Saturday, December 17, 2011

Surname Saturday - Thompson

Thompson's Island, Boston, Massachusetts
David Thompson (1592 – 1628) is a favorite ancestor because of all the terrific adventure stories about him in early New Hampshire History.  But he is also a favorite because his wife, Amyes Colle, is related to me two ways.  The first way is through her marriage with Thompson in 1613 because I descend from their son, Miles Thompson my ancestor.  The second way I am related to Amyes Colle  is that her second marriage was to Samuel Maverick, son of my other ancestor John Maverick (1578 – 1636).  Yes, it is a tangled genealogy!  Amyes Colle is thought to be the first white woman permanently settled in New Hampshire.

It is hard to summarize David Thompson in a short blog post.  He was an agent of Sir Ferndinando Gorges, and he first visited New Hampshire in 1616.  By 1621 he had established a trading post at Odiorne Point on the New Hampshire seacoast.  It was the first year round station, although the coast had been visited in the summer for many years.  I blogged about Odiorne Point at this link: with some photos of the early settlement sites.    Thompson’s fort was known as Pannaway, and he had a fur trading business with the Indians as well as a salt cod fishing enterprise for the fishermen working out at the Isles of Shoals.  The exact location of Fort Pannaway is unknown since the area was disturbed for the construction of both Route 1 and Fort Dearborn during World War II.

An early sea captain, Christopher Leavitt, visited Pannaway in the summer and fall of 1623 and describes David Thompson as a scholar who entertained visitors and strangers with graciousness and hospitality.

He also had a station in Boston Harbor now known as Thompson’s Island, where he removed from Pannaway around 1626.  This island is now the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, and part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.    This is where David Thompson disappeared in 1628.  His widow married Samuel Maverick, who lived on Maverick’s Island, another island in Boston Harbor that is now located under filled land for Logan Airport.   There is a monument to David Thomson at the cemetery in Odiorne Point, New Hampshire.

Many people have written about David Thompson over the years, from Edward Winslow and William Bradford of the Mayflower, to Charles W. Brewster the 1800’s newspaper columnist in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to present day historians.    There are many tales of his adventures, and my personal favorite is one where Miles Standish appeared at Pannaway to beg for salt cod in 1623 to keep the Pilgrims at Plymouth alive.  It was the cause of the second day of Thanksgiving at the Plymouth colony! See the link below for more on this story...

Thompson/Thomson Genealogy

Generation 1.  David Thompson, born 1592, son of Richard Thompson and Florence Cromlen of Clarkenwell, England, and he is presumed to have drowned or disappeared off Thompson’s Island in Boston harbor in December 1628; married on 18 July 1613 in St. Andrew’s, Plymouth, Devonshire, England to Amyes Colle, daughter of William Colle and Agnes Bryant.   She was born about 1592 and died in 1649 in Massachusetts, and was married second to Samuel Maverick, brother to my 10 x great grandfather, Moses Maverick (1578 – 1636).  Five children:

1. Ann Thompson, died young
2. Priscilla Thompson, born before 1616, died about 1635
3. John Thompson, born 5 January 1619 in Plymouth, England; married Sarah Woodman
4. Ann Thompson, died young
5. Miles Thompson (see below)

Generation 2:  Miles Thompson was born about 1626 in New Hampshire and died before 30 June 1708 in Berwick, Maine; married about 1652 to Anne Tetherly, daughter of William Tetherley and Christian Thorne.  She was born about 1632 and died after 1717 in Berwick.  Seven children:
1. Ann Thompson, married Israel Hodson
2. Bartholomew Thompson, died unmarried
3. Mary Thompson, born about 1659 and married Thomas Rhodes
4. John Thompson, (see below)
5. Sarah Thompson, married James Goodwin
6. Amy Thompson, married Daniel Goodwin
7. Thomas Thompson, married Sarah Furbush

