Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association

    William M. Thompson

    William M. Thompson follows farming in Newberry township, being connected with the pursuit that for many years has formed the means of livelihood . of representatives of the Thompson family living in Miami county. Sylvester Thompson, his great­grandfather, was born in North Carolina, and about the year 1807, with his wife and five children, emigrated to Miami county, Ohio, taking up his abode in Newton town­ship, where he entered a claim now known as the Landis farm. He afterward entered the west half of section 32, Newberry town­ship Greenville creek about the same time, his landed possessions thus becoming very ex­tensive. He conducted a still house on his farm and was one day found dead, lying in the spring branch. It is supposed that he had lain flat on his stomach in order to get a drink, and died in that position. This was in 1826, when he was about sixty years of age. In politics he was a stanch Democrat. His wife, Mrs. Polly Thompson, who was noted for her kindness of heart and sweet, gentle disposition, died in April, 1843, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. John Hill, near the town of Pleasant Hill. After the death of her first husband she was again married, becoming the wife of a Mr. Freeman, of Newberry township. The chil­dren of Sylvester and Polly Thompson were five in number : John, the eldest, married Catherine Rench, and resides in Covington. In connection with his brother William he owned the site on which the east half of Covington was built, and conducted a tavern where Doctor Mover's house now stands. He afterward sold that and later engaged in the hardware business on what was then called, Water street, close to the river. He died on his farm east of Covington, on the 8th of July, 1841. James Thompson, the second member of the family, was born about 18oo, married Elizabeth Bierly and located on Greenville creek, becoming an influential agriculturist of that community. He died on his farm several years prior to the death of his wife. Samuel, the third member of the family, was born in 1802, and was mar­ried in 1823 to Hannah Rench, daughter of Peter Rench. He died in 1895, on the farm where his son Josephus now lives. William, the fourth member of the family, wedded Nancy Rudy, and located on what is known as the Teague farm, which was part of the land entered by his father from the government. He died at his pleasant home near Pleasant Hill in 1882. Nancy, the only daughter and the eldest of the family, was the wife of John Hill and lived on a farm near Pleasant Hill, which is now owned by Nate Iddings, of Bradford. There she spent her remaining days.

    It was William Thompson who became the grandfather of our subject. He was born in North Carolina, in 1804, and was consequently three years of age when his parents came to Miami county. His father entered land from the government and gave to him one hundred and sixty acres after his marriage. He wedded Nancy, daughter of Samuel and Sally Rudy, and , about 1834 he sold his farm and removed to Illinois, but as he could find no land to suit him in that state, he returned to Ohio and repurchased the old homestead from his brother John. He then engaged in farming for a time, but afterward once more sold the property to his brother John and purchased what is now the Kilworth farm, which was entered from the government by Samuel Rudy. On dispos­ing of that property he purchased the Fox farm, near the Darke county line, remaining thereon for a few years, when he again sold and bought thirty acres in Newton township from Mr. Butterfield. When he found a purchaser for that land he bought ton acres east of Pleasant Hill, and there prac­tically lived retired until his death, which occurred May 18, 1882. His wife, Nancy Thompson, passed away in 1847, and he afterward married Rachel Spillers, widow of William Kendall. She survived him for a few years. William Thompson was laid to rest in the Greenville creek cemetery. The children by his first marriage were Mary, who married John Arnold and afterward married William Murphy, but is now a widow, and makes her home in Bradford; John, who married Catherine Coates, and re­sides in Newberry township; Samuel, who married Mary Ann Fachler and died near Red River, Darke county, as did his wife James, the father of our subject; Sarah, widow of Emanuel J. Beard, of Newberry township; Martha, wife of Calvin Brant, both now deceased; Margaret, who became the wife of John Swisher, and died in New­berry township ; Hannah, who became the wife of Isaac Hollopeter and died near Hous­ton, Shelby county, Ohio, where her hus­band's death also occurred; William, who married Elizabeth Smith, and died in Cov­ington; Nancy Ann, who became the wife of Henry Cassal, with whom she removed to Illinois, where her death occurred, her re­mains, however, being interred in Greenville creek cemetery; Henry, of Fort Wayne, In­diana; Nathan, who married Amanda Muck, and is living in Ludlow Falls ; and Sylvester, who married Miss Long, and resides in Pleasant Hill. There were two children by the second marriage, Melinda, wife of Edward Carson, who resides near Sidney, Ohio, and Susan, wife of Samuel Burns, of Piqua.

