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Oklahoma Family Tree Stories

This beautiful sculpture of three redbud trees with gold and silver leaves by artist Robin Starke is located just outside the Eleanor & John Kirkpatrick Research Center in the Oklahoma History Center. Each leaf of the "Oklahoma Family Tree" memorializes an Oklahoma family with the family surname, first name(s), and the town or county where they lived. In addition, a short family history will be preserved in the digital family history book at the base of the tree. This is a great way for your family to make history and benefit future generations at the same time. To find out how to honor your own family with a leaf visit the Oklahoma Family Tree Project page.

Thorp Family

George Washington "G. W." Thorp was born on February 26, 1853, in Warsaw, Benton County, Missouri. He died on March 26, 1930, in Sentinel, Washita County, Oklahoma. Both of his parents, George Washington and Sarah (née McCarty), died in Benton County, he in 1855 and she in 1866. After his mother died, G. W. remained in Warsaw for three years and lived with his sister and brother-in-law, Mary Ann (Thorp) and Bluford Bybee.

In 1872-73, G. W. and his friend, Benjamin Keeran, traveled by horseback from Missouri to Denton County, Texas where G. W.'s brother and sister-in-law, William Thomas and Mina (née West), lived. Although their exact route is unknown, the duo's most likely route took them through Indian Territory (later, the state of Oklahoma). There were few well-traveled routes through Indian Territory. One was the East Shawnee Trail, and another passed by Fort Gibson southeast of Tulsa. They might have near Fort Washita, which was north of Colbert's Ferry on the Red River and further north of Denton County, Texas, which was their final destination.

G. W. and Benjamin made it to Denton County, where G. W. lived with William and Mina. While living with his brother and sister-in-law, G. W. met Lydia Jones at a church meeting. Mina's father, William C. West, and Lydia's father, Arthur Lafayette Jones, were Baptist circuit preachers, and on occasion, they preached in the same church. G. W. and Lydia were married on May 7, 1874, in Wichita County, Texas.

News of "free land" in Oklahoma Territory caught G. W.'s and Lydia's attention. In 1895, they sold their land in Collin County, Texas and moved to Lexington, Cleveland County, Oklahoma, where G. W. applied for a homestead. His application no. 4817 and final certificate no. 1423 were registered with the Government Land Office in Oklahoma Territory on April 26, 1895. When asked about improvements required by homestead law, G. W. stated that he had built a three-room box house in December 1889. Other improvements included a crib, sheds, lots, an orchard with a hundred fruit trees, two wells, seventy-five acres in cultivation, and fencing. The property was valued at $600.

G. W. sold his land and moved to Washita County, Oklahoma, where he and Lydia bought property near the small community of Port. George farmed and raised livestock in Washita County before he and Lydia retired and moved to Sentinel. G. W. and Lydia died in Sentinel in 1930 and were buried in the Sentinel City Cemetery.

Narrative by Joyce Thorp Johnson, great granddaughter of G. W. and Lydia Jones Thorp.

 Children of G. W. and Lydia Jones Thorp
Unknown infant died, place unknown
Unknown infant died, place unknown
Infant girl died, place unknown
Infant girl died, place unknown
Mary Ella Thorp: born 1875, Denton County, Texas; died June 2, 1945, Sentinel, Oklahoma
Sarah Margaret Thorp: born 1876, Wichita County, Texas; died November 16, ____, Sentinel, Oklahoma
Oscar Lafayette Thorp: born January 1, 1881, Burns City, Texas; died Borger, Hutchison County, Texas
Belva Ethel Thorp: born August 29, 1888, Celina, Collin County, Texas; died July 8, 1973, Amarillo, Potter County, Texas
George Dewey Thorp: born July 20, 1898, Celina, Collin County, Texas; died February 3, 1971, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Jewel Lydia Thorp: born December 23, 1900, Port, Washita County, Oklahoma; died San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas

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