It’s time to step back and take a look at all the puzzle pieces in the Annie Thompson, Who’s Your Daddy? story.
What did I already know before I started this journey?
- “Anny” Thompson married James Madison Holland on 27 November 1818 in Howard County, Missouri.
- Annie likely died before 1830, when James was the head of household with young children, but no adult female. She may well have died giving birth.
- James Holland was born in Kentucky c1791-1794. His father, Ephraim Holland married a second wife in 1794 in Fayette County, Kentucky. If James was born c1791-1793, then his mother is unknown. However, the family lived in Scott County, Kentucky, both during the 1810 census and when Ephraim died in 1814.
- There is at least one group of Thomson-Thompsons living in Scott and Fayette Counties, Kentucky at the same time as the Holland family.
- Between 1810 and 1818, a group of settlers from Scott County, Kentucky made their way 500 miles westward to Howard County, Missouri. James Holland was one of these settlers, as were several of the Thomson/Thompson group.
- In Kentucky, the name was generally spelled Thomson, but in Missouri, it shows up as Thomson, Thompson and Tompson, all referring to the same person. I concluded, especially with the clerk spelling Annie’s name as Anny, that the surname spelling in Kentucky was important (and that that group was literate), but in Missouri, it didn’t mean much.
There is a wild card that fits into this story. James Holland and Annie Thompson had a large family before she died. Known children include:
- John, born 10 January 1820
- Sarah, born c1821
- Ephraim, born July 1822
- James, born 25 February 1824
- Mary, born c1826
Their son, James, my husband’s direct line, married a young lady named Elizabeth Eramanthus Scott on 9 June 1847 in Howard County, Missouri, indicating to me that the bride’s family most likely lived in Howard County. I spent many hours delving into Scott records in Howard County, hoping to prove who Elizabeth’s parents were. The most likely suspect was a widow, Sarah Scott, living in Howard County with two young ladies, likely her daughters, in 1850.
Elizabeth was born in Missouri, so I assumed for the time being that she was born in Howard County. That led me to search Scotts in the 1830 and 1840 censuses, hoping to find some bread crumbs. I had little success, but one of the Scotts that seemed to be a possibility was Samuel W. Scott, living in Howard County in 1830, but gone in 1840. In 1840, a Sally Scott (Sally being a nickname for Sarah) appeared with a household full of children. Probate records proved that Samuel died in 1835. Sarah was gone by 1860, but I kept this little bit of information in the back of my mind and it turned out to be an important part of this story.
At this point, we need to take a look at the Thompson FAN clubs, both in Kentucky and Missouri. Marsha Hoffman Rising, a noted genealogist who passed away in 2010, published Opening the Ozarks: The First Families in Southwest Missouri, which proved the theory that families didn’t migrate by themselves. They traveled as a group to new frontiers. Elizabeth Shown Mills refined this idea now referred to as the FAN (Friends, Associates, Neighbors) Club. The FAN Club is what allowed me to sort out the various Thomson/Thompson people.
What was my methodology here? I started by looking for family information posted online for the Thomson families in Fayette and Scott Counties, Kentucky. Most of the data I found was backed up by digitized wills and probate files, but I did find a few errors where people mixed up two or more men of the same name in the families. I also found some marriage records and a few newspaper items on the family. The THOMSON clan in Kentucky were not only literate, they were fairly wealthy plantations owners, lawyers and military men of the “General” rank.
I then followed mostly Asa Thomson’s children into Howard County, Missouri, where I don’t think the clerks ever asked how they spelled their surname. I quickly discovered that there were at least two and probably three Thomson/Thompson families in Howard County well before 1830. (There is no 1820 census for Missouri.) Digitized probate records and online marriage records helped sort out these families. I also looked closely at the 1830 census with my eye on James Holland and his neighbors.
The first spark that really caught my attention was an entry for a 26 February 1821 marriage record in Howard County, Missouri on Ancestry.
Remember, Annie Thompson married James Holland in 1818 AND I suspected that Samuel W. Scott and his widow Sarah might be the parents of Elizabeth Scott who married James Holland, son of James Sr. and Annie Thompson. By the way, a cursory look into Samuel W. Scott indicates that he migrated to Missouri from – yes, you guessed it – possibly Scott County, Kentucky.
I had already looked at the 1830 census for Howard County and, while James Holland didn’t seem to be living close to the Thomsons, he did live in the neighborhood where some of their relatives by marriage lived. A second look with new eyes noticed E. Thompson several doors away.
I did a bit of further digging. E. Thompson was Ephraim Thompson, who died intestate in Howard County in 1847. Ephraim Thompson had been the executor of the estate of Elmore Thompson, who died in Howard County in 1840. One Hannah Thompson married William Alexander on 10 January 1833 next door in Boone County and Polly Thompson married William Clarkston on 30 November 1827, also in Boone County. BLM land records show Ephraim Thompson patenting land in Howard and Boone Counties in on 1 November 1827.
I think I have found a new FAN Club centered on Ephraim Holland. Who was he?
With RootsTech 2017 in full swing, there will be a short break in this Thompson saga. It will resume on Thursday, 16 February. I have my theory already and am hoping that time in the Family History Library accessing deeds will provide my proof.