Addams Stratton McAllister.

The descendants of John Thomson, pioneer Scotch covenanter; genealogical notes on all known descendants of John Thomson, covenanter, of Scotland, Ireland and Pennsylvania, with such biographical sketches as could be obtained from availble published records, or were supplied by the friends of those i online

. (page 1 of 32)
Online LibraryAddams Stratton McAllisterThe descendants of John Thomson, pioneer Scotch covenanter; genealogical notes on all known descendants of John Thomson, covenanter, of Scotland, Ireland and Pennsylvania, with such biographical sketches as could be obtained from availble published records, or were supplied by the friends of those i → online text (page 1 of 32)
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Josephine Patterson {Thompson) Zell
To whom this book is dedicated.

THE 1^1 E^' YORK



The Descendants of John Thomson


Gcncalo(^ical Notes on All Known Descendants of
John Thomson, Covenanter, of Scotland, Ireland
and Pennsylvania, with Such Biographical Sketches
as Could be Obtained from Available Published
Records or were Supplied by the Friends of Those
Individuals who were too Modest to Tell of Their
Own Accomplishments


ADDAMs s. McAllister


Easton, Pennsylvania



'n;C '■£"/ YCKK





To Cousin Josephine Patterson (Thompson) Zell,

without whose initiative, enthusiasm and inspiration

t/ie present records would not have been compiled,

the compiler dedicates this volume



In no way can one obtain a better idea of the character of the

records it was originally hoped would be included in the present

book than by reading carefully the following instructions which

were sent to every descendant of Pioneer John Thomson whose

address was known, on at least two occasions, namely, when the

work of compilation was first started in 1912, and after the

records then on hand were placed in type in 1916.

The information we wish to obtain on the family tree, arranged in
the order of importance, is as follows:

First — The Full Name (not merely initials) of every descendant of
the Pioneer, the Pull i\'a)iic of the person married in each case,
and tlic I-'ull A'antc of each child born to every couple.

Second — The Dales of all births, marriages and deaths.

TiiiRi) — The Present Address of every living descendant.

Fourth — The Plaee of birth, marriage and death of every descendant.

Fifth — A Brief Life Sketch of every descendant — giving only the
important items, such as military service, training, education, pro-
fession and present occupation.

Si.xTii — The Ancestry — with available dates — of each person who has
married into any branch of our family. That is to say, we want
the Coni(>lete available Ancestral Record of every descendant.

If in doubt as to exactly what is wanted, send all obtainable items of
genealogical and biographical nature that would be of interest to any of
the descendants of the Pioneer of our family.

It is appreciated that no one person can supply all of the information
desired. It is hoped, however, that each person addressed will send all
information obtainable and give Clues as to sources of additional infor-
mation. Please send whatever you have whether it is little or much.

Notwithstanding the above seemingly explicit instructions,
many descendants have expressed surprise that the records of
certain other branches were more complete than those of their
own branch — to which latter they may or may not have contrib-
uted. In can safely be stated again, as was stated in the circular
letter sent to every descendant whose post office address was
known in 1916, that in not one single branch are the records as
they now stand too elaborate; in some branches they are quite
complete, while in others they are too brief to be dignified by the
title "record."


The compiler believes he is correct in stating that, without a
single exception, every item of the above-described nature sub-
mitted by any descendant of John Thomson has been utilized in
the present book — not always, however, in the exact form in
which it was submitted. To all those contributing to these rec-
ords, and especially to those few who have supplied material re-
lating to branches or sub-branches other than their own, the com-
piler desires to express his sincere thanks and appreciation.

To the Guarantors, without whose aid the publication of the
records would not have been accomplished, all members of the
family are indebted for placing at the disposal of the publication
committee sufficient funds to insure the prompt payment of the
printer's and engraver's bills. For this purpose, a total of $900
was advanced to the committee (to be returned subsequently in
the form of books or cash at their option) by the following Guar-
antors : Catherine Nelson Janney, J. Howard Neely, Edward S.
Thomson, Lewis C. Thompson, Henry Walters, Lucian M. Zell,
and T. Burd Zell.

Originally the intention was to keep the expense as low as
possible and to publish the book without illustrations, but suffi-
cient funds having been provided, it was decided to include a
limited number of illustrations.



