Hollingsworths Next Door

With our paternity in question and just more confusion in the world of DNA, I decided to go back and look at the people around Levi again. I’m sure I’ve noted in the past that the person living next door to Levi in Van Buren Indiana in 1860 is a Stonemason and wondered openly if that is where Levi got his start in that trade. This time I looked more closely at the people involved. There are actually two stone masons living next door to Levi and interestingly enough, one of them is a Hollingsworth from Pennsylvania.

That name always gets my attention so I decided to follow up on him. He is around the same age as Levi, living in the same area, also with a seemingly unrelated family (Levi is living with the Brodericks) and he’s from Pennsylvania. Worth looking into.

It turns out he is not alone. The rest of his family is in Fairmount, Grant, Indiana. Just a few miles away from the Alexandria area. In 1870 John B. Hollingsworth ends up living in Grant with his parents (nice) and just like Levi he seems to forget where he was born. Close families often travel together, so I thought I would look through Grant Indiana for some Thompsons.

There are two families of Thompsons I’ve found so far. One is the family of a James Thompson who lives there in 1850 as well and is from Virginia. The other is the family of Samuel R. Thompson who is a brother of Howell D. Thompson who is well remembered in the history of Madison County Indiana. Howell D. Thompson’s father John L. Thompson lives in Randolph Indiana and is from York Pennsylvania. (He is also a suspect. His wife dies in 1839. I haven’t gotten a good 1850 record for him, Howell D is living separately in Pendelton Indiana in 1850.)

Neither Samuel R. or James from VA shows a Levi or even a male child of a similar age, so…darn. Of course I’ve already been through Grant County in the past and didn’t find Levi there, but it’s worth a try.

Next I stepped back in time to 1850 to see where the Hollingsworths were and who lived around them. With John B. Hollingsworth’s whole family for reference, he was actually pretty easy to find. In North Butler, Butler County, Pennsylvania.

Hold the phone! Things I know about Levi Thompson, he’s born in Butler County Pennsylvania and moves to Madison Indiana sometime before 1855. He is a farmer but after the war becomes a stonemason or Tombstone manufacturer.

Things I now know about John B. Hollingsworth, he’s born in Butler County Pennsylvania and moves to Madison Indiana sometime before 1860. He’s a stonemason. Now that is a bit weird.

I started to wonder about a lot of things, like why are these guys so similar? How is it that I can find John B. Hollingsworth, practically a clone of Levi Thompson (or maybe the other way around) but I can’t find Levi? What kind of ninja is Levi Thompson?

Well, then my next step was to go through the 1850 census in North Butler, Butler Pennsylvania and look for  Thompsons..which I would expect to find because Butler PA is awful with Thompsons. I find three families of Thompsons.

One family consists of several Thompson children living with a Bayer or Boyer family. No Levi Thompsons. The second is a family of Thompsons who is lead by a man listed as Carles (there is no H) and his wife. Carles is from Massachusetts his wife is from Vermont. Again, No Levi Thompsons. The other Thompson family is one I’ve seen before. It’s Jane (Stephenson/Stevenson) Thompson and her son David and Nathaniel Stevenson Thompson. Their father John Thompson is dead. He is sometimes linked with John, James and Matthew threesome of brothers who settle in Center and Franklin, Butler PA. No Levi Thompsons.

Again here, I’ve already been through the Butler censuses for 1850 and didn’t see Levi Thompson then either so no big surprise there. Given our DNA results, I thought maybe I should do a search for males who were not Thompsons but were about the right age and came up with a laundry list of 15 year olds in North Butler.

Of course the Hollingsworths were there, but also scattered around the Stephenson Thompsons were just plain old Stephensons. The Stephenson Thompsons are living in a cluster of Stephensons in 1850. Nathaniel Stevenson Thompson is named after Jane Thompson’s father Nathaniel Stevenson who is a pioneer from Scotland I believe. Jane and her sons must have been living around what I imagine is her sibling’s family. Among these Stephenson’s there was one record that was interesting. A male child listed as (something) N. Stephenson at the end of a list of Stephensons. I believe he is not a direct descendant of the head of household because he is listed after the entire family down to a 2 year old (which is what I see often with unrelated children). Although I’m sure I’m imagining it, the first letter looked a lot like an L to me.

I was at the point that I was convincing myself it was an L I was seeing and that the census taker had mislabeled that last boy as a Stephenson when he obviously was L. N. Thompson. Then I conjectured that Levi Thompson was obviously this L. N. Thompson the son of John Thompson and Jane Stephenson and that he left Pennsylvania with a friend named John B. Hollingsworth and moved to Madison Indiana with him. That was when I realized that it is way too easy to assign too much meaning to these coincidences.

Still, even without that last bit of fever dream, there are an awful lot of similarities with these two men John B.  Hollingsworth and Levi Thompson with their proximity in 1860 and the same birthplace and later the same occupation. I think it will be worth further investigation.


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