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Indian Pioneer Papers - Index

Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma
Date:  [none given]
Name: John F. Thompson
Post Office: Tahlequah, Oklahoma
Residence Address: R.R. #1
Date of Birth:  November 20, 1853
Place of Birth:  Union County, Georgia
Father:   Caleb (Coosa) Thompson
Place of Birth:  
Information on father:
Mother:  Matilda C. Thompson
Place of birth:   
Information on mother:
Field Worker: Frank J. Still
Interview #

John F. Thompson, who lives in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, R.R. #1, was born November 20th, 1853, in Union County, Georgia. He is a Cherokee Indian.

My Grandfather, David Thompson, came to Indian Territory as an Old Settler, 1830 or 31. He came from Tennessee. His way of traveling was on a ferryboat, which he made. He came down the Tennessee River to the Mississippi, then on steamboat to the mouth of the Arkansas, then up the Arkansas to between Little Rock and Fort Smith. The boat struck a snag and sank. All on the boat were saved. 

David Thompson had his money in a wooden box (gold and silver). He knocked a door off the boat, put the money on one end of the door, got on the other end, and floated down the river until he was rescued. The family escaped in rowboats to the river bank. He got an ox team and moved his family to Flint District, what is now Adair County. He settled 1 ½ miles west of Evansville, Arkansas. 

He built a two room log house in 1831 or 1832. The old house is still standing that he built. He lost his wife and four children. They are buried at Honey Hill Cemetery about three miles southwest. The graves are unmarked. He returned to Georgia in about 1838. 

He married again and raised a large family. He was afraid to stay here because there was so much sickness, especially malaria, and there were no doctors. They did not know how to treat themselves. He died in July 1864 in Union County, Georgia and was buried on the old homestead. His second wife was Mary Carr who died October 7th, 1874. He went back to Georgia in a surrey or hack drawn by horses.

My father, Caleb Starr Thompson, came to Oklahoma February 1882. I came in 1881 in March. I settled at Flint. I located my grandfather’s old home. I moved to my present home in September 1883. There was a school and church at Eureka. M. L. Butler was circuit rider for this church. Mrs. Jim Gourd was an early teacher.

Reverend M. L. Butler started the first camp meeting at this place under a brush arbor. Later a shed was built. It was built for a political meeting place to elect officers.

There have been great changes in the County since I came here in the way of roads and homes. I affiliated with the Masonic Lodge No. 10 at Tahlequah on November 9th, 1883. At the present time, I am the oldest member of the oldest lodge, now living at Tahlequah. I am 83 years old.

My father "Coosa" Thompson was councilman. He served under Colonel Morgan and Captain Mount during the Civil War. They march from Tennessee to Perryville, Kentucky. There was a battle there. The rebel soldiers retreated to Atlanta, Georgia. My father got sick and left them there and never went back to the army. He scouted the rest of the war.

I can remember he was laying out in the field and the Home Guard ran up on the camp where there were five men laying out. All the gun he had was an old Flintlock rifle. Two of the men dodged them and got away; three were captured in November 1864. I was eleven years old. I have the same old rifle in my possession. The barrel is three feet ten inches long. It has a tallow box in it. This gun is over 90 years old. It is a handmade gun. It is the first gun I ever shot.

The man and woman wishing to be married, walked under a quilt held by the others. When they passed under it, they were married. If they decided to separate, they would walk back under the quilt and they were divorced.

Mr. John Thompson has several things of interest as follows:

Half-dollar dated 1827
One cent piece, large, dated 1831
An old Flintlock rifle over 100 years old

A picture of old man Tom Starr. He was a distant relative of C. S. Thompson and a noted outlaw. The government made a Treaty with him if he would surrender. 

A book, "Cherokee Land Lottery", published at Milbadgville, GA on April 19, 1838 by James F. Smith.

A Cherokee law book in Cherokee language, dated 1881

An Article of Agreement between F. A. Meeks and Caleb S. Thompson Dated March 4, 1882

A bill of sale from Frank Woods, Tahlequah District, Cherokee Nation Dated October 27, 1877 to C. S. Thompson transferring land Rights

A silver certificate he received during the Strip Payment showing he Received $2,000.00 in twenty dollar bills

A family record of births, marriages and deaths of his father’s family Kept since 1829. It contains David Thompson’s (his Grandfather) own writing.

An early paper "Ulster County Gazette" published at Kingston, Ulster Co., New York, January 4th, 1800. This paper has a record of George Washington’s death and burial. This paper was Published by Samuel Freer and Son, Saturday, January 4th, 1800, stating General Washington departed this life on the 14th day of December 1799, between the hours of three and four o’clock.

A basket made of cane by the North Carolina Cherokees, which was Brought from Georgia

He has a picture of his grandfather’s old home in Flint District, taken in 1934 by his son and himself.

Submitted to OKGenWeb by Marylee Jones Boyd, August 2001.

UPDATE: June 2003 LaVon Thompson Kuykendall tommyk@mindspring.com I am a fifth generation granddaughter of David Thompson and his second wife Mary Carr.  My connection is through Jesse Claiborne Thompson, Allen Jasper Thompson and Ralph Thompson.  The mother of John F. Thompson was Amanda Caroline Little who was the daughter of Lewis and Catherine Little and was the aunt of my maternal grandfather Thomas Gordon Little.  I recently visited the gravesite of David Thompson and Mary Carr and made some decent pictures of his tombstone.  It is my great desire to establish contact with some of my relatives in Oklahoma.

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Updated:  08 Apr 2008