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John Andrew Thompson

Contributor: Lee Freeman, August 13, 2006


John Andrew Thompson (1831-1873) was born in Downpatrick, County Down, Ireland. John was one of seven children born to Thomas Thompson (d. bef. 1845) and Mary Ann Miller (1807-bef. 1845). John's brothers and sisters were: Robert Henry Tompson; Mary Cairns Thompson (b. 1829); Madeline Thompson; Maggie Thompson; Eliza "Lizzie" Thompson; Sarah Jane Thompson (1840-1889). About 1843 John Andrew, Sarah Jane, and Mary Cairns immigrated to America, allegedly as stowaways, on a ship bound for New Orleans. By 1852 Mary Cairns was living at 307 Canal Street, New Orleans and working as a shopkeeper. John Andrew and Sarah made their way to Florence, in Lauderdale County, Alabama. On Sept. 4, 1852, John A. Thompson married Mary Jane Gresham (1833-1880), daughter of the late Philemon and Delila Faires Gresham, the sister of Juila Esther Gresham Larimore. John Andrew and Mary Jane had the following children: Mary Delila (b. 1853 - d. 1858); Romelia "Romie" A. P.; Robert Henry; Lizzie; James Philemon; John Andrew, Jr.; and Miller C.  John A. Thompson worked briefly as a machinist at the Wright & Rice Foundry, near the future site of Mars Hill Academmy, then entered the legal profession, becoming a lawyer. In 1866 Thompson was appointed Circuit Court Clerk of Lauderdale County, AL, being reappointed by Gen. Pope in 1867, which post he held until his death in 1873.


John A. Thompson gave substantial assistance to his brother-in-law, T. B. Larimore, serving as Larimore's "next friend" and legal representative in founding Mars Hill Academy in 1871. Thereafter each school term Thompson awarded medals to Mars Hill students for academic achievements.  Thompson's children attended their uncle Larimore's academy.


Sources: Unpublished genealogical research "Thomas Thompson and Mary Ann Miller" compiled 2005 by Thompson descendent Chris Hanlin; A Family Named Gresham, copyright 1877 by Gresham descendent Virgil Gresham, privately pub., pp. 26-27.; Florence Journal, Thursday, August 1, 1867, p. 2.; Lauderdale Times, March 19, 1872, p. 3.



From the Florence Times-Journal (Lauderdale County, AL) September 17, 1873, p. 3.

The remains of John A. Thompson, Esq., was [sic] followed to the grave by three societies; the Mas[o]ns, the Odd Fellows, and the Bar.



From the Florence Times-Journal(Lauderdale County, AL), September 17, 1873, p. 3.

A large number of persons attended the funeral of the late lamented John A. Thompson, Esq.  We omit any editorial comments, on the sad event of his death, as we will publish, no doubt, next week, obituary notices from the societies with which he was connected, from the bar.



From the Florence Times-Journal, September 17, 1873, p. 3.


FLORENCE, ALA., SEPT. 16, 1873.
     At a meeting of the members of the Florence bar, held on Sept. 15, 1873, E. A. O'Neal, Esq., was called to the chair, and R. T. Simpson was chosen Secretary.
     On motion, Hon. W. B. Wood, T. L. Chisholm, Esq., and Geo. P. Jones, Esq., were appointed a committee to draft suitable resolutions ex[pres]sive of the feelings of the members of the bar, at the death of John A. Thompson, Esq., late Clerk of Circuit Court of Lauderdale county.
     On motion, E. A. O'Neal, Esq., chairman of this meeting was requested to present these resolutions at the next term of the Circuit Court.
     Resolved, That this bar attend the funeral of John A. Thompson, Esq., in a body.


E. A. O'NEAL, Ch'm.
R. T. Simpson, Secr'y.



From the Florence Times-Journal (Lauderdale County, AL), Wednesday, September 24, 1873, p. 3.


Resolutions of the Bar of Florence.

    At a meeting of the Bar of Florence on the occasion of the death of John A. Thompson, late Clerk of the Circuit Court, the Hon. W. B. Wood, Col. T. L. Chisholm, and Geo. P. Jones, Esq., were appointed to draft suitable resolutions in reference to the deceased.  In the performance of that duty we desire, first of all, to recognize the fiat of the all-wise and unerring Judge of all the earth, as being rendered in wisdom and justice, however inscrutable to our minds and comprehension.  We know that he will do right because "justice and judgment are the habitation of His throne."
     2d. We bear one testimony to the high official character of Mr. Thompson with sincere pleasure.  He wasa [sic] model clerk, faithfully discharging all duties.
     3d. In his special intercourse he was agreeable and pleasant.  He became popular with the people as well for his strict attention to the duties of his office as for the pleasant manner in which he performed them.
     4th. We tender to his bereaved family our heartfelt sympathy and condolence, in their sad bereavement.
5th. Resolved, That the secretary forward a copy of these resolutions to the widow, and that the chairman of this meeting present them to the Court at the next term, with the request that they be spread on the minutes.





From "DIED," the Lauderdale News (Lauderdale County, AL), February 11, 1880, p. 3.

...In this county on the 6th inst., MRS. JNO. A. THOMPSON.



From "DIED," the Florence Gazette (Lauderdale County, AL), Saturday, February 14, 1880, p. 2.

