Since posting that original message, I've discovered that Dad's 3 Thole Brother story was most likely not his grandfather. Maybe his great-grandfather? I still believe that Dad's ancestors came over to meet up with family somewhere in Madison or Clinton County, IL.
Dad's Grandfather was Gerhard Thole, the 5th of 6 children to Heinrich Thole and Mary Suzanna Hermes. The family of 8 came to the States circa 1884.
Does that shake anything loose for anyone?