Herman Thorp

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Herman S. Thorp (first name also Hermon,[1] last name also Thorpe; January 19, 1809 – February 7, 1892) was an American farmer from Bristol or Cypress, Wisconsin who served as a Free Soil Party member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from Racine County, and a Republican member of the Wisconsin State Senate from the 8th District (Kenosha County).[2]


Thorp was born in Connecticut in 1809, and moved to Wisconsin in 1839, settling at Bristol.[3]

On September 3, 1844, he served as a delegate from Bristol to the Racine County Democratic Party Convention.[4]

Assembly service[edit]

He served one term in the Assembly (the Second [1849] Session of the State Legislature, which convened on January 10, 1849, and adjourned April 2, 1849) from southern Racine County (the Towns of Brighton, Bristol, Paris, Salem and Wheatland[5]) as a Free Soiler, succeeding Democrat Elias Woodworth, Jr.. At that time Thorp was living in or near Bristol.[6] He was succeeded in the 1850 session by fellow Free Soiler George M. Robinson.

Return to private life[edit]

At the October 10, 1851 Kenosha County (Kenosha County was by that time no longer the southern portion of Racine County) Democratic convention, Thorp was nominated for the Wisconsin State Senate. A large portion of the delegates (12 of 29) would later withdraw from the convention over issues of platform and nominations.[7] It is unclear from the sources what the senate district was, and whether he ended up running for the office in the wake of the party split.

In 1853, Thorp was a prominent leader among those Kenosha County residents opposing any effort to lend the county's credit to raise money for railroad purposes.[8] In August 1853, he signed the call for a special non-partisan "Anti-Railroad Convention" to nominate a candidate for state senate who would "represent the farmers and producing classes generally" by opposing the subsidy.[9]

Senate service[edit]

In 1861, he was elected to the Senate as a Republican from the 8th (Kenosha County) District, and was listed as living in or near Cypress (which was actually an unincorporated village within the Town of Bristol); Republican incumbent George Bennett was apparently not a candidate for re-election. He won by an eighteen-vote majority over former Democratic state senator Orson S. Head, a victory which Head challenged on the grounds that in the Town of Bristol, ballots which merely read "Thorp" (or "Throp") were counted. The Senate's committee investigating the matter found that there was no other candidate named Thorp running and that ballots merely reading "Head" were counted for Head; and ruled Thorp the victor.[10] According to his official biography, he was a farmer. He was assigned to the standing committees on town and county organization; and on internal improvements: he served as chairman of the latter.[11]

For the 1863 session (at which time he was once again listed as living near Bristol) he was assigned to the standing committees on roads, bridges and ferries; on contingent expenses and on the state prison, chairing the latter two committees; and to the joint committee on claims.[12] He did not run for re-election in 1863, and was succeeded by Anthony Van Wyck of the Republican/National Union Party.

After the legislature[edit]

Thorp remained active as a Republican. He was a delegate from Kenosha County to the party's 1880 First Congressional District convention; he was elected to the resolutions committee of the convention, and to serve on the district party's executive committee for the coming year.[13]

Thorp eventually moved from Bristol (where he had settled in 1839) to Salem in the same county, and then to Kenosha.[14] He was married to Emeline L. Thorp (maiden name unknown), who died May 21, 1887, at the age of 71. He died February 7, 1892; they are buried in the Town of Salem in the Liberty Corners Cemetery (latitude 42° 31' 04.1" N; longitude 88° 05' 53.3" W).[15]


  1. ^ "Mortgage Sale". Southport Telegraph. September 28, 1841. p. 3. Retrieved July 31, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ "Members of the Wisconsin Legislature 1848–1999 Archived 2006-12-09 at the Wayback Machine.. State of Wisconsin Legislative Bureau. Information Bulletin 99-1, September 1999, pp. 19, 109.
  3. ^ Warren, John H.; Dean, John S., eds. The Legislative Manual of the State of Wisconsin, First ed. Madison: Smith and Cullaton, 1862, p. 72.
  4. ^ "Racine County Democratic Convention" Racine Advocate September 10, 1844; p. 2, col. 3
  5. ^ "State Legislature" Wisconsin Gazette January 16, 1849 (Vol. 9, No. 10; p. 1, col. 3
  6. ^ Turner, A. J., ed. The Legislative Manual of the State of Wisconsin. 13th ed. Madison: Atwood and Culver, 1874, pp. 155–56.
  7. ^ "By Telegraph: Reported for the Daily Sentinel By The O'Reilly Line: Democratic Convention Kenosha" Milwaukee Daily Sentinel October 13, 1851; Issue 250; p. 1, col. 6.
  8. ^ "Public Meeting" Kenosha Telegraph March 4, 1853; p. 2, col. 5
  9. ^ "Anti-Railroad Convention" Kenosha Telegraph September 9, 1853; p. 2, col. 8
  10. ^ Journal of the Senate of Wisconsin, Fourteenth Annual Session, For the Year A.D., 1862. Madison: Smith & Cullaton, State Printers-Argus Office, 1862; pp. 48,50–51.
  11. ^ Warren and Dean. pp. 72, 74, 113.
  12. ^ Dean, John S.; Stewart, Frank M., ed. The Legislative Manual of the State of Wisconsin 2nd ed. Madison: Atwood and Rublee, 1863, pp. 76, 78, 126.
  13. ^ "A Day of Conventions That Were Held in Various Sections of the Country: First Congressional District (Special Dispatch to the Sentinel" Milwaukee Daily Sentinel July 29, 1880; Issue 175; p. 1, col. 5
  14. ^ "All About the State: Deaths at Racine: Kenosha, Wis. Feb. 8" Milwaukee SentinelFebruary 9, 1892; pg. 8, col. 1
  15. ^ Photo of Thorps' tombstone

External links[edit]

Hermon S. Thorp at Find a Grave