Henry F. Thompson

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Henry Thompson is the patriarch of my line of the Thompson family tree from Syracuse, NY. He is the furthest back relative that I have found in my research on the Thompson line of my tree and is my 3rd great grandfather. Henry was quite a guy and well known. Articles I have found portray him as a hard-working Superintendent of the first rail car system in Syracuse. He was known to plow the snow-filled streets around Salina Street with his four horses, long before people woke up for the day. Henry and his wife Sarah (both from Ireland) settled in Syracuse and raised 3 children, Ellen (Ella), Henry F., and James (of whom I am a descendant). At this point, I don’t know much about James’ siblings but I do have colorful stories about James, my great, great grandfather. Henry’s wife Sarah passed away in 1880. On one of the census reports, Sarah was listed as an invalid. It appears she passed away at about the age of 40. There was a published obituary, which was not clear enough to attach. There was a lot of focus on the floral arrangements vs. her life. This may say some interesting things as perhaps the family was prominent and the abundance of flowers demonstrated this. Perhaps because she was an invalid, there may have been little to report on her life and in those times people didn’t really talk about what went on behind closed doors.

Henry wasted no time in getting remarried the following year to a woman roughly 20 years his junior, Mary O’Neill. I was quite surprised to discover that Henry had an additional family with this wife. These children were Willis Augustin “Booker” Thompson (I have yet to understand the nickname), and Margaret. I actually found out about them in Henry’s obituary. Now there’s no mention of the first 3 children with Sarah. My assumption was Ellen got married or passed away, James was no longer alive then and I don’t know what happened to Henry. Mary’s sister Catherine “Kitty” lived with them for a time as a spinster.

This is the top of the Thompson tree, and in future posts I will provide amusing information on Henry’s son James or as I like to refer to him: the apple that DID fall far from the tree.

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