Ephraim Thompson Loose Ends: Here, There and Everywhere

So where are we with the family of Ephraim Thompson? Unfortunately, not at any foregone conclusions.

First, I need to recap how I connected Ephraim Thompson of Howard County, Missouri with Mercer/Washington Counties, Kentucky. Originally, I turned towards Kentucky thinking that the Holland family knew the Thompsons back in Scott County. That turned out to not be the case. They appear to be a totally unrelated group of Thompsons.

In Howard County, I discovered in the court minutes that Ephraim Thompson had served as the executor of Grace Arnold, probate being entered on 1 March 1821 and settled on 4 February 1823.

Backtracking, I found that Grace’s husband, Mark Arnold, had died in Mercer County, Kentucky in 1795. In addition, their daughter Dolly had married William Crowdus on 7 June 1785 in Lincoln County, Kentucky. I recognize the Crowdus name. William was a neighbor of Ephraim’s in Washington County and his name appears in several land transactions in which Ephraim was also involved.

It appears that the Arnolds migrated to Kentucky from King George County, Virginia before 1785. Why would Ephraim Thompson serve as Grace Arnold’s executor when she had children nearby, including son Price Arnold? There is still no obvious answer to that question.

Did the Washington and Mercer County records clear up any of these mysteries? Not really.

The early Kentucky Thompsons created a morass of records. First, take a look at the county locations.

We have the Hollands from Maryland, who migrated to the Scott-Bourbon-Fayette County area in the 1790s. The extended family of Asa Thompson also migrated to Howard County, Missouri from Virginia about the same time as the Holland family. Asa’s family was definitely wealthier than the Hollands and interacted with the upper social echelon of their times. Is it possible that less well-to-do Thompson relatives settled nearby in Mercer and Washington Counties? Of course, it is possible, but I have no evidence of that right now.  My gut feeling is that these two groups only share a common surname.

I mentioned yesterday that there were a number of Thompsons in Mercer and Washington Counties very early on. There are no federal census records for Kentucky in 1790 and 1800, but county records mention: John, Evan, Arthur, Ephraim, Stith, Roger, Austin, David, Lawrence, Joseph, Gabriel, Henry, Leonard, James and George. Plus, there are several of these names that are repeated – in other words, more than one man of the same given name living there at the same time. Many of these given names are not very common for the time, but that hasn’t helped.

Wills and probate records are my first attack point when trying to untangle families. Few of these Thompson men left wills:

Washington County, Kentucky Records:
Austin Thompson, 1829; Wife: Sally, Children: Barney, Hugh M., Esther Sandusky

John B. Thompson, 1814; Wife: Not named, Children: Gabriel to receive land plus “other children” not named

Joseph Thompson, 1803; Wife: Nancy, Children: James and Thomas (both minors)

Thomas Thompson, 1810; Wife: Nancy, Children: James and John (estate worth over $4000)

Stith Thompson, 1795; Wife: Elizabeth, Children under 21: Reves, Stith, William, Charles, James, Steven, Sterling. Children over 21: Dodridge, Richard and John

George Thompson, inventory on 12 June 1815

Mercer County, Kentucky Records:
William Thompson, inventory 1804

John Thompson, 1793; Wife: Pricella, Children: John and “Even”

Leonard Thompson, brother John to serve as executor, 1807; Wife: Mary P., Children: Samuel, James H., Richard, Nathan, George, John

Probate records in Washington County, Kentucky threw out one tiny bread crumb, which might lead to Ephraim’s parentage:

Thomas Ayres, administration on 3 June 1813 by Ephraim Thompson, Uriah Garter and Sarah Roland

Emmer Stalcup, administration 1808 by Ephraim Thompson and Thomas Jones

None of the above wills appear to have any ties to Ephraim Thompson, unless he was a child of John B. Thompson, who only named one son.

However, Ephraim was an administrator of two estates, those of Thomas Ayres and Emmer Stalcup. I haven’t found a familial tie to Thomas Ayres, but the Emmer Stalcup administration yields a couple of tantalizing clues. First, Emmer’s widow was Margaret/Peggy. “Amer” Stalcup married Margaret Thompson on 24 March 1792 in Mercer County. Margaret was underage and her FATHER “laurence thompson” signed permission for the marriage. At the estate sale of her husband, the only two Thompsons appearing on the purchase list were Ephraim and Lawrence Thompson.

It stands to reason that Ephraim was closely related to Margaret for him to serve as the administrator of her husband’s estate. Could Ephraim and Margaret be children of Lawrence Thompson???

Next, we’ll take a look at Kentucky marriage records and miscellaneous court minutes.

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