91st PA: James I Thompson

James I Thompson

Before the war

He was born about 1838/39, in Port Elizabeth, New Jersey. [sources: place: 11, 19. age: 5 (22 in 1861), 11 (22 in 1861), 19 (21 in 1860)]

In 1850, he may have been living in Maurice River Township, Cumberland County, New Jersey. If so, he was living with John Wesley and Sarah Thompson (presumably his parents), and Leveret, John, Elizabeth, Manly, Catharine, and David Thompson (presumably his siblings). He had attended school within the year. [source: 25]

In 1860, he may have been living in ward 19, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If so, he was living with Israel and Mary Shropshire and others, and was a glassblower. [source: 19]

When he enlisted, he was a glassblower, and was living at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [source: 5]

Description

When he enlisted, he was 5 feet 6 inches tall, and had a light complexion, light eyes, and light hair. [sources: 5, 11]

During the war

He enlisted and was mustered into service, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 24 September 1861. He was enlisted for three years. He was mustered into company D, as fourth sergeant. He had rifle number 3. [sources: 1, 5, 9, 10 (promoted to sgt), 11, 26 (pvt)]

He was transferred to company H on 31 October 1861. [sources: 4, 5 (transferred from H to D), 10]

He was reduced to the ranks by regimental order, on 18 May 1862. [source: 9]

He was George Black's tent-mate, and threw him to the rear when the regiment was charging Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg, Virginia, on 13 December 1862. [source: 12]

On 19 March 1863, he returned to the regiment from duty with the cattle guard. [source: 3]

He fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. He and William Reiff were detailed as pickets on the night of 2 July 1863. They were placed about 125 feet in front of the wall the regiment built, and quickly built their own wall from loose rocks. Because they were having trouble staying awake, despite rubbing onion juice, pepper, and tobacco in their eyes they requested temporary relief. The officer of the guard, Joseph Jones, granted their request, and returned with Stephen Whinna (H) and George S Phillips. Reiff and Thompson slept for two hours, before being awakened about 2 AM and standing the watch until the sun rose. Thompson was ordered back before Reiff, who had to run a gauntlet of shot and shells back to the regiment's line. [13, 15]

He reenlisted as a veteran volunteer on 26 December 1863. [sources: 1, 5, 18]

On 2 March 1864, he married Joanna Chew, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was born about 1846/47, in New Jersey. They were married by James B McCullough, in a Methodist ceremony. They had no children. [source: 18, 21, 22, 23]

On 15 April 1864, he returned from being absent without leave. [source: 7]

He was wounded on 18 [?] June 1864 at Petersburg, Virginia. He received a gunshot wound in the right arm. He was sent from the First Division Hospital to the Depot Hospital, City Point, Virginia, on 19 June 1864. He died on 23 or 24 June 1864 of those wounds. He was a private, in company H. He was buried at City Point, Virginia. [sources: 1, 2 (20 Jun), 5, 8, 11, 14, 18 (20 Jun), 26]

After the war

On 8 August 1864, his widow, Joanna Thompson, applied for a pension. Her post-office address was Pierce Street, 2nd door above Dauphin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her application was accepted on 24 July 1865, retroactive to 20 June 1864. She initially received a pension of $8 per month. [sources: 16, 17, 18]

In April 1866, his widow, Joanna Thompson, apparently married William Winter, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They had two known children:

[source: 20]

In 1870, his (remarried) widow was living in ward 19, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was living with William Winters, and with Elizabeth (presumably their child). He was a police sergeant. [source: 22]

In 1880, his (remarried) widow, Johannah Winters, was living in ward 3, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was living with her husband William Winters, and their children Elizabeth and Henry. He was a hotel keeper. [source: 23]

On 30 December 1885, his (remarried) widow, Joanna Winters, died, of phthisis pulmonalis. She died at, or was buried from 542 West York Street, ward 19, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On 5 January 1886, she was buried at Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [source: 21]

Sources

1 Bates, Samuel Penniman. History of Pennsylvania volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg: B. Singerly, state printer, 1869-71. 5 volumes. 'Ninety-first regiment', volume 3, pages 186-233. (In the roster) (James Thompson (D) and James I Thompson (H))

2 City Point National Cemetery, interment index (searched 5 October 2000)

3 consolidated morning report, 91st PA, 19 March 1863 (Pri Thompon)

4 company D, register of men transferred, entry 17 (James Thompson)

5 Civil War Veterans' Card File, available at the Pennsylvania State Archives, searched 10 August 2004 (James Thompson [co.D]--merely refers to co.H card]

6 Civil War Veterans' Card File, available at the Pennsylvania State Archives, searched 10 August 2004 (James I Thompson [co.H])

