Tag Archives: Thompson

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.


John & Christiana (MNU) Thompson, Parents of John Stalcup Thompson (1807-1879)

Last year, I wrote extensively about my quest to untangle and sort out the five contemporaneous Lawrence Thompsons wandering around Kentucky and Tennessee in the late 1700s.

There is yet another puzzle piece that might somewhere, but I think perhaps not.

A reader asked me if I had come across this family. I was aware of them, but hadn’t ever tried to connect them to my husband’s Thompsons.

John Thompson married Christiana (MNU) by 1799, as their first known child, Robert, was born in 1800, per census records.

Given that the Thompson men seemed to marry well after the age of 21, let’s say that John Thompson was born c1775. Christiana was likely a bit younger, so born c1778.

This family lived in Franklin County, Kentucky, which was formed in 1795, having been carved out of parts of Mercer, Shelby and Woodford Counties.

By 1827, part of Franklin County was set off to form Anderson County, which is where two of John’s and Christiana’s known children lived in 1850.

However, we need to look at first things first. Where was this couple living in 1800? A strong assumption would be Mercer County, Kentucky, as John and Christiana’s son, John Stalcup Thompson, would later marry Eveline Plough, daughter of Daniel Plough.

Remember, Franklin County was set off from part of Mercer County, Daniel Plough is found on the 1800 tax list of Mercer County and the Thompson family had a number of ties to the same county.

There is a John Thompson found on the Mercer County tax list in 1800. However, he is enumerated as Col. John Thompson, which seems to indicate a man older than a newlywed.

John Thompson is not an uncommon name even in 1800 Kentucky. There were John Thompson in Christian, Mason, Pulaski and Livingston Counties, which I believe are too far away from the core Thompson area for my husband’s family.However, we’ll return to look at Mason County in a bit.

Then we have John Thompson in Fayette, Jefferson, Jessamine and Scott Counties, which are possibilities.

Finally, we have John Thompson in Clark, Lincoln and Shelby Counties, which are the most likely counties for John and Christiana if “my” John Thompson is not the one in Mercer County. Remember, Franklin County was also formed from a piece of Shelby County.

John Thompson left an 1825 will recorded in Franklin County, Kentucky. You would think that would help tremendously, but it doesn’t really.

John named his wife, Christiana, made his son Robert the executor and, at first, left nothing to daughter Dorcas Miskill, but later relented and gave her $1.00. Robert and Dorcas were apparently the two eldest children, but John only refers to the remainder as “my children.”

Both Robert Thompson, born c1800, and Dorcas (Thompson) Miskill, born c1803, remained in Anderson County, Kentucky (set off from Franklin County) for their entire lives.

I haven’t dug too deeply into Robert’s and Dorcas’s families. However, Dorcas married Robert Miskill in Mercer County in 1824, just a year before her father died. Dorcas is head of household in 1830. I thought that Robert had died, but it seems they may have separated with or without the benefit of divorce. Dorcas never remarried, but there is a Robert Miskill, born 1799 in Kentucky, who married in Vigo County, Indiana and lived there until he died c1880. I have to wonder if Dorcas’s father never liked Robert and didn’t want her to marry him. His will says she is to have nothing – not that she has already received her portion.

Robert Thompson apparently remained single until he married Annis Brown on 8 November 1837 in Anderson County, Kentucky.

A reader identified John Stalcup Thompson as a son of John and Christiana. It seems that many online trees have given Christiana the maiden name of Stalcup because of that. I haven’t been able to prove that one way or the other.

Now, my reader wondered if this family was part of my Thompsons because Ephraim Thompson’s sister, Margaret, married Emor Stalcup in Mercer County in 1792. That is one possible connection. Emor Stalcup died in 1805 and, if John Thompson of Franklin County is related to Ephraim, it could be that John Stalcup Thompson was named in memory of the deceased Emor.

In spite of that possible clue, I have found nothing that convinces me that John and Christiana might be part of “my” Thompson family.

Earlier in this post, I mentioned Mason County, Kentucky. Mason County is well outside the core counties area where “my” Thompsons settled.

However, I did a little digging and discovered several possible clues to an alternate theory about John and Christiana’s family. First, there is a John Thompson on the 1800 reconstructed Kentucky census living in Mason County. Further, there is a widow Rebecca Stalcup on the same census and probate records include an entry for John Stalcup, who died in Mason County in 1804.

Whether or not the Mason County families are a more viable possibility to the origins of John and Christiana Thompson, I have no idea.

In 1830, Christiana Thompson is head of household in Anderson County, Kentucky. There are no other Thompson families nearby or, for that matter, any familiar families except for Daniel Plough, father of Evaline, who married John Stalcup Thompson.

Christiana’s household included one female, 40-50 (her), one male, 30-40, one female, 15-20 and one male, 15-20. I can’t prove who any of these other people are.

Christiana seems to have died before 1840, but is definitely not found anywhere in 1850.

As for John Stalcup Thompson, he was born c1807 and died in 1879. His birth place was reported as Tennessee in 1850 and in the 1880 mortality schedule. However, in 1860 and 1870, his place of birth was listed as Kentucky.

John married Evaline Plough, c1828. She was born 27 July 1811 and died 26 January 1878 in Anderson County, Kentucky.

