Argus, September 28, 1919
Thorne of Long Rapids was born in London, England, October 16, 1850.
His father, Joshua Thorne, a merchant tailor, was also born in London,
where he also died during the year 1856. His
mother, whose maiden name was Mary Ann Jones, was born in England, and died in
Alpena, Mich. during the month of October, 1897.
At the age
of 7 years Eular Thorne, subject of this sketch, came with his mother, two
sisters and two brothers to New York City, where they remained two days; thence
they went to Niagara Falls, remaining one week, thence to Stafford, Ont., by
rail. Here Mrs. Thorne hired a team to take herself, family and household goods
to Goderich, Ont. The roads were
horrible, mud to axle. While on the
way they met a man with an ox team stuck fast in the mud. He jokingly asked, "How would you like to trade hosses."
at Goderich, Mrs. Thorne rented a house in the city.
Eular remained with the family until spring when he hired out to Wm.
Barland, a farmer, where he remained five years, working on the farm summers and
attending the district school winters. As
remuneration for his labor he received his board and clothes.
his mother was married to George Harris, a British war veteran, who with his
regiment, had served through the Crimean and sepoy wars and afterward stationed
to Halifax. From there Mr. Harris
was transferred to the Royal Canadian Rifles, composed of the veterans who had
seen foreign service and were stationed at Goderich, Ont. They next occupied the government barracks at London, Ont.
Here Eular joined his parents and attended the regimental military
school. From there he went with the
regiment to Fort Frederick, next to Kingston, then to St. John, where he bade
his parents "Good-bye" and walked to Richmond, Ont., a distance of
about 56 miles, and hired to a wealthy framer at three dollars per month.
says "no daylight was ever wasted on this farm, it was work from dawn to 8
o'clock at night." To cut
grass a scythe was used. Grain was
cradled and hay and grain raked with a "bull rake."
This style of rake is a clumsy affair with a heavy handle nine feet in
length. Here Mr. Thorne worked
about one year and after buying a suit of clothes, had ten dollars cash capital.
went to Port Huron, Mich., via Toronto, and from Port Huron to Alpena, by the
steamer "Genesee Chief," arriving here in the fall of 1866.
He then worked in various shingle mills for a term of two years.
1883, he was married to the widow of Johnson Woods, whose maiden name was Mary
E. Bartley, a daughter of Robert Bartley of Memphis, Macomb county, Mich., by
the Rev. Mills, pastor of the Baptist church, of Long Rapids.
Her children by her first marriage were: Edward Alexander, born Aug. 5,
1875; Ella May, born March 3, 1877; Susan Emily, Jan. 27, 1879; Jennie, born
April 11, 1881, and died May 11, 1882.
To Mr. and
Mrs. Eular Thorne have been born: Wilson E., Sept. 19, 1884, died Jan. 16, 1886;
Robert Jay, born April 16, 1886; Jackson, April 17, 1888; Milo, May 1, 1891.
in the fall of 1883, Mr. and Mrs. Thorne moved into their present farm home, a
state homestead, the N 1/2 of N.E. 1/4 Sec. 28 T. 22 N. R. 6 East; and later
purchased the W.W. 1/4 of S.W. 1/4 Sec. 22 same town and range.
moving on the present farm and for the purpose of erecting a house Mr. Thorne
had hauled and piled about eight thousand feet of lumber on what is known as
Harry Colins where he thought it would be less liable to burn , and the outcome
was, a forest fire swept through and burned it up.
From the Colins farm, and previous to moving on his own, he was obliged
to build 80 rods of road.
Life in “The Northern Wilds”
Previous to and after moving onto his present farm, Mr. Thorne
was in the employ – a part of the time as foreman – of the firm of Fletcher,
Pack & Co. and later for Albert Pack, attending to their interests in the
woods and on Thunder Bay River and its tributaries, with now and then a land of
timber estimate to look after. He remained in their employ about 20 years.
time, while on the way to Hubbard Lake, to note the prospect for log driving, he
was belated, and miles before reaching his destination wolves began to howl from
all directions. Directly in front
of him, in the dim light, he said: “I could see them gathering as dark shadows
on either side of the trail, and could imagine them as getting in position to
spring upon me. As to weapons of
defence I had not even a jackknife and it was as safe to advance as to retreat,
as their howls to the rear were increasing in volume and nearness.
