|Written by Administrator|
|Friday, 11 May 2007|
Descendants of John Thompson (1765-1855)
John "Wiggy" Thompson was born in Armagh, Ireland in 1765, and he was 43 years old when he married 23 year-old Elizabeth McMullen (1784-1826) in 1808. The family immigrated to America just before the War of 1812. The couple had 8 children, only 4 of whom lived to maturity (James, John, Jr., William McClelland and Alexander).
The Thompson family began their new life in Pennsylvania, and in 1816 bought a farm in Patton Township. This land was originally deeded from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to John McKee, in 1784; in 1795 it passed to the McClintock family. It was then divided up with a southern parcel going to the Keisters, and then on to John Thompson, Sr.
The family was to rise to prominence in the area, being active in the community, and in the Bethel Presbyterian Church. The farm would remain in the family for more than 100 years. When John Thompson Sr., died at age 90 in 1855 the family homestead passed to his son, John Jr., (aka “Honest John” Thompson) who, upon his death, passed it on to Colonel Elmer E. Thompson. In 1925, Col. Thompson sold 20 acres to the four Burke brothers for $2,500 -- land they would use to build an amusement park along the William Penn Highway. (The park would be complete with an outdoor organ box that played one song: “Henry’s Made a Lady out of Lizzy.”)
Meanwhile, the adjoining (more northern) parcel of land went from the McClintocks to the Sieberts, before being sold to John Thompson’s son, William McClelland Thompson in 1848, who then bought the land adjacent to his father’s farm.
It may have been William McClelland Thompson who built a large and well-constructed farmhouse on the crest of a hill in 1858. It is said that this was one of the first houses in Monroeville to have natural gas, when People’s Gas Company extended service to Monroeville in 1908, ending the era of the oil lamp. Apparently, neighbors congregated at the big house on the hill for community social events, taking advantage of the modern convenience that lit the rooms.
June Thompson Woods (1912-2003), daughter of Robert Calhoun Thompson and Mary Clugston Cooper, who would go on to teach at Prospect and Mellon Plan schools, fondly remembered growing up on the family farm on Beatty Road.
There were square dances held in our home. Muslim stretched out on the living room and dining room floors for the square dances. Pop called the figures; Mom chorded on the piano for Mr. Bill Finley on the violin.
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 June 2010 )|