59th Annual Thompson Family Reunion

Dear Family and Friends,

I want to thank everyone who made the 58th annual reunion last year so successful! Now it is time to invite you to the 59th reunion of Thompson kinfolk along with allied families. Sunday, October 2nd, is the big day. As always, we will gather at Ebenezer Methodist Church in Kemp, west of Swainsboro, Georgia. Go out Highway 80 or 56 from town and look for the church signs at Kemp Road. The church doors will open at 9:30 for registration and visiting, with the program starting promptly at 10:30. Casual dress is fine and children are welcome.

I’m excited about our speaker this year. He is Rick Joslyn from Sparta, Georgia. He’s a lifelong researcher and historian of the War for Southern Independence. Dressed as a soldier, he will talk about Sherman’s March. Remember, our ancestral home was at the edge of that march. Rick holds too many titles and honors to mention here, but you will learn more in my introduction of him. His program is worth your attendance. Don’t miss it.

Dinner on the grounds will begin at noon. As is our tradition, the Robert Thompson family will be serving their delicious barbecue. Please take time to thank them for all their hard work and find a donation jar to help cover the meat expense. Also, please bring several side dishes to add to the barbecue. Once again we will have a special table for the desserts. Plates, cups, utensils, table coverings and ice will be provided. Some folks enjoy bringing tables and chairs so they can linger in comfort.

If you lost a loved one in the last year, or know of someone who has, please send me the names, dates and other information so they can be included in our memorial service. Please send this right away, as it is very difficult to put together on the morning of the reunion.

Our budget is always in need so please consider mailing a donation to help with our many expenses, primarily the upkeep of the historic Ebenezer Church and Cemetery. If our family heritage is to be remembered, it is up to each one of us to do our part. Remember, as always, your gifts to the Foundation are tax deductible!

I look forward to seeing each of you at our unique reunion and homecoming. We are so fortunate to have this lovely church, our ancestral home, to gather at and renew old family acquaintances, as well as make new ones. Mark your calendar. Come visit under the majestic pines. Remember, it won’t be as good a time without you there!

Yours truly,
Philip Stephens, President
Reubin Thompson Memorial Foundation
1083 Woodland Drive
Soperton, GA 30457

Saturday October 1st:
1:30 Sharing Time
Swainsboro Library
3:30-5:00 Farm & Home Museum
Museum Drive

Sunday October 2nd:
9:30 Registration & Visiting
10:30 program, 12:00 Lunch
Ebenezer Methodist Church
428 Kemp Road

Reubin Thompson Memorial Foundation, Inc. NEWSLETTER
Kemp, Georgia
September 2016

Including: Beasley, Coleman, Flanders, Hall, Hooks, Kea, Kirkland, Kitchen(s), Lumley, Moore, Riner, Rowell, Scott, Smith, Sumner, Thigpen, Webb, Youngblood & more


For the first time in recent memory, rainy weather put a damper on our reunion, especially Saturday. Sunday turned out dryer and the crowd was a good one. Our ALL MUSIC PROGRAM was very popular and inspirational. Thanks to all our talented family singers and musicians!!! President Philip Stevens announced that Allison Hammock of Fort Pierce, Florida, won the Roots and Wings Scholarship. She is studying nursing and hopes to work among the Navaho people. Allison is the granddaughter of the late Nancy Thompson Bridges. The $1000 scholarship will be awarded again this year and announced in October.


Aulden Bynum of Valdosta, grandson of Ann McArthur Kitchen Bynum, Great Grandson of James Remer Kitchen is a junior at the University of Georgia. Aulden plays Offensive Tackle for the Georgia Bulldogs and is #70. [Brad Bynum] GO DAWGS!

Judy and Jim Bennett of Texas recently celebrated 51 years of marriage. She is a descendant of Juniper Hall through his son Cyrus and presented a program on the life of Dr. and Mrs. James Calvin DuBose (Mrs. Alice Eleanor JONES) in Vero Beach, Florida. He founded a church, built the building, and was pastor/leader, 100 yrs. ago. [Judy Bennett]

Joyce Thompson Smith Duncan passed away last year on our reunion Sunday, October 4th, in Atlanta. She loved our reunions and her family members dearly. Joyce was the daughter of Sam Thompson and granddaughter of George and Grace Thompson.

Ellie Jym Harden Gambill died on August 14th. She was the daughter of William Harden and Catherine Thompson, granddaughter of James Gordon Thompson and Nancy Webb. [granddaughter Heather LeClair]


On Saturday, October 1st, we will have Sharing Time at the Swainsboro Library, 331 West Main Street, at 1:30. Our theme will be: Telling the Old Stories. All who attend will receive a copy of the many interesting stories from the book Footprints of a Pioneer People by Kathryn Overman Scott. Titles include “Sheep Shearing Time,” “Rafting Timber,” “John Youngblood’s Store” and more. Do you have stories to add?? Please join in this informal discussion group, no expertise needed!

About 3:30 those who wish will go to the Emanuel County Longview Farm and Home Museum, north of town. This fascinating place has interesting old cabins, a one-room school, “new” commissary, and museum of memorabilia such as old yearbooks, coke bottles, old doctor’s office and even the rocket-shaped sign from Sam’s Drive-In. [Sam Woods was a Thompson cousin of ours thorough his grandmother Ann Smith Thompson Fields] Come for a short visit or longer stay! We can visit on Saturday any time from 3:30 until 5:00. DIRECTIONS: From downtown Swainsboro, go north on US 1, turn right on Ralph Lee Road, follow Fair Ground Road to Museum Road.

As Philip has related, we will have a special reunion speaker this year. He is historian Rick Joslyn of Sparta who will enlighten us with details of Sherman’s March and more. As a scientist and reenactor, he is interested in preserving various battle sites in the south. As a reminder, be sure to notice the painting of the walls and ceiling which our foundation helped to accomplish with a donation. Since next year will be our 60th reunion, we will be asking for your input about how to celebrate. Ten years ago we had a fish fry and Gospel sing on Saturday, extending the reunion an extra day. What about next year???


Last fall mention was made of the new sign on the cemetery fence honoring Eve-Annette Fields Culver who left the Foundation a generous bequest when she passed away in 2011. Her father was Smiley Brown Fields, grandmother was Ann Smith Thompson Fields, great-grandparents were Allen Thompson and Mary Katherine Kitchens Thompson, all buried at Ebenezer, as are Eve-Annette and her husband Guy Culver. In total there are sixteen Fields and Culver graves marked at Ebenezer. Have you seen the book Cemeteries of Emanuel County by Moses M. Coleman? It is helpful for locating cousins in our cemetery as well as elsewhere in the county. A copy will be available at the reunion for your use as well as other resource material. Contact me by phone, letter or email if you have questions or comments. I am always glad to hear from anyone who wants to discuss research, genealogy or family matters.

DNA research is one of the most promising tools in the genealogy toolbox. As you know, the surname Thompson is very common so it can be tricky to separate our ancestors from other Thompsons who were in our area of Georgia early on. This is why DNA testing is so helpful. Family Tree DNA, for example, arranges the results of Thompson men who have been tested into groups with similar Y-DNA. Participants can then compare their known family histories, if they wish. It would be helpful if others of our Thompson men would participate in the testing. Special prices are often available at the end of the year. A possible Christmas gift!

In these unsettled times, family roots and traditions are more important than ever. Come to the reunion to learn, to share, to give thanks for our forefathers and mothers, and perhaps most of all to feel VERY proud of our strong enduring family, both 200 years ago and today.

“A cemetery is a history of people – a perpetual record of yesterday and a sanctuary of peace and quiet today.

A cemetery exists because every life is worth loving and remembering – ALWAYS.”

[Final verses of a poem possibly written by Mary Lou Brannon called This is a Cemetery]

Newsletter editor & family historian:
Marilyn M. Lear
4106 Riverside Drive
Brunswick, GA 31520

Officers & Directors: Philip Stephens, President, Clarke Johnson, Treasurer, Lucille Braswell, Bo George, Marilyn Lear, Andy Thompson, Rev. Clarence Thompson, Robert Thompson, and Martha Walker

We are saving money on printing and mailing by sending over 200 newsletters by email. Thanks! IF YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS CHANGES, PLEASE SEND IN YOUR NEW EMAIL ADDRESS, We don’t want to lose contact with you.

Philip Stephens, President
Reubin Thompson Memorial Foundation, Inc.
1083 Woodland Drive
Soperton, GA 30457

Wm Clinton Fields family
Ninnie Lee, Mary Julia, and Ann Mildred Fields, front. Daughters of Wm. Clinton and Annie Thompson Fields. Taken circa 1912

Eve-Annette and Guy Culver
Eve-Annette Fields Culver and husband Guy, in front of old house they owned.

Wm Clinton and Ann Fields home
William Clinton and Ann Thompson Fields home at Kemp. They had ten children.

[Photos from Footprints of a Pioneer People]

You can view and download a copy of this September 2016 Thompson Family Reunion Newsletter from HERE