Casting a Net for Ephraim Thompson’s Family

So, where are we in terms of identifying Annie Thompson’s parents as well as the parents of Sarah Thompson, who married Samuel W. Scott, who I now believe are likely sisters? I think sometimes our ancestors just like to tease us from the beyond.

Originally, I suspected that Annie was a child of one of the Thompsons living in Scott County, Kentucky in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The name Rodes Thompson appeared in one of the probate documents for Ephraim Holland, father of James Holland who married Annie.

After a deep dive into that family with several posts sharing my findings, I no longer believe she was related to that Thompson clan. First, they didn’t live anywhere near each other, based on the early Missouri census records. Second, they had no further ties by marriage or business, as far as I can tell. Lastly, the Scott County Thompsons were wealthy people, marrying into the upper echelons of society. That wasn’t so for the Holland/Hollen family.

Having ruled out the Scott County faction, I turned my attention to other Thompsons living in Howard County, Missouri.

There are nine Thompson heads of household, but I can eliminate several because they either tie into the Asa Quarles Thompson clan from Scott County or else they are too young to be the father or Annie Thompson, who was likely born about 1800. However, there was one very promising lead to be investigated:

Howard County, Missouri, 1830 Census

I wish the census taker hadn’t been so lazy and had actually recorded the first names, but look at family #3 – J. Holland. That is James Holland, with no adult female in the household. Annie Thompson Holland had already died by this time, possibly giving birth to the son or daughter under the ages of five.

Now, take another look at family #6 – E. Thompson, who is aged 50-60, with a likely wife and several unmarried apparent children at home. This is the family of Ephraim Thompson, who migrated from the Mercer/Washington Counties area of Kentucky in 1817/1818, about the same time that James Holland/Hollen and the Asa Thompson families left Scott County.

I believe, at least for the moment, that Ephraim Thompson is the father of both Annie and Sarah Thompson.

My theory is this:

Ephraim Thompson was born c1772, or possibly a bit earlier, in a place as yet unidentified. The 1810 Washington County, Kentucky census record puts his birth in the range of 1766-1784, which fits facts known about the ages of his purported children.  He died in 1847, before the 1850 census, in which he would have stated his place of birth. (None of his children lived to be enumerated in the 1880 census, where their parents’ places of birth would have been recorded.) I believe he is the Ephraim Thompson who married Sallie Curry on 18 October 1798 in Mercer County, Kentucky. It appears that Sallie died between the 1840 census and 21 December 1842, when an Ephraim Thompson married Isabella Jones in Boone County, Missouri. (Ephraim Thompson likely lived near the county lines of Howard and Boone and owned land in both places.)

Here is the family I had initially proposed for him:

  1. Annie, born c1800; died c1829, probably Howard County, Missouri; married James Holland, 27 November 1818, Howard County, Missouri.
  2. Elmore, born c1802; died before 13 September 1840, Howard County, Missouri; married Martha (Patsey) Smith, 25 February 1830, Boone County, Missouri.
  3. Sarah, born c1805; died after 1850, probably Howard County, Missouri; married Samuel W. Scott, 26 February 1821, Howard County, Missouri.
  4. Polly, born c1800-1810; died after her marriage date; married William Clarkston, 28 May 1828, Boone County, Missouri
  5. Hannah, born c1810; died after 28 August 1870, probably in Howard County, Missouri; married William Alexander, 10 January 1833, Boone County, Missouri
  6. Elias, born 1805-1810; died 23 April 1877, Howard County, Missouri; married Permelia Smith, c1835, but no record found. The 1850 census has Ann K. Smith, probably Permelia’s mother, aged 72, living with the family.

I need to make one update concerning Polly. I believe that Polly who married William Clarkston on 28 May 1828 in Boone County was probably related to Ephraim in some way, but the 1830 census shows the eldest female to be older than William, who was born 1790-1800. The female is aged 40-49, thus born 1780-1790. They are gone in 1840. It is certainly possible that the census taker erred in recording Polly’s age, but with no other evidence, I have to accept, for now, that Polly’s age is, in fact, correct.

From that assumption, it seems Polly Clarkston was more likely a widow of some Thompson (and there are several from which to choose) or else an unmarried younger sister of Ephraim’s who married late in life. W. Alexander is living next door to the Clarkstons (sometimes found as Clarkson) in Boone County in 1830.

That leaves five possible children for Ephraim.

What do I do next? Come back tomorrow for the next dip in the rabbit hole chasing Thompson BSOs.


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