What I find interesting is the common "three brothers" story. My Dad tells a story of three Thole brothers - he's always believed the brothers to be his grandfather and two brothers (names given before).
The story goes that the three brothers were given a choice: wait a week and go by steam ship, or leave earlier by sail ship. They chose the sail ship. About two weeks out to sea, they saw the steam ship pass them!
I have a hunch that 'my' Thole's came to Clinton County, IL, because there was other family here, but I'm not sure what that family connection is.
How do you pronounce the surname? We've always pronounced it (Toe-lee). Thole is my maiden name.