Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Story of the Thompson Family

On my husbands paternal line is the Thompson family. They came from Cork, Ireland.
Robert Thompson
7th great-grandfather
b. early 1700's in Cork, County Down, Ireland
m. Mary on Mach 17th, 1743 in Cork, County Down, Ireland
d. August 7th, 1772 in Abbeville, SC
The story of Robert Thompson,
by descendant H. C. McDill written in 1896
"They came from the north of Ireland and were of Scotch-Irish stock, staunch members of the old Scottish Kirk. There is an old story in our family, which I will tell you partly to fix the date as nearly as possible, but mostly to show you how narrow an escape you ran of not being born at all. Over in Auld Ireland, my great-grandfather, Robert Thompson, was very intimate with a family named McBride. When he came to America it was understood between them after Thompson got settled down and prospects appeared favorable he would write to the McBrides and they would join him in the new country.

Well, Thompson came over and settled in the Abbeville District, of South Carolina, and built him a little home. Then he wrote to the McBrides to come. In due time the McBride's landed in Charleston Harbor and found Robert Thompson waiting for them. Archibald Thompson, my grandfather, then a lad of seven or eight years went along. When everything was ready, Mrs. McBride said to Archibald:

'Take the little girl up on your back and carry her, who knows but what she may be your wife some day?' And so it afterwards turned out. Now this union of the families must have taken place about 1767, or 1768, and that is as far back as I have authority to go in fixing the date of the arrival of the Thompsons in this country. But from these facts I think it is safe to say that they must have come over some time near 1760, or 136 years ago.

The Thompsons were blacksmiths. In 1772 Robert Thompson died and his sons continued the work in the shop and on the farm. Everything prospered with them up to 1776, when the Revolutionary War broke out. Then everything changed. Everybody took one side or the other. The Thompsons were active Whigs, or Revolutionists, while the McBrides became Tories, or adherent to the British King. This difference in political belief doesn't seem to have made much difference in the family relations between the two families.

All through the war one or the other of the families were generally in hiding. When the British, or Tories, came around the Thompsons would take to the woods; when the patriots, under Marion or Sumpter came that way, the McBrides would drop everything and break for the tall timber. Early in the war the Thompson blacksmith shop became noted for miles around as a place where patriots could get their guns, pistols, swords and pikes repaired at a very small price and spot cash. This of course led to very bitter feeling and their shop was raided and burned several times in a year or two.

About 1779 the Tories again raided the place, this time destroying everything, burning the shop home and destroying fences and crops. In this year their mother, Mary Thompson, died. And I suppose the family scattered. At least it is certain that Archibald, then 18 or 19 years old, with one or two of his brothers joined General Marion's army and served under him the remainder of the war."

John Porter Thompson
6th great-grandfather

b. April 4th, 1765 in Abbeville, SC
m. Mary Glasgow in 1793 in Abbeville, SC
d. before 1832 in Abbeville, SC

James Glasgow Thompson
5th great-grandfather

b. January 2nd, 1789 in Abbeville, SC
m. Margaret, his cousin on October 5th, 1817 in Randolph Co. IL Margaret was the daughter of Archibald Thompson and Mary McBride in the story above.
d. October 6th, 1872 in Randolph Co. IL

James Glasgow Thompson and his beloved wife, Margaret.

James taught school in Kaskaskia, IL for three years, and settled on a farm in township 5, range 7.

He commanded a company of militia in the Black Hawk war. He was a skillful surveyor. For twenty years he surveyed public lands for the United States government, and was county surveyor for several terms. In pursuit of his favorite occupation his foot probably left its impress on every section of land in Randolph county.
The Canal Commissioners hired James Thompson, a surveyor from Kaskaskia in downstate Randolph County, to create Chicago's first plat (or map showing proposed lots) in 1830. He laid out the town with straight streets uniformly 66 feet wide (the length of a surveyor's chain) with alleys 16 feet wide bisecting each block. Source
One of the first maps of Chicago, courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society
Thompson surveyed about half of McHenry County with his sons John and Archibald; later James and John surveyed parts of Kane and DeKalb Counties.
He was county commissioner in 1820, then later judge of the probate court from 1831 till the office was abolished by the constitution of 1848. 
James Glasgow Thompson's memorial
Margaret Caroline Thompson
4th great-grandmother

b. May 29th, 1826 in Randolph Co. IL
m. Duncan on December 29th or January 1st, 1845 in Randolph Co. IL
d. June 8th, 1902 in Americus, KS

Margaret is our last connection to the Thompson line. When Margaret married Duncan Turner McAuley, the line became McAuley and then Wright.

The [third man from the back left] is George McAuley (Margaret's son), on his right is his beloved wife Ida Flack McAuley, and the baby [on the bottom left] is their daughter Martha Caroline McAuley "Pink" who was born in 1886. That baby is the one who married into the Wright family.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kiki,

I stumbled across your blog post with the photo of James Glasgow Thompson and his wife, Margaret. We have a copy of this photo, but we don't know the origins of it. Would you please contact me at forestwalk(at) We would love to know more about it and the family. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kiki

I also came across your blog. I have never seen these wonderful photos before. I am working on my husband's Thompson line.

Would you know where I can obtain a copy of the Book "The Story of Robert Thompson" by H C McDill? I have heard of it referred to as "The History of the Thompson Family" by the same author.

Please contact me at marilyn(at) Thank you for your great blog info

Anonymous said...

I am interested in the story of the Thompson family due to their connection to the McBrides. I have traced my history back to William McBride and Jane Law of Abbeville, South Carolina. There is much conflicting information prior to that connection. I would be interested to know if there is any more to the story that you posted above, or if you could direct me to the best person who might still be researching "Archibald Thompson and Mary "Mollie" McBride. Many people seem to have connected Mollie to the family of William and Jane McBride, but there was also a James McBride of the appropriate age to be her father in Abbeville. As of today, I have no documentation of the identity of "the McBride Family" in the Thompson story, be it James or William McBride. My interest is this. If the story applies to the William McBride family, then the parents of William that have been cited by others to be Phillip and Margaret McBride must be incorrect. They came to Goose Creek, and died there. The "Abbeville McBrides" did not appear to have any connection to that McBride family, but MANY connections to the Thompsons of Abbeville, including relocation to Randolph County Illinois. Anything you can add would be appreciated, and thank you for posting this story!
Steve McBride
Fresno, CA

Kathryn Schultz said...

You are so very fortunate to know where your Thompson family came from before their arrival in the colonies. We are still searching for where our John Thomson came from before his arrival in Granville (later Halifax) County, North Carolina, where he died in 1760. His son Richard and grandson John, along with other family members, by then spelled with a “p,” later migrated in the mid-1790s to Barnwell District, SC. John migrated on to southwest Mississippi in 1810.

Deanna T Beasley said...

Kathryn SCHULTZ: My 3great grandfather William THOMPSON had always stated that he was from North Carolina. He must have lived in or around Amite county, MS which is where he married his wife from E Feliciana par, LA whose name was Zilpha EAST. From there he and Zilpha with children were found in Copiah co, MS turned Lincoln co, MS where I found his final report of administration. That escaped the courthouse fire in Brookhaven due to being on a lawyer's desk and then returned by 1893 for the filing. Stroke of luck there to have found that.

William's birth year was always announced to the census taker as being abt 1791 from North Carolina. I have learned that North Carolina stretched from the East coast to on or near the Mississippi River. Not sure where to start in North Carolina because of the sketchiness of information that I have.

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