The Present Records i

Thomson Family Assemblies 2

Early Family History 4

Scotch-Irish Characteristics 5

Early Property Ownership 7

Homestead of Pioneer John Thomson 8

Spelling of the Family Name 8

Wives of John Thomson 9

Will of John Thomson 12

Immediate Descendants of John Thomson 14

Numerical DesiRnation of Descendants 15

Branch No. i, Mary (Thomson) and William Greenlee 17

Branch No. 2, Jean (Thomson) and Robert Wylie 63

Branch No. 3, William and Jane (Mitchell) Thomson 82

Branch No. 4, Elizabeth (Thomson) and Robert McAlister 153

Branch No. 5, Robert and Sarah (Mitchell) Thomson 154

Branch No. 6, Sarah (Thomson) and William McAlister 177

Branch No. 7, Susanna (Thomson) and David Boal 202

Branch No. 8, Isaac and Martha (Larimore) Thomson 219

Isaac and Jane (Evans-Wells) Thomson 219, 230

Branch No. 9, John and Martha (Parks) Thomson 241

Branch No. 10, Andrew and Jane (Stewart) Thomson 247

Branch No. 11, Peter and Mary (Patterson) Thomson 264

Branch No. 12, Thomas Thomson 281

Branch No. 13, James Thomson 281

Branch No. 14, Thomson 282

Appendix — Pioneer John Thomson's Brother James 283

Index to Descendants of John Thomson, Pioneer 287

Index to Associated Familv Ancestors 315

Descendants of John Thomson

Pioneer Scotch Covenanter


To the excellent preliminary compilation made by Theodore
Samuel Thom[)son, of Thompsontovvn, Juniata County, Pa., by
the aid of information obtained from his mother, Mrs. Charlotte
Chambers (Patterson) Thompson, wife of William Thompson,
Jr., son of William Thomson, Sr., and grandson of John Thom-
son, the I'ioneer, must be attributed the completeness of the
records herein presented. Without the T. S. Thompson notes
which were added to and printed for distribution to the various
branches of the family in 1887, by Heber S. Thompson of Potts-
ville, Schuylkill County, Pa., it would not have been possible for
the numerous descendants scattered throughout the United States
to have kept so fully in communication with each other.

To the oldest living descendant of the Pioneer, "The Queen
of the Thompson Family." Mrs. Josephine Patterson (Thomp-
son) Zell, dauf,'hter of Mrs. Charlotte Chambers (Patterson)
Thompson, must be given full credit for the present compilation,
for it was she who first called attention, in January, 191 1, to the
neglcctctl resting place of the common ancestor, John Thomson,
in the old Lock Graveyard near Thompsontovvn, which through
her efforts has since been marked by an appropriate monument
erected by the descendants. It was she who inaugurated and has
kept alive the Thompson Family Assemblies, that have been held
annually at Thompsontown since 191 1.

To the records as they now appear, all branches of the family
have contributed, but the work of co-ordinating the information
collected for revising the "Thompson Family" booklet was un-
dertaken by a committee, appointed at the second Assembly in
191 2, consisting of Messrs. Edward S. Thomson, Thompson-
tovvn, Pa.; James B. Wylie. Washington, Pa., and Addams S.
McAllister, New York, X. Y.

The financing of the undertaking, by obtaining advanced sub-
scriptions for the publication and guarantees of the disposal of
the requisite number of copies has been taken care of by a com-


mittee consisting of Mr. T. Burd Zell, Chairman ; Miss Margaret
Shippen Crowther, Mrs. Catherine Janney, Mr. Edward S.
Thomson, and Miss Jmiiata M. Wilson. A list of the Guaran-
tors, who practically acted as underwriters for the publication,
appears in the Preface. At the 1916 assembly, at which the com-
pilation of genealogical data was presented in proof form, ap-
pointment was made of a special committee to attend to the final
details relating to the printing of the book and selection of the
illustrations, consisting of Messrs. Addams S. McAllister, J.
Howard Neely, Edward S. Thomson, and T. Burd Zell.


From the issue in January, 191 1, by Mrs. Josephine Patterson
(Thompson) Zell of a call for funds from his descendants for
placing a substantial head-stone over the grave of Pioneer John
Thomson, must be dated the beginning of the movement which
resulted in the establishment of the Thompson Family Assem-
blies, as well as the erection of the John Thomson monument.

On March 25, 191 1, an executive board was organized consist-
ing of Mrs. Josephine P. Zell, president; Mr. Theophilus Thomp-
son, Mr. Edward S. Thomson, Mrs. Wilson Lloyd, Miss Cora E.
Thompson, Miss Clara J. Thompson, Mr. Banks C. McAllister,
Mrs. Ella Neely, and Mrs. C. N. Janney, with Miss Annie G.
Thompson as secretary, and Mr. Theophilus M. Thompson as
treasurer of the John Thomson Fund.

Chief interest naturally centers in the First Reunion of the
family on August 11, 191 1, when the monument to the pioneer
ancestor, John Thomson, was dedicated. Mr. Edward S. Thom-
son was master of ceremonies. Following a prayer by Rev. Dr.
J. Gray McAllister, Louisville, Ky., the monument was presented
to the descendants by Mrs. Josephine P. (Thompson) Zell, of
Passaic, N. J., and accepted for the descendants by Mr. John A.
Thompson, of Cleveland, Ohio. The dedicatory exercises of the
morning were then brought to a close by a prayer by Mr. William
Thompson Zell, of Reading, Pa. In the afternoon was held the
organization meeting of the Thomson Assemblies, in which the
following persons took part: Misses Helen and Eunice Skaer,
Augusta, Kan; General James Addams Beaver, Bellefonte, Pa.;
Miss Blanche Thompson, Logansport, Ind. ; Miss Edith Crow-

Monument to Pioneer John Thomson

"tvv VV^ ^'0^^


- on LENOX


ther, Philadelphia, Pa. ; Miss Mary Thompson, Philadelphia, Pa. ;
Mrs. Josephine P. (Thompson) Zell, and Rev. J. Gray McAl-

In presenting the monument Mrs. Zell stated that "We honor
his name not simply because he was the progenitor of a large
family, but that he was one of those who bravely stood for civil
and religious liberty, for the equal rights of humanity, and for
an open Bible, the results of which we Americans can enjoy to-

The monument bears the following inscription :

Pioneer and Patriot

Founder of the Thompson
Family in Juniata County

Died 1779

A Scotch Covenanter
Advocate of the Open Bible,
Civil and Religious Liberty




Sarah Patterson

Erected by a Grateful
Posterity, 191 1.

Since 191 1, the Assemblies have been held annually, the meet-
ing place being furnished by Edward S. Thomson, Thompson-
town, Pa., who has acted as master of ceremonies and treasurer,
under the presidencies of Jerome N. Thompson, Wilkes-Barre,
Pa. ; John A. Thompson, Cleveland, Ohio, and J. Luther Thomp-
son, Mifflintown, Pa. Andrew Banks, Mifflintown, elected sec-
retary at the first assembly, has held that office continuously since
then, with Miss Clara J. Thompson, Mifflintown, as recording
secretary. Rev. J. Gray McAllister, Louisville, has served as
chaplain of the assemblies.

In addition to those who took part in the first assembly, the
following persons have read papers at the later assemblies : James
B. Wylie, Washington, Pa. ; Miss Adele Thompson, Middlefield,
Ohio, on the "Lost Uncle Isaac;" Walter M. Thompson, Topeka,


Kan.; Mrs. W. H. Zeiders, Mifflintown, Pa.; Miss Clara J.
Thompson, Mifflintown ; J. Howard Neely, Mifflintown, and Will-
iam Thompson Zell, Reading, Pa.

At each assembly, the descendants residing in the neighbor-
hood of Thompsontown have provided a most bountiful dinner
for those attending the meeting from far and near. Much of
the preliminary work connected with the assemblies has fallen on
the wnlling shoulders of the Committee on Invitations, of which
Mrs. Catherine N. Janney, Miss Junie Wilson, and Miss Clara
J. Thompson have been active members.


According to the "Thompson Family" booklet of 1887, John
Thomson and his brother James, originally from Scotland, emi-
grated from County Antrim, Ireland, about 1735 to Cross Roads,
Chester County, Pa., and moved to Hanover Township (which
was then in Lancaster County and is now in Dauphin County,
Pa.) near to Derry Church, still preserved and rebuilt in 1886.
They were Scotch Covenanters and doubtless worshipped at
Derry Church.

"From Hanover Township they moved to near (about 10
miles from) Harrisburg where John married his second wife,
Miss Slocum; thence he moved to the farm three miles east of
(what is now) Thompsontown, Pa. He and two wives are
buried in a graveyard one and one-half miles east of Thompson-

"James Thomson settled along South Mountain (then Cumber-
land Valley and Cumberland County, but now Franklin County
and Chambersburg) and his descendants reside there still.

"John Thomson came up the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers
and landed at the mouth of the river three miles east of what
is now Thompsontown. His first wife was a Miss Greenleaf
(or Greenlea), his second wife was Miss Slocum, and his third,
Sarah Patterson. As his oldest daughter married a Greenleaf,
the marriage of John Thomson with Miss Greenleaf may be a
mistake, although marrying cousins was common."

In an old account book of Robert Thompson (born 1790; died
1866), son of William Thomson, of Thompsontown, Pa., there

Charlotte Chambers [Patterson] Thompson
The earliest historian of the Thompson Family. Her daughter, Josephine Patterson Thompson.

















is a memorandum stating that "John Thomson, my grandfather
came from Antrim, Ireland, and wore the Scotch kilt and bon-
net until his death." The Thomson or Thompson family be-
longed to the Clan Campbell of Argyll. The first of the Camp-
bell family to take the title of Ar;,^yll was a great-grandson of
Neill Campbell, King Edward's Baillie of Lands in Arg)'ll from
Lochfyne to Kilmartin, who was created Lord Campbell by James
n. Ar^fyllshire is in the southwestern portion of Scotland just
across the North Channel from County Antrim, which is in the
extreme northeastern part of Ireland.


Of John Thomson's ancestors we have no record other than
the firmly believed, if not established, tradition that he was one
of a number of Presbyterians who fled from Scotland to Ireland
and subsequently came to America to escape persecution, op-
pressive taxation and political troubles. Family records were
not kept in Ireland and no records from Scotland were brought
to America. However, of the predominating characteristics of
the peoi)le to whom he belonged we know much.

In "Scotch-Irish Pioneers in Ulster and America," Charles
Knowles Bolton says : "New scenes must have quickened
the mental processes of the transplanted Scot, and the greater
community life enlarged the social instinct. The Episcopalians,
all-powerful in government, and the Roman Catholics, strong in
numbers, pressed in upon every side, and forced the Presby-
terians to an exercise of their loyalty and patience, while the
spirit of luoselyting which existed everywhere in Ulster sharp-
ened their wits. Under a centur>' of these social and religious
influences, the Scotch character must have changed."

"It was," said Mr. Morrison, in his life of Jeremiah Smith,
"the sternness of the Scotch Covenanter, softened by a century's
residence abroad amid persecution and trial, wedded there to the
pathos and comic humor of the Irish."

The transplanted Scot was more versatile and more fertile in
resource, less clannish and less pugnacious, or in other terms, a
man of wider vision. His beliefs were consistent and well de-
fined. Against the Puritan's town meeting, the Scotch-Irishman


placed the legislature; for the congregation he substituted the
assembly ; instead of laying stress upon personality, he emphasized

Whatever of military science the Scotch-Irish did not learn at
the siege of Londonderry, they acquired in the French and In-
dian wars in the New World. Their rugged life fitted them to
endure camp and march; and their inborn hostility toward Eng-
land led them to forge to the front in the early weeks of the
year 1775 when many good men of the old English race wav-
ered in the face of war with Great Britain.

An excellent resume of the causes leading to the emigration of
the Scotch Covenanters, first to Ireland and then to America,
was given in a paper read before the Thompson Family Assembly
in 1916, by Mr. J. Howard Neely, who stated that "during the
reigns of Charles I, Charles II and James II, bigotry and despot-
ism marked their conduct towards the Presbyterians, and per-
secutions in Ulster and Scotland were employed to break down
the Presbyterian faith and establish the Church of England over
Scotland." The meetings of the Covenanters were denounced as
seditious and to frequent them or to hold communion with those
frequenting them was forbidden on pain of death. For this
reason the Covenanters abandoned the land of their birth and
sought an asylum among their countrymen in Ulster, in the north
of Ireland. However, the British government soon began to
burden the Scotch in Ireland with taxes and exactions upon their
industry and trades, and the large landed proprietors demanded
extravagant rents for their lands on which long time leases had
expired, resulting in two great Scotch-Irish migrations to Amer-
ica, the first from 17 17 to 1750, during which time Pioneer John
Thomson came to Pennsylvania, and the second from 1771 to
1773, immediately preceding the Revolution in America against
British misrule.

As Mr. Neely truly said, "the industry, frugality, energy, re-
source and endurance fitted well the Scotch-Irish to meet the
conditions in America. This race in enterprise, intelligence,
education, patriotism, religious and moral character, the mainte-
nance of civil and religious liberty, in all things that have con-
tributed to the economic, social and religious life, has been sur-
passed by none other."



In his "memorandum of ancestors" Robert Thompson, already
referred to, showed that Pioneer John Thomson came to America
in 1730, not 1735. He states that "on the 2nd day of May,
1768, grandfather John Thomson sold his estate in Hanover
Township, then Lancaster County, Pa., now Dauphin County.
He then purchased a warrant for land granted to Samuel Stur-
geon of the same place, lying in the upper end of Pfoutz Valley,
which with other purchases included all the lands of Rumbaugh
up to the Micheltree place (old graveyard). The deed from
Sturgeon to Thomson is dated May 2, 1768. John Thomson died
on the place now owned by John P. Thompson."

