Thompson Family Reunion Newsletter – August 2023

Reubin Thompson Memorial Foundation, Inc. NEWSLETTER

Kemp, Georgia                        August 2023                      

Including Beasley, Coleman, Flanders, Hall, Hooks, Kea/Key, Kirkland, Kitchen/s, Lumley, Moore, Riner, Rowell, Scott, Sumner, Thigpen, Thompson, Webb, Youngblood and more

Reunion News

We will soon be back in our old family house of worship, fellowship and song.  As Philip said, this year’s reunion is on Sunday, October 1st.  A fun and special program of music is being planned.  As you may recall, musical talent is a trait which often appears in our family members.  This includes both singers, such as our president Philip who used to sing in The Lordsmen quartet and musicians like the late Garland Thompson of Swainsboro who once played his electric guitar at our reunion.  Other traits commonly found in our family include careers as school teachers, ministers and missionaries, government employees, as well as talent with horses and other animals.

On the night before we gather on Kemp Road, a new event is planned.  Organized by our cousin Bill T. Akers, area family members and those who arrive early are invited to a song-fest and meal on Saturday, September 30th, at the Oak Park Community Center.  Details:   3:00 welcome, 4:00 singing, (bring your instruments), 5:30 dinner, location 110 SW Railroad Avenue, Oak Park.  You do not need to bring anything and there is no charge.  Please let Bill T. know if you plan to attend at either 912-536-2207 or

Ebenezer Church News

Reubin Thompson Memorial Foundation, Inc. now owns it ALL!  Ebenezer United Methodist Church is now Ebenezer Green Leaf Church, Inc. after members voted to separate from the United Methodist Church this spring.  And as part of that transaction, we were able to gain ownership of the church property and both cemetery plots. We already own the picnic shelter acreage.  By the terms of the deed from Ebenezer Green Leaf Church, Inc. to Reubin Thompson Memorial Foundation, Inc. Ebenezer Green Leaf Church will be able to continue meeting for the purpose of Christian religious services and be responsible for the maintenance of the cemetery property.  Nothing will change regarding the maintenance of the church or cemetery.  [from Susan Middleton]

Roots and Wings Scholarship

As there were no scholarship entries in 2022, no winner was announced last fall.  We will be giving the award this year.  Please contact Susan Middleton for an entry form at or at 1175 N. Beachview Drive, Jekyll Island, GA 31527.  Remember: the entry deadline is June 1.

News of some of our past scholarship winners:  Zachary Parrish from Oak Ridge, North Carolina, earned a master’s degree from the Univ. of North Carolina Greenville in May and has a job in Raleigh with NCSA, a sports recruiting network.  Julianne Akers from Statesboro just graduated from the Univ. of Georgia and is a multimedia journalist and twin sister Lauren Akers just graduated from Georgia Southern Univ. and will be teaching kindergarten.  Siblings Athen and Presley Smith from Metter, Georgia, recently graduated from Univ. of Georgia and College of Coastal Georgia, respectively.  Athen is working for Chick-fil-A, now moving into management.  Presley has been accepted at Mercer Law School.  Mikayla Burford is graduating this month from Oregon State University, finishing her business degree in three years!  We are very proud of all these young people!!

Featured Family

John Nelson Thompson, 1826-1912

He was the oldest of the 13 children of Rev. Robert Thompson and Mildred Amelia Beasley.  [This means Reubin Thompson was his grandfather!]  He served 2 years in Company G, 20th Georgia Regiment, C.S.A.  Four of his brothers fought also, with Asa the only one who did not survive.  John’s Confederate Pension Application says he was captured at Chaffins Farm, near Laurel Hill in Virginia, in September of 1864 and sent to Point Lookout Prison in Maryland.    After he came home from the war, John was one of the founders of Ebenezer Church.  A tribute to his good character is that he was never involved in a court case in his life.

Amelia Arena “Rena” Key, 1830-1914

She and John married in 1848 and had 13 children, 67 or more grandchildren and 48 great-grandchildren.  This couple remained in Emanuel County where they farmed for the rest of their lives.  Rena’s father was Rev. William Warren Key, born in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, but moved his family to Emanuel County around 1820.  He is well-known as the founder of Key’s Methodist Church near Key’s Mill Pond west of Kemp.  One Ancestry source says Rena was killed in a run-away horse accident.  They were half 1st cousins, once removed, both Beasleys.  Both are buried at Ebenezer Church Cemetery.                        [sources: federal census, Ancestry, Footprints of a Pioneer Family, editor’s notes]

  Family News

Vicki Susan Challancin, age 73, died about August 10, 2023, in Marrakech, Morocco.  With degrees from Florida State Univ. and Georgia State Univ., she taught school in both Abu Dabi and Bahrain.  Most of her adult life she lived in San Miguel, Mexico, where she taught cooking and led travel groups to Morocco.  Vicki bought a home in Marrakech two years ago.  She was the granddaughter of George A. and Grace Christian Thompson.  A widow, she is survived by one son.

Clarence Ashley Thompson, 90, passed away on Aug 2, 2023.  The son of Iris and Edgar A. Thompson, he entered the U.S. Army at 16, served for 20 years and became a lawyer after that.  When he and Mildred later returned to hometown Swainsboro, he became minister at his childhood church, Ebenezer Methodist.  For many years he served on the Board of Directors for the Thompson Foundation.  Survived by his wife, four children and four grandchildren, he will be much missed.  Clarence was a descendant of Robert Nelson Thompson.  Read more at

Make plans now to be in attendance at our reunion, on both days if possible.  You will hear about our Facebook Page, thanks to the efforts of Mike Barwick and Susan Thompson.  Improvements to the church and picnic area will be evident.  We value your ideas and participation.  Please see the list of board members below.  Most importantly, come to connect with old and new friends!

 Marilyn M. Lear, family historian                                      cell:  912-217-0984
4106 Riverside Dr., 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