Thompson Family Reunion 2020 Canceled

August 2020

Dear Family and Friends,

Normally I would be writing a letter to invite you all to the Thompson and Allied Families’ annual Homecoming/Reunion.  But these aren’t normal times.

For the first time in 63 years our Big Day has been cancelled.  Something called Covid-19 got in the way, just as it has touched practically everything in our society.  This was probably the hardest decision ever made by our Board of Directors but it seems like there was no alternative.  Right now would you really want to be at a gathering of people from all around, especially if you’re a senior citizen as many of our attendees are?  Rest assured, we will continue with the Foundation’s work this year and look forward to a very happy re-gathering next year on the first Sunday in October.   We hope all of our family members are doing well and staying safe.

On a happier note, the winner of our Roots and Wings Scholarship for 2020 is Mikayla Burford from the state of Oregon.  She will be pursuing a career in nursing.  Please see more details about her and the scholarship in the newsletter.

I will miss seeing you all this year but please mark October 3rd, 2021, on your calendar for it will be a really BIG DAY indeed!!!

Yours truly,
Philip Stevens, President
Reubin Thompson Memorial Foundation
1083 Woodland Drive
Soperton, GA  30457                                               912-529-3624                                                  

Reubin Thompson Memorial Foundation, Inc. NEWSLETTER

Kemp, Georgia                                                                                        August 2020

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

Hello All,

As Philip said, these are unusual times…..uncertain and challenging.  Usually at this point we’re preparing for the annual reunion in Emanuel County, but that is not the case.  I hope and pray hope that we can all stay well, give thanks for what we have and try to maintain and maybe strengthen our bonds as a family.

Our reunion went very well last October: it was a fun day, a treat to renew old friendships and make some new ones.  Mary Ann Scott and Missy Elder [our Hall cousin] shared news of the Emanuel County Farm and Home Museum.  They displayed items from the collection and described several of the rustic buildings moved there, including an old outhouse with five “seats.”  Their lively talk made many of us want to visit this October, which is not possible.  Let’s reschedule for next year.

Mikayla Burford is our $1000 2020 Roots and Wings Scholarship winner.  She is a descendant of Rev. Henry Thompson through his son Daniel P.  Her message: “I was very excited to receive the Reubin Thompson $1000 college scholarship! I am proud to be part of the Thompson family’s rich history.  Starting in September 2020, I will be studying pre-Nursing and Kinesiology at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.  I aspire to become a nurse and travel to different cities around the United States helping people in areas where needed.”

Philip announced last fall that the 2019 scholarship winner was Julianne Akers of Statesboro. She completed a very successful first year at the Univ. of Georgia and is back in Athens.

To apply for the 2021 scholarship, please contact Susan Middleton at  or at Beachview Drive, Jekyll Island, GA 21522 for an application.  A reminder: application deadline is June 1st!  We wish the very best for this year’s applicants in their future studies.

Comments about the reunion from some of our cousins:

*Knowing our family’s story and walking on the ground where the Georgia story began are key parts of knowing who we are, because it is our story.  There is something precious about finding the home site of our dear great grand parents, sitting and singing in the church where so many of our kinsmen worshiped, and being with others who share the same Thompson heritage. Let’s keep the torch burning so that future family members will know and enrich the story.  Dr. Bruce Yandle, grandson of Gaston Allen Thompson.

* We have heard it said the Thompson Reunion is one of the best organized and well run reunions they know anything about.   No doubt it is just that, thanks to those who give their best efforts to keep it alive and ongoing.   James Meeks, des. of John Anthony Thompson

*I attend the Thompson Family Reunion because this is my heritage. My Thompson  and Youngblood family  lifelines began here generations ago. When I attend, I relive my family memories and keep these memories alive in my heart and mind. I share with other families their history here. I pray the younger generations will know the history of all the families associated with the Ebenezer Methodist Church at Kemp and keep it alive.  Rhetta Thompson Pittman, dau. of H. Reginald Thompson.