On page 870 of the "History of Susquehanna and Juniata Val-
leys in Pennsylvania," published in 1866 by Everets, Peck &
Richards, Philadelphia — a book containing much information of
interest to the descendants of John Thomson, and frequently re-
ferred to herein, it is stated that "John Thomson, or Thompson
as later spelled, from whom most of the family of that name in
Juniata County, Pa., descended, was one of several brothers who
resided in Paxton Valley, and about 1768 or 1769, came up the
Juniata with his family and purchased a tract of 200 acres of land
(which had been previously warranted) about three miles from
the present borough of Thompsontown. His name is not men-
tioned in the tax rolls of Fermanagh Township until 1769, when
he is assessed on 200 acres (now owned by Uriah Shuman).
Robert, his eldest son, was also assessed on 200 acres adjoining
and below Lockport.

William, the second son of John Thomson, in 1785, sold his
farm adjoining his father's farm in Pfoutz's Valley and purchased
the tract on which Thompsontown was located. He also bought
the "Happy Banks of Goshen," a farm of 400 acres three miles
west of the present site of Thompsontown on the south side of
the Juniata River, and also the lands (about 400 acres), mills,
etc., at what is now Mexico, originally owned by Capt. James

Thomas and Peter Thompson, the youngest sons of John
Thomson, inherited the homestead of their father and on Feb.
28, 1807, they purchased 84 acres of land of Frederick Keller,


which had been patented in two tracts by Isaac Yost — one named
Green Plains and the other Rivulet Grove, which two tracts they
sold in 1809 to Andrew Thompson, farmer. Thomas died a
bachelor and the old farm which then embraced 433 acres passed
to Peter.

Property tax and transfer records show that Pioneer John
Thomson owned about 500 acres of land partly on the Juniata
River and adjoining Pfoutz's Valley. His sons owned all the
lands west along the Juniata to a line three-quarters of a mile
west of what is now Thompsontown, the plots containing about
1,200 acres. In an easterly direction from Thompsontown, Pa.,
there were seven adjoining farms owned by the Thompson family.


According to Mr. William Albanus Logan Thompson (who
was born 1848 at the Peter Thompson homestead, about three
miles from the site of what is now Thompsontown, Juniata
County, Pa.), the home of Pioneer John Thomson was about 40
rods south of the old stone house erected in 1810 by Peter Thom-
son, in the upper end of Pfoutz Valley, in what is now Juniata
County, near the Perry County line, which runs just east of the
farm. It was near a spring that was shaded by a big oak tree.
A stone fence built by John Thomson, the pioneer, surrounded
the meadow. The remains of this fence now form a pile of stone
by the side of the road leading south to the river.

By his will, John Thomson left his farm of 412 acres to his
sons James, Thomas and Peter. James died young, while Thomas
died a bachelor and Peter inherited all of the land.

In 1810 Peter Thomson built the old stone house and here
most of his children were born. At his death his son John
Peter bought the interests of the other heirs and kept the old
homestead until 1865 when it was sold to Judge Samuel Hep-
burn, of Carlisle, who sold it on Mar. 4, 1869, to Uriah Shuman.


In the early records the name of the family was spelled
Thomson, and the wording used on the house erected by the
Pioneer's son, who located at what is now Thompsontown, Jun-


iata County, Pa., was "This House Built by \V. & J. Thomson,
1798." Even at a date earlier than this the records show a dif-
ferent spelling of the name. There are now in existence com-
missions to the son who built the above house, as second lieu-
tenant, on May 3, 1775, in Cumberland County, Pa., Associators;
first lieutenant on May i, 1783, in Cumberland County militia and
captain on July 11, 1792, in Mifflin County militia, in each of
which the name is spelled William Thompson. Doubtless the
records kept by the family showed how the individual spelled his
own name while the other records indicated how other people
believed the name should be spelled.

On the mill at Mexico, Juniata County, Pa., appears the fol-
lowing: "New Mexico Mill Built by William Thomson, 1810."

There is now in the possession of the descendants of William
Thomson a note book owned by his son James, who had a per-
fect right to take pride in his excellent penmanship. This book
was started by him on May 23, 1799, at which time he entered
his name as James Thomson. On Jan. 18, 1800, he wrote James

Online LibraryAddams Stratton McAllisterThe descendants of John Thomson, pioneer Scotch covenanter; genealogical notes on all known descendants of John Thomson, covenanter, of Scotland, Ireland and Pennsylvania, with such biographical sketches as could be obtained from availble published records, or were supplied by the friends of those i → online text (page 1 of 32)