A Guide to the

Thompson Family Papers, 1869-1944

SC 0246

Compiled by: Tiffany Cole, September 2017

 

Descriptive Summary

 

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Thompson Family Papers, 1869-1944

Collection No.: SC 0246
Creator: Thompson Family

Extent: 1 box; .2 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: The Thompson Family Papers, 1869-1944, document the lives of Benjamin F. Thompson and his immediate family. The collection includes correspondence, diaries, a weather journal, financial and legal documents, genealogical notes, and family photographs.

 

Administrative Information

 

Access Restrictions: Collection open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], Thompson Family Papers, 1869-1944, SC 0246, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Acquisition Information: Purchased at Jeffrey S. Evans’ August 26, 2017 Summer Variety Auction (lot 286).
Provenance: These materials descended in the Benjamin F. Thompson (1849-1913) family of Rockingham County, Virginia.
Processing Information: The collection was received in no particular order. As a result, the archivist imposed an arrangement based on material type and date.

Bio/Historical Note:

Benjamin F. “Frank” Thompson was born March 10, 1849 to Joseph and Clarissa Moubray Thompson (b. 1820). He married Martha Ellen Liskey on November 13, 1873. They lived in the Mt. Sinai community of Rockingham County for many years and together had six children. He was a farmer by trade. Thompson died January 1, 1913 after complications from a runaway accident involving a one horse wagon he was driving. According to his obituary, Thompson had for some time been residing with his son John W. Thompson. The obituary later lists his surviving children, including Benjamin H. Thompson and Ida E. Thompson “who lived with their mother.” This suggests that, for one reason or another, Frank Thompson was not living in the same residence as Martha Thompson, his children’s mother.

Other family members documented in this collection include Elizabeth Frances Sharpes Thompson (1872-1958) who was married to John William Thompson (1874-1932), Benjamin F. Thompson’s eldest son; and Mary A. Thompson (1903-1997), the daughter of John W. and Elizabeth Sharpes Thompson.

Scope and Content:

The Thompson Family Papers, 1869-1944, document the lives of Benjamin F. Thompson and his family. The collection includes correspondence between Thompson and his future-wife Martha E. Liskey Thompson, diaries, a weather journal, financial and legal documents, genealogical notes, and family photographs.

Arrangement:
The collections is arranged in three series:

1. Correspondence, 1869-1873, 1944
2. Personal Papers, 1886-1902, 1943
3. Ephemera, 1872, 1907

The contents are then further arranged chronologically.

Bibliography:
Obituary for Benjamin F. Thompson, Rockingham Daily Record, January 2, 1913.

Obituary for Mary A. Thompson, Daily News-Record, November 26, 1997.

Related Material: Mary A. Thompson Papers, 1882-1974, SC 3097, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Contents:

Series 1: Correspondence, 1869-1873, 1944

Series 1: Correspondence, 1869-1873, 1944, is comprised primarily of approximately 17 letters between Benjamin F. Thompson and Martha E. Liskey Thompson, written during their courtship. The content is generally newsy in nature and includes community and family gossip. The letters are also sentimental, conveying feelings of longing to be in the physical presence of one another. Miscellaneous letters, from persons with an unknown relationship to the Thompson family, are also included. The letters are arranged by recipient.

Folder Title
Box:Folder
Benjamin F. Thompson, 1869-1873, undated
1:1
Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1871, 1880, undated
1:2
Martha E. Liskey Thompson, 1872-1873, undated
1:3
Mary A. Thompson, 1944
1:4


Series 2: Personal Papers, 1886-1902, 1943

Series 2: Personal Papers, 1886-1902, 1943, includes miscellaneous papers of the Thompson family primarily created by Benjamin F. Thompson. Papers include a listing of household accounts, a bargain agreement between Benjamin F. Thompson and Daniel Liskey for one hog and one piece of land adjoining the Mt. Vernon school house lot, and two diaries and one weather journal written by Benjamin F. Thompson. Thompson’s diaries include brief daily entries in which he mentions visiting with neighbors, travel and work duties, and weather happenings. Of particular interest is a copy of an April 10, 1888 article of agreement between the Board of Trustees of Central School District of Rockingham County and Benjamin F. Thompson, et. al.. In this agreement the Board permits Thompson, Noah, L. Spitzer, and J. P. Brown to use school house number 10 (Dillard or Mt. Vernon) for preaching, Sunday school, and singing during the summer of 1888. In return, Thompson, et. al. will complete all necessary repairs to the building by October 1, 1888 in order to make it ready for public school.

The papers also include handwritten genealogical notes on the Thompson and Liskey families. Also included is an autograph album and war ration book belonging to Elizabeth F. Sharpes Thompson, Benjamin F. Thompson’s daughter-in-law.

Folder Title
Folder
Household Accounts, 1886-1887
1:5
Benjamin F. Thompson and Daniel Liskey Bargain Agreement, 1888
1:6
Benjamin F. Thompson Diary, 1888
1:7
Benjamin F. Thompson Weather Journal, 1888
1:8
Copy, Article of Agreement between Board of Trustees of Central School District of Rockingham County, Va. and Benjamin F. Thompson, et. al., 1888
1:9
Benjamin F. Thompson Diary, 1895-1896
1:10
Elizabeth F. Sharpes Thompson Autograph Album, 1896-1902
1:11
Elizabeth F. Sharpes Thompson War Ration Book, 1943
1:12
Liskey Family Genealogical Notes, undated
1:13
Thompson Family Genealogical Notes, undated
1:14


Series 3: Ephemera, 1872, 1907

Series 3: Ephemera, 1872, 1907, includes two Thompson family photographs and a newspaper clipping from the December 19, 1907 Harrisonburg Daily Times.

One photograph, taken by Jas. O. A. Clary’s Palace of Photography in Harrisonburg, depicts Benjamin F. Thompson on November 18, 1872. The verso is inscribed with the following: “No. 18th 1872. Age 23 y 6 m 8 d. B. F. Y.” The identity of the person in the second photograph is likely Clarissa Moubray Thompson based on the genealogical clues provided in the inscription: “Joseph Thompson wife. My great grand mother. Mary A. Thompson.” This photograph was also taken by Jas. O. A. Clary.

The newspaper clipping is the full front page of the December 19, 1907 issue of the Harrisonburg Daily Times.

Folder Title
Folder
Photographs, 1872, undated
1:15
Newspaper Clipping, Harrisonburg Daily Times, December 19, 1907
1:16