Generation 3:  John Thompson, born about 1662, died about 1702; married about 1683 to Sarah Emery, daughter of James Emery and Elizabeth Unknown.  Three children.
1. Mercy Thompson, married Philip Stackpole
2. Elizabeth Thompson, married Mainwaring Hilton
3. John Thompson (see below)

Generation 4.  John Thompson, born about 1684 in Kittery, Maine, died about 1753; married on 22 June 1709 to Mary Stacy, daughter of William Stacy and Mehitable Weymouth.  She was born on 6 April 1690 in South Berwick, Maine and died 13 January 1753 in Kittery.  Three children:
1. John Thompson, born 10 November 1711, married Mary Unknown
2. Mary Thompson (see below)
3. Noah Thompson, born 15 March 1713 in Berwick, married Susannah Place

Generation 5.  Mary Thompson married Richard Nason
Generation 6.  Mercy Nason married William Wilkinson
Generation 7.  Aaron Wilkinson married Mercy F. Wilson
Generation 8.  Robert Wilson Wilkinson married Phebe Cross Munroe
Generation 9.  Albert Munroe Wilkinson married Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 10.  Donald Munroe Wilkinson married Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

A book about David Thompson is First Yankee: David Thomson 1592- 1628, by Ralph E. and Matthew R. Thompson, originally printed in 1979, reprinted by the Piscataqua Pioneers.    There are sketches of David Thomson in the Great Migration Begins, Volume III, pages 1807-1809, and in the New England Historic Genealogical Society Register, Volume 9, pages 110 – 116.  You can find sketches of the Pannaway settlement in any good New Hampshire history.


A great website for Thompson genealogy, with links to other websites

The Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center website

Charles W. Brewster’s excerpt about “Old Pannaway”

How David Thompson “saved” the Pilgrims, by present day Portsmouth Historian J. Dennis Robinson:

Copyright 2011, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Sigh! Not my any of my Thompson family. One married into my Westerly family.

  2. Not surprising. The DIctionary of ME and NH rated Thompson the 16th most common name in New England. I have a host of Thompsons--none from this family.

  3. Oh man-- I have a Thompson in my family, but sadly, appears to be no relation...

  4. Martin, I have several NH Thompsons that appear to be no relation to this one, but I'm still working on those lines...

  5. I too have a Thompson line, but at first glance don't see a connection.

  6. Just curious...Have you changed your thoughts at all about who David Thomson's parents are? It seems there are two schools of thought, with some folks believing he has a Scottish heritage. I haven't seen original documents, just summaries on the internet, and it seems that there may be a good case for the Corstorphine connection, too? I'd be interested in learning your thoughts about this.

    Janice in Indiana

    1. Yes, that is a good case, but not good enough to make me go with it yet.

  7. Heather--Hope this will get to you....I may be able to work on one of my late husbands line on the Thompson side....Gen 4 under Noah Thompson.....because of your post here.....Many thanks to You and to Google for sending your wonderful blog my way! Karen Parsons March 6, 2016

  8. According to Robert Charles Anderson, FASG in The Great Migration Begins p 1807-1809 the immigrant David Thompson had only four children baptized at St. Andrews: Ann, Priscilla, John and Ann (again). Both daughters named Ann died young. Priscilla is last mentioned in the Trelawny Papers p 76-78 as "her fatherless children" but no further record of her exists. John was called "John Thompson of London" in 1651 in Massachusetts May Colony Records 3:130; Suffolk Deeds 1:117, 3:103-4. Douglas Richardson, FASG states in New Hampshire Genealogical Record 9:110-16 that the son John Thompson returned to England and is not the John of Weymouth and Mendon who had decedents in New England. If this be the case David Thompson left no known descendants beyond his immediate children in New England. He had no son named Miles Thompson in any baptism record, deed or probate record. Mile appears to be from a separate family - most likely an later immigrant per The Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire.

    Best regards,

    His X Mark

    1. Hello, since this blog post was written six years ago I have come to doubt that Miles is a descendant of David Thompson. I hope to write up a new post on this line in the future.