Frank Thorpe was Jim Thorpe's older half-brother. Frank's mother, one of Hiram P. Thorpe's wives before he married Charlotte Vieux, died of diphtheria in Kansas. When Hiram made the hard winter trek down to Indian territory, four-year-old Frank was with him. Soon after their arrival, Hiram met Charlotte. Their first son, George, was born in 1881, six years before Jim and his twin brother, Charlie.
Although Frank was away at a boarding school for much of the time when Jim was young, the two had a special bond. In their adult years, whenever Jim returned to Oklahoma, he sought Frank out. When Thorpe made the hard choice to return to Carlisle after the Olympics, he wrote to his "Dear Brother Frank." "Well, Bud," he wrote, "I am right back in the game again."
When Jim died in 1951, it was Frank Thorpe who led the failed attempt to construct a shrine in Shawnee, Oklahoma, where his brother could be buried.