    James Thompson, the father of our sub­ject, was born in Newberry township, in 1826, and was reared in the usual manner of farmer lads of that period. He had no ed­ucational privileges and after the children attended school they taught him to read and write. He married Mary Moss, who was born in Newberry township in 1826, a daughter of William Moss. They resided in Newberry township, where the father died in 1862. In the fall of 1861 ho enlisted in his country's service as a member of Com­pany B, Seventy-first Ohio Infantry, under Captain McConnell. In May of the follow­ing year he was sent home on account of illness, and died on the first of that month. His wife, long surviving him, passed away in 1882, and both wore buried in the Green­ville creek cemetery. Their children were William M.; Charles, who married Salome Matthews and died in Newberry township in 1876; Peter, who married Catherine Sheffbaugh and is living in Covington; James, of Darke county, who married Catherine Rike, who is now deceased; and Rachel M., who died in infancy. William M. Thompson was born January 25, 1846, on what is known as the James Teague farm, in Newberry township. There he was reared to manhood and obtained his education in the district school near his home. His privileges were somewhat lim­ited, however, for his services were needed in clearing and developing the home farm. On the 8th of February, 1864, at Covington, he responded to his country's call for aid, en listing as a member of Company A, Eighth Ohio Cavalry, for three years' service. He went to Camp Dennison and after a short time to Camp Pratt, Virginia. The troops thence proceeded on the Lynchburg raid, but were driven back to Camp Pratt and after­ward sent to Martinsburg, in the Shenandoah valley, and thence through Maryland and Pennsylvania, being present at the burn­ing of Chambersburg. Mr. Thompson also participated in the heavy skirmish which was continued through , thirteen days. The. troops were pursued to Beverly, Virginia,, where Mr. Thompson and four hundred of his companions were taker prisoners,, being taken to Staunton, where they were put on board trains bound for, Richmond. He was incarcerated in Libby prison from. the 16th of June until the 26th of February, 1865, when he was paroled and returned, home. After visiting in Ohio for thirty days he started to rejoin his regiment, but learned of Lee's surrender and went to Co­lumbus, where he reported for duty. He was then sent to his regiment in Philippi, West Virginia, where the command was given the duty of gathering up United States property, being thus engaged for about four weeks. Mr. Thompson was then dis­charged at Clarksburg, Virginia, July 13, 1865. He saw hard service throughout his connection with the army, and spent the nineteenth anniversary of his birth in Libby prison. While at Beverly he and his com­panion, Martin Van Kirk, had pictures taken together. Mr. Thompson mailed one to his mother in Ohio, but the mails were robbed by, the rebels and the picture did not reach its destination; but •when Mr. Thompson was gathering up government property in Crab Bottom, Virginia, one of his comrades hap­pened to visit the home of a Confederate and saw the picture there. He then in­formed Mr. Thompson, who visited the place, and after considerable parley the photograph was returned to him. At the time of the capture of Beverly the Union troops were surprised in their bunks by the rebels. He and his friend, Van Kirk, were together as usual, and the latter went out to see what was the matter, whereupon he was seized. He then shouted to Mr. Thompson, who seized his gun with the intention of making a dash for liberty, but he found that the rebel force were too many for him; and after ex­changing some lively words was forced to surrender. By the side of his friend, Van Kirk, they started to march away shoulder to shoulder, but a volley was fired by some unknown scouts and Van Kirk fell, hit in the forehead by a bullet. Such, in brief, are some of the experiences through which Mr. Thompson passed while loyally defend­ing the Union during the civil war.

    After he returned home he resumed work on the home farm. During his boyhood he had been employed as a farm hand for two dollars per month and his board. After his marriage 'he received as high as three dol­lars per day for cradling wheat, being able to cut four acres per day.

    On the l0th of March, 1867, Mr. Thomp­son was married to Miss Nancy J. Green, a daughter of Samuel Green, deceased, .of Newberry township. They remained on his mother's farm where they lived for one and a half years and then rented land in Concord township, where they made their home for eight years. On the expiration of that period they returned to his mother's farm, and after her death Mr. Thompson purchased the property, to which he has since added twenty acres, and there he built a substantial and comfortable res­idence. He raised tobacco and garden prod­uce and attends the market at Piqua twice a week. He purchased forty acres of land near Fort Recovery and removed there in 1882, but after remaining there a year and a half he returned to his present home. He is enterprising and progressive in his business methods and receives a, good income as the result of his energetic labors.

    Mr. and Mrs. Thompson now have six children : Charles, who died at the age of twenty years ; Oscar, who married Emma Stauffer and lives in Covington; Walter E., who married Flora Reiber, and resides in Newberry township; Myrtie E., who married Asa Reck, a farmer in Darke county; and Hattie and George W. at home. The parents hold membership in the Greenville Creek Christian church, of which Mr. Thompson has been a member for many years. In politics Mr. Thompson is a stanch Republican and keeps well informed on the issues of the day, but has not sought office, desiring father to give his time and energies entirely to his business interests, in which he has met with signal success.

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