7 consolidated morning report, 91st Pennsylvania, 15 April 1864 (James Thompson)

8 company H, register of deaths (James Thompson)

9 company H, list of non-commissioned officers (James Thompson)

10 company H, register of men transferred (James Thompson)

11 company H, descriptive roll, #17 (James Thompson)

12 William C Reiff, 'A boy hero: a young drummer made of the right kind of stuff'. National tribune 3 August 1905, page 3, columns 1-2 (Jim Thompson)

13 Pennsylvania Memorial, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (J L Thompson)

14 'Our illustrious dead', Philadelphia Inquirer 20 July 1865 page 2 (James S Thompson)

15 William C Reiff. 'Josie and I at Gettysburg'. Gettysburg Compiler 9 August 1911. (Jim)

16 pension index, by regiment, 91st PA Infantry, company H (James L Thompson)

17 pension index, by name (James L Thompson)

18 abstract of widow's pension certificate file, National Archives and Records Administration, RG 15, WC 52233 (Joanna Chew Thompson widow of James L Thompson)

19 1860 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, ward 19, microfilm series M653, film 1169, page 130 = 130 handwritten (Jas Thompson)

20 'Married', Public Ledger 6 April 1866, page 2 (William Winter to Joanna Thompson)

21 death certificate, Philadelphia death certificates, 30 December 1885 (Joanna Winters)

22 1870 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, ward 19, district 58, microfilm series M593, film 1404, page 222 = 93 handwritten (Johanna Winters)

23 1880 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, ward 3, microfilm series T9, film 1168, supervisor's district 1, enumeration district 66, page 472 = 6 B handwritten (Johannah Winters)

24 1860 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, ward 18, Northeast division (post office Kensington), microfilm series M653, film 1168, page 133 = 133 handwritten

25 1850 US census, New Jersey, Cumberland County, Maurice River Township, microfilm series M432, film 446, page 86 = 171 handwritten (James Thompson)

26 index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania (James L Thompson)

Sources checked unsuccessfully

1890 US census, veterans' schedules
Ancestry index (accessed 5 June 2009)
1900 US census
HeritageQuest index (accessed 5 September 2011)
1910 US census
HeritageQuest index (accessed 5 September 2011)
1920 US census
HeritageQuest index (accessed 5 September 2011)
1930 US census
Fold3 index (accessed 5 September 2011)

1850 census

[1850 US census, New Jersey, Cumberland County, Maurice River Township, microfilm series M432, film 446, page 86 = 171 handwritten]
[identification is uncertain. If I have correctly identified James in the 1860 census, and if my guess about his family in the 1860 census is correct, this is the correct family]
[the other candidate I have found is James A Thompson, 11 years old, born NJ, in Hanover, Morris, New Jersey, page 162 recto = 325 handwritten, with A V (45, shoe manufacturer), and Mary (43) Harrison, Mary Thompson (17), Corlus Brittian (50, shoemaker), and Benjamin Harrison (74, farmer)]
line121314151617181920
Dwellings visited79        
Families visited79        
NameJohn Wesley ThompsonSarah ThompsonLeveret ThompsonJohn ThompsonJames ThompsonElizabeth ThompsonManly ThompsonCatharine ThompsonDavid Thompson
Age45 [?]4216141210861
SexMFMMMFMFM
Color         
Occupation of males over 15 yearsWheelwright        
Real estate owned         
Birthplace" [sc. NJ]""""""""
Married within year         
Attended school within year  1111   
Over 20 & can't read/write         
Deaf, dumb, blind, etc.         

1860 census

[1860 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, ward 19, microfilm series M653, film 1169, page 130 = 130 handwritten]
[identification is no more than possible, based on the age, birthplace, and occupation]
line121314151617
Dwelling number955     
Family number1048     
NameIsrael ShropshireMaryMary CarrollIdaOrrisJas Thompson
Age2930119121
Sexmffffm
Color      
OccupationSeaman    Glass Blower
Value of real estate owned      
Value of personal estate300     
Place of birthNJNY [?]""NJ"
Married within year      
Attended school within year  11  
Cannot read & write      
Deaf, dumb, blind, etc.      


