Category Archives: Thompson

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

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.


  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.






George Thompson, Aide-de-Camp to Lafayette, Albemarle County, VA to Mercer County, KY

Note: George Thompson is NOT related to my husband’s Thompson family as far as I can determine.
I am sharing notes that I’ve compiled on the family of George Thompson and Rebecca Burton, as they lived in Mercer County, Kentucky at the same time as some of my husband’s Thompson relatives.

At first glance, this might look like a BSO (bright shiny object), but the records created by this family helped me to accurately sift out which Thompson belonged to which family, given that “my” Thompsons were in Mercer County at the same time as this family – the 1790s.
There is one intriguing connection between the two Thompson clans, though. George Claiborne Thompson, son of testator George, subject of this post, married as his third wife Sarah Simpson Hart.
Sarah’s first husband was Nathaniel Hart and their daughter, Keziah, married Revolutionary War pensioner Lawrence Thompson, who died in Madison County, Kentucky in the 1830s. Lawrence Thompson IS part of my husband’s extended Thompson clan, although not his direct line.
George Thompson’s granddaughter transcribed family papers outlining details about George’s parents, Joseph Thompson (1703-1764) and Sarah Claiborne (1713-1777) and his paternal grandfather, Roger Thompson. The article was published in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 58, No. 2 (Apr., 1950), pp. 237-241.
The Thompsons of Albemarle County, Virginia and Mercer County, Kentucky were a large group. Many of them, however, left wills in Virginia or Kentucky, making it fairly easy to piece them together in the correct groupings.
This post specifically has a focus on the will of George Thompson and the 65 enslaved people, used as legacies to two of his grandchildren.
George was born 23 February 1749 on the north fork of the James River, known as the Rivanna River, in Albemarle County, Virginia. He died 22 March 1834 in Mercer County, Kentucky and married Rebecca Burton on 6 December 1773.  She died on 21 May 1778, probably in Albemarle County.
They were the parents of two children – a son, Samuel, born 29 November 1775, who lived for only two days, and son George Claiborne Thompson, who migrated to Kentucky with his father, uncles and cousins, in 1792.
George Thompson was a Revolutionary War pensioner (S31418) and further information about his war service can be found in his March 1833 application.

I have chunked this will into paragraphs for easier reading. Note that the original is one long paragraph covering three pages.

Mercer County, KY WB 9:536-538

I George Thompson of the state of Kentucky Mercer County make this writing my last will and Testament. I direct that my estate be not appraised. I also direct that my executors hereafter to be named are not to be required to give security when they qualify as Executors

I give my grandson William Thompson the tract of land on which I now live called Pleasant Fields This tract is divided from the Shawnee Springs place on which my son lives, as follows Beginning at the south west corner of the field where Benjamin Davis lives thence along a fence to the corner of the Park leaveing the fence on the side of my son thence along the park fence leaveing the fence on my sons side to a marked ash standing about three & a half poles nearly on East course from the South East corner of the park from that running nearly south along a fence to Slaughters line the fence as it now stands being on the middle of the line.

I also give to my grandson William Thompson the tract of land called the Starling place or what will remain of it after I sell as much as will pay my debts and shall I fail to sell in my life time I direct and authorize my executors to sell as much as will pay my debts. This starling place adjoins the Shawnee Springs tract of land which I have heretofore given to my son by deed of Gift dated the 5th day of August 1825 to which deed of gift reference is hereby made to shew the division lines between the starling place and shawanee springs tract. The starling place consists of a number of purchases I made at different times and of different persons.

I also give to my said grandson one undivided half of a small tract of land say 40 or 50 acres which I own adjoining the lands of David Jones Elijah Reed and John Cecil –

I also give to my grandson William Thompson the following negroes with the future increase of the females viz Young Andrew, Matilda, James (son of Matilda), Hannah, Isaac, Nelson, Little Moses, Kitty, American Zachariah, Louisia, Davy, Washington, Squire, Henry, Fielding, Carey, Susannah, Nelly, Louis, Sucky, Jefferson, Peggy, Artemisia, Long Billy, Lucy, Dick, Tom, John, Enoch, Elisha, Bob (son of Lucy), Louisa, Lucy, Jane, Martin, Betsey, Margaret, Harrison, Isaiah, Pamela, Anna, Walker, Willis (son of Edy), Old Gib, Old Jenny, Old Andrew, Old Dilcey, Paul, Big Billy, Old Polly, Marshall, son of Kitty, Lavinia (daughter of Sucky, and Peter in all fifty three in Number –

I also give to my said grandson William Thompson the gold watch which he now wears all my guns including and in short all the property of every kind which I have at the pleasant fields and at the several places where Thomas S. Davis is now overseer except what is hereafter excepted –