* I have been to the Thompson reunion only once, but enjoyed it tremendously.  I enjoyed the Sunday meeting in the church very much, and of course “dinner on the grounds” was wonderful, but both Martha and I, long-time genealogists, especially enjoyed the Saturday “Sharing Time” at the public library. It was long thought by the Ware County Thompsons that Rev. Henry Thompson’s son Henry Wesley died young and unmarried, but we knew better.  We finally proved it when Rev. Henry’s Bible records showed up at Homerville’s Huxford Library.  I suppose family connections are especially meaningful to me partly because I’m by far the youngest grandchild.  My grandmother Gertie Thompson Croom died when I was six.  [note Gertie, dau. of Henry Wesley Thompson moved with her husband to North Carolina]   A long day spent driving around Ware County with my mother finally enabled us to find her grandfather Thompson’s grave!   She had been along when my grandmother originally found the grave in 1934, but that’s another story.  William E. “Mickey” Elmore, des. of Rev. Henry Thompson, and a North Carolina resident.

Family News

We lost one of our longtime devoted Board members last winter.  Ferris “Bo” George passed away on January 11, 2020, in Maryland.  Survived by wife Joan and five children, he is buried at Ebenezer Cemetery.  Bo was descended from Mary Catherine Thompson and Jordan Flanders.

Our cousin Rev. Clarence Thompson has retired as Ebenezer Methodist Church minister.  He will be very much missed as he and wife Milly have done much to assist our foundation and the reunion’s work with the church. Clarence and Milly plan to remain active with both groups.  Rev. Kevin Palmore of Swainsboro is the new minister, who will be invited to our next reunion.

After completing her Doctorate in English/Literature at the Univ. of Southern Mississippi, Mary Stephens was wed to Todd Osborne of Nashville, Tennessee, on June 26, 2020, in Toombs County.  Todd also recently completed a PhD in English.  They are making their home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, teaching at the same school.  Mary is the daughter of Philip and Connie Stephens and .

Vicki Challancin is finally back home in San Miguel, Mexico, after 4 1/2 months in Marrakech, Morocco, due to the corona virus!  Fortunately the group of several adults were in a riad or home with central courtyard and pool and close to markets where they could go for groceries or a walk.    Vicki, who gives guided tours of Morocco, is the granddaughter of George A. and Grace Thompson.


Featured family: Rev. John Anthony Thompson and wife Mary Henderson.  Residents of Ware County, they had 7 children and 40 or more grandchildren.  John was a preacher, carpenter, and a 4th Sergeant in the Confederate Army.  Granddaughter Addie Rozier wrote that John was 6′ 4″ tall and well-educated for his day.  She said his hair turned white at 25, he had an Irish complexion, pale blue eyes and beautiful white teeth.  John was a son of Rev. Henry and grandson of Reubin.

 In closing, I hope you will consider sharing some of our Thompson history and traditions with your family.  Start by forwarding this newsletter and then pass on some stories and share old photos if you gather for Labor Day.  Contact me if you need more information about your “branch” of the tree. I am using some of my time to complete our family history, following Reubin and Rachel Thompson, their eight children and the next five generations.  My prayer is that we can all stay well, look out for each other and perhaps connect to our past.  It’s sad that we won’t be together this October, but let’s plan for a terrific reunion next year.  We will see you on October 3rd of 2021!!!

Newsletter editor & family historian:
Marilyn M. Lear                                           
4106 Riverside Drive                                                          912-265-5916
Brunswick, GA  31520

Officers & Directors: Philip Stephens, President, Clarke Johnson, Treasurer, Bill T. Akers,  Lucille

Braswell, Marilyn Lear, Andy Thompson, Rev. Clarence Thompson, Robert Thompson, and Martha Walker

John Anthony Thompson & wife Mary Henderson
1835 – 1915                                                       1840 – 1899

John was one of the eleven children of Rev. Henry Thompson and Mary Catherine Webb, so Reubin was his grandfather. He was born in Emanuel County but Henry moved his family to Ware County before 1850. John was named a 4th Sergeant on October 1, 1861, Company K, Confederate States of America, Clinch and Ware Counties. (South Georgia Rebels by Alton Murray)

John was a Methodist preacher and carpenter. A granddaughter heard him preach a few times and recalled his kind, patient ways. In 1860 they lived in Waresboro, Ware County, and later moved to Bickley, Georgia, not far away. Wife Mary was short, plump and always in a hurry. She died as a result a fish bone which hung in her throat and caused an infection. (Footprints…page 63) In 1901 John married second to a widow in Coffee County. Burial: Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery, Bickley (John and Mary) and Meeks Cemetery, Coffee County, (second wife Rebecca).

John and Mary’s seven children were: William McDonald, Charlotte Frances, Mary Lucretia, Susan Tabitha, Charles Asa, Rena G., and Minnie Henderson.