Carolina Cradle: Thompson Family Golden Nugget Found!

Yesterday, I reviewed Carolina Cradle: Settlement of the Northwest Carolina Frontier, 1747-1762 by Robert W. Ramsey.

I LOVE books. I love learning. I love books and learning even more when I stumble on tiny nuggets of fabulous information.

I have written extensively about my efforts to untangle the families of Thomas, Lawrence, John and Closs Thompson, who are part of my husband’s family tree.

Dave is descended from Thomas Thompson, who is definitely of Scots-Irish background. Lawrence is said to be his brother. Both were born c1710-1720 time frame, although it isn’t known whether they were born in Europe or the colonies, possibly in Pennsylvania.

John Thompson and Closs Thompson are closely intertwined with Thomas and Lawrence, migrating from Pennsylvania through Virginia and North Carolina and then further into the frontiers of Kentucky.

John and Closs, I believed, were also probably born near that same time frame, but possibly could be slightly younger, born in the 1720s.

John and Closs took a slightly different path than Thomas and Lawrence to Rowan County, North Carolina, stopping first in Frederick County, Virginia, where they are found in land records in the 1750s.

John Thompson’s known children include John, Lawrence, Ann and Evan, so it appears that like Thomas and Lawrence, he is probably of Scots-Irish background.

The common threads among Thomas, Lawrence, John and Closs were their migratory paths and the fact that each man had a son named Lawrence.

Although Closs Thompson migrated to Kentucky not long after the American Revolution, as did the other three Thompson men and their families, I had some doubt about Closs’s origins in spite of the commonalities with the other families.

One doubt was his given name – Closs – said to be a nickname for Nicholas, which seems reasonable and possible. However, that given name is only found among descendants of Closs and Nicholas was not a very common given name among 18th century Scots-Irish.

Now for the gold nugget I discovered in Carolina Cradle.

Appendix F is a list of German settlers on the Northwest Carolina frontier, 1747-1762. It is an alphabetized list and look at the entry I found in the Ts:

The data fields include Name As It Appears in Rowan Records, Name As It appears in Strassburger’s Compilation (Passenger Lists), Date of Arrival from Rotterdam, Age on Arrival, Name of Vessel

Thompson, Claus, Nicklaus Thommen, 1736, 24, Princess Augusta

Look what I’ve learned from one single entry! Closs Thompson was Nicholas “Thommen” (without seeing the original entry, it is impossible to determine if Thommen is really the way his surname was spelled on the passenger list), he was 24 years old when he arrived in 1736 and he sailed on the Princess Augusta from Rotterdam!

I have now adjusted my thinking about the four brothers theory. While Thomas, Lawrence and John might still be brothers, or related in some other way, Closs Thompson was of Germanic origin and became friends and possibly migratory companions through the years. It seems very UNLIKELY that he was related by blood to the other three men.

I also have a somewhat firm birth year of 1712 for Closs, if he was indeed 24 years old when he landed in Philadelphia.

One last comment – Closs Thompson married Jane Jones on 17 October 1759 in Rowan County, North Carolina. For whatever reason, he identified more with the Scots-Irish community than German settlers on the frontier.

Lesson to be learned here – one never knows where terrific information might be found. 🙂






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