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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sacramento County



The associations of childhood and youth were such as to familiarize Mr. Thorp with machinery of all kinds, for he passed his early life in the great manufacturing town of Manchester, England, where he was born December 6, 1883, and where for a long period representatives of the name had been identified with the avocations that brought fame and prosperity to the city. He was the only son of John and Ann (Harding) Thorp, natives of Yorkshire and Cheshire respectively. From his earliest recollections he was interested in the operation and control of machinery and as soon as he had completed the studies of the city schools he began to serve an apprenticeship to the machinist's trade. Under the direction of the firm that made the original type of a certain kind of cotton-spinning machinery, he studied the intricacies of the occupation and acquired considerable efficiency as a workman. To complete the trade, however, required an apprenticeship of seven years and he was eager to come to America; therefore at the expiration of five years he relinquished his connection with the firm and cast in his destiny with the far west, coming in 1903 to Sacramento, where he has since resided. During the first four years of his association with this city he was employed in the machine shop of the Southern Pacific Railroad and later he spent two years as a draughtsman with the same company.

In the meantime a desire to acquire a knowledge of some other occupation had been formulated in the mind of Mr. Thorp, who in December of 1909 retired from the railroad service and allied himself with the Weinstock-Lubin Company, proprietors of one of the largest department stores of Northern California. For a time he held the position of floorwalker. In order that he might familiarize himself with the art of salesmanship he later served in various retail departments and with accurate precision studied the different stocks. When qualified for greater responsibilities he was promoted to be assistant superintendent of the establishment and in this position he has a general supervision of all of the employes in the establishment. In business he is proving himself to be efficient, intelligent and capable, attentive to the smallest details, yet grasping in their entirety the largest plans made by the company for the development of the concern. An unfailing courtesy and attention to the wishes of customers characterize him, while a progressive temperament leads him to promote the latest improvements adopted in the business world. Not only is he progressive and popular in commercial circles, but socially he also has a high standing and as a member of the Sutter Club his name has been associated with prominent civic enterprises and select social functions of the capital city.

The marriage of Sidney G. Thorp was solemnized in Grace Pro- Cathedral, San Francisco, by Bishop Nicholls, January 11, 1911, and united him with Miss Ethel Gillett, a graduate of the Leland Stanford University and one of the most popular and promising young ladies in Sacramento. Mrs. Thorp is a daughter of Hon. James Norris Gillett, who was born at Viroqua, Wis., September 20, 1860, came to California in 1884 and settled at Eureka. From 1897 to 1899 he represented the Eureka district as state senator. During 1902 he was elected to congress and at Washington his service was so effectively beneficial to the state of California that he was reelected, his second term ending in 1906. The next year witnessed his election on the Republican ticket as governor of California and he continued as chief executive imtil 1911, meanwhile devoting considerable attention to the securing of the Panama Exposition for San Francisco and also aiding to secure an appropriation of $18,000,000 to construct the state highway from the Oregon border to the boundaries of Mexico. Since the expiration of his term as governor he has devoted his attention largely to the preparation for what promises to be the greatest exposition the world has ever known, besides looking after his varied interests, making his home in Oakland. Mr. and Mrs. Thorp are members of St. Paul's Episcopal Church and not only lend their influence and support to the philanthropies of the congregation, but to all worthy movements for the betterment of the conditions of the citizens of their adopted city. 

History of Sacramento County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: William L. Willis
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1913)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011