A Guide to the James G. Thompson Papers, 1807-1881
Although born in South Carolina, James George Thompson (1802-1879) grew up in Cherokee County, Alabama, living with his family among the Cherokee Indians. He married Margaret McNary, a member of the Cherokee Long Hair clan, with whom he had several children, including Bettie and William. The couple relocated to Arkansas during the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of Native Americans from the southern United States to territories in the western U.S., in 1829. While in Arkansas, Thompson ran a ferry along the Arkansas River and a general store in Canadian Fork, near the mouth of the Canadian River. During this time, he befriended Sam Houston and Jesse Chisholm as well as served prominent Native American customers, including Nelson and Lewis Riley and Chief Roasting Ear.
In 1833, Thompson moved to Preston Bend, now part of Grayson County, Texas, where he served as captain of the volunteer ranger force and as postmaster of Woodboro, or Preston’s Woodbox. After Margaret died in 1840, he married the widow Nancy Chentally Lattimer, but she and her children died in 1845 during an epidemic. The next year, he married the widow Martha Jane Gresham (Mrs. William) Caruthers. After Texas achieved U.S. statehood in 1846, Thompson became the first chief justice of Grayson County. He promoted the Butterfield Overland Mail Route and local railroad development, invested in the Merchants and Planters Bank of Sherman, and engaged in the cotton shipping industry. On the eve of the Civil War, Thompson signed the secession declaration at the Secession Convention in Austin. After the war, his wealth greatly declined, but he stayed active in business and political activities.
James G. Thompson Papers, 1807-1881, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. Thompson, James George,http://www.tshaonline.org /handbook/online/articles/TT/fth55.html (accessed August 2, 2010).
A photostat of a daybook and two typescript copies of correspondence, legal documents, deeds, and land papers compose the James G. Thompson Papers, 1807-1881. The daybook (1832-1833) describes accounts from Thompson’s general store in Canadian Fork in the Cherokee Nation. The two typescript volumes (1807-1881) contain surveys, deeds, notes, notices, indentures, warrants, letters, and other legal and business documents, which concern Thompson’s career and his family.
This collection is open for research use.
James G. Thompson Papers, 1807-1881, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers