John Thompson – the man of a thousand faces

This is a fools errand. The whole thing really, but especially this track of trying to find John Thompson from Centre Butler PA. Given my options, I thought it would be good to review my notes on John Thompson (listed here as a pioneer of the Pittsburgh area and moving into Butler county from Washington county.)

The reason I picked this one to try to follow up on is (from my last post) I have a couple of genetic relatives with ties to Washington PA and one of them is a Thompson while the other has Allisons. On this particular page of the history I found James Allison along with this description of John Thompson.

“John THOMPSON, also one of the Irish pioneers of the Pittsburg region, came from Washington county in 1796 with his wife and eleven children, and made his home here until death removed him, in 1845. ”

Also listed here in a tax roll along with James and Matthew, Matthew has been a focus of mine in the past:

“John THOMPSON, 400, and James and Matthew THOMPSON, no lands taxed. The men named located in this township, while James, George and William MOORE, Lewis WILSON, Henry MONTOOTH, Eliakim ANDERSON and Charles SULLIVAN, who formed part of the company of sixty colonists, located in what is now Franklin township.”

I included the next sentence as I’ve also tried to explore the relationships of Thompsons and Moores as well as trying to follow up on Eliakim Anderson who, if I remember correctly moves on to Indiana with the Coates family that I have also looked into because of genetic relatives. The city of Anderson Indiana where several of my Thompsons lived being named after Chief Anderson, himself from Pennsylvania I believe. Anyway, these are many of the names that swirl around when I start digging around in the past.

On that same page in the Butler county history is James Allison listed just after Nathaniel Stevenson:

“Nathaniel STEVENSON, mentioned in the history of Franklin township, located here with his wife Mary ALLEN in 1797.
James ALLISON, whose name appears on the first records of the county, came, it is said, after the Indian scare subsided. His son, William, improved upon the scythe by converting it into a cradle and leading all the men in the grain field. ”

It’s interesting to note that the Stevensons do marry into the Thompson family in Butler.

Unfortunately, James Allison doesn’t come along with a description of where he came from.

So this one page had enough floating references to get my attention and made me want to check up on John Thompson again. I immediately ran into several problems. This particular John Thompson, or one very similar, is attributed to many families on

So what do I have for John Thompson, his wife and 11 children. Well, I have a letter from a researcher that attaches John Thompson to Judith Bodine both born around 1752 in Ireland. This family leads to James Marion Thompson and Sarah Gilliland and then on down to a Hogg family which caught my attention because of several Hogg genetic matches. Referenced here on another person’s site and in the letter I have.

This is great except that there is another John Thompson/Judith Bodine pair from New Jersey. They are born about 20 years earlier in 1734 (rather than 1752 listed for John Thompson from Butler PA) and instead of Judith being Irish like John Thompson from Butler, she is Dutch and French..ish. You can see some of this confusion in the file I linked above.

Here is more on the New Jersey Thompson Bodine Family:

and a tree listing John Thompson who marries Hannah Vansickle:

So we have two John Thompsons and two Judith Bodines. Ironically either of these scenarios works for me as I definitely have genetic relatives in that New Jersey Thompson family and, it seems, among the Monmouth NJ Dutch community.

James Marion Thompson reported offspring of a John Thompson in Butler has the only reference I could find to a Levi Thompson connection in the 1860 census in that Levi Campbell was living with the Thompson family then. It has been suggested that Levi Campbell could be a case of related families reusing names.

But that’s not all. I see the same John Thompson 1752 to about 1846 in family trees associated with Martha Park also listed at this site which is a text scan of a book on Thompsons:

“John Thomson, born ;
died May-June, 1846, near Butler,

Pa. He was said to be a “man of affairs” in 1824. In the “Thompson
Family” booklet it is stated that he “married and lived in Juniata County;
moved to Butler County, Pa. The Thompsons and Pattersons of Butler
County are his descendants. One of his sons married a sister of David
Allen and moved to Covington, Ind. ? Ky. ? where they lived in 1857.”
It is said he owned a store and a tannery. In Book B, p. 383, of Butler
County Wills is recorded the will of John Thompson as probated June
22, 1846. In this will, declared by word to Benjamin Miller and Margaret
Turk on May 12, 1846, he gives his remaining estate to his wife Martha;
his sons and daughters have previously received their shares. — See notes
on deeds to sons 91, 92, and 99. He married Martha Park, daughter of
, of Chester County, Pa. (she was still living at

the time of his death. May, 1848). Issue (i) John Park, (2) James,
(3) Joseph, (4) Samuel, (5) Isabella, (6) Zelia, (7) Frances, (8) Wil-
liam Clinton, (9) Robert W .”

I found this bit in this e-book site:

This one also works for me because it lists a son that may have moved to Indiana after marrying an Allen and it contains the name Frances which seems to be a recurring family name for a few generations of Thompsons (Rena Frances Thompson daughter of Levi and her nephew Francis Pearl Thompson)

But that’s not all.  I see a very, very similar John Thompson from the history of Brady Township in Butler PA:

“The pioneers of 1790 included John Thompson, born in Ireland in 1752,
who moved into this township from Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, in
the spring of 1790, and located a mile or so south of the Douglass
cabin. He married Martha Humes, who died in 1861, surviving her
husband fifteen years. James, William and John McJunkin, also natives
of Ireland, arrived in 1790. Daniel Carter came the same year.”

found here in a description of Brady Township:

I’ve seen a lot of trees for this John Thompson that contain pretty good accounts of the Thompson/Humes children.

So I have many references to John Thompson and circumstantially they would all be good possible leads.

It mentions in the notes on Judith Bodine that her story was read to the historical society at New Brunswick and that she is a huguenot. It also mentions that John Thompson had 11 children even though the story of Juda/Judith Thompson only lists one child for her at the age of 43. I’m not sure if the John Thompson in the notes of Judith listed with 11 children is John Senior or John Thompson of New Jersey who marries Hannah Vansickle.

The only thing that seems to be similar for all the John Thompsons is that they had 11 children and at some point lived and died in Pennsylvania and originated somewhere in the British Isles.

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