Thompson Family Reunion 2022

Dear Family and Friends,

This reunion marks 65 years that we have been meeting at Kemp to celebrate our family heritage.  It’s also a time to renew old acquaintances and make new ones.  The last couple of years have been different because of Covid.  In 2020 we did not meet at all.  Then last year we had an abbreviated reunion outside.  Because Covid is still around, we will follow the model of last year.

Sunday, October 2nd is still our Big Day at Ebenezer Methodist Church on Kemp Road west of Swainsboro.   There will be no singing, no speaker, no indoor activities.  The church will be open for bathroom use.  At 11:30 we will gather at the outside shelter for a few remarks and a reading of the names of those who have passed away in the last year.  After a prayer, we will proceed with our dinner.  Caution will be taken, such as providing plastic gloves for serving food and sanitizer available.  If you feel apprehensive, I will understand your choice not to attend, but we want to provide an opportunity for those who wish to come.  The plan is that perhaps we can meet inside the church next year.

Brothers Elmer and Bill Thompson will be serving their delicious barbecue.  Please take time to thank them for their hard work and find a donation jar to help cover the cost of the meat.  Please bring several side dishes to add to the barbecue.  Once again there will be a special dessert table.  Plates, cups, utensils, napkins, tea, table covering, ice, plastic gloves and sanitizer will be provided.  Some folks enjoy bringing tables and chairs so they can linger in comfort.

If you lost loved ones 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 reading.  Please send this information right away as it is very difficult to put together on the morning of the reunion.

Please consider mailing a donation or giving it to our treasurer, Clarke Johnson, at the reunion.  As you know, our Foundation supports many important projects such as church insurance, mowing, fence and tombstone maintenance and more.  Remember that gifts to the Reubin Thompson Memorial Foundation are tax-deductible.

Yours truly,

Philip Stephens, President                                                                              home: 912-529-3624

Reubin Thompson Memorial Foundation                                                       cell:   478-290-0903

1083 Woodland Drive

Soperton, GA  30457                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reubin Thompson Memorial Foundation, Inc. NEWSLETTER

Kemp, Georgia                                                                                      September 2022        

Including Beasley, Coleman, Flanders, Hall, Hooks, Kea, Kirkland, Kitchens, Lumley, Moore, Riner, Rowell, Scott Sumner, Thigpen, Webb, Youngblood and more

 Reunion News

Sixty-five years of our families getting together for fellowship, food, fun and a nod to faith is amazing.  We should be proud of our persistence in keeping our family gathering going for so long.  Having an historic church building with its expansive cemetery play a large part in our continued success.  Later in the newsletter you will find a listing of some facts about the Ebenezer Methodist Church Cemetery.

First, a recap of last year’s reunion:  As President Philip said, we had the event completely outside, under the picnic shelter with a shortened agenda.   Two highlights were the announcement of Lauren Akers as the 2021 $1000 Roots & Wings Scholarship winner and a heartfelt tribute to Robert Thompson of Swainsboro.  He has retired from many years as our barbecue master chef!  We congratulate them both.

Lauren wrote us: “I had an amazing year! I am at Georgia Southern University studying Elementary Education and have been loving all my classes.  Last year the scholarship helped me so much by paying for all the tuition and fees for a semester so I could focus on schoolwork.  I want to thank the Thompson Family Reunion Scholarship committee because you helped make all my academic accomplishments possible.”

Unfortunately, we had no entries for the Roots & Wings Scholarship this year.  As a reminder, to apply for this scholarship contact chairperson Susan Middleton at or at 1175 N. Beachview Dr., Jekyll Island, GA 31527 for an application.  Remember that the application deadline is June 1st!

This year’s reunion on Sunday, October 2nd, will follow the same format as last year and be held out of doors.  There is plenty of room under the shade of the roofed picnic shelter for us to spread out in comfort.  Meet the current board of directors and give them your ideas and thoughts about our family reunion.  Board members are listed at the end of this newsletter.   Please consider getting involved in the leadership of our foundation.