They were the parents of nine known children (All events in Anderson County, Kentucky unless noted otherwise):

  1. Daniel Marion, born 9 October 1829; died 29 June 1859; no marriage record found.
  2. Almeda, born 1 January 1833; died 10 February 1878; married John W. Burford, 23 November 1852. John was born 15 October 1823 and died 14 May 1900.
  3. Mary Evaline, born 9 October 1834; died 14 March 1883; married James E. Paxton, 1 November 1856.
  4. John Carter, born 12 January 1836; died 22 January 1901; married Frankie James, 14 October 1879, Franklin County, Kentucky. Frankie was born c1861; died after 1910.
  5. Margaret Susan, born 15 December 1838; died 1 Maarch 1930, Mercer County, Kentucky; married (1) David McAllister, 18 December 1855. He was born c1822; died of consumption on 2 November 1856. (2) Clark A. Winchester, c1880. He was born April 1843, New York; died 29 November 1905, Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky. Margaret has no known children.
  6. Levi Ira, born 20 December 1840; died 10 January 1929; married Frances Cook, c1866. Frances was born 17 April 1846; died 27 April 1926.
  7. Martha S., born 9 December 1842; died 2 February 1892; married Ezra G. Boggess, c1871. Ezra was born 1 December 1847; died 12 April 1897.
  8. William Harrison, born 4 March 1845; died 26 September 1916; married Roxie Ann Phillips, 25 February 1868. She was born 10 October 1847; died 26 February 1928, Fayette County, Kentucky.
  9. George Washington, born 2 November 1853; died 1935, mercer County, Kentucky; married Cynthia A. Roberts, 4 November 1891. She was born c1860; died after 1910.

There are many descendants of John and Christiana Thompson today. If you can shed any light on the origins of John Thompson, please leave a comment.


Thomas & Ann (Finney) Thompson of PA and NC, 1700s

Today’s post is the family sketch of Thomas Thompson and Ann Finney, of Pennsylvania and Orange County, North Carolina.

This is the last of my cleaned up research separating out and identifying the five Lawrence Thompsons who lived in the 1700s.

Thomas Thompson was born  c1715, possibly in Pennsylvania or perhaps in Europe and he died before February 1796, Orange County, North Carolina, where he left a will naming wife Ann, but only his two children still living nearby – Abraham and Samuel. Thomas married Ann Finney, c1738, probably Pennsylvania.

The children’s names highlighted in blue signifies documentary proof by preponderance of evidence.

The names of the other children most likely came from Jane Buchanan’s 1980s book about Thomas and Ann (Finney) Thompson, a copy of which still remains far from my grasp in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

I also question whether Ann Finney Thompson might have died by 1789 and he remarried. Besides the marriage of Thomas and Eliza Cox in September 1789, there is also a marriage for a Thomas Thompson and Anne Thompson on 20 January 1789.John Rice was the bondsman for this marriage, but the witness, S(amuel) Benton, was also the witness in the marriage of Thomas Thompson and Eliza Cox.

Either Thomas Jr. married twice in 1789, with Anne dying very soon, or another Thomas Thompson married Anne Thompson.

Besides Thomas Sr. and Thomas Jr. in Orange County, there were two Thomas Thompsons living next door in Rowan County, who might also be the groom, with the bride’s residence in Orange County.

In 1800, Samuel Benton, aged 26-44, is living in Hillsborough, Orange, North Carolina, as is Thomas Thompson, aged 26-44.

Thomas’s will isn’t any help because if he married Anne Thompson, both of his wives had the same given name.

NOTE: It is also possible that neither Thomas Sr. nor his son Thomas Jr. were the men who married Anne Thompson and Eliza Cox. There were quite a few Thompsons in Orange County, North Carolina by 1800.

Children of Thomas and Ann Finney (Birth order uncertain):

1. Joseph, born c1740; married Sarah (MNU).
2. Thomas, born c1744, Pennsylvania; died after 13 July 1819, Bedford County, Tennessee; married (1) Ann Logue (2) ?Eliza Cox, 28 September 1789, Orange County, North Carolina. Samuel Thompson was bondsman for Thomas and Eliza, so it is likely that Thomas was his brother. Witness was S(amuel) Benton.
3. Rebekah, born c1746, married James Tinnen, c1768
4. Samuel, born 23 June 1750, Bucks County, Pennsylvania; died 24 October 1837, Orange County, North Carolina; married Elizabeth Debow, c1785.
5. Lawrence, born c1755, Orange County, North Carolina; died after 1810, probably Washington County, Kentucky; married (1) Margaret Logue (2) Ann (MNU), before 1796 when they sold land in Mercer County, Kentucky. This Lawrence Thompson, identified as son of Thomas Thompson, was bondsman for Lawrence Thompson, son of John Thompson, when he married Eleanor Thompson, 1779, Rowan County, North Carolina.
6. John, born c1758; no further information.
7. Abraham, born c1760, died before December 1805, Smith County, Tennessee; married Sarah Debow.
8. Ellen, born c1762; married Benjamin Debow, 14 June 1783, Orange County, North Carolina. Abraham Thompson was bondsman.

For now, this is the family of Thomas Thompson and Ann Finney. Whenever I get back to the Family History Library and get my hands on the Buchanan book, which is said to be well sourced, I will update this family sketch.