Every time I’ve tried to pin a death date on Levi Thompson I’ve been wrong. Now I’ve listed his death as before 1900, but that’s just a guess. I have no idea when he died. I do have these two clues though.
Levi Thompson’s pension case is dropped in 1902. In the past I attributed that to the slow progress of government machinery in handling his case. Since he didn’t appear in the 1880 census with the family, I imagined that he was probably dead for 20 or more years by the time they got around to closing his case. Then I found him in 1890 in Ohio.
The second clue is Rosa Thompson’s 1900 census record. She is living with Rena Thompson Tyler and is listed as Widowed. Usually that means what it means, but I’ve been told that it could mean that she is divorced.
So trying to keep an open mind, I wondered what if the government wasn’t really that slow and he actually died sometime after 1900. Could he be living somewhere in Ohio?
So I did a cursory search for Levi Thompson in Ohio born around 1835 and found one good candidate that I couldn’t find in earlier census records from the area. There are a few Levi Thompsons around in Ohio but they seem to be pretty tied down to their areas.
I can’t say it’s him, because I don’t know, but I found a record of a Levi Thompson living further east in Ohio about a hundred miles from Tama/Hopewell with a woman named Margaret. This Levi is in his 65 or so. He has no children with him. It says that Margaret has 6 children, but they don’t appear in the census so I assume they are 6 adult children. Margaret is born in 1844 which makes her a 10 years younger than Levi. I didn’t find the couple together in 1910, which leads me to believe that Levi Thompson husband of Margaret died or split from her somewhere between 1900 and 1910.
It’s unfortunate that the census doesn’t list the number of children a man has, although in this case it would also be 6 so it may not be helpful.
So now I have a few more questions. Did Levi Thompson RUNNOFT?
Would Levi Thompson leave his family and move east to begin a new life. What evidence could support that?
Well, oddly, even though this information was eluded to in the order process from the national archive, his pension request has no information about his wife and children.
He appears in Ohio in 1890 for unknown reasons. I can’t account for him for about 18 years before 1890 (since his last child is born in 1872, I imagine he was there until nearly that time) or after that time.
His daughter’s husband John Silcott, disappears around 1880 and shows up in Utah. From experience I know that once one person breaks their relationship, it becomes easier for others to follow suit. Maybe 1880 was a really mobile year for Levi and the census missed him altogether?
Later Thompsons seem to have a hard time settling down. Levi’s grandchildren through Albert (who dies before his last child is born) are often missing from their families lives, married to several people at the same time or not married at all and leave a wake of scarred children (my grandparent’s generation) behind them.
Families are complicated and hard to maintain. Could it be the case that this family is just broken and now I’m scrambling to find the pieces?