     Mrs. Mary J. Thompson, relict of the late John A. Thompson, formerly Circuit Clerk of this county, died at Mars Hill, of consumption, on last Saturday night.
     Before she was married she was Miss Grisholm [sic], and was born in Nov., 1832. Mrs. Thompson was a consistent member of the Christian Church, and a woman of fine mind and excellent business capacity.

From the Florence Gazette (Lauderdale County, AL), Saturday, July 24, 1886, p. 3.
_______________ Sunday, that sweet lady [Melissa Elizabeth Thompson], of Mars [Hill]__________ [daughter] of our former ____________ countryman, the late [John A. Thompson,] Esq., -- breath[ed] ____________, after a lingering ill[ness] [of] [con]sumption, leaving fond _______________ devoted sisters and oth[er] ______________ relatives, to mourn the [death] of one so good and _____________.

NOTE: The original page containing this obituary was torn, resulting in the missing portions represented by ___________ above.



From the Florence Gazette (Lauderdale County, AL), Saturday, October 11, 1884, p. 3.

Mrs. John Wesson, of our county, has lately received about $10,000, being the amount left her by the will of her uncle, the late John Miller, Esq., of Comber, County Down, Ireland. The legacy of $5,000, left by him to the children of his nephew, our former efficient Circuit Clerk, John A. Thompson, E[s]q., has not been received by them.



From the Florence North Star (Lauderdale County, AL), Thursday, October 16, 1884, p. 3.

The late John Miller, Esq., of county Down, Ireland, in his will bestowed upon his neice Mrs. John Wesson, of this county, $10,000 which amount has been paid over to Mrs. Wesson, we are informed. He also left to the children of the late John A. Thompson, formerly the popular Circuit Clerk of the county, $5000, which we hear will not be paid over until they reach their majority.



From the Florence Gazette (Lauderdale County, AL), Saturday, October 27, 1887, p. 3.

We are pained to announce the death on Monday, of Mr. John A. Thompson, Jr., at his home at Mars Hill. He was a son of our former capable Circuit Clerk, the late John A. Thompson, and was a young man of bright mind and excellent attainments.  He was only 21 years of age graduated in 1886, with honor, at our State Normal School; and went to teach in Elmore county [AL], whence he came home to die, with that dread disease, consumption. The clods of the valley never fell on the bosom of a better boy than he.



From the Florence Herald (Lauderdale County, AL), December 14, 1889, p. 1,


[Mrs.] Sarah Wesson died at her [residence] on Military avenue [sic] Friday. [The] [f]uneral services were conducted [by the] Rev. Wm. Gresham, at the __________ place, twelve miles from [Florence]. The deceased was a sister [of one of] Lauderdale']s most faithful [citizens?] John A. Thompson.



From the Florence Times (Lauderdale County, AL), Saturday, December 12, 1890, p. 3.


Mrs. Romie A. Jones, daughter of the late John A. Thompson and wife of Mr. Geo. W. Jones, died at their home on Katiebell street, last Friday after a lingering illness of ten weeks. During her life Mrs. Jones was a faithful member of the Christian church at Mars Hill and leaves an example worthy to be imitated by her many friends. There are left to mourn this sad death the husband, a son and daughter, three brothers and one sister, to whom THE TIMES, with the many friends of the family extend sympathy.



From the Florence Times (Lauderdale County, AL), Saturday, October 31, 1891, p. 3.

Death of Mr. James P. Thompson.
Mr. James P. Thompson, brother of Messrs. Robt. H. and Miller Thompson, died at the home of his aunt, Mrs. Lettie Gresham, at Mars Hill, on Monday last at 4:30 o'clock p-m, aged 27 years. Mr. Thompson went to Texas about two years ago, but returned here last August in declining health, and passed away among the friends of his early youth. He married a little over a year ago a sister of Messrs. Amandus and Robert Henry, who survives him. The bereaved widow and relatives have the sincere sympathy of a large circle of friends.



From the Florence Times (Lauderdale County, AL), Saturday, January 20, 1894, p. 3.

Death of Miller Thompson.

Mr. Miller C. Thompson, a well known and most worthy young citizen of our county, died at the home of his brother, Mr. Robert H. Thompson, at Mars Hill, on Saturday morning last, age 26 years. His remains were interred at Mars Hill on Saturday at 2 p. m., Elder W. H. Gresham conducting the funeral.  Mr. Thompson had been in delicate health a long time with consumption, but the immediate cause of his death was heart failure.  He had many friends, who will read the announcement of his death with sincere sorrow.  He was a member of the Christian church and died in the faith.  Peace to his ashes.



From the Florence Gazette (Lauderdale County, AL), Thursday, January 25, 1894, p. 3.


Mr. Miller C. Thompson, aged about 26 years, died at Mars Hill a few days ago. Miller Thompson was known and highly esteemed by our entire people, and while his death was not unexpected --- as he was afflicted with that dread disease Consumption--yet when it was known that he was nomore [sic], a shadow of sorrow settled on our people, and many were the regrets expressed that one so young should be called to pass over the river of death. In addition to being afflicted with consumption, he also suffered the inconvenience of having lost the power of speech in an audable [sic] tone, only being able to converse in a whisper. May the sod rest lightly over the remains of Miller Thompson.


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