Revisiting John & Priscilla Thompson, VA, NC & KY 1700s

In the past, I have written multiple posts about Thomas, Lawrence, John and Closs Thompson.

Although earlier generations of these men haven’t been proven, They had connections to each other as their families migrated from Pennsylvania through Virginia and North Carolina and westward.

I have neglected to treat each family as a separate unit, with additional details I’ve uncovered through further research. Therefore, Closs Thompson had his own post back on April 29.

Today, it’s the turn of John and Priscilla (MNU) Thompson.

In spite of the fact that John left a will, less is known about this family than of the other three Thompson men. A good part of the reason is because John Thompson’s name is so common.

John’s birth year is unknown. He first appears in Frederick County, Virginia in 1751 land records along with Closs Thompson. Some believe he is a brother of Closs.

Backtracking for a moment to my theories about Closs Thompson, Closs Thompson, if ‘Nicklaus Thommen, ‘ as believed by Carolina Cradle author Robert W. Ramsey, then Closs was born c1712.

For John and Priscilla Thompson to also own land in Frederick County, Virginia in 1751, John couldn’t have been born later than 1730 to be of legal age in 1751, but he could have been born several years before that.

The fact that John and Priscilla’s youngest known child, Evan, was born in 1765 places Priscilla’s birth year around 1725, if she was 40ish in 1765.

John was likely slightly older, so born perhaps 1720-1725. While it is possible that he could be Closs’s brother, no evidence has been found to prove the theory.

Also, if John and Closs were brothers, then John would also be of German origin and no one has linked a ship’s passenger list to John.

I tend to believe that John wasn’t the brother of Closs who arrived in 1736.

However, IF the Closs Thompson reportedly born 1668 and lived in Lancaster County was related to John and Closs of North Carolina and Kentucky, then they may well have been brothers.

On the other hand, Pennsylvania records indicated that on 17 March 1738, both Lawrence Thompson and John Thompson received land grants in Lancaster County. I doubt this John Thompson is the man who married Priscilla unless he had an earlier marriage with unknown children. It seems more likely that this John might be a brother of Lawrence Thompson, born c1712.

The problem with the estimated years of birth for John and Priscilla is that they had four known children, with second child Lawrence born in 1755 in Dunmore County (now Frederick County), Virginia. If we assume that their son John was first born in, say 1753, then they probably married c1752.

That would align well with John owning land in 1751, just before or at the time that he married Priscilla. If he was about 23 years old when he married (midway between 21 and 25) and Priscilla was, say, two years younger, then John would have been born c1728 and Priscilla c1730. That is a much better fit, given the birth years of their children.

I’d also say that marriage around 1752 makes it more likely that John and Priscilla married in Virginia than Pennsylvania.

On 19 September 1760, John and Priscilla Thompson of Orange County, North Carolina sold both properties to Thomas Henton of Frederick County,  Virginia. Interestingly, John Thompson signed with his mark, but Priscilla apparently was literate enough, at the least, to sign her own name. (Frederick County, Virginia Deed Book 6:161-169, deeds and releases)

Witnesses to all the deeds and releases were the same three men – Cornelius Ruddell, Thomas Dobkin and Evan Jones. Whether they had any familial ties to John and Priscilla Thompson is not known.

The 300 acre tract John and Priscilla purchased in Orange County
bordered the land of Robert Thompson and Thomas and Ann Finney
Thompson.

Given that John and Priscilla’s land in Orange County bordered that of Robert Thompson (unknown family relationship, if any) and Thomas and Ann (Finney) Thompson, it seems more likely that, given his birth year, that John might be a brother of Thomas, not Closs Thompson.

No proof of Priscilla’s maiden name has been found, but there may be clues in the witnesses to the wills of her husband, John, written in 1792 and son, John, written in 1794.

Her husband’s 1792 will in Mercer County, Kentucky was witnessed by Daniel Bennett, who was apparently born c1735 and left Fauquier County, Virginia for Kentucky.  John Williamson also witnessed the will.

Fauquier County borders Frederick County, Virginia!

John Thompson Jr.’s will was written on 3 April 1794, also in Mercer County, but not probated until August 1799. His witnesses were Sanford Bennett, Sanford’s wife, Ann (Crim) Bennett and Alexander Sage, who was married to Sanford’s sister, Lucy Bennett.

John and Priscilla had a son Evan, as did Sanford and Ann Bennett. Evan was not an uncommon name, but because the Bennett family witnessed both Thompson family wills and the Bennetts and the Thompsons both had sons named Evan, AND the Bennetts were from Virginia, it is possible that Priscilla was a Bennett and sister of Daniel Bennett. Evan Thompson married Daniel’s daughter, Chloe.

So, were the Bennetts just good friends of the Thompsons or was there a familial connection besides the marriage of Evan and Chloe? I don’t know, but it should be explored.

As already mentioned, the will of John Thompson Sr. was proved on 29 January 1793 in Mercer County, Kentucky. John died in Mercer County, Kentucky sometime between 20 August 1792, when he wrote his will and 29 January 1793. (Will Book 1:100)

For whatever reason, John Thompson left his estate to wife Priscilla and children John and Evan. Perhaps Lawrence had already received his portion because he was clearly still living when his brother, John, left him a legacy in John’s 1794 will.

Daughter Ann who had married John Robinson was also not mentioned. She may have received her portion when she married and her father didn’t see the need to say so in his will.

Priscilla survived her husband, but she isn’t found on the Mercer County tax list in 1794. She may also have died or she was living with the family of one of her children.

Children:

  1. John, born c1753, probably Dunmore County, Virginia (now Frederick County, Virginia); died between 3 April 1794, when he wrote his will, and August 1799, when the will was probated in Mercer County, Kentucky (Will Book 2:127). John was unmarried and had no children named in his will. His estate was left to his three siblings and some of sister Ann’s children. Since both of John’s brothers gave service in the Revolutionary War, John probably fought, too. However, the question is moot, as he died unmarried with no known children.
  2. Lawrence, born 1755, Dunmore County, Virginia; died after 1840, probably Clay County, Indiana; married (1) Eleanor Thompson, 8 April 1779, Rowan County, North Carolina (2) Martha (possibly McKee or McNee), before he applied for his war pension in 1832 (Pension #S32554). Lawrence’s 1779 marriage bond identifies him as a son of John Thompson. His bondsman was Lawrence Thompson, son of Thomas Thompson.
  3. Ann, born c1762, Rowan County, North Carolina; died after 1799, when she received a legacy from her brother; married John Robinson, 20 December 1783, Lincoln County, Kentucky.
  4. Evan, born 27 August 1765, Rowan County, North Carolina; died 28 May 1834, Shelby County, Kentucky; married Chloe Bennett, 25 April 1792, Mercer County, Kentucky. Chloe died before 1837, Shelby County, Kentucky. Daniel Bennett, Chloe’s father, gave permission for her to marry.

 

 

 

 

 

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