Select Thomson/Thompson Miscellany



Here are some Thomson/Thompson stories and accounts over the years:

Thomson and Thompson


The Scottish spelling is generally Thomson, the English Thompson.  Thompson is the more common form in America.  Overall, Thompson predominates today.

Numbers (000's)
Thompson
Thomson
Total
UK
   171
    66     
   237    
America
   194
    10
   204
Elsewhere
    85
    30
   115
Total
   450
   106
   556


Early Thomsons in Scotland

George Fraser Black had the following to say about early Thomsons in his 1946 book The Surnames of Scotland: 

“Thomson, meaning ‘son of Thom,’ is a fairly numerous surname in Scotland.  

John Thomson, ‘a man of low birth, but approved valor,’ was the leader of the men of Carrick in Edward Bruce's war in Ireland in 1318.  Adam Thomson appeared as the lord of Kylnekylle in Ayrshire circa 1370-80. John Tomson witnessed a grant in Ayr in 1401.   Donald Thomson was one of an inquest to determine the rights of pasturage which the Temple lands had over the adjoining town and territory of Letter in 1461.  John Thomsoun was juror on an inquest at Dunipace in 1426.  

The most conspicuous family of the name was the Thomsons who possessed Duddingston near Edinburgh for five generations until it was sold by Sir Patrick about the year 1668.  His father had been created a baronet in 1636. 

Many individuals of this name in Perthshire and Argyllshire were originally Mactavishes.”



The Thompsons of York


The Thompsons had been a prominent Yorkshire family since Elizabethan times.  Based near Scarborough they appear to have been related to the Henry Thompson who received the estate of Esholt in Yorkshire after the dissolution of the monasteries. 

In 1588 Henry Thompson of this family set up a wine importing business in York.  It proved very successful. By 1647 the company had acquired wine cellars in Bordeaux and also established itself in Hull, London and Amsterdam.  Like other wine merchants of the time, the Thompsons did not only trade in wine. The vessels that they chartered to transport wine from the vineyard regions to northern Europe carried other goods such as textiles on the return journey. 

The business was then being handled by Sir Henry Thompson and his brother Edward. 
In 1668 Sir Henry moved from York to a new country estate at Escrick.  He briefly entered politics and was a patron of the poet Andrew Marvell. 

Escrick Hall was to be the family home for many generations of Thompson country gentry.  In 1820 Paul Lawley inherited the estate and changed his name to Thompson.  He became Baron Wenlock in 1839.   He had four sons, one of whom was a friend and private secretary of W.E. Gladstone
.


Early Thomsons and Thompsons in America

Arrivals
Birth
Location
Death
Location
Scots/English




David Thomson (Scots)
1592
London
1628
Massachusetts
William Thompson
1597 
Lancashire  
1649
St. Mary co, MD
Samuel Thomson
1691
Scotland
1753
Louisa co, VA
Thomas Thompson
1731
Durham

Baltimore co, MD
Joseph Thompson
1749
England
1810
Anderson, SC
Scots Irish




James Thompson
1668
Wicklow
1712
Salem, NJ
Matthew Thompson
1692
Donegal
1753
Crosskeys, VA
John Thompson
1695
Donegal
1783
Cumberland co, PA
James Thompson
1715
Ulster
1808
New London, Conn.
Matthew Thompson
1720
Tyrone
1776
Abbeville, SC
John Thompson
1720
Ulster
1758
Augusta co, VA
John Thompson
1732
Derry
1811
Augusta co, VA



John Thompson of Virginia, North Carolina and Barbados

John Thompson, sometimes called Theophilus, was the eldest son of Matthew Thompson and had come with him to Virginia from Ireland in 1732.  He was a restless one.   He had originally settled in Albermarle county, before moving to Norfolk county and then to Nash county and Robeson county in North Carolina. 

He was also a merchant seaman, owning a ship called the Ranger that he sailed from England to Norfolk and then to the Bahamas and Barbados.  His ship was captured and he was killed by pirates near Barbados in 1757.

Through his wife Alsey Butt he had eight sons and daughters, born between 1738 and 1757.  He may have sired other children elsewhere.  There were Thompsons in Barbados where it is believed he may have had a wife or concubine.  Lumbee Indian tradition also had it that he was one of the prime progenitors of the Thompsons in the Lumbee tribe.



Three Thomson Brothers to Canada

Farming was not a good proposition for the Thomson family in Dumfries in the second half of the 18th century.  That was why Andrew Thomson decided to be a stone mason and that was why Archibald, the second of his seven children and the father of a large family, decided to emigrate to America in 1773.   He went first to New England and then to Canada via Quebec as a United Empire Loyalist. 

In 1796 Archibald’s two younger brothers David and Andrew, accepting his advice, followed him.  For a time all three of them had homesteads on the same street in York (later Toronto). 

The line from Archibald via his son George left and then returned to Toronto.  Herbert Thomson worked as a barber at the Grosvenor Hotel in Toronto.  His son Roy, born in 1894, became the famous Canadian and English newspaper proprietor Lord Thomson of Fleet. 

David and Andrew settled in Scarborough, Ontario.  David came first and he and his wife Mary were in fact the first settlers of the township.  Mary was alone as a woman and for seven months she did not see another white woman at all.  The Indian women became very friendly as they seemed to understand her predicament.   A few years later she was known to all as the “Mother of Scarborough."





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