Tag Archives: James Holland

Annie Thompson, Is Your Daddy Ephraim Thompson?

Thank goodness for FAN clubs. Those Friends, Associates and Neighbors can be a terrific help when we’re trying to sort out families.

This journey has produced a couple of real surprises. One Thompson FAN club – that of the family of William Thomson and Ann Rodes – led directly to a second FAN club – that of Ephraim Thompson.

Here is what I’ve discovered so far and my new – and I think perhaps correct – theory about Annie Thompson’s origins.

Ephraim Thompson was also from Kentucky, but unlike the Thomsons, he migrated from Washington County, at about the same time that the Scott County families went on the move. Washington County borders Mercer County, which has a marriage record for Ephraim Thompson to Sarah (Sally) Curry, reportedly the daughter of William Curry. The Currys hailed from Botetourt County, Virginia. Ephraim and Sally married on 18 October 1798.

There is no 1800 census for Kentucky, but the 1810 Washington County census shows the household of Ephraim Thompson, which fits well with a man who married in 1798:

Male, 26-44 (Ephraim, born  1766 -1777, if 21 when he married)
Female, 26-44 (Sally, born 1766-1784)
Male, 16-25 (Could Ephraim have child by a first marriage or sibling living with them or farm hand?)
Female, under 10 (born 1801-1810) (Annie?)
Male, under 10 (born 1801-1810) (Elmore?)
Male, under 10 (born 1801-1810)
Male, under 10 (born 1801-1810) (Elias)

There were still 14 Thompson households in Washington County, Kentucky, but Ephraim’s was not one of them. The 1820 Missouri census is lost, so we next have the 1830 census of Howard County, Missouri:

E. Thompson’s household is just three doors away from that of J. Holland:

Ephraim’s 1830 household now looks like this:

Male, 50-59 (Ephraim, born 1770-1780)
Female, 40-49 (Sarah, born 1780-1790)
Male, 20-29 (born 1800-1810) (Elmore?)
Male, 20-29 (born 1800-1810)
Female, 20-29 (born 1800-1810)
Male, 15-19 (born 1811-1815) (Elias?)
Female, 15-19 (born 1811-1815) (Polly, m. Wm. Alexander Nov 1827)
Male, 10-14 (born 1816-1820)
Female, 5-9 (born 1821-1825)

Ephraim Thompson’s last census enumeration was also recorded in Howard County:

Male, 60-69 (Ephraim)
Female, 60-69 (Sarah)
Male, 20-29
Female, 20-29
Female, 15-19
Male, 10-14
Male, 5-9

By 1840, it looks like Ephraim is the head of a blended family with the youngest child probably a grandchild.

Marriage and probate records help fill in some of these children.

  1. Elmore Thompson married Martha (Patsey) Smith, 25 February 1830, Boone County, Missouri
  2. Annie Thompson married James Holland, 27 November 1818, Howard County, Missouri
  3. Sarah Thompson married Samuel W. Scott, 26 February 1821, Howard County, Missouri
  4. Polly Thompson married William Clarkston, 28 May 1828, Boone County, Missouri
  5. Hannah Thompson married William Alexander, 10 January 1833, Boone County, Missouri

I think this is actually a second marriage for Ephraim himself and that Sally died between 1840 and early 1842:

Ephraim Thompson married Isabella Jones, 21 December 1842, Boone County, Missouri. Isabella was born c1822 and died 6 January 1894 in Boone County, Missouri.

Elmore Thompson, who married Martha (Patsey) Smith on 25 February 1830 in Boone County, Missouri, died before 13 September 1840, leaving a will naming Ephraim Thompson as executor. I’d say that definitely places him in Ephraim’s family.

Elias Thompson was the administrator for Ephraim’s estate in 1847.  He was born c1810. I’d say that places him in Ephraim’s family, too.

Not having the 1820 census really hurts here, as Sarah was already married in 1821 so not at home with her parents in 1830.

More work needs to be done to determine whether Ephraim who married Isabella Jones was Ephraim who died in 1847 or a son, Ephraim. However, Isabella is back in her parents home, an apparent widow with a 3 year old son, David Thompson, with her. It appears that David died young, as he is not with his mother in1860, nor can I locate any David about 13 years old in 1860 in Missouri.

Land deeds disposing of the property of Ephraim Thompson in 1847 might name heirs, so that is something to be looked up at the Family History Library.