I also give my said grandson one undivided half of what remain belonging to me of land on Indian Camp Creek & Green River after Benjamin Davis’s piece for which he has a memorandum shall have been laid off but my said Grandson as soon as he can conveniently must sell as much of his part of this land as will raise two hundred dollars which he must pay to John B. Thompson Esqr –

I also give my said Grandson one half of what is now due may become due to me on account of former sales of parts of this Green River Ca[cut off]

I give to my Granddaughter Mary Rebecca Thompson the following negroes with their future increase viz Big Moses, Nancy, Elias, Phil, Overton Willis (the last four named being Nancy’s children) negro boy Daniel Bob (son of Annis) Mary Ann (daughter of Annis) Sarah & her two children Roxann & Henderson making in all twelve in number –

also a tract of about one hundred and fifty acres of land being the place which I bought of John Kelly adjoining Robt Johnston, George C. Thompson, John Moore & others

my will is and I direct that my said Grandson shall pay to his sister Mary Rebecca a feather bed & furniture on hundred and fifty dollars worth of Horses fifty dollars worth of cattle twenty dollars worth of hogs & twenty dollars worth of sheep –

In makeing the several requests in this will to my Grandson and Granddaughter it is intended in every instance to them and their heirs forever

The land and negroes given to my Grandson & Granddaughter in this will are to be delivered to them respectively when they shall severally marry with the consent of their Father or shall arrive at the age of twenty years –

In the meantime such property to remain in the possession and for the use of my son George C. Thompson in consideration of his doing [cut off] I know he will do that is affording to these his children proper Education, Board, clothing etc if my son live so long.

If he should die before them said property will [be] under the management of the guardians of these grandchildren respectively the person property given them respectively (except the clock and other articles specially named as gifts to William, my Executors are requested to sell and lend out the proceeds on Interest and the money including Interest to be paid to them Respectively when they severally shall marry as aforesaid or arrive at the age of tw[cut off] years. That is the proceeds and interest of Williams part to be paid to him, and of Mary Rebecca’s part to be paid to her

should either of these Grandchildren die before marrige or arrival at the age of twenty years my will is that the estate given by this will to such decedent be equally divided among all my grandchildren male & female then living.

I hereby appoint my son George C. Thompson my Nephew John B. Thompson and my Grandson William Thompson Executors of this my will – In Testimony whereof I have put my hand & seal this 30th day of June 18[cut off]

George Thompson (seal)
The number of negroes is fifty three given to my Grandson William. George Thompson

James Gass
John A. Tomlinson
James Taylor

Mercer County Sess April County Court 1834 the foregoing last Will and Testament of George Thompson was this day produced into Court and proved by the oaths of James Taylor and John A. Tomlinson two Subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded. Attest Tho Allin CC

REPEAT: This is not my husband’s Thompson family. I have posted this information to help descendants of George Thompson document his family and life.


Thompson Wills from Mercer County, KY Early 1800s

While researching the various Thompson lines in Kentucky, I came across a large Thompson family that migrated from Albemarle County, Virginia to Mercer County, Kentucky in the 1790s.

They have no known connection to my husband’s Thompson clan, but many of the men left wills and several caught my eye.

This Thompson group was quite wealthy. Unfortunately, their wealth was accrued on the backs of enslaved people.

It seems very odd that these wills, written years apart, were all recorded in the same short time frame. I wish I knew the story behind this family.

The first will is that of John B. Thompson. The purpose of a will is to name heirs and their legacies. Yet, John names his wife as sole executor, makes it very clear he wants no stepfather to have a hand in his estate and, instead of naming his children, he gives life advice to his sons and daughters, all of whom are not of legal age.

I am thinking that with the uncertainty of life out on the frontier and the young ages of his children, he decided they might pass away before reaching adulthood so there was no point in giving them specific bequests.

As seen by the codicils, sons John and Henry lived to come of age and one daughter, Sally, had married.

Will Book 9:524

In the name of God Amen. I John B. Thompson of the county of Mercer & state of Kentucky do make & ordain this my last Will & Testament to wit, Having complete confidence confidence in boy the Judgment and prudence of my wife Nancy P. Thompson – my Will is that she take & remain in intire possession of the whole estate of which I may die possessed during the time she shall remain my widow to be [smudged] & Disposed of during the time at her discretion for the support of herself & my children & the Education of the children hereby during that whenever any Child shall marry or arrive at age that my wife according to her own discretion give unto such child a reasonable proportion of the estate having regard to the number of children & her own Subsistence to be accounted for by such child whenever a general division may take place. I do not wish or desire to prevent my wife marrying after my Death – nor do I intend that my children or their estate shall ever be in the power of a step father