[1860 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, ward 18, Northeast division (post office Kensington), microfilm series M653, film 1168, page 133 = 133 handwritten]
[note that Fanny is not present with this family in the 1850 census, and I doubt that a female would be a glassblower; perhaps that is an error for James?]
[the 1860 Biddle's Philadelphia directory page 990 has: "Thompson L., glassblower, 1018 Montgomery avenue"; "Thompson John W., wheelright [sic], 1018 Montgomery av"; page 989 has "Thompson John, glassblower, 1018 Montgomery avenue"; it has no James glassblower or James at 1018 Montgomery avenue; page 51 has "Beck John, carpenter, r 1018 Montgomery av", and page 881 has "Seeler Samuel, bartender, r 1018 Montgomery avenue"]
line35363738394012
Dwelling number857       
Family number965       
NameJohn ThompsonSarah "Leveratt "John "Fanny "Elzth "Cath. ThopmsonDavid "
Age5048262321181412
Sexmfmmfffm
Color        
OccupationWharf Builder Glass BlowerdittodittoTailoress  
Value of real estate owned        
Value of personal estate        
Place of birthdo [sc. Pa]doN.JdododoPennado
Married within year        
Attended school within year       (1)
Cannot read & write        
Deaf, dumb, blind, etc.        

1870 census

[1870 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, ward 19, district 58, microfilm series M593, film 1404, page 222 = 93 handwritten]
[identification is uncertain; see Joanna Winters' death certificate below]
line333435
Dwelling-house number638  
Family number811  
NameWinters William- Johanna- Elizabeth
Age28221
Sexmff
Color" [sc. W]""
OccupationPolice Sargeantkeeping houseat home
Real estate value   
Personal estate value300  
BirthplaceIrelandNew JerseyPenna
Father foreign born1 1
Mother foreign born1  
Birth month if born within year   
Marriage month if married within year   
Attended school past year   
Can't read   
Can't write   
Deaf, dumb, blind, etc.   
Male US citizen at least 21 years old1  
Male US citizen at least 21 years old who can't vote ...   

1880 census

[1880 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, ward 3, microfilm series T9, film 1168, supervisor's district 1, enumeration district 66, page 472 = 6 B handwritten]
[see Joanna Winters' death certificate below for identification]
line5678
street nameNorth Ninteth [sic] Street
house number801   
dwelling visit #64   
family visit #71   
nameWinters WilliamJohannahElisabethHenry
colorWWWW
sexMFFM
age3832119
month born if born in year    
relationship WifeDaughterSon
single  11
married11  
widowed/divorced    
married during year    
occupationHotel KeeperKeeping HouseAt SchoolAt School
months unemployed    
currently ill?    
blind    
deaf/dumb    
idiotic    
insane    
disabled    
school this year  11
can't read    
can't write    
birthplaceIrelandNew JerseyPennsylvaniaPennsylvania
father's birthplaceIrelandPennsylvaniaIrelandIreland
mother's birthplaceIrelandNew JerseyNew JerseyNew Jersey

index to compiled service records

[index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania]
[transcribed 26 April 2015, from Fold3]


Thompson James L.
     James
Co. D, H, 91 Pennsylvania Inf.
Pvt | Pvt
See also [blank]

GENERAL INDEX CARD.

