Joanne Truman
ALEXANDER THOMPSON

FROM SEAFARING MAN TO FARMER / HUSBANDMAN


My third great-grandfather, Alexander Thompson, was born in the state of Georgia, ca 1797-99. I do not know where he spent his youth, or who his parents or siblings were. I began my research several years ago with his marriage to Asena (Lena, Lenen, Messina) Arnold, daughter of Daniel Arnold and either his first wife Mary Anne Holly or his second wife Rachael (?).

In his book 1830 CITIZENS OF TEXAS (pg. 200), Mr. Gifford White states that Alexander Thompson owned one league and one labor of land, and that he had arrived in Texas in the year 1820. However, in the book STEPHEN F. AUSTIN'S REGISTER OF FAMILIES by Villamae Williams, (book pg. 48) Alexander reported that he had arrived in the Austin Colony in 1823. He also stated that he was 31 years old, with a wife named Asena, and that he took his oath to the Mexican government on February 2, 1830.

Alexander married Asena Arnold on May 20, 1829, in Austin's Colony, Mexico, probably in what is now the area of Montgomery/Grimes County. In 1830, Asena gave birth to their son, my great great grandfather, Hendrick Thompson. At some time after the birth of Hendrick, and before October 15, 1839, Asena died, because on that date, Alexander married Martha Boyacan in Montgomery County, TX.

The death of Alexander occurred sometime between November 2, 1839 and December 10, 1839. On November 2, he signed a financial note promising to pay "Mr. George W. Robertson or the bearer the sum of thirty-four dollars for value received." Martha Thompson was named as his widow on December 10, 1839, during court proceedings concerning his estate. (Montgomery Co. Court records). Alexander also had a son, Richard, with Martha Boyacan. This child was born in Montgomery County, Texas, in April, 1840, and I have found no further information on him or his mother.

There was much bickering and a number of court hearings in Montgomery County concerning the estate of Alexander Thompson. Martha consented to Alexander's ex father-in-law, Daniel Arnold, being the administrator of Alexander's estate, but changed her mind and petitioned the court to administer the estate herself. Her petition was granted, but later the administration was again turned over to Daniel Arnold. After the estate was settled, Daniel Arnold and his family, including my great great grandfather Hendrick Thompson moved to the Bexar / Medina County area where the family spread into South Texas.

People that I know Alexander was associated with through his first wife's family are: Ezekiel Clampitt, Clement Raney, Armistead Rogers, Eunice Haddy, Matilda Fulton who was the daughter of Samuel Fulton and Elizabeth Corner, Frances Hill, Walter Sutherland, William B. Patterson, and the children of Daniel Arnold: Catherine, Benjamin, Holly, Hendrick, Cassandra, and Cinderella.

To this point, I have proof that my third great grandfather was, in fact, the Alexander Thompson noted above, husband of Asena and Martha, and father of Hendrick & Richard.

In my search for this man and his family, I found record of an Alexander Thompson who was a member of the Mexican Navy in the 1820's. Pursuing this item further, I found an article about him in THE HANDBOOK OF TEXAS ONLINE, (Bibliography: Expediente 17, Legajo 4, 1829, Seccion de Archivo, Secretaria de Fomento{National Museum of Archeology, History, and Ethnographgy, Mexico City.}) It is reported that he was a United States Citizen and that he was granted a commission as first lieutenant in the Mexican Navy, and that he served on the brig Bravo from June 1826 to February 1827. He also served as second in command on the Libertad from February to May 1827; then was the commander of a schooner that was captured, at which time he was taken prisoner, and carried to Havana. He was "exchanged" in October of that year, and returned to Mexico where he was again assigned to Mexican Naval ships.

Alexander's last assignment for the Mexican Navy came when he was in command of the schooner, Luciana. His instructions were to map Galveston Bay and its tributaries. Evidently, the Mexican government did not pay him and his crew as agreed, because Alexander filed a petition asking that, in recognition of his services, that he be granted San Luis Island for colonization purposes. The Mexican government refused on the grounds that it was not fitting that San Luis (present Galveston Island) be colonized.

In the late spring of 2000, my husband and I visited the Wallisville Heritage Center that is located on Interstate Highway 10, east of Baytown, Texas. This library and small museum was recommended by one of my genealogy friends, and what a lucky thing it turned out to be. This library is small, but very well stocked.

