Thorne & Bryan Genealogy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Last Page Activity: Nov 22, 2015         
Fred Clifton [Cliff] THORNE


Birth:  12 May 1890  Vancouver, British Columbia   Dr. in Attendance J. A. Mills

Baptized "according to rites & ceremonies of the Anglican Church on July 7, 1890 at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver B.C. by 'H. P. Hobson' Officiate Certified by Northcot Burke, Dean & Rector, Christ Church Cathedral March 1, 1957"  

Death:  20 Oct 1983  Grand Forks, British Columbia

Father:  Fred Clayton THORNE (1862-1948)

Mother:  Cora 'Emma' TERRY (1861-1946)


Spouse:  Burtrelle Mary IRWIN

Birth:  19 Feb 1889 (1888?) Emlenton, Venango Co, PA, USA  

Death:  25 Jul 1943   Vancouver, British Columbia 1

Burial: Brackendale, British Columbia

Father:   James Atwell IRWIN

Mother:   Grace Margaret POLLOCK


Marriage: 31 Jan 1914  Vancouver Christ Church Cathedral,  Vancouver, British Columbia 2




Bonnie Eileen (1916-2012)

Clifton 'Irwin' (1920-)



Spouse:  Agnes McDONALD (Cliff's 2nd wife)

Marriage:  1951 Squamish, British Columbia

No Children.






L-R back: Clifton, Harold; middle Emma, Fred; front: Edna, Doris & Ella

Notes for Fred Clifton [Cliff] THORNE

THE GAZETTE, Grand Forks, BC   Wednesday, February 2, 1983

TO BE A PIONEER -- Cliff Thorne Profiled

Cliff Thorne can remember when Vancouver was "just a big mud hole;" when English Bay was full of fishing boats, and when he used to take his intended for afternoon buggy rides.

Thorne is 92 and now lives at Boundary Lodge.

He's lived all his life in BC and could turn his hand to anything that cam along, from hunting, to logging, to ranching. For the first 30 years he worked only for himself. "Jack of all trades, master of none," he told The Gazette during an afternoon of reminiscing.

Thorne was born in Vancouver in 1890. His early memories are of great activity in the town and fires burning everywhere as people cleared the land. His parents had come from Ontario. They had homesteaded in Manitoba for a time before they headed west. "But, my mother was frightened of the Indians. When Dad had to go into town for supplies, it would take him a whole day. The Indians would come and peek in the windows. they were just curious, but Mum was quite frightened.


Hop Farm in Squamish (picture not part of article)

In 1884 (sic) (actually 1894) Dad got a job managing a hops farm at Squamish," He recalled. The trip up to Squamish from Vancouver was something he never forgot. "There was my parents, my two older sisters, me and my little brother. The road was rough and there were stumps all over the place. It was barely wide enough to take the wagon."

Thorne remembers his astonishment at the tick moss growing on the Black Maples. "Hey Mum, look at the plush on the trees!"

Life in Squamish was very isolated. "There used to be a little steam tug come into Squamish every two weeks - "Bubble and Squeak," we called it. There was an old Englishman [who] used to run the store and the post office and he'd take the mail sack and just dump the mail on the floor. 'There it is,' he'd say. 'Get your own mail'."



"Sometimes we couldn't wait for the tug to come in, and we'd head down to Vancouver in our canoe. We'd pick a day when the tide was right and we'd leave Squamish about six at night. There was always a breeze from the north, and we'd be in Vancouver for breakfast. On the return journey, it was just the opposite. We'd leave at six in the morning, and there was always a strong wind up Howe Sound, and we'd be home in time for supper. We'd stop off in Horseshoe Bay to make tea on our way home. Nothing but rocks and stumps there, then. And look at it now."

Thorne was working for himself by the time he was 14, after only a few years in the little red schoolhouse. "I only had a very common kind of education. One of my sisters was quite clever, but eventually she had to quit school because she knew more than teacher did. He couldn't teach her anything else."


Burtrelle and Cliff with daughter, Bonnie 


At 17, Thorne was making $2.50 a day hunting deer up at the Cheakamus Valley with his brother. "There were whole herds of 'em. We's ship them down to Vancouver, to a butcher I knew on Robson Street." Thorne showed a photograph he took of his brother on his horse at the head of their pack team, two huge stags on the backs of the pack horses.

He spoke fondly and sadly of his wife, Bitrell (sic) Mary Irwin, they called her 'Burt', dead now for 40 years. "I miss her still." They were married in 1914 and had two children, a son and a daughter.



By this time, Thorne had his own 190 acre ranch and used to take out contracts for supplying the 75-ft. pilings for the Squamish wharf. He only had one hired hand and a four-horse team to handle the big timbers. He remembers haying time, when the fields would be full of men scything the hay -- "$2.50 for 10 hours of work a day, six days a week, and no coffee breaks. No, you wouldn't get 'em to do that now, and I don't blame them," he said.

Harold at head of pack team, with stags on backs of the pack horses.


