Thomasson family holds annual reunion

Published 12:04 am Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Thomasson Traces Family Association held its annual reunion on Sat., Aug. 1, in the fellowship hall of the Cedar Grove Church of Christ, located on Brooklyn Road in Andalusia, Ala. Most of the attendees were direct descendants of Thomas Randolph Thomasson and his wife, Sarah (Roach) Thomasson. These are the ancestors who brought the family from Madison, Morgan County, Georgia, circa 1838 to the Post Oak community of Pike County. After some 16 years there, the family moved on to Covington County, Ala., in 1854.

The reunion activities began with each person registering by ancestor and with current contact information. The ancestor’s initials were written on the name tag to denote from which of Thomas R. Thomasson’s children the person was descended. Following this each browsed the various pictures and memorabilia on display and visited with other attendees.

Before dinner, a special presentation was made by Stephen Hise of Atlanta who is a great, great, great grandson of Thomas R. Thomasson. Stephen reviewed the three Thomasson generations who lived in the London area of England and the immigration of three Thomasson brothers, sons of George Thomasson Jr., to Virginia during the early 1670s. One of the brothers, Thomas Thomasson, settled in Louisa County, Va., where the first Thomasson house in the colonies was erected.

The house was situated off Route 613, near the waters of Christopher Run, on 200 acres of land, which was patented by George Thomasson, son of Thomas Thomasson. George and his wife, Mary (Pollard) Thomasson, allowed their son, William Pollard Thomasson, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and his wife, Sarah, to reside on the property, which they eventually deeded it to him in 1763. Three years later William and Sarah sold the land to Nicholas Talley. In 1776 the Talleys conveyed the 200 acres “with all houses” to John Carpenter, a veteran of the Revolutionary War. In 1832, John’s daughter, Frances (Carpenter) and her husband, Enos Gunter, purchased the house; thus, it became known as the Gunter House.

A drawing of the house was published in Old Home Places of Louisa County by Claudia Anderson Chisholm and Allen Gray Lillie. It was a large, T-shaped, two-story frame dwelling with enclosed end chimneys and a small front porch. The two-story wing on the back of the house was probably a later addition. Both sections of the building had shingled, gabled roofs with bracketed cornices. Unfortunately the house was razed some years earlier. During his visit to the site, Darrell Thomason, great, great grandson, secured a decorative piece from a cornice, and it is now in the possession of Martha (Thomason) Richey, great granddaughter, who has done several watercolor paintings of the house. During his visit to the site, Stephen Hise collected a stone from the chimney or foundation, which he displayed at this reunion and afterwards donated it to the Thomasson Family Archives.

Next, a welcome was given by Curtis Thomasson, a great, great grandson, who also made announcements and gave instructions for the dinner, which was a plentiful spread of favorite dishes. After the meal, the group assembled for more of the program, which began with the singing of “Thomasson,” a hymn discovered by the family. Guests were welcomed and everyone was recognized according to their family line of one of the 11 children of Thomas Randolph Thomasson. The oldest attendee was Lester Thomasson, 97 years young; Chappell Thomasson Clanton was youngest at 4 years; and Sheron (Frazier) Brabner of Baton Rouge, La., had traveled the farthest.

One of the 11 children of T.R. Thomasson, Lorenza Marion Thomasson, was a longtime Baptist minister in Covington County. “Uncle Ren” as he was called was known as the family genealogist, but not a single descendant of his was present at this reunion. However, the others sang in his memory the hymn, “The Unclouded Day,” which is reported to have been his favorite.

Next, Curtis Thomasson shared a report provided by Bruce Thomasson of Little Rock, Ark., of his DNA results from two tests: 23andMe and Bruce, a descendant of James Jackson Thomasson who does extensive genealogical research, learned from the testing that he likely has a heritage from England, Ireland, the Scandinavian countries and the area of the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. Others were encouraged to submit to testing to learn more about their genetic inheritance and to identify specific relatives with similar DNA makeup.

Other announcements included recognition of various heritage organizations in which the descendants are active members. One of special note is the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which was chartered in 1983 at the Thomasson family reunion. Margie B. Malloy, great, great granddaughter and family historian, was the organizing president. The chapter was given the name of Thomas R. Thomasson Chapter, U.D.C. in honor of Thomas and Sarah (Roach) Thomasson who furnished eight sons to the Confederate Army. Mrs. Malloy was able to secure applications and approval for 56 charter members who were all direct descendants of Thomas and Sarah. It is also notable that this chapter is the largest to ever be chartered in the State of Alabama. The chapter is currently active with several Thomasson descendants as members and Brandi Evans, a teacher at Florala High School, serving as president.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans heritage organization was promoted as well. Currently there are some 12 Thomasson descendants serving as members of the local camp, the Covington Rifles #1586, based in Andalusia. Other male descendants were encouraged to consider joining to help in preserving their Confederate heritage. Anyone with interest may contact Curtis Thomasson, a past commander of the Rifles.

The next item on the agenda was a discussion of sites and other things named Thomasson. Probably the most famous historically is the George Thomasson Collection in the London National Archives. George collected more than 23,000 separate articles and publications representing the complete account of conflicts during the English Civil War (1840-1860). He accomplished this through great personal expense and danger since he was resented by both sides. This was at a time when printing and publishing was just coming into being, so the Thomasson ancestors were quite involved in the early stages of this industry. George Jr. exhausted his finances, but he considered that he had achieved his goal of significant contribution to historical preservation

The reunion activities were concluded with announcements for the 2016 reunion scheduled for the first Saturday in August. Everyone was encouraged to make plans to be present and to encourage other relatives to attend as well. The group then sang “Dixie” to end the program. This was followed by much visiting and good wishes for everyone in the future. Some purchased copies of Thomasson Traces Volume I—Lineages, which is a recent reprinting of the original published of 1990. Anyone wishing to secure a copy may contact Curtis Thomasson at the address below. The cost for the book is $40 plus $5 if it needs to be shipped.

Anyone having a question regarding the reunion or the Thomasson family may contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: