Surry County, Virginia

Note:  We are posting this brief introduction to the Thompson family to aid those members of the Pegram family who  are also descended from Thomas Bell and wife Mary Thompson in their research.  We know of 4 links to the family of Daniel Pegram of Warren Co.  within the first 2 generations after arriving in the area of present Warren Co., NC.  We have not researched the possible  link to the Riggan family which is also suggested by this brief summary.  We are hopeful that our more experienced genealogists within the family will review the data referenced here to see if it is possible to establish the  link between Francis Riggan of Warren Co. and John Riggan of Virginia. 

The Reverend William Thompson(JOHN) appears to have been of the second generation of his family in America but the first in Virginia. There was a shortage of ministers in Virginia and they appealed to New England for same.

Rev. Thomas James of New Haven said in a deposition that "On 7 Oct. 1742 he sailed for Virginia with Rev. John Knowles of Watertown and Rev. William Thompson of Braintree" (Genealogical Gleanings in New England by H. F. Waters - Vol. 2, p. 1357). Braintree is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, about ten miles south of Boston which was incorporated in 1640.

Two of the ministers were not liked in Virginia and returned to New England but William Thompson stayed and was much liked. He was probably the son of John Thompson who was in New England at the same time.

Rev. William Thompson preached at both Southwark Parish and Lawne’s Creek Parish in Surry County. He was born circa 1620 so he came to Virginia as a young man. He later married Katherine Hale, a daughter of Edward Hale. Edward Hale’s dated 1675 left William Thompson sole executor and gave him all his estate. The Will was probated May 2, 1676 on the oaths of Mrs. Jane Plow, "the other witness being gone to New England." (Bk. 2, p. 114) His first land grant in Surry was for 230 acres in 1666.

On September 1, 1673 Christopher Lewis made his Will in Surry Co. and left to the church of Southwark Parish a silver flagon of 2 quart measure; to William Thompson, minister, 1500 pounds of tobacco; to William Thompson, son of Mr. William Thompson, 500 pounds of tobacco and to his sister, Katherine Thompson, 500 pounds of tobacco. (Bk. 2, p. 35). They were, perhaps, William’s two youngest children. In 1674 he was described in the records of Surry as "a faithful and painstaking minister who led a quiet sober and exemplary life." (Bk. 1671-81, p. 124)

He was not only considered a good minister but a good business man as well. He settled many estates and was a witness in many cases. On July 1, 1664 "William Norton of New England, of New London, Gent. sold to William Thompson of Surry, minister of God’s word, a neck of land situated in New London disjoyning upon ye great river." (Bk I, p. 52). This property had been purchased by Norton from a former minister of the New London Parish.

With all of William’s Thompson’s good qualities, he must have had a streak of jealousy in his nature. In 1675, the Reverend Robert Parke, on arriving from England, became the guest of Randall Holt of Hog Island. While there he preached at the Lawne’s Creek Church in the absence of the Reverend William Thompson, the regular pastor, and made a favorable impression. The congregation was so pleased with his sermon that they wanted him to officiate at Lawne’s Creek when the Reverend Thompson was holding services in the Upper Parish Church. The vestry arranged that a meeting of citizens should be held on an appointed day and that Mr. Parke be requested to deliver a sermon with the thought that he might be named as Rev. Thompson’s assistant. Much to the congregations surprise the sheriff was there ahead of Mr. Parke and when Mr. Parke appeared he was forbidden the pulpit. The Reverend Thompson had complained to the Governor and Council and had obtained an order prohibiting Parke’s appointment as his curate. While the congregation was much disappointed, it seems that the Reverend William Thompson continued to be held in high esteem and served for many years.

William Thompson and his son, Samuel Thompson, were witnesses to William Hux’s will in Surry on Oct. 31, 1676. Hux left Samuel Thompson a gun. (Bk 2,k p. 122). In Oct. 1673 William Thompson was a witness on John North’s Will (Bk. 2, p. 54). He and Randall Holt appraised Capt. George Watkins estate on Jan. 7, 1675. (Bk. 2, p. 46). On March 1, 1675 he and his son, John Thompson witnessed Thomas Weeks will. (Bk. 2, p. 114). On May 8, 1678 he witnessed Col. George Jordan’s will in which he left to the church a baptismal basin of silver and made the request that a sermon of Mortality "be had at my house on every 15th of Oct., the day my daughter, Fortune Hunt died and if it be on Sunday Holy Communion to be given." (Bk. 2, p. 101). William Thompson and Sion Hill witnesses John Smith’s will, probated July 25, 1679. (Bk. 2, p. 224).

