Source: Wabash Plain Dealer, March 7, 1923. Obituary of Isaac Thorne's wife Abie (Cowgill) Thorne
In 1850 Isaac Thorne went to California during the gold rush. While he was gone Mrs. Thorne kept a millinery store in her home. She often made the remark during this time that she reared Thomas R. Marshall on her door step, as his mother would put him in his cart outside her door, for her to watch while his mother was busy.
Source: North Manchester Journal, September 16, 1909-John L. Cowgill, Obituary
In 1852 John L. Cowgill, leaving his family in North Manchester, went to California and spent eight years in the gold fields of that country, being among the early seekers after the precious metal in that country. He returned to Wabash county in 1860.
Source: North Manchester Journal, September 28, 1893
Martin B. Dunbar, of Washington, has been making a visit with his brother, Scott Dunbar, of this city. Mr. Dunbar is quite an old, but still sprightly gentleman who can tell a great many interesting things about his western experience. He was one of the "forty-niners" and has been a resident of the Pacific coast ever since. He is on his way back east for a visit for the first time, we believe, since going west.
Source: North Manchester Journal, September 28, 1893
Forty-five Years in the Gold Fields.
Martin B. Dunbar, oldest brother of our townsman Scott Dunbar, a gentleman in his seventy-third year, whose home is on the Skagit river near its mouth into Puget Sound, Washington, came to his brother's in this city about ten days ago. This is their first meeting in forty-five years, over forty years of which time neither had the faintest trace of the other.
The life of the older brother reads like a romance. He left the parental roof near Bangor, State of Maine, early in the forties and came west. For a time he worked as a carpenter on the cathedral, the first church edifice the Catholics had up to that time built in Chicago. In the time he lingered at and near Chicago he assisted as one of the corps of engineers in locating the roadbed of what was then known as the Chicago and Galena railroad.
At the very first news of the discovery of gold in California Mr. Dunbar left Chicago for his home in Maine. At Bangor he joined a party of thirty-five able-bodied young men bound for the gold fields via ship around Cape Horn. That little party chartered a sailing craft of the smaller size, first because it was within their means and secondly they hoped to reach the interior of the country by sailing up the Sacramento river. The company divided up the space each member was entitled to for the storage of whatever goods a member saw fit to take. It was understood however that each should take not less than a four year's supply of provisions and clothing and of course all had picks, shovels, etc. The little ship left the coast of Maine in mid-winter on its long journey. Of the number comprising the company, Mr. Dunbar is, he believes, the only surviving member. The staunch little ship after an uneventful passage of six months landed its cargo on the banks of the slough near where Stockton soon became a city.
Our hero does not seem to have been an exception to the customary forty-niner, as he worked in every mining camp from one end of the Sate to the other, including a few trips to Idaho and Montana as reports seemed to justify. At length the precious metal was struck and the hegira began to the famed Cassiar mines in the British possessions. Not to be left behind, he soon found himself under another flag where he stayed many years.
About thirteen years ago he found himself drifting from town to camp and back to towns again as circumstances seemed to dictate along the shores of Puget sound. About that time he made up his mind that he had traveled far enough chasing down the stories of the wonderful richness of some far off and almost inaccessible spot, each story turning out to be as far from the actual facts as all its predecessors had done before. He said: "I had lost my grip, as the boys say, and was looking for a place of quiet, outside of the current where I might build a cabin and surround it with vegetables on which I might subsist in my place of retirement, but they found me out, attracted to my spot in the woods by reports of the fine truck I was growing. To my astonishment there was a demand for my stuff and I have prospered at it."
In speaking of the great fertility of the soil in that State he said: "I am afraid to tell you just how much grain and other products have been produced upon an acre. Soon after I took my claim in the woods, a German came among the farmers, settled near the shores of the sound and began renting what land he could get, raising nothing but oats and selling the product at never less than twenty dollars a ton for thrashed oats and very often at double that price. That dutchman has got rich. The hop crop of that State is a valuable one. This year's picking began the week I left (Sept. 13th), and seventeen cents a pound was the price offered." He says that all over ten cents a pound represents profit to the owner.
Mr. Dunbar is very enthusiastic in his praise of Washington as a state, and Seattle as its principal city. He is the oldest son of a family of fourteen and our friend Scott is the youngest boy of the lot. He said he was on his way to see all of the family that are living, the oldest of whom is a sister now in her 85th year, the wife of the foreman of the Bangor Courier, a position he has held for fifty years. The paper is now the property of Mr. Boutelle, the famous congressman from Maine. He will come back this way to spend a day or so, then to Chicago and the great fair and home by November 1.
Mr. Dunbar said much that was interesting in the hour he spent in the writer's sick room that perhaps has escaped our recollection, but we hope to meet him on his return here under more favorable circumstances that we may learn more about the products of the soil, and such other information as he is loaded with that may be of value or of interest to the readers of the JOURNAL.