I forged ahead and while passing the wolves I could have reached out and
touched them. At this juncture I
could feel my hat grow tall and I hardly think my head normal when I reached
“While in the employ of Fletcher, Pack & Co. I went to Georgian Bay country to look over a “timber limit.” It was dark when I arrived at Worthington. At that time Worthington consisted of but one house and that was perched like a sentinel on the top of a high ledge of rock. I could see a light in the window. After a little skirmishing I discovered steps cut in the rock and by a series of slipping, sliding and strenuous climbing I finally reached the haven of rest or what was locally known as “The Pilgrims’ Roost.
the following day I started out to estimate and take in the surrounding
landscape. Upon reaching the summit
of the ledge, I heard the brush cracking in the border of timber skirting the
alley below. Looking in that
direction, I saw two large moose. They
ran a short distance, halting in the open.
At that moment I wished for my trusty Winchester.
timber in the valleys and on the mountain sides is mostly pine, and traveling in
that section is rendered dangerous from moss covered rock.
At times the moss under your feet will break loose and give you a free
‘toboggan’ slide, for some distance, more or less, measured by the downward
slope of the particular ledge.”
another time in Northern Michigan, while looking for land for the same company
at the head waters of Rainy River, a tributary of Cheboygan Black, while
following a section line, I nearly ran into the open arms of a big mother bear,
that had assumed the upright position, to better protect her cub.
I think she was the largest bear I ever saw and at that particular
moment, one a few sizes smaller would have looked as well to me.
While the mother bear put up a bluff the cub retired to a nearby stub
and climbed up a few feet, whereupon, the mother bear, after uttering a
growl, walked over to the stub, arose on her hind feet and cuffed her cub off
the stub and soon, to my relief, with the cub at her heels vanished in the
distance. I forgot to mention that
when the bear had gone a respectable distance I gave a “lumberjack war
whoop.” The bear turned quickly
and with a savage growl came toward me. After
some distance she halted and looked back, and seemingly satisfied resumed her
journey in the direction of the cub.”
“In the winter of 1868, when the snow was 5 feet deep in the
woods,” says Mr. Thorne, I was in the employ of McElroy and Ryan, who were
lumbering on the Lower South, near Wolf Creek.
Being asked to go on an errand to the camp of H.R. Morse 16 miles
distant, situated on the banks of Bean Creek, where Curley Dan McDonald was
foreman. I put on my snowshoes, but
neglected to take a lunch. At 2
P.M. I reached the “Lower South Branch crossing,” where Van Alstine kept a
stopping place. I was very tired.
From there I rode with a man who could show me where to take a trail
leading to Morse’s camp. On the way I gave this man all the [word missing] I had.
Upon arriving at the trail I put on my snow shoes and struck out.
After walking for hours with no camp in sight I made up my mind that I
was not on the right trail. The
snow was soft and tiresome to walk on, but I struggled on until utterly
exhausted, I fell and when I came to myself, the moon was shining.
somewhat rested I tried by the light of the moon to find the camp, and traveled
until my limbs failed to respond, when for shelter I crawled partly under a
large pine stub that had been burned down, where to keep from freezing I crawled
back and forth until day-break. I
figured that I might strike a tote road within three miles.
Putting on my snow shoes I again resumed my search for civilization.
I would go a short distance, stagger and fall, until I finally reached
the tote road. Here I realized I
was freezing: the forest trees were dancing.
I fell in the snow and remained unconscious until Wm. Heath, of Wilson
township, came along and shook me back to life.
He put me in his sleigh and took me to Van Alstine’s where I was kindly
cared for, and here I learned that the log where I had passed the night was
within 10 rods of H.R. Morse’s camps. Mr.
Van Alstine applied a salve to my feet which were frozen stiff, and bur for him
I would have had to have them amputated. I
then returned to headquarters. Three
weeks later I was given a tote route and made daily trips to Campbellville in
the city and return, a distance of 30 miles via the winding trail. On my return I would arrive at headquarters near midnight,
but I did not get lonesome, being each night serenaded by from one to three
packs of wolves. One night they
grew bold and gave me a wild ride to camp in order to save myself and horses.
episode I was allowed to make the trip by daylight, one day each way.
present time I have not fully recovered from my trip in search of Morse’s
is a good marksman and hunter and during his early pioneer days would often take
his trusty Winchester and spend days killing deer for the needs of himself and
others who might be out of meat. As
it may be of interest to coming generations, we will chronicle a few of his
hunting adventures as related by himself.
shot a deer within 20 feet of my front door, on what is know as “The Moriarty
farm.” Sheltered by a big pine
stump, where I fell asleep, and was awakened by the smashing of brush I saw
three big bucks come out. The wind
was in my favor. I fired at the
biggest one, and he fell dead. I
then fired three shots and killed the remaining two.
I sold the best parts of their meat for $36.”
time while in camp near the mouth of Cole Creek, I got up early and went out to
a small grove to watch for deer. Directly
I saw something which resembled the roots of an upturned pine stump.
In watching it closely I fancied I saw a movement behind the roots.
I raised my gun and took aim. Then
changing my mind I lowered the gun and at that instant a large elk wheeled to
the right and sprang under cover ere I could raise my gun.
In the gray dawn what had appeared to be the roots of a stump were the
ago, accompanied by Joseph Kurtz and Robert Gorman, we spent a few days hunting
near Turtle Lake. Mr. Kurtz and Mr.
Gorman would drive the deer into the lake, and I in a canoe would head them off
and after driving them in near shore would all try our skill shooting them.
while in camp by Hunt Creek near the big dam and having a little leisure time I
took my gun and had not been long in the woods when within a cluster of small
trees I saw a deer. I fired and the
deer disappeared. Directly in the
same place I saw a deer an fired again with the same result as before.
Within a few seconds the act was repeated.
You may judge my surprise when upon investigation I found three dead deer
within a 16 foot circle.
time while standing on a stump, I killed 5 deer with six shots.”
is known as the “Denton farm,” I killed three deer with two shots.”
said, at an early day, fish were so numerous at the first dam from the mouth of
Thunder Bay River, known as the “Oldfield dam,” that by dropping the tail
board of the box and backing the wagon under water. Letting it remain a few
moments, then by a rope attached for the purpose, raise the tailboard to its
place, one could drive out with a full wagon of fish.”
foregoing are samples of Mr. Thorne’s hunting and fishing stories.
Thorne served thee terms as Highway Commissioner and two terms as Treasurer of
Long Rapids township.
He is a
member of the Long Rapids Tent No. 229 K.O.T.M.M. and a member of Long Rapids
Grange. He is also a member of
“Michigan Bee Keepers Association” and of the “National Bee Keepers
industrious, Mr. Thorne has earned a competency sufficient for himself and
family during the remainder of their lives.
As a bee
keeper he is successful. During the
past season he harvested from 9 colonies 1,303 pounds of honey.
He now has 30 colonies.
good cows in which Gurnsey blood predominates and plenty of young cattle, three
good horses and a very valuable 4-year-old.
He has a good sow, of the Chester white denomination.
Of hens he has a large flock of good laying strain, selected by laying
the axe across the neck of those that refuse to lay.
bearing trees he has 130 of apple, 10 cherry trees, and other fruit trees, and
when the tree refuses to bear, either apple, pear, plum or cherry, Mr. Thorne
drives a stake through its heart.
has ??? acres under cultivation, a good farm house, 3028 feet, a stone cellar
under all. His barn No. 1 is 45X75
feet; barn No. 2, 20X48 ; cow barn 16X30 feet: a good bee house and other out
writing Mr. and Mrs. Thorne are enjoying a good degree of health.
For several years Mr. Thorne suffered from rheumatism contracted while
working in the woods and on drives, but is now quite free from rheumatic