Therefore I direct that whenever my wife shall marry – that my estate be divided according to the now present law of my between her and my children giving her dower and the children
their right to pass with them into the hands of guardians to be their appointed by the court I direct that she be & hereby appointed her their guardians & to remain as long as she remains my widow I appoint my said wife sold Executrix of this my will and give unto each of our children born or to be born an equal interest in my estate subject to her controll as before stated – I wish my children to be well educated – when the boys arrive at years of Sufficient discretion let them choose their own occupation or professions if an unequal proportion of the estate is spent for their Education
they ought to account for it –

My sons hearken unto the words of your father. Then all the paths of Vice of every description and evade all wicked and profligate men for if you fall in with them you are certainly ruined Seek the company of the wise & prudent and labor to be so yourselves Be Just be industrious honest, moral and prudent and you will be respectable and happy. O never never – disgrace your parents – by acting dishonorable yourselves

My Dear little Daughters for you and your fate I feel most Sensibly – If your parents either live hearken I Beseech you unto their advice and profits and you are safe – if we leave you then O then the trial comes – Be neat industrious cautious in both words & Actions Shun I beg you the volatile giddy taking part of your [?] Seek the company of those ladies young & old of whom all people speak well – Let prudence and Amiableness so shine in your charities as to make you happy and to honor the name of your parents – To the philantropie part of the world and unto god I commend you.

Given under my hand & seal this 5th day of September 1819

John B. Thompson {seal}

I further direct by this codicil that whilst my wife is possessed of my estate as above directed she shall not be required to give Security as Exec. no do I wish her to Sell more of the personal estate than is necessary to pay debts unless in her Judgment it is best so to do. 24th March 1825 John B. Thompson (seal)

If my wife deem it expedient to Sell my Harrodsburg real property she is at liberty to do it. 2d July 1826 John B. Thompson (seal)

If necessary or if my wife think it best she may sell a hundred to two hundred acres of my Shawnee new land to pay debts or advance the children or all of it 29th Jany 1827 J. B Thompson (seal) John B. Thompson (seal)

Oct 1831 – Sally is married & gone she has received seven hundred Dollars in various things (See list) J B Thompson (seal)

John and Henry have both recd Advances (See list 22 Oct 1832 J B Thompson (seal)

Mercer County Sct August County Court 1833

The foregoing last will & Testament of John B. Thompson was this day produced into court & the handwriting thereof as well as the codicils hereto proved to be in that of the decdt by the oaths of Samuel Davis and M.L. Worthington and ordered to be recorded – which is done according ly

Att Tho Allin cc

Item 2 in the next will – that of John Thompson, father of John B. above – caught my eye. First, I though it was commendable when I read that Sucky, Patty, Jimboy and Jim were to be freed upon John’s death. Then I read the portion highlighted in red – to be freed unless one or more of them kills him! I can’t say I’ve ever seen a statement like that in a will before.

Will Book 9:525

I John Thompson of Mercer County State of Kentucky do appoint my son John B. Thompson Executor to this my Will

if at my Death I have a crop on hand not finished I direct that my negroes be kept together & treated well till the crop is finished.

2d. I set [smudge] following of my negroes free (to wit) old woman Sucky woman Patty old man Jimboy yellow tom and yellow man Jim – but if any one or more of them do kill me he or they so Doing shall not be free nor receive the benefit of of this clause of my will – but remain a slave or slaves to to go as is herein after directed in to the general clause

3d. I give to said Tom the horses raised and claimed by him Item

4th I lend unto my Daughter Mary B Allin during her life time the following slaves (to wit) Eliza a girl Fanny ann a girl & Bob a boy & after the Death of said Mary the sd Slaves & their increase devised in this clause To be equally divided between her children but also give to sd Mary full power and right in her life time to give or divide said last named slaves and their increase from this time among her children as she said Mary thinks proper

5th Item I give my son Philip Thompson my negroe man Jonas –

Item I devise that all the balance of my estate be sold by my executor the slaves to human masters in the country and after paying debts the proceeds and remainder to be equally divided between my sons John b. Thompson my son Philip thompson my son George B. Thompson and my Daughter Mary B Allin if either of them died before me there children to represent them and any debts due me or money on hand is to be included in the disposition of this clause

Item I desire that my Executor to see that my old woman Sucky be taken care off

Witness my hand this 2d June 1833

John Thompson [seal]

H T Deweese
CB Bradshaw
Richd Thompson

Mercer County Scts August County Court 1833
The foregoing last Will & Testament of John Thompson Deceased was this day produced into court and proved by the oaths of H T. Deweese and C.B Bradshaw two subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded.

Att. Tho Allin cc

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the will of George Thompson, apparent brother of John Thompson, as he names his nephew John B. Thompson in his will.