abstract of widow's pension certificate file

[widow's pension certificate file, National Archives and Records Administration, RG 15, Joahnna Chew Thompson widow of James L Thompson, WC 52233]
[abstracted from 22 pages on Fold3 (September 2011)]
26 Dec 1863
James L Thompson mustered as private, veteran
2 March 1864
James L Thompson (soldier, residence Philadelphia, born NJ, 24 years old), married Joanna Chew (residence Philadelphia, born NJ, 17 years old)
married by Jas B McCullough, Methodist ceremony
no children
18 June 1864
wounded at Petersburg VA 18 June 1864 while storming enemy's works
20 June 1864
died of wounds, at City Point, Prince George County, Virginia
3 Aug 1864
Joanna Thompson made declaration for pension, with John Wood and Alethe Wood affirming her identity etc. (having known James L Thompson for more than three years, and Joanna Thompson since childhood)
8 Aug 1864 [received at pension office]
Joanna Thompson applied for pension (application 60,305). PO address Pierce St 2nd door above Dauphin, Philadelphia
attorney Geo Cragg + Bro, 402 Walnut St, Philadelphia
admitted 24 July 1865 to pension of $8 per month retroactive to 20 June 1864, certificate 52,233
13 Dec 1864
Pension Office requested information from Adjutant General's Office
23 Dec 1864
Adjutant General's Office reported to the Pension Office on Thompson's service
28 Dec 1864
Pension office [sent?] circular 14 to the Surgeon General, requesting official evidence about the date and cause of Thompson's death
28 Jan 1865
Surgeon General referred Pension Office request to the Medical Director, Army of the Potomac
30 Jan 1865
Medical Directory, Army of the Potomac, referred Pension Office request to the Chief Medical Officer, City Point
6 Feb 1865
Chief Medical Officer, City Point, returned Pension Office request reporting that Hospital Records have no information
8 Feb 1865
Medical Director referred Pension Office request to Brigade Surgeon for information
10 Feb 1865
Pension Office [sent?] circulars 9 and 21
10 Feb 1865
Post Hospital, City Point VA, reported to Pension Office that James L Thompson isn't listed in their records
20 Feb 1865
medical director 5th Corps referred Pension Office's request for information to the Surgeon in chief, 1st division
21 Feb 1865
surgeon in chief, 1st division 5th corps, referred Pension Office's request to the surgeon in chief of the 3rd brigade
22 Feb 1865
surgeon in chief, 3rd brigade, referred Pension Office's request to the surgeon in charge of the 91st
[undated]
G S Oldmixon, Asst Surg 91st PA Vols, returned the Pension Office's request, with an affidavit of A Wispert about Thompson's death
24 Feb 1865
Pension Office [received?] "some resp[onse]" to circulars 9 and 21
20 Mar 1865 [page 17]
Eli Sellers certified that he saw Thompson seriously wounded in a charge on 18 June 1865
Adam Wispart affirmed that while at the 1st division hospital at City Point he saw Thompson die, and was at his burial (sworn before John L Graham, Lt and Acting Adjutant)
21 Mar 65
James Thompson H 91 is listed on the 1st division 5th corps hospital books as wounded in the right arm, and sent to the Depot Hospital, City Point, on 19 June 1864 (1st division hospital commander)
22 Mar 65
surgeon in chief 1st division 5th corps forwards comments to the 5th corps medical director
medical director 5th corps return Pension Office's request for information, inviting attention to the 1st division hospital's commanders comments
[undated]
the medical director of the Army of the Potomac referred the Pension Office's request to the Chief Medical Officer at City Point
26 Mar 65
the Chief Medical Officer at City Point returned the Pension Office's request to the Medical Director, Army of the Potomac, having found no information in the hospital records
30 Mar 65
the Medical Director, Army of the Potomac, returned the Pension Office's request to the Surgeon General, US Army, with all available information
3 Apr 65
the Pension Office received the information from Army medical records
21 Apr 1865
Pension Office [received?] response to circular 14; [sent?] circulars 9 and 21 again
11 July 1865
Pension Office notified attorney in person what was needed
20 July 1865
George P Finney captain co. H certified that Thompson reenlisted on 24 December 1863 at Bealton Virginia, and died on 20 June 1864 of wounds at the Battle at the Norfolk and Petersburg RR while storming the enemy's works on 18 June 1864, in particular a gunshot wound through his arm and leg. he was taken to the Hospital at City Point and died there from the effects of the wound. Finney was Orderly Sergeant of the Company and present when Thompson was wounded and fell
received at Pension Office 23 July 1865
28 July 1865
pension certificate issued and sent to Geo Cragg + Bro Philadelphia (Act of 14 July 1862)

marriage notice, widow

['Married', Public Ledger 6 April 1866, page 2, William Winter to Joanna Thompson]
[identification is uncertain; see Joanna Winters' death certificate below]

WINTER--THOMPSON--At the parsonage of the Summerfield M.E. Church, 718 Dauphin Street, by Rev. Vaughan Smith, Mr WILLIAM WINTER to Miss JOANNA THOMPSON, all of this city.

spouse's death certificate

[Philadelphia death certificates, 30 December 1885, Joanna Winters]
[transcribed 5 September 2011, from FamilySearch]
[identification is uncertain. This, the 1870 and 1880 census entries, and marriage notice, all seem to be the same person. I have not found any other candidates for being the Joanna Thompson married to James Thompson, or the Joanna Thompson who married William Winters, but have no other evidence linking them]


RETURN OF A DEATH
IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA.
PHYSICIAN'S CERTIFICATE.
1. Name of Deceased, Joanna Winters
2. Color, White
3. Sex, Female
4. Age, 38 years
5. Married
6. Date of Death, Dec 30th 1885
7. Cause of Death, Phthisis pul
C B Murtz [??] M.D.
Residence, 2431 N 5th St

UNDERTAKER'S CERTIFICATE IN RELATION TO DECEASED.
8. Occupation, [blank]
9. Place of Birth, Trenton, NJ
10. When a Minor, [blank]
11. Ward, 19th
12. Street and Number, 542 West York st
13. Date of Burial, Jan 5th 1886
14. Place of Burial, Northwood [crossed out: Memorial Church Vault]
Henry Deperven + Son Undertaker
Residence, 1007 Poplar + 1633 N 11th St

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revised 26 Apr 15
contact Harry Ide at hide1@unl.edu with comments or questions