Featured Families

Charles Denton “Charlie” Thompson, Sr. and wife Maude Clay Douglas are shown in an old photo with four of their nine children.  The daughter who is front and center is Ruby Grace born 1914 in Johnson County.  She was responsible for starting our family reunion!  As you may have heard, Ruby loved family history and wanted to have a gathering of Thompson and closely allied families at Ebenezer Church.  As she didn’t live in Emanuel County, she enlisted George A. Thompson (my grandfather) and Reginald Thompson of the area to help with planning.  Ruby was an English teacher and married to Methodist minister Larry King.  He served various churches in south Georgia.  Charlie, Maude, Larry and Ruby are all buried at Douglas City Cemetery in Coffee County, Georgia.

John Wesley Thompson is well known in the family as the father of 21 children with his two wives.  He married Nancy Elizabeth Flanders in 1876 and had eleven children with her.  Nancy died in 1897 after being struck by lightning!  He asked her 2nd cousin Winnie Catherine Flanders (called Catherine) to help with the children.  They married a year later and had ten children.   Of these 21 offspring, 15 lived to maturity.  John was Tax Collector for Emanuel County from 1902 to 1906 and also a Mason.  His grandson Jesse Thompson of Fort Myers said he taught school at Kemp for 40 years.  The small wooden schoolhouse was on Kemp Road just north of Ebenezer Church.  John and Catherine moved to Fort Myers shortly before his death in 1929.  John and both wives are buried at Ebenezer Methodist Church Cemetery.

Family News

Our treasurer Clarke Johnson is talented.  He has a new novel just published entitled Terror in Tombs.  It is a sequel to his earlier novel Bloody Toombs.   You can order his books from Amazon.

Gloria Moore Kahrs passed away on December 29, 2019 in Alabama.­­­­   She provided a great deal of family information and wrote wonderful descriptions of some of her close relatives.  This serves as a reminder to write down special memories and anecdotes about kinfolk, for example your grandparents.  Gloria was a great-granddaughter of William Warren “Guinea Bill” Thompson.

Ebenezer Cemetery Facts

*Wesley Paul Thompson, 1849-1925, gave about four acres for the church and cemetery site in 1875.  Others who helped were John Choice Hall and Gaston Allen Kitchens (put up land), John Nelson Thompson who gave a horse, Spenser Youngblood who gave $100 in gold and Allen Thompson.

*The first burial was infant daughter of Allen James “Jamie” Thompson and wife Eliza Jane Riner.   She was born and died in February of 1877.  Their only other child, Louvenia Bell, was born in 1882 and lived until 1977!

*There are over 600 burials at this cemetery.  If you are a Reubin Thompson descendant you are very likely kin to over 225 of them.

*While the Ebenezer Methodist Church trustees have oversight of the cemetery, primary funds for its upkeep are donated by our Foundation and have come from kinfolks.  We pay for mowing, repair to family tombstones when possible, fence maintenance and more.  The foundation recently paid for a fence around the new cemetery extension which adjoins the present cemetery to the west.

*Our forefather Reubin is NOT buried at this cemetery, but is a short distance away, at the Thompson Family Cemetery north of Ebenezer.  He died in 1855 and was buried on his farm.

*Several sources list Ebenezer’s marked burials.  They include Find a Grave (online for free) and books Gone, But Not Forgotten by Dorsey & Durden and Cemeteries of Emanuel County by Moses Coleman.

Email addresses needed!

Please help us save trees and money.  Stamps are getting more expensive and printing costs are also.  Your email address will never be released and you will only receive a couple of emails a year.  Every summer a number of emailed newsletters bounce back so the family receives a printed copy, if we have an address for them.  We do not want to lose contact with you so please provide a street address. This year about 380 paper copies will be mailed!   Thankfully, about 230 of you have provided email addresses. 

 Take care and stay well,

Marilyn M. Lear, family historian                    912-265-5916

4106 Riverside Sr., Brunswick, GA 31520

Officers & Directors: Philip Stephens, President, Clarke Johnson, Treasurer, Bill T. Akers, Mike Barwick, Lucille Braswell, Marilyn Lear, Susan Middleton, Andy Thompson, and Martha Walker.