William Hillman Thompson

William Hillman Thompson
Morris Co. Up


Source: History Morris County New Jersey, Volume II, Lewis Publishing Co., 1914

The THOMPSON family, represented in the present generation by William H. THOMPSON, of Morristown, is one of the old and honored families of New Jersey, tracing their connection with the State back to the seventeenth century. The members of the family of the Mendham branch claim the old stone homestead located on the road south of Mendham as the original homestead of the family.

Thomas TOMSON, the first member of the family of whom we have definite information, sailed from the port of London, England, in the ship Abagal, in July, 1635, and landed probably in Boston, Massachusetts, in same year, aged eighteen, occupation not known. He lived in Lynn, Massachusetts, then New Haven, Connecticut, from there moved to Easthampton, Long Island, and from there to Elizabthtown (Elizabeth, New Jersey). He was a member of the New Jersey colonial legislature in 1776. The will of Thomas TOMSON, on file at Trenton, indicates that he came to Lyons Farms with a part of the Plymouth colony from England and went to Long Island and then the entire body went to Elizabeth, New Jersey and settled there. The original maps of assignment of lots in and about Elizabeth show lots assigned to Thomas TOMSON and one each to each of his sons, 

  • Moses, 
  • Aaron, and 
  • Hur. 

The last named was a particularly rebellious subject of the king, and was arrested for an attack upon the property of a Tory. Aaron was the progenitor of the Mendham branch of THOMPSONs. The name was spelled first TOMSON, later THOMSON, and still later THOMPSON.

Joseph THOMPSON was born near Elizabeth (North Plains), New Jersey. He moved to Mendham, 1739, and his death occurred there in 1749. The Mendham homestead farm was deeded to him in 1740. Charles D. THOMPSON, of Jersey City, has in his possession the original deed.

David THOMPSON was born near Elizabeth, New Jersey, October 4, 1737, died December 28, 1824, at Mendham, New Jersey. He served in the Revolutionary army and was known as captain, but in the official register he is enrolled as a private. In the minutes of the provincial congress and council, as delegate of safety, 1775-76, he is mentioned as the delegate chosen at a meeting of freeholders and inhabitants of Morris county held in Morristown, May 1, 1775, where it was resolved that delegates be chosen to help the county of Morris, and that said delegates be vested with power of legislation and that they raise men, money, and arms for the common defense. On May 2 the delegates met and voted to raise 300 men divided into five companies. He was chairman of the committee of observation at Mendham, July 8, 1775, and deputy to the provincial congress in New Jersey in August, 1775. He was judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Morris county, from 1778 to 1799. Judge Ephraim MARSH, late of Morris county, a member of the New Jersey constitutional convention of 1844, said he knew David THOMPSON and that he fought at Monmouth with his men. David THOMPSON married Hannah CAREY. Interesting records of David and Hannah THOMPSON can be found in IRVINGís "Life of Washington," also articles published in Harperís Magazine by Joseph F. TUTTLE, volume 18, and further records in the New Jersey Archives, under the name of Thomas TOMSON and his three children:

  • Moses,
  • Aaron, and
  • Hur.

Stephen THOMPSON died in 1750, leaving one son, 

  • Jacob, who was the father of four sons: 
    • Stephen Ogden, 
    • Joseph, 
    • David, 
    • Aaron.

Joseph (2) THOMPSON, son of Jacob THOMPSON, was born in Mendham, New Jersey, November 6, 1778, died May 20, 1824. He married, September 1, 1803, Mehitable THOMPSON, born August 26, 1783, daughter of Benjamin and Millicent (BURNET) THOMPSON, of Madison, New Jersey, the former of whom died there, the latter in Fairfield, Connecticut. Children:

  • Albert P., born September 7, 1804;
  • James Burnet, of whom further;
  • William B., born September 12, 1808;
  • Benjamin E., born August 11, 1812, died April 13, 1813.

