Metcalfe County Genealogy

Metcalfe County - The Thompson Family

This was posted by Sandi Gorin to her South-Central-Kentucky list. Sandi has graciously allowed us to re-post this here.

Taken from "History Speaks", Metcalfe County Historical Society quarterly, Vol VII, No 1-4, 1988. Contributed to the Herald News by Robert L. Thompson, Hereford, TX. His ancestors left Kentucky for Texas many years ago. He has a number of relatives in Metcalfe County.

Samuel Thompson came from England to America early in the eighteenth century and settled in Amelia County, Virginia. He married Ann Jennings, the daughter of a retired British army officer and Samuel and Ann became the ancestors of a large family.

The children of Samuel Thompson and Ann Jennings Thompson were: Jennings, Washington, William, Samuel Jr., Waddy, Nancy, Millie, Mollie and John.

Samuel Thompson died in Virginia in 1783 and Ann died there in 1785.

Most of the children of Samuel and Ann Jennings Thompson lived out their lives in Virginia, but two of their sons, William and Waddy, went to Kentucky, where they reared large families and have many descendants.

Waddy, the fifth son of Samuel and Ann Jennings Thompson was born November 16, 1777. He married Katherine Eson James in Franklin County, Virginia, September 2, 1799. They moved to Kentucky and settled in Hart County. Their children were Samuel Washington, William Jennings, Frances Bird, Elizabeth Jane, Mary Roberts Pulliam, Waddy, Jr., Memory James, George Washington, George Waddy, America Ann, Jennings, and Nancy Hennings. (there is some evidence that George Washington and George Waddy were one and the same person.)

Samuel Washington Thompson, the first child of Waddy Thompson and Katherine Eson James Tompson, was born and reared at Mt. Airy, the family seat which they established in Metcalfe County. He became a legend in the frontier days of his section of Kentucky. He is reputed to have been a very large man of great strength, and a champion rough-and-tumble wrestler. He operated a freight line from Munfordville to Louisville "hauling meat, lard, cowhides, furs, tree sugar, molasses, or any commodity the farmers wished to sell or trade. On the return trip, necessary supplies which the settlers were unable to obtain in the community were brought back such as salt and coffee" (Quoted substantially from an article by Kay Harbison in the Edmonton Herald News, April 22, 1971.)

Called "Pap" by the children of his first wife by a former marriage, he was also known as "Big Sam", "Sorrel," and "Sorrell Top," the two latter names in reference to the color of his hair, which has been described as "yellow blonde."

Samuel Washington Thompson married first a widow, Marguerite Harris, whose maiden name was Mitchell. After Marguerite's death, he, in 1846, married Susan M. Gee.

The children of Samuel Washington Thompson, chronological order uncertain, were William, Jonathan, Jackson (Jack), Frank, Alonzo, Waddy, Samuel, Manlius, Robert, Allie, and Sarah. William and Jonathan Jackson left Kentucky in 1849. William going to California, and Jonathan Jackson going to Holt County, Missouri. Frank went to Texas. The other five brothers and the two sisters lived and died in Kentucky.

William Thompson rode horseback to California at the age of twenty-two years in 1849. He established his homestead in 1852 among the giant redwood trees near Sonoma, a few miles north of San Francisco. He became known as "Redwood" Thompson because of his love for the great trees and his efforts to protect them. His ranch, still owned by members of his family, has been preserved, and it looks substantially as it did when it was first settled.

William Thompson married first Sophronia Shinn. She died and he married her younger sister Fredonia Shinn, in 1870. They had ten children all of whom have now passed on, most of them resting in the family cemetery on the farm.

During his lifetime, William Thompson served in the Mexican War, became a valuable pioneer in California, hauled redwood logs from the Sonoma Mountains to the Embarcdero in San Francisco, operated a winery on the ranch, shipped his product to as far away as New York. He established a fashionable summer resort, converting his large house to a boarding house. He had a waiting list from season to season which included guests from all over the United States. Among his guests was the famous author, Jack London and the Thompson homestead and Sonoma Valley inspired the title of The Valley of the Moon, London's name for the beautiful Sonoma Valley. Jack London's character, Martin Eden, was in fact a hand on the Thompson payroll.

Many fine thoroughbred horses were raised on the Thompson ranch and all of the members of the family were excellent riders.

In later years, Lucy Thompson, an unmarried daughter of the Thompsons, established a dairy farm on the ranch, and operated it until her death in 1967. The last of the children of the family, Minnie Thompson Zane, died in 1970.

William Thompson died in 1970.

Jonathan Jackson Thompson, who usually went by the name of "Jack" was born March 5, 1829 in Kentucky, where he remained until 1849, when he went to Holt County, Missouri, making the trip on horseback. He was crippled, having one "real" foot. In Missouri, Jack married Sarah Jane Fields and they became the parents of ten children. In 1884, they moved from Missouri to Manhattan, Kansas, and from there, in 1888, they moved to Oklahoma, to that part of the state known as "No Man's land."

