Those Darn Thompson Puzzle Pieces

Yesterday, I proposed a theory that Ephraim Thompson and wife Sarah Curry were the parents of several children, including Annie Thompson who married James Holland and Sarah Thompson who married Samuel W. Scott, the parents of Elizabeth Scott who married James Holland/Hollen Jr., son of Annie and James Holland. That means that James Hollen Jr. married a first cousin.

Exactly how did I come up with this family? By following bread crumb trails. Remember – this is still only a working theory, not a proven family.

Thompson might be a common surname, but Ephraim is much less so as a given name. While looking at Kentucky records for the Asa and Rodes Thompson families, I noticed an Ephraim Thompson in Washington County, Kentucky and chased the BSOs down that rabbit hole, which I think turned out to be a worthwhile pursuit.

More on the Washington County records, which led next door to Mercer County records, in a later post, but suffice it to say for now that the Mercer County records provided the marriage date for Ephraim Thompson to Sallie Curry, daughter of William Curry.

That doesn’t explain how I came up with two possible sons for Ephraim, though, does it? I’ve been simultaneously trolling both Washington County and Howard County records for more crumb clues. One Elmore Thompson of Howard County, Missouri died before 13 September 1840. He left a will and the court minutes noted that the executor was Ephraim Thompson. (Howard County, Missouri WB 2:363-366)

Ephraim himself passed away in the summer of 1847, possibly in the cholera epidemic that hit the area. He left no will; Elias Thompson was the administrator of his estate. In the 1840 census, Elias was head of a household next door to the home of Ephraim Thompson.

Ephraim’s estate settlement in March 1850 is slightly blurry, but the widow, not named, received $101.45. After taxes, the estate balance was $49.19 with no mention of how that money was dispersed.

The fifth proposed child, Hannah, married William Alexander, who not only lived two doors from James Hollin in 1840, he was one of the securities for Elias Thompson when he served as Ephraim’s administrator.

Hannah’s age – born about 1810 – makes her the right age to be Ephraim’s daughter. Unfortunately, Ephraim’s final estate settlement didn’t name any heirs at all and land deeds in Kentucky and Missouri haven’t clearly identified any familial relationships either.

Before I jump back into Kentucky records, there was one other probate entry of interest. One Grace Arnold died before 1 March 1821, when Ephraim Thompson began his work as executor of her estate, which wasn’t settled until 4 February 1823.

Grace appeared to be quite elderly when she died, as she left five adult children, including a son, Price Arnold, who was about 50 years old. Early histories of Howard County state that he was one of the first to settle in Howard County, arriving by 1812 from Mercer County, Kentucky. I have found no apparent reason for Ephraim to be named as executor rather than Grace’s son or one of her daughters or sons-in-law, but this is another piece of evidence supporting my theory that Ephraim was from Washington County, Kentucky.

What next? On Saturday, I will take a more in depth look at the Kentucky records.






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