Judging from the tithables in Surry, 1675, the wealthiest men in Southwark Parish appear to have been Lieut. Col. George Jordan, Attorney General of Virginia, with 7 tithable servants. Second was Rev. William Thompson with 6 white servants.

About 1679 or 1680 Rev. William’s Thompson removed to Westmoreland County, Virginia, where he became minister of Washington Parish, Westmoreland Co., where he eventually died. It is not known why he moved to Westmoreland unless it was due to a family friendship with the Washington family there. His family all moved with him except his son John who had married Elizabeth, widow of John Salway. On August 4, 1690, "William Thompson of the County of Westmorland, in the Colony of Virginia, appoint my dear loving son, John Thompson, of the County of Surry, my lawful attorney. (Surry, Deeds etc. No. 5, p. 245). When William’s eldest son, John Thompson, made his will in Surry Co. on Aug. 2, 1698, he said in will "Brother Samuel not living in Surry County." William’s two sons, Samuel and William, lived in Westmoreland County for about 20 years but moved back to Surry before 1704 when Samuel Thompson was executor of Richard Hargrave’s will and William Thompson was a witness to it. (Bk. 5, p.313)

When Lawrence Washington (grandfather to George) made his will in Washington Parish, Westmoreland County, Virginia, on March 11, 1697-8, he bequeathed "to friend, Mr. William Thompson, Clerk, and Mr. Samuel Thompson, each a mourning ring of thirty shillings price each ring." He left "my cousin, John Washington, of Stafford County, and "my friend, Mr. Samuel Thompson, to be my executors, and my loving wife, Mildred, my executrix." The will was proved 10 December 1700 by the oath of Mildred Gale, als. Washington (wife of George Gale), one of the executors, power being reserved for John Washington and Samuel Thompson, the other executor, to act." (Vol. I, p. 299) It appears from this will that Samuel Thompson was in Westmoreland in 1700 and that Samuel and his youngest brother, William Thompson, moved back to Surry between 1700 and 1704.

Children of the Reverend William Thompson (JOHN) and his wife Katherine Hale:

1. John Thompson (WILLIAM, JOHN) the eldest son of Rev. William Thompson, born circa 1650, married Elizabeth, widow of John Salway, after 1678. Matthias and Alice Warren Mariott sold to John Salway the plantation called "Smith’s Fort" on which Thomas Warren, father of Alice Mariott had built "ye fifty foot brick house". This property formerly belonged to the Indian King, Powhatan who gave it to John Rolfe when he married Pocahantas, daughter of Powhatan. Elizabeth, wife of John Thompson, inherited this property from her first husband, John Salway. John Thompson made his will Aug. 2, 1698, probated Nov. 7, 1699, Surry Co., Bk. 5, p. 185). He named brothers Samuel and William Thompson and stated "Samuel not living in Surry"; sisters, Catherine and Elizabeth; brothers-in-law, Mr. Robert Paine and Mr. Robert Catlett and wife Elizabeth. John Thompson was a Burgess for Surry the years 1693, 1695-96 and 1697.

2. Samuel Thompson, (WILLIAM, JOHN) second son of Rev. William Thompson , married Mary, daughter of William Marriott. He inherited much of his brother, John Thompson’s property and was a man of wealth. He was a Burgess from Surry in 1700-1, 1715-18. Like many prominent citizens at that time, he kept an "Ordinary", or Inn. In 1681 he gave a bond of a thousand pounds of tobacco that he would suffer no person, except his servants, to linger in his tavern on Sundays during the hours of Divine service in the parish church (Bk. 1671-84. p. 52).

The Virginia Quit Rents Rolls for Surry County, 1704, show that he owned 3104 acres of land, the third largest land owner in the county. Major Arthur Allen owned 6780 acres and William Hunt owned 4042 acres. Samuel Thompson moved from Surry to Westmoreland County where he lived until his father death there. He appears to have gone there some few years later than the rest of his family.

Samuel Thompson was a friend of Lawrence Washington in Westmoreland and was remembered in his will written in 1767-8, and was left one of the executors of his estate. Not long after this he moved back to Surry County. In 1712 there was a law suit over the "Smith’s Fort" plantation that William’s brother, John Thompson, left him in his will. Allen Warren, third son of Thomas Warren, testified in court in favor of Samuel Thompson. There is a full account of this suit in Colonial Surry, pp. 69, 70.

Samuel Thompson made his will in Surry Sept. 20, 1720, probated May 17, 1721 (Bk. 7, p. 334). He left much land to his brother, William Thompson, and to William’s oldest son, Samuel, and named William’s other children, William, Katherine, John and Elizabeth. Also named are cousins William and Mary Moseley, cousin Robert Payne and niece Elizabeth Thomas.

3. Catherine Thompson, (WILLIAM, JOHN) married ______Moseley and had: William Moseley and Mary Moseley. She married, 2nd. Robert Paine and had a son Robert Paine.

4. Elizabeth Thompson, (WILLIAM, JOHN) married Robert Catlett. They had a daughter, Elizabeth Catlett who married William Thomas. William Thomas made his will in Surry Co. Dec. 28, 1720, probated Feb. 19, 1723. (Will Bk. 7, p. 505). Their children were: 1. John Thomas 2. William Catlett Thomas. His wife Elizabeth was named executrix and brother John Thomas and uncle, William Thompson, Trustees.

5. William Thompson, (WILLIAM, JOHN), youngest son of Rev. William Thompson was born in 1657 as stated in a deposition (Surry Bk. 2, p. 46). He married Martha Summerville in Westmoreland County about 1685. Her father, John Summerville,  made his will in Westmoreland June 19, 1717 (Bk. VI, p. 62) and named William Thompson as his son-in-law. William with his brother Samuel, moved back to Surry County about 1700. On Dec. 28, 1720, William Thompson and his wife, Martha , witnessed the will of William Thomas who married his niece, Elizabeth Catlett. William Thompson signed for Elizabeth Hunnicutt to be executor of William Hunnicutt’s estate Oct 6, 1718 (Bk. 7, p. 173). He witnessed Richard Hargrave’s will May 19, 1704, probated July 4, 1704, and his brother, Samuel Thompson, was executor (Bk. 5, p. 313).

William’s brother, Samuel Thompson, must have left him a very well to do man for he and his son, Samuel, were left most of his brother’s property. He was the only one of the sons of Rev. William Thompson who left children. He made his will December 20, 1731, probated October 18, 1732. The will is badly torn and partly destroyed. He names son, Samuel Thompson; daughter Katherine; daughter Hannah Thompson (devised 100 acres on land on Deep Branch); son John (10 acres after the decease of his mother and the gun and pistols given him by William Moseley) and grandchildren, Samuel and Mary Thompson (rest and remainder of his estate). The Witnesses were Jane Regan, Mary Regan and Mary Mastin. (Will Bk. 8, p. 240). His son, William, must have been included in part of the will that is missing for it is proven by his brother, Samuel Thompson’s will that he had a son, William. In nameing his brother William’s children he named William as the thrid child. John Thompson also mentioned brother William in his will.

Samuel Thompson (William, William, John), born circa 1686  married Sarah Edwards. He was a witness to Michael Harris’ will Jan. 1739 (Bk. 9, p. 464); to John Bamers will on Oct 2, 1731; and to his brother-in-law William Edwards' will on Feb. 10, 1744. There is a deed Oct. 24, 1748 from Samuel and Sarah Thompson to John Thompson, both of Surry for 23 acres, part of 150 acres Samuel purchased of Joseph King and Catherine, his wife, land on east side of Cypress Swamp. Witnesses were John Riggan, Sen., Wm. George, John Riggan, Jun. and Joseph Riggan (Bk. 5, p. 371). On August 31, 1751 Samuel deeded to his brother, John Thompson, 250 acres on east side of Cypress Swamp (Bk. 6, p. 439). It would appear these deed represent the sale of property in anticipation of moving to North Carolina.  (Note the references to members of the Riggan family.  )

Sarah Edwards was the daughter of William Edwards whose will was dated January 9, 1721/22, probated Feb. 21, 1724. William Edwards’ will names daughters Mary, Elizabeth, Ann and Sarah; sons, Benjamin, William and Micajah. He also devised to Francis Regan "one dividend of land lying at the mouth of Susquehannah branch, lower end of his line and the great swamp below his house not exceeding 10 acres, formerly promised to Samuel Kindred." (Bk. 7, p. 389).

Children of Samuel Thompson (WILLIAM, WILLIAM, JOHN) and Sarah Edwards:

    1. Samuel Thompson
    2. Sarah Thompson married Jacob Williams
    3. Mary Thompson married Thomas Bell.   *
    4. Anne Thompson married John Myrick