John L. Thorp was born in Greensville County, Virginia in 1811 and died August 3, 1867 in Matagorda County.
A marriage record exists for a John L. Thorp who married Elizabeth A. Stewart on June 11, 1836 in Greensville County, Virginia.
John and Elizabeth and John's younger brothers, Henry and Peter moved to Matagorda County during the 1840s, likely 1846 or 1847. John was a planter and the two brothers practiced law in Matagorda.
1850 Census - Matagorda County
1860 Census - Matagorda County - Matagorda
Thorp's plantation was located in the William Rabb League No. 78.
The emancipation of his slaves was devastating to
John Thorpe and the plantation went in to decline. After his death
on August 3, 1867, all of his real and personal property was
auctioned at the courthouse door. Elizabeth and May were left with
very little. Elizabeth died c 1875 when May was about 18 years old.
She left a $10,000 insurance policy and a small acreage to May. At
the time of both deaths, John's brothers, Henry and Peter were the
administrators and guardians of May.
The Matagorda (Texas) Tribune contains the following report of two
days’ cotton picking in that vicinity, for the authority of which
the editor vouches. It is certainly the most extraordinary result we
ever heard of, and will doubtless astonish our readers:
Cotton Picking on Caney.—A correspondent, for the
authenticity of whose statements we will vouch in every particular,
sends us the following particulars of a test at cotton picking that
recently came off at the plantation of Col. Thorp, on Caney, which
we think figures a little ahead of any account we have yet seen
published. In case any doubt should be expressed, of the accuracy of
the statements given, we will here say that we have the
corroborating evidence of the gentlemen whose names are mentioned
Col. John L. Thorp, John L. Croom, and Darwin Thompson, Esqrs.,
being planters on Caney Creek, living near to each other, and having
each brag cotton pickers, concluded to have a fair trial of their
respective hands, and a bonus of $16 was to be given to the most
successful hands. October the 11th being a fair,
bright day, the competitors (four hands from each plantation)
commenced at sunrise on the plantation of Col. Thorp, and ended at
dark. One hour was lost by weighing the cotton, at 12 o’clock.
Messrs. Morris and Hill, gentlemen of veracity, were the weighers of
the cotton. The following was shown to be the result of the day’s
From the foregoing figures you will perceive that Col. Thorp’s four
hands averaged 842 ½; Mr. Croom’s 752 ¾; and Mr. Thompson’s 720
pounds each. The second day’s picking, on October the 13th,
a fair day, was at the plantation of Mr. Croom, and was as follows:
Col. Thorp’s averaged 1027 ½; Mr. Thompson’s 920; and Mr. Croom’s 788 ½ pounds.
Messrs. Copeland, Hill, Morris and Sammons were present at the picking; the hands began at sunrise and ended at sunset. If any slaves can beat this, they are welcome to the palm for cotton picking.
The total amount picked by the 12 hands in the two days is 20,210 pounds, being an average of 842 pounds to the hand per day. The four best hands picked in two days 7,860 pounds, averaging 985 pounds to the hand per day!
Carolina Watchman (Salisbury, N. C.), March 10, 1853
Aug. 6th 1866.
Being in good health and sound mind I make this my last will and
testament. As R. G. Turner, who has threatened to shoot me, is now
waiting to see Henry Thorp before he proceeds to kill me, the cause
of offence is that he got one of my then slaves with child and
threatened to shoot me if Mrs. Thorp, who knew whose child it was
and who explained to some of her friends whose child it [was], did
not give a lie bill & if I did father the child he would shoot me &
as the Girl had never denyed and had all way sayd it was his child,
my wife got her to give her a certificate of the fact which she
wished sworn to and authenticated which was carried to Dr. Turner
for which he expected to shoot me this evening, or the first time we
met and for these reasons I make this my last will and testament to
Item 1st I appoint my brothers Peter & Henry Thorp & my
wife E. A. Thorp as my executors.
I wish my brothers to revenge my death if I am murdered as I am so
old and feeble that I can’t help my self.
I wish them if possible to pay my just debts and if any thing is
left I wish it equally between my wife & daughter May, & if there is
not enough to support them, I wish my brothers to provide for them
as best they may.
I do not wish any wright my wife has in my estate by law to the exclusion of my creditors to be taken from her. If the worms do not destroy my cotton, I shall have enough to pay all of my debts in green backs, but if they do, my executors will have to sell my land. If not, they may keep up the plantation or rent them out as they may think best. If I should have any thing left and my wife & daughter should die without issue, I give all to my brothers Henry & Peter or the survivors.
J. L. Thorp. Seal
Filed 5 Oct 1867
W. Hillard C. C. C. M. C.
I, Elizabeth A. Thorp of the County of Matagorda in the State of
Texas of sound mind and disposing memory being mindful of the
uncertainty of life and the Certainty of death, do make this my Last
Will and testament, hereby revoking and annulling all Wills
heretofore made by me.
Item 1st I order and direct the payment of all my just debts as soon after my death as possible.
Item 2nd I give devise and bequeath to my well beloved
daughter May Thorp all the property real personal and mixed, of any
and every description whatsoever to which I may become entitled or
of which I may die seized or possessed.
Item 3rd Should my said daughter May depart this life
before she arrives at the age of twenty one years, leaving no issue,
then and in that case, I give devise and bequeath all my property
real, personal and mixed herein bequeathed to her to my Executors
Henry Thorp and Peter H. Thorp to be divided equally between them,
or the survivors of them and their heirs forever.
Item 4th I now hold a Policy of Ensurance on my life for
the sum of $10000.00 which though taken in the name of my said
daughter, really belongs to me. The amount of said Policy I wish my
executors to collect as soon after my death as possible and apply
the same or so much thereof as may be necessary to the support,
maintenance the thorough education of my said daughter May,
accounting to her or her husband alone for the disbursements
thereof. Trusting that my beloved daughter will duly appreciate my
anxiety for her future welfare and happiness I earnestly entreat her
to consult and advise with my said Executors or the survivors of
them, on all matters of importance; to remain under their
guardianship until she arrives at full age or marries, and under no
circumstances to enter into any engagement of marriage without their
consent and approval as I am satisfied that they will advise her to
her own benefit. But should my said daughter disregard these my last
solemn wishes, and marry without the consent and approval of my said
Executors or the survivors of them, then I authorize and direct my
said Executors withhold from my said daughter all property herein
bequeathed her, until she shall have arrived at the full age of
twenty one years.
Item 5th I hereby nominate constitute and appoint Henry
Thorp and Peter H. Thorp of the said County of Matagorda Executors
of this my Last Will, and hereby authorize and empower them to sell,
mortgage, dispose of and aliminate any or all of the property hereby
bequeathed or advised, and to make execute and deliver good and
sufficient titles to the purchasers thereof as to them may seem most
to the advantage of my said daughter. And I hereby order and direct
that no Bond shall be required of my said Executors and that no
other action shall be had in the County or Probate Court in
reference to the settlement of my Estate than the probate and
registration of this my Last Will and the return of the Inventory of
my said Estate.
Item 6th I hereby nominate and appoint Henry Thorp and
Peter H. Thorp guardian of the person and property of my said
daughter May, until she shall arrive at the age of twenty one years
or marries with the consent and approval of her said Guardians or
the survivor of them. I further order and direct that the said Henry
Thorp and Peter H. Thorp, hereby appointed guardians of the person
and property of my said daughter, shall not be required to give any
bond and security as such guardians but shall have power and
authority to sell, mortgage and aliminate any property belonging to
said minor and make execute and deliver good and sufficient titles
to the purchasers thereof as may seem best to said Guardians.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and scroll seal this the 4th day of March A. D. 1868.
Elizabeth A. Thorp
Signed sealed and declared by
In the matter of the Estate of Mrs. Elizabeth A. Thorp deceased
In open Court before one Jno. L. Croom, Clerk of the District Court of Matagorda Co. this day personally appeared Galen Hodges a resident of said Matagorda County and to me well known who after being duly and lawfully sworn doth depose and say that he saw Mrs. Elizabeth A. Thorp during her life time in the County of Matagorda and on the fourth (4) day of March A. D. 1868 sign the instrument of writing now presented for probate as the last will and testament of said Elizabeth A. Thorp, that said Elizabeth A. Thorp then and there declared the same to be her last will and testament and requested affiant and John Plunkett and V. B. Turner to sign the same as witnesses, that this affiant and said John Plunkett and V. B. Turner then and there signed said last will and testament (which is the same instrument now in Court) as witnesses in the presence of said testatrix Mrs. Elizabeth A. Thorp and of each other, that said Mrs. Elizabeth A. Thorp signed said instrument as her last will and testament in the presence of this affiant and said John Plunkett and V. B. Turner that said Mrs. Elizabeth A. Thorp was then of sound mind and above the age of twenty one years. That this affiant and John Plunkett and said V. B. Turner at the time of signing said last will and testament as witnesses were each above the age of fourteen years.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 29th day of March A. D. 1875 to which I certify officially.
John L. Croom
Will filed March 18th 1875
John Croom, Clerk D. C. M. C., By A. B. Braman Deputy
Copyright 2014 -
Present by the Taylor Family
Apr. 21, 2014
Apr. 21, 2014