A granddaughter of Jack Thompson and Sarah Jane Fields Thompson, Sada Thompson Munkres (Mrs. Shurl Munkres), lives at Colby, Kansas. She is a daughter of Samuel Logan Thompson. Another daughter, Vada Poland, also lives at Colby, Kansas. They have a brother, Marvin Logan Thompson, who lives at Great Bend, Kansas.

Jonathan Jackson died in 1904.

Waddy Thompson one of the sons of Samuel Washington Thompson, was born near Summer Shade, or near Randolph, in Metcalfe County. He was one of the five brothers and two sisters who chose to remain in Kentucky. He married Sarah Francis Lambirth, and they became the parents of nine children, five boys and four boys. Theirs names and whom they married follow:

Mary Suanna, who married Columbus Wright in Kentucky, and they moved to Bonham, Texas; Charles Joseph, who moved to Mansford County, Texas, and married Essie Pearl Benson; Samuel died in Kentucky when 19 years of age; Valonia died in Kentucky. James William and Robert Waddy are twins. Robert Waddy moved to Hansford County, Texas, where he married Nellie Lee Moore. James William moved to Hansford County, Texas, but several years later. Elvira married Johnny H. Scott in Kentucky and then moved to Georgetown, Indiana. Addie Ethel married Sidney Bradley in Kentucky, then moved to Liberal, Kansas, and then to California. Nellie Katherine died young in Kentucky. The descendants of this family are numerous and are scattered over a wide area of the United States.

Waddy Thompson died September 13, 1885, and was buried in a cemetery plot on the Thompson farm. Sarah Frances Thompson married a man named Karnes several years after Waddy's death, and they moved to Adair County, Kentucky.

One of Waddy Thompson's sons, Robert Waddy Thompson, was born near Center in Metcalfe County, where he lived until he was twenty years of age. He was employed for a time in Allen Scott's general store at Center, and later at Knob Lick, where his father was post-master. He joined the Presbyterian Church at a revival meeting held by Brack Porter at the Pleasant Valley Church halfway between Edmonton and Center. He was active in the church until he left Kentucky in 1895. He moved to Hansford County, Texas, where he worked on a cattle ranch for several years. He then formed a partnership with his brother Charles, who had preceded him to Texas by about ten years. They bought a ranch and stocked it with cattle and horses. To help with the expenses of running the ranch, Robert Waddy secured a job as mail carrier on the newly formed Star Route from Guymon, Oklahoma to Hansford, Texas, a distance of about forty miles. After four years on this job he went back to the ranch. In 1906, he married Nellie Lee Moore, and they settled in a new house on the ranch. He and Charles dissolved their partnership and each continued ranching on his own.

In Texas, Robert Waddy Thompson became a valuable citizen in his community. He was active in civic and church affairs, and he enjoyed working on committees and organizations dedicated to the good of the community. A member of the school board for many years, he also served as Tax Assessor of Hansford County, Texas. He was a Democrat, and always voted a straight ticket. He was interested in politics at all levels, local to national. His wife Nellie, was a constant help to him in all of his activities, including the operation of the ranch, church, and community affairs.

Robert Waddy Thompson and his wife Nelle Lee Thompson had eleven children, nine girls and two boys. One of the girls died at birth, but all of the others grew to adulthood, and all are still living except the oldest girls, who died in 1956.

In 1925, Robert Waddy Thompson sold his ranch in Hansford County, Texas and moved with his family to Hereford, Deaf Smith County, Texas. He died in 1926, and his wife died there in 1948.

The children of this Thompson family were: Ruby, who married Conner Hatcher. He died and she married Offos Vick; Robert married Alice Womble, and they live at Hereford, Texas; Jewel married Ira M. Bryce, and they live in Houston, Texas; Hazel married Walter L. Ayers. He died and she now lives at Bryan, Texas; Frances married Eddie L. Layman. They live at Amarillo, Texas; Dorothy married Dan M. Grubbs, and they live in Santa Ana, California; Nellie married Arvol Stuard, and they live at Pittsburg, Texas; Ray Waddy married Maxine Ballard, they live at Pittsburg, Texas; Stello Jo married Joe Massey, they live in Farmington, New Mexico; Eslie Fern married Sam Wade. He died and she married Leonard Sullivan, they live at Elk City, Oklahoma. Stella Jo and Elsie Fern are twins. Lillie Opal, the fourth child of this family died a few hours after birth.

Robert Waddy Thompson maintained that all the numerous Waddy Thompsons are related; that the given name of "Waddy" was originally a surname; that the Thompsons and Waddys intermarried, and the given name of Waddy was started. It became a distinguishing name for his branch of the Thompson family.

U.S. GenWeb
Kentucky GenWeb

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