While there, we found the book: CARTOGRAPHIC SOURCES IN THE ROSENBERG LIBRARY, compiled by Henry G. Taliaferro, Edited by Jane A. Kenamore and Uli Haller, published by Texas A & M University Press College Station. On page 106 begins the description of "Plano de la Bahia y Puerto de Galvestown en el Departamento de Tejas". The book describes Alexander's assignment to map Galveston Bay, his interest in the command of a Mexican government planned customs house in Galveston Texas, and his correspondence with Samuel May Williams and Stephen F. Austin. This book devoted a little over two pages to Alexander and his activities concerning the Mexican navy, his visit with and correspondence with S. F. Austin, and Samuel May Williams.

So, very shortly, my husband and I were off to Galveston and the Rosenberg Library. When we arrived, were greeted and signed in, I requested a copy of the letters that Alexander had written to Samuel M. Williams and Stephen F. Austin. We were lucky on one count they had the Williams letter, but we found that the Austin letter was in Austin, Texas at the Barker Center for American History.

We obtained a copy of the letter to Samuel M. Williams dated March 16, 1828 and a short financial note dated April 29, 1830 in which Alexander requested Samuel May Williams to pay Lyman Cronkite on order $12 for value received. The signature on this financial note is the same as the signature on another financial note that my Alexander signed on Nov 2, 1839, shortly before he died. This gives me my best proof that the Mexican navy Alexander and my proven Alexander was one and the same person. The handwriting used in the letter to Samuel May Williams is very similar to the handwriting in the note. The only obvious difference is that the signature is more elaborate - which I assume can be expected since he was writing as an officer of the Mexican navy and was speaking of his plans to settle in the Austin Colony.

In his letter, he spoke of his unfulfilled wish to be put in charge of the customs house in Galveston. The revolutions in Mexico had created many problems, causing the plans for the customs house to be neglected. He was quite anxious to return to Texas, and planned to bring "three or four stout hands" with him to settle in Austin's Colony. The letter is three pages long but may not be reproduced and included in this article.

While at Rosenberg Library, we also obtained copies of maps that that show Alexander's map of Galveston Bay as an insert. I am also not allowed to be provide the maps with this article, but a nice copy of the map can be found on the web site: www.dsloan.com/a6/Lots_151-160.html. This is the web site for an auction house that has early maps of Texas for sale, and Alexander's map is Item #157.

Our next stop on our adventure to find information on Alexander was the Sterling Library in Baytown, Texas, where we found copies of the books: THE AUSTIN PAPERS published by the American Historical Association. There we found letters from Alexander to S.F. Austin in the Calendar (index), but they had been omitted from the books. A reason was not given for the omission perhaps they had been damaged to the point that it was not feasible to try to transcribe them. However, on page 1101 of the calendar is listed one letter that was written from the Mexican Schooner Louisiana moored in Galveston Bay, and dated November 17, 1828. Alexander was applying for a league of land. In a second letter listed on calendar page 1102, Alexander had written to S. F. Austin on December 6, 1828 regarding the political news from Mexico.

In the course of my search, I have found two other Thompson men in the Mexican Navy and one in the Texas Navy. First, and perhaps the most important, was Henry L Thompson. There was a Henry L. Thompson in the Mexican navy who also commanded of the Texas navy ship "Invincible", and who was in the first Tax List for Washington Co., Texas in 1837. Alexander named his first born son Hendrick. I believe this could be significant. (Hendrick Thompson is also listed by the name Henry Thompson in the St. Louis Catholic Church records for Medina County, Texas) The second Thompson was Thomas M. (Mexico) Thompson but records show that he came from England and gained U.S. citizenship in New Orleans, LA in the 1830's before joining the Mexican Navy. There was also a William Thompson in the Texas Navy, and a William Thompson listed as "mariner" in the City Directory for New Orleans, LA in 1822.

I would be most interested in corresponding with anyone connected to Alexander Thompson or anyone he was associated with. I would like to verify from other sources that my great-great-great grandfather Alexander Thompson was indeed the same Alexander Thompson who was in the Mexican Navy.

Lastly, I would like to thank the kind librarians in all the libraries that we visited for their help in gathering information on Alexander and my other ancestors.

Descendant chart for Alexander Thompson included.

Joanne Clinton Truman
1207 Lake Country Drive
Taylor Lake Village, Texas 77586
E-mail: Jtruman342@aol.com

Copyright © 2000, Joanne Truman, All Rights Reserved