Targeting the Right Lawrence Thompson

Here is a quick summary of my conclusions regarding the various Lawrence Thompsons who have turned up.

We have the following cast of characters:

  1. Lawrence on the Mercer and Washington Counties, Kentucky tax lists in the 1790s and early 1800s
  2. Lawrence, son of John, who married Eleanor Thompson on 8 April 1779, Rowan County, North Carolina
  3. Lawrence, son of Thomas and of Orange County, who served as bondsman for Lawrence, son of John, in 1779.
  4. Lawrence, born 1755, in Dunmore, Virginia; Revolutionary War pensioner, married to Martha (MNU), and who died probably in Clay County, Indiana sometime after the 1840 census
  5. Lawrence, born 1753, Revolutionary War pensioner, who died in Madison County, Kentucky in 1835, married to Keziah Hart
  6. Lawrence, born c1712, widowed by 1790, when he wrote his will in Sumner County, Tennessee, but who is credited with civil service in Orange County, North Carolina between 1757-1779
  7. Lawrence, Jr., named as son of Lawrence, born c1712 in his 1790 will
  8. Lawrence who died before April 1804 in Sumner County, Tennessee when widow Catherine was appointed to administer his estate.
  9. Sumner County, Tennessee tax list includes Lawrence Sr., L. Jr. and Lawrence in 1789.
  10. Lawrence, son of Closs, born c1762, lived in Shelby and Fleming Counties, Kentucky

After much digging and analysis, we have:

Lawrence #10, son of Closs, is out of the picture. He lived in other counties in Kentucky and is too young to be the father of Ephraim.

That leaves:

Lawrence #1 is the same man as #2 who married Eleanor AND as #4, the Revolutionary War pensioner Lawrence born in 1755 and who removed to Clay County, Indiana. Marriage records haven’t been found for him after 1779 when he married Eleanor Thompson, but his signature on the marriage bond and the signature on his pension application both show the unusual way in which he wrote capital T in cursive.  His pension application said he had lived in Kentucky, but made no mention of Tennessee. That will be important in a minute.

Lawrence #3 is the same man as Lawrence #5 and the third Lawrence in #9. Keziah Hart and her brother Simpson’s will in 1790 in Sumner County, Tennessee tie them together.

Lawrence #6 is the same man as the first Lawrence in #9. He died in 1790 in Sumner County, Tennessee.

Finally, we have Lawrence Jr., #7, who almost flies under the radar.  With his father, Lawrence Sr., being born c1712, Lawrence Jr. could have been born as early as c1738 and certainly is a perfect age to be the possible father of Ephraim. It is also alleged that Lawrence Jr. married Ann Logue, who had a brother and grandfather who were both named Ephraim. I believe Lawrence #7 is the same man as Lawrence #8, who died not long before April 1804, when widow Catherine was appointed to administer his estate. I also believe he is “L. Jr.” in #9, listed directly under Lawrence Sr. in the 1789 Sumner County, Tennessee tax list. He was taxed for 3 polls, meaning in 1789, he would have had 2 males at home, probably between 16-21 years old, in addition to himself. Ephraim, born c1770, would have been about 19 years old.

The final compiled list identifies 5 Lawrence Thompsons:

  1. Lawrence, born c1712; died 1790, left a Sumner County, Tennessee will that included son Lawrence Jr.
  2. Lawrence Jr., born say 1738 or later; died before April 1804, Tennessee when his estate administration began.
  3. Lawrence, son of Thomas, born 1753; married Keziah Hart; died 1835, Madison County, Kentucky and had no son named Ephraim.
  4. Lawrence, son of John, born 1755; married Eleanor Thompson and Martha (MNU); died after 1840, probably Clay County, Indiana.
  5. Lawrence, son of Closs, born c1762; lived in Shelby and Fleming Counties, Kentucky

Given the birth years stated in pension applications and the estimated birth year for Closs’s son and other court and probate records, the possible choices for a father for Ephraim are quickly narrowed down to the line of Lawrence, born c1712.

His will named no son named Ephraim, but he did name son Lawrence, who would have been of an age to be Ephraim’s father. In addition, a possible clue is that he reportedly married Ann Logue and the given name of Ephraim is prominent in her immediate family.

My working theory is that sometime between that 1789 Sumner County tax list and a 1793 Mercer County, Kentucky court order, when Ephraim is named as a working hand to help maintain the road, Ephraim left Tennessee family and migrated to Mercer County, Kentucky, where other family members were living.

The Lawrence Thompson who appears with Ephraim in Mercer and Washington Counties in the tax lists, court minutes and land deeds was Lawrence, son of John, and the Revolutionary war pensioner, who moved to Indiana. This Lawrence is placed in Washington County, Kentucky by the 1805 marriage of Fanny Thompson, daughter of Lawrence, who married James Booth. The Booths also removed to Indiana with her father.

Lawrence of Clay County, Indiana and Ephraim would have been first cousins once removed if Lawrence born c1712 and John Thompson were brothers. If Lawrence and John were first cousins, then Lawrence of Indiana and Ephraim would have been second cousins once removed.

UPDATE: Coming tomorrow – thinking outside the box and a new theory!

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