52 Ancestors: Storms


Many of the ancestors on my tree led remarkable lives, but only one had a tragic death. He managed to cross the country in a wagon train, mine for gold, and settle in a small town, only to die a sudden death in a landslide.

My 4x great-grandfather John Thrush was born in 1819 in Dauphin, Pennsylvania.

John Thrush 1820-1890
John Thrush

On 11 May 1840, he married Elizabeth Trimble in Clark, Missouri. They would live in Iowa for a while, where my 3x great grandmother Sarah was born in 1844.

thrush trimble marriage
John Thrush and Elizabeth Trimble’s marriage record.

According to information found on Find A Grave, the family traveled by to California in 1854, in search for gold. Their daughter Elizabeth was born in California in 1855.

The Early Oregonian Index states the family arrived in Oregon in 1856, three years before statehood. On the 1860, the family lived in Canyonville, south of Roseburg.

thrush 1860 canyonville
1860 United States Federal Census in Douglas County, Oregon.

They settled in Randolph by 1870, a town along the southern Oregon coast, located about seven miles north of modern-day Bandon.

thrush 1870 census
1870 United States Federal Census in the county of Coos, Oregon, showing the movement of the Thrush family via places of birth.

On ¬†1 February 1890, a landslide occurred in the town of Randolph. The book Pioneer History of Coos and Curry Counties, Or: Heroic Deeds and Thrilling Adventures of the Early Settlers, by Orvil Dodge (published in 1898) recounted the event. According to this history, at three o’clock in the afternoon a landslide occurred, crushing the Thrush house and carrying it into the town. John Thrush and his granddaughter Mary Russell were killed. He is buried in the Hultin Thrush Cemetery on the former Thrush property.

John Thrush

Randolph now considered a ghost town, with no remaining structures. The post office closed in 1893. According to my research, the cemetery still remains, but takes some effort to get to and the graves are unmarked, an unremarkable resting spot for a remarkable man.

If you are interested, you can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

Until next time,