For the time being, I am proposing the following family:

Ephraim Thompson, born c1775; died before 25 August 1847 married Sarah (Sally) Curry on 18 October 1798, Mercer County, Kentucky. She was born c1780 and may have died between 1840 and 1842 when an Ephraim Thompson married Isabella Jones.


  1. Annie, born c1800; died c1829, probably Howard County, Missouri; married James Holland, 27 November 1818, Howard County, Missouri.
  2. Elmore, born c1802; died before 13 September 1840, Howard County, Missouri; married Martha (Patsey) Smith, 25 February 1830, Boone County, Missouri.
  3. Sarah, born c1805; died after 1850, probably Howard County, Missouri; married Samuel W. Scott, 26 February 1821, Howard County, Missouri.
  4. Polly, born c1800-1810; died after her marriage date; married William Clarkston, 28 May 1828, Boone County, Missouri
  5. Hannah, born c1810; died after 28 August 1870, probably in Howard County, Missouri; married William Alexander, 10 January 1833, Boone County, Missouri
  6. Elias, born 1805-1810; died 23 April 1877, Howard County, Missouri; married Permelia Smith, c1835, but no record found. The 1850 census has Ann K. Smith, 72, living with the family.

There are likely at least two more children that belong to this family. I am hoping land deeds answer my remaining questions about Thompsons in Howard County and prove that both Sarah and Annie were children of Ephraim and Sally Thompson.



Two Thompson FAN Clubs + Some Serendipity

It’s time to step back and take a look at all the puzzle pieces in the Annie Thompson, Who’s Your Daddy? story.

What did I already know before I started this journey?

  1. “Anny” Thompson married James Madison Holland on 27 November 1818 in Howard County, Missouri.
  2. Annie likely died before 1830, when James was the head of household with young children, but no adult female. She may well have died giving birth.
  3. James Holland was born in Kentucky c1791-1794. His father, Ephraim Holland married a second wife in 1794 in Fayette County, Kentucky. If James was born c1791-1793, then his mother is unknown. However, the family lived in Scott County, Kentucky, both during the 1810 census and when Ephraim died in 1814.
  4. There is at least one group of Thomson-Thompsons living in Scott and Fayette Counties, Kentucky at the same time as the Holland family.
  5. Between 1810 and 1818, a group of settlers from Scott County, Kentucky made their way 500 miles westward to Howard County, Missouri. James Holland was one of these settlers, as were several of the Thomson/Thompson group.
  6. In Kentucky, the name was generally spelled Thomson, but in Missouri, it shows up as Thomson, Thompson and Tompson, all referring to the same person. I concluded, especially with the clerk spelling Annie’s name as Anny, that the surname spelling in Kentucky was important (and that that group was literate), but in Missouri, it didn’t mean much.

There is a wild card that fits into this story. James Holland and Annie Thompson had a large family before she died. Known children include:

  1. John, born 10 January 1820
  2. Sarah, born c1821
  3. Ephraim, born July 1822
  4. James, born 25 February 1824
  5. Mary, born c1826

Their son, James, my husband’s direct line, married a young lady named Elizabeth Eramanthus Scott on 9 June 1847 in Howard County, Missouri, indicating to me that the bride’s family most likely lived in Howard County. I spent many hours delving into Scott records in Howard County, hoping to prove who Elizabeth’s parents were. The most likely suspect was a widow, Sarah Scott, living in Howard County with two young ladies, likely her daughters, in 1850.

Elizabeth was born in Missouri, so I assumed for the time being that she was born in Howard County. That led me to search Scotts in the 1830 and 1840 censuses, hoping to find some bread crumbs. I had little success, but one of the Scotts that seemed to be a possibility was Samuel W. Scott, living in Howard County in 1830, but gone in 1840. In 1840, a Sally Scott (Sally being a nickname for Sarah) appeared with a household full of children. Probate records proved that Samuel died in 1835. Sarah was gone by 1860, but I kept this little bit of information in the back of my mind and it turned out to be an important part of this story.

At this point, we need to take a look at the Thompson FAN clubs, both in Kentucky and Missouri. Marsha Hoffman Rising, a noted genealogist who passed away in 2010, published Opening the Ozarks:  The First Families in Southwest Missouri, which proved the theory that families didn’t migrate by themselves. They traveled as a group to new frontiers. Elizabeth Shown Mills refined this idea now referred to as the FAN (Friends, Associates, Neighbors) Club. The FAN Club is what allowed me to sort out the various Thomson/Thompson people.