James Burnet THOMPSON, son of Joseph (2) THOMPSON, was born in Mendham, New Jersey, January 3, 1807, in the old stone homestead, above named, died August 18, 1878, at the Ingham Spring, New Hope, Pennsylvania. His first occupation was clerk in a store at Morristown, which was located on the site of the McAlpin Building. Later he took up his residence in New York City and there secured employment as clerk in a dry goods store. Following this he established the provision business known as James B. THOMPSON & Company. In 1850 he was appointed inspector of this line, and in 1857 moved to Cleveland and Bedford, Ohio, and became interested in the packing industry. During the Civil War he resided in Philadelphia, and the last six years of his life were spent at The Great Ingham Spring, where he devoted his time to the artificial propagation of trout and salmon, being one of the pioneers in this line, forwarding the trout for stocking purposes from many of the streams throughout the eastern States. He married, August 9, 1837, in New York City, Phoebe Steen MERRITT, born in New York City, July 12, 1818, died in Morristown, New Jersey, September 30, 1890. The MERRITT family are of English descent, three brothers, David, Austin and George, settling in Newburgh, Orange county, New York. George MERRITT married a Miss FOWLER, and their children born in Orange county were:

  • George,
  • Reuben,
  • Gidney,
  • Humphrey,
  • Samuel Fowler,
  • Fowler,
  • Polly,
  • Keiser,
  • Jane.

Samuel Fowler MERRITT, born 1779, died 1850, married Elizabeth HALSTEAD, born in New York, 1776, died 1853, and their children were:

  • Charles,
  • Ann,
  • Isaac,
  • Abigail,
  • Caroline,
  • Mary Jane,
  • Phoebe Steen, above mentioned,
  • Eliza,
  • Margaret,

the first seven of whom were born in Newburgh, New York, and the remainder in New York City. Children of Mr. and Mrs. THOMPSON:

  • 1. Caroline Elizabeth, unmarried.
  • 2. Emma Louise, wife of Charles Grant FOSTER, of Morristown, New Jersey: children: Ward, Charles, Caroline.
  • 3. Kate, wife of Colonel Charles A. R. DIMON, of Lowell, Massachusetts, a member of the United States Army.
  • 4. May, wife of Dr. Augustus F. MULLER, of Germantown, Pennsylvania, a member of the United States Army; children: Theodora, Maude, August.
  • 5. James Burnet Jr., unmarried.
  • 6. John Seely Ward, married Josephine Coles SMITH; children: Lemuel Halstead, Edward Annan.
  • 7. John P. R., unmarried.
  • 8. Lena Leffongwell, unmarried.
  • 9. William Hillman, of whom further.

William Hillman THOMPSON, son of James Burnet THOMPSON, was born in Bedford, Ohio, July 7, 1859. In 1863, on account of the Civil War, the parents of William H. removed from the State, making their home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and William H. attended the Brown street public school and the Germantown Academy at Germantown. Completing his studies in the year 1873, he went to work on his fatherís place in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, remaining thus employed until 1879, when he served an apprenticeship at the paper makerís trade in the Ingham Spring Paper Mill, located near New Hope, Pennsylvania, where he remained until 1884, in which year he removed to Morristown, New Jersey, and accepted the position of superintendent of a stock farm, in which capacity he served for ten years. He was interested in the Paper Fiber Mill located at Whippany, New Jersey, and also in the Webb Folding Box Company of Newark, New Jersey. He is now serving his fourth term as collector of taxes for Morris township, being first elected in 1904, on the Republican ticket, the principles of which party he has always advocated, casting his first vote for James A. GARFIELD. He has always taken an active interest in the affairs of Morris county since 1884, serving on executive and county committees, and has also been an active factor in school and town affairs. He is a member of Lodge No. 188, F. and A. M., of Morristown, and of Lodge No. 815, B. P. O. E., of Morristown.

Mr. THOMPSON married, September 20, 1895, Maude Alice SMITH, born in New York City, March 11, 1864, daughter of Lemuel and Josephine (COLES) SMITH, and granddaughter of John and Rachel (WATTS) SMITH, of Boston, and of Robert and Harriet (PEE) COLES, of New York City. Lemuel SMITH was born in Boston, Massachusetts, September 25, 1815, died in New York City, February 16, 1889; his wife was born in New York City, June 1, 1833, died there, March 3, 1877; their children were:

  • Anthony,
  • Lemuel,
  • Josephine,
  • Maude,
  • Alice, aforementioned.

Mr. and Mrs. THOMPSON have one child, 

  • Charles Foster, born in Madison, New Jersey, December 25, 1896, at the present time (1914) a student at Morris Academy.

This biography was transcribed by John Cresseveur.


This page was last modified on:  01 January, 2014

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