Thorne also worked on survey teams in the bush, and for a time he rode a pack train supplying work gangs between Squamish and Pemberton. He remembers BC Rail when it was the Pacific and Great Eastern Railroad and further back than that, when that was the Howe Sound & Northern. "After my wife died in 1944, I built myself a log house at Brakendale (sic) (north of Squamish). I was working on the Howe Sound and Northern doing the survey work in the summer. Of course, you couldn't get that kind of thing done in the winter. There was a lot of logs lying around, just the right size, where the power line had gone through, just near where I wanted to build. I got permission to use the logs and built my house with them. Took me three years and I lived there for 12. Had no help with it at all. There was a nice trout stream nearby. I've always liked to fish. Used to go about once a week to the store to get supplies."




Later on, Thorne bought a cattle ranch up the North Fork and after a number of years, he and his son ran it together. He remembers being out on the range for three or four days at a time. "You couldn't always find the herds. The range covered 15,000 acres of leased land, up Lynch Creek." He'd take his saddle horse, a pack horse and a plastic sheet for his lean-to.

But now, after 83 years as a pioneer Thorne finds himself restricted in getting about. His eyesight isn't as good as it once was. He isn't that interested in socializing either. "If you can't see and you can't hear too well, what's the point?" He enjoys Boundary Lodge and says he is quite comfortable. "I've lived alone a lot, and I find I can entertain myself quite well. I have my radio and I can get anywhere in the world on that."

And besides, he has his wonderful memories.

Five Generations
Excerpt from letter Cliff wrote his sister Edna April 3, 1909:  
"I don't expect I will be down in the Valley again for some time unless something funny happens.  So I might as well tell you now what I intend to do.  I suppose you will expect a wedding present from me.  I suppose you will want a tailor made wedding dress   if you do just go ahead and don't mind expenses but have it made and I will pay for it.  Let me know about what time you will want the money and I will give you an order.  Be sure and write in lots of time because it will take the letter some time to get to me.  Cliff."

Note:  see wedding dress on Edna Thorne's page.

Excerpt from letter his mother, Cora Emma, wrote  (as best it could be deciphered):  1944 Apr 10  (written in pencil from Brackendale to her son-in-law, Ralph Van Horne, at 626 West 13th, Vancouver).  "... then at 7pm my dear son Clifton ran in to see me or us & Jack while he was up to cemetry to put a lovely bouquet of flowers on his wife's grave, he never forgets. He brought me flowers as well, & he has joined the Rangers. Harold got him at last. He said he'd get shot but not before he shot five. Got home at supper time, went at eleven & nothing to eat, but when he went home there was a lovely dinner Bonnie left him. Chicken, baked potatoes in oven, parsnips & pudding & a note on table saying 'be home for dinner', & he said it was a big surprise & a good one. Said all he had to do was set the table & eat. He looks so well & walks like a man & sure of himself. Oh it does me so much good."

More photos of Squamish Hop Farm at SQUAMISH VALLEY HOP RANCH

Excerpt from letter from Bonnie Bennett to her Aunt Edna & Uncle Ralph Van Horne November 2, 1962 from her father Cliff's place near Grand Forks B.C.  
"Dad is just fine, and enjoys it here.  Nice & warm and 'Indoor Plumbing'.  So he's OK.  He has very good neighbours, who come over once a day, so there is no need to worry about him at all.   I am certainly thankful that Julie is up here, or I'd go nuts.  It is too darn quiet for my liking.  Thank heaven I married a City Man!"

Excerpt from letter from Cliff to 'All the Van Hornes' September 7, 1971
 "Have all our harvesting finished.  Over 7000 bales of hay and combined 5 tons of barley.  Everything (storage rooms) full and will have plenty of feed for winter.  Have 101 head of stock and 5 horses.  May not sell many this fall as the price is going down.  Better prices in the spring.  Got everything in without being rained on except the first part of the first cutting. ... The day we finished it rained torrents all that night so will have good pasture this fall.  Was a touch of frost last night but Julie has her garden well in hand.  Nothing but corn that could be hurt. 

Excerpt from letter from Cliff to 'All the Van Hornes' January 24, 1974  "Sometimes I sing if I am alone on the range.  Don't like anyone to hear me sing anymore as my old voice is haywire.  Everything fine here.  Very mild just now with a fall of snow today.  About 4 inches. ...  Saw a cougar back of my cabin yesterday. Irwin went after it with 2 dogs but it got away in the cliffs on mountainside.  Too much ice for dogs. Cougar will climb tree and jump to higher cliff."

Excerpt from letter from Cliff to 'All the Van Hornes' June 15, 1975  "All stock out on the range now except 20 head that we are keeping home. I have kept busy getting in my winters wood.  Repairing barn roof.  Repairing corral gates.  We had a terrific wind a while back.  Blew the roofs of of 2 calf sheds.  Our neighbour (Paul) across the river from us had his hay barn blown down flat. Capacity 6000 bales of hay.  .... I'm going down to Kettle River (about 20 miles away) tomorrow to watch a raft race which should prove interesting. On Monday I am to see an eye Dr in Grand Forks."

THORNEs in Squamish Rangers ca1944.   Cliff Thorne top row 5th from left.   Art Thorne bottom row 5th from left. 


1. Death Registration Archives, B13180, GSU 1953640.

2. Marriage Registration Archives, B11378, GSU 1983706.

3. The Gazette, Grand Forks, BC, Wednesday, February 2, 1983, "To Be A Pioneer -- Cliff Thorne Profiled."

4. Family letters