What was my methodology here? I started by looking for family information posted online for the Thomson families in Fayette and Scott Counties, Kentucky. Most of the data I found was backed up by digitized wills and probate files, but I did find a few errors where people mixed up two or more men of the same name in the families. I also found some marriage records and a few newspaper items on the family. The THOMSON clan in Kentucky were not only literate, they were fairly wealthy plantations owners, lawyers and military men of the “General” rank.

I then followed mostly Asa Thomson’s children into Howard County, Missouri, where I don’t think the clerks ever asked how they spelled their surname. I quickly discovered that there were at least two and probably three Thomson/Thompson families in Howard County well before 1830. (There is no 1820 census for Missouri.) Digitized probate records and online marriage records helped sort out these families. I also looked closely at the 1830 census with my eye on James Holland and his neighbors.

The first spark that really caught my attention was an entry for a 26 February 1821 marriage record in Howard County, Missouri on Ancestry.

Remember, Annie Thompson married James Holland in 1818 AND I suspected that Samuel W. Scott and his widow Sarah might be the parents of Elizabeth Scott who married James Holland, son of James Sr. and Annie Thompson. By the way, a cursory look into Samuel W. Scott indicates that he migrated to Missouri from – yes, you guessed it – possibly Scott County, Kentucky.

I had already looked at the 1830 census for Howard County and, while James Holland didn’t seem to be living close to the Thomsons, he did live in the neighborhood where some of their relatives by marriage lived. A second look with new eyes noticed E. Thompson several doors away.

I did a bit of further digging. E. Thompson was Ephraim Thompson, who died intestate in Howard County in 1847. Ephraim Thompson had been the executor of the estate of Elmore Thompson, who died in Howard County in 1840. One Hannah Thompson married William Alexander on 10 January 1833 next door in Boone County and Polly Thompson married William Clarkston on 30 November 1827, also in Boone County. BLM land records show Ephraim Thompson patenting land in Howard and Boone Counties in on 1 November 1827.

I think I have found a new FAN Club centered on Ephraim Holland. Who was he?

With RootsTech 2017 in full swing, there will be a short break in this Thompson saga. It will resume on Thursday, 16 February. I have my theory already and am hoping that time in the Family History Library accessing deeds will provide my proof.

Historical County Boundary Lines

It’s important for researchers to understand how county level records are kept when there are boundary changes involved and to be aware of those new boundary lines.

James Holland is an excellent example of why this knowledge is important. He was born in Kentucky about 1791 and settled early in Howard County, Missouri. He owned land in Howard, Chariton, Linn and Sullivan Counties, Missouri and he lived in the land that he owned. Although he was a resident of all four counties, he never moved.

How is this possible? The county lines changed. In 1820, Howard County, Missouri, established in 1816,  covered a good amount of the northwest portion of Missouri.

On 16 November, 1820, a section of eastern Howard County was set off and became Chariton County. James was living in the northern portion of the new Chariton County.

On 1 January 1837, Linn Count was formed from part of the old Chariton County. James was now a resident of Linn County, which at the time, was quite a bit larger than the newly reduced-in-size Chariton County.

Missouri was experiencing rapid growth in this era; on 14 February 1845, Sullivan County was formally organized and James Holland became a resident of this new county.

James Holland purchased his original tract of land in Howard County, Missouri, which is where the sale is recorded. James died, probably in Sullivan County, Missouri between 1860 and 1870. It is there that the sale of his land to others would be found because the land was located in Sullivan County at the time of his death. There are no land purchases or sales by James Holland recorded in Chariton or Linn Counties because he remained on the land that he originally purchased.

This post is without images simply because I have not been able to find images of these boundary changes. However, I purchased an indispensible reference book years ago that I still use to this day – Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide. I believe the book may be out of print now as Genealogical Publishing Company does not have it in its catalog. Amazon shows used paperback copies starting at $39.00. I have read that ProQuest has exclusive rights to the PDF version of the book, but I don’t subscribe to that site and have not seen the PDF.

Map of US.org has a free interactive version of these county line changes through the years. The Missouri map spans 1804-1889, which is the year of the last county formation in the state. There is also an 1810-1880 census year overlay map of modern counties that can be viewed.

The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries provided by the Newberry Library also provides images of these line changes.

Wherever your research may take you, keep in mind that at least a basic knowledge of boundary lines will help guide your research.