appointments. It is admirably adapted to general farming purposes, and is well stocked with cattle, horses and swine of the finest grades. He is extensively engaged in breeding thorough-bred Hereford cattle, Clyde and Norman horses and Poland-China hogs, and is meeting with marked success in his stock business.

Mr. Thorp has proved a very useful acquisition to the citizenship of the county since he took up his abode here, his intelligence and competence a farmer making him a valuable assistant in maintaining and extending the most important of the industries of this region, and his clear head and excellent business qualifications fitting him for the public service in which he has been engaged for some time, as he is now filling his second term as a member of the County Board of Supervisors, representing Alto Township. 11 is political views find expression in the principles of the Republican party, of which he is a stanch supporter. December 25, 1879, was the date of a most important event in the life of our subject, as he was then married to Miss Emma Clark. They have three children: Roy, John and Lester. Mrs. Thorp is also a native of this State, and a daughter of one of the pioneer families of Northern Illinois. Somannuk, DeKalb County, is the place of her birth, and she was born September 30, 1860. She is the daughter of Israel Clark, a retired farmer of that county. He was born in Haddam, Conn., and his father, George Clark, was a native of the same State. He came to Northern Illinois in pioneer limes, and was one of the early settlers of DeKalb County, taking up a tract of Government land near Somanauk, and spending the remainder of his life on the farm that he improved from the wilderness.

Israel Clark came from his native State, where his life had been passed up to that time, to Illinois in 1842, traveling by canal and lakes to Chicago, mid thence making his way to Somanauk. At that time but few settlements had been made in Northern Illinois and the most of the land was owned by the Government. He has lived to see the country well populated, and beautiful farms and busy towns where he found but few indications of civilization. He was at that time unmarried, and he worked out for awhile. But he soon bought land live miles from Somanauk, and in the course of time developed it into a good farm, upon which he resided many years. He Anually sold it, and buying a home one mile from the village, now lives retired, in the serene enjoyment of his property. At his country's call he served three and a half years in the late war. The maiden name of his wife was Cornelia Potter. She was born in the Stale of New York, a daughter of Charles and Dinah (Miller) Potter. They are the parents of four children: Georgine, Naomi, Emma and Nellie.

Transcribed by Christine Walters - Portraits and Biographical Lee Co. 1892

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