"Aunt May's Narrative"
Submitted by Bob Steinbach, written for him by his great-aunt, Martha May McDowell.  Note:  Auntie May's penmanship was notoriously poor.  In this transcription from the original, question marks (?)  indicate places were the writing was hard to read.  Names are highlighted.  

Aunt May’s Narrative

 John and Adam Thompson left Scotland for County Antrim Ireland and learned the weavers trade, but decided on going to America. They landed in Philadelphia in 1799 and on learning the revolutionary war soