Biography of Fielden M. Thorp
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FIELDEN M. THORP. – Mr. Thorp is spoken of as rough in his exterior, but as having a warm heart, a man who has taken great interest in improving the Indians among whom he has lived, and as of such strict honesty that his word is taken everywhere to be as good as hi bond. He is every inch a frontiersman, and is the son of a frontiersman who ranged over Missouri before that region was set off as a state. This old father was, moreover, a veteran and pensioner of the war of 1812.
Fielden left Missouri in 1844 for the Pacific coast, coming across the plains with a party of twenty-six men, and a train of twelve wagons. Much of the way led through sage-brush’ and, as was customary; the head team of one day took the rear the next day, each one thus taking a turn at breaking the brush. The trip down the Columbia from The Dalles was effected by rafts as usual; but Mr. Thorp, with one other man, added to this the feat of shooting the Cascades in a canoe, perhaps the only craft of this kind that ever came safely through that fearful torrent. The Hudson’s Bay People might well have looked upon those “Missourians” as bearing a charmed life, when, unused to water, they safely took such risks.
Making a landing near the present site of Portland, Mr. Thorp went out to the Tualatin Plains, finding employment in splitting rails to an extent sufficient to procure, with the proceeds of this labor, provisions for the winter; and after that he went into Polk county, where he lived for a number of years, and subsequently resided in Benton county. But the Willamette valley, as the years sped by, grew too populous; and in 1861 he sought the uninhabited region of the Yakima, making a new home in the Moxee valley, ranching and cattle-ranging until 1869, when he pushed farther into the wilderness, taking up his present farm on the Kitittass, near Ellensburgh, Washington Territory. His youthful restlessness was wearing away; and his farm and home are a comfortable retreat. His business is flourishing; and he lives in a sunny old age, surrounded by his children, all of whom are well-to-do.
Mrs. Thorp, whose maiden name was Bound, was born in Tennessee in 1822, and now in her sixty-eighth year is active and well able to conduct her household duties. She has reared a family of nine children, three of whom died in their infancy. The lives of both Mr. and Mrs. Thorp have been full of toils, labors and hardships, but have been of great use to the Pacific Northwest, and are crowned with such blessings as this old earth can afford.