Thompson descendants originated from Elmore County

Published 11:59 pm Friday, July 24, 2009

A Thompson family that originated in Scotland and came to America during the 1700s was featured in last week’s column. It was mentioned that the descendants may be related to a Thompson family who resided in Covington County. Today’s writing will cover what is known about those in this county who also claim Scottish ancestry.

The earliest ancestor of this line to be identified is John Lucius Thompson and his wife, Nancy Thompson, who were residents of Elmore County, Alabama. They lived in a small community called Flea Hop, which was near the Town of Eclectic. They had several children there including sons named Jesse, Johnny and James Lucius. John Lucius served in the Confederate Army, and some descendants believe he was a Methodist preacher.

There was a family photo made in 1909, and Nancy was not present, so she had probably died by that date. It is not known when John Lucius died, and it is not know where the couple was buried.

In 1914, two of the sons, Jesse and James Lucius, decided to move their families to Covington County. They had learned through neighbors, the Durr and Fuller families, who had already relocated that there was good farmland available here. A great grandson, Johnny Hollinghead, recalled being told how it took them two weeks to move by mules and wagons. They had to travel short distances each day to accommodate the young calves and other stock. Jesse was not happy over his move, so he and family soon returned to Elmore County. James Lucius and his wife, Lula (Thornton), chose to stay and rear their children in the new home.

James Lucius and Lula settled near the Durrs and Fullers between Danley’s Crossroads and the Fleeta community. James appears to have been a farmer most of his life and to have resided most often in the area north of Opp. At least one of his other residences is known, because his daughter, Eva Mae, was married during the 1920s on the front porch of their farm-house on what is now Blake Pruitt Road. This is the road where the current Andalusia Cotton Gin is located about four miles south of Andalusia. At the time, the Thompson farm was adjoining the Greathouse farm. As might be expected, there was a marriage between a Thompson son and a Greathouse daughter.

James Lucius was born in 1870, and his wife, J. Lula, was born in 1872 in Elmore County. They were married there in 1890. Lula died in 1937, but James Lucius lived to be 90 years old when he died in 1960. They were buried in the Cool Springs Cemetery on US Highway 331 just north of Opp.

They reared the following children: Ore, b.&d. 1891; Jettie Othello, b. 1893, d. 1969, m. James J. Terry; Aubrey Newman, b. 1896, d. 1976, m. Evie Lena Marlin; James Sterling; b. 1898, m. Zadie Bell Hudson; Leonard, b. 1900, d. 1981, m. Jewel Taylor; Charlie, b. 1903, d. 1987, m. Lala Frances Taylor; Gaston, b. 1905, m. Willie Cordell Shirley; Iules, b. 1907, d. 1950, m. (1) Jessie Day (2) Lottie Gordon Greathouse; Eva Mae, b. 1909, d. 1993, m. (1) Reedy Vester Thomasson (2) Amie Garrett; Grady, b. 1911, d. 1992, m. Bertha Walden; and Dera, b. 1914, m. (1) Oscar Powell (2) ? (3) James Smith.

The oldest surviving daughter, Jettie Othello, and her husband, James J. Terry, reared the following children: Laverne (male); James Emory, m. Tiny ?; Jeannette, m. (1) Reuben Bass (2) Louis Kinney; Felix, m. Gwen Donovan; and Lula Inez, m. (1) Nathan Barton (2) Jerome James Stinson.

The oldest son, Aubrey Newman Thompson, and his wife, Evie Lena Marlin, had the following three children: Thelma Louise, m. Ophrah Jerome Moore; Mary Elizabeth, m. J.B. Hayes; and daughter, d. at birth.

The next son, James Sterling Thompson, and his wife, Zadie Bell Hudson, reared the following five children: James Olious, m. Myrtice Rhodes; William Edward, m. Catherine Lucy Payton; Juanita Sara, m. James Ronald Carnley; Ray, m. Wylene Hart; and Junior Wesley, m. Elvira Mask.

The next son, Leonard Thompson, was a farmer and trader who lived at several locations: Cool Springs, Opine, and Barnes Street. He and his wife, Jewel Taylor, had two children, Sarah Frances, b. ca 1921, 1946, m. Gerstle “Gus” Jefferson Hollinghead; and Vera, b.&d. at nine years of age. Sarah Frances and Gus had three sons: Johnny Jefferson, m. Lenora Belle Kilcrease; Jimmy Ray, m. Susan Hall; Paul Franklin, m. Ferber Anne Lankford. Sarah died at a young age, so her parents reared her sons. Gus was married again and had an additional six children.

The next son, Charlie Shelton Thompson, and his wife, Lala Frances Taylor, reared the following three children: Louise, m. (1) Glen B. Marler (2) Malcolm Hornby; Lucille, m. W.D. “Shorty” Hall; and Charles Jr., m. Lou Ellen White.

The next son, Willie Gaston Thompson, and his wife, Willie Cordell Shirley, reared the following five children: Genese, m. Carlos H. Gatlin; Tommie Lee, m. Mildred Mitchell; Willie Frances, m. George Gaston Prater; Estelle, m. Marion Winston Ward; Willie Eugene, m. (1) Helen Morgan (2) Mary Brooks (3) Audrey Elaine Tadlock; Voncille, m. (1) Clarence M. Tidwell; and Carolyn Joan, m. Jeffrey Lee Gwynne.

The next son, Iules Thompson, and his first wife, Jessie Day, had one son, James Preston “J.P.,” m. Norma Hammett. Iules and his second wife, Lottie Gordon Greathouse (1905-1988), daughter of William Henry and Mary Elizabeth (Jones) Greathouse, reared the following children: Martha Elizabeth, m. Joe Frank Taylor; Joel Cephus, m. Dorothy Jo Floyd; Willie Tyson, single; John Wayne, m. Barbara Ann Odom; and Benny Frank, m. (1) Nettie Genell Grice (2) Sherry Ann Whitehead.

The next daughter, Eva Mae Thompson, and her husband, Reedy Vester Thomasson, resided in the Heath community where he farmed and eventually operated a vegetable/fruit stand on US 29. They had the following four children: James Vester, m. Christine Jay; Doris Elizabeth, d. as infant; Linda Joyce, m. Samuel Farris Huggins I; and Shirley Diane, single.

The youngest son, Grady Thompson, was a builder and painter who constructed many of the houses in the Town of Opp. He also farmed and worked at one time at the Gunter-Dunn Furniture Store. He built and sold or traded more houses in Opp than anyone else. He is remembered as always appearing to be in a hurry and to have a quick temper, but he was also lots of fun. He was married to Bertha Walden, but they did not have any children of their own.

The youngest child, Dera Thompson, and her first husband, Oscar Bennett Powell, resided for some years about 10 miles south of Andalusia on US 29. They later moved to a residence on Moore road where he farmed and traded livestock. They reared the following three children: James Auston “Hoss,” m. Winnie Bradley; Christine, m. Henry Elton Stokes; and Patricia Ann “Patsy,” m. (1) Tony Buckelew (2) Paul Hudson. There are many descendants of this family who live throughout the state. Several years earlier, they began having family reunions in the Opp area and collecting families history.

Sources for today’s writing included family records of Tyson Thompson and telephone interviews with Paul Hollinghead and Johnny Hollinghead. They are interested in learning more on their Thompson heritage and particularly where John Lucius and Nancy Thompson are buried in Elmore County.

Anyone who might have any correction to the above or additional data on this family is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or E-mail:

HISTORICAL MEETING: The Covington Historical Society will be meeting at 7 p.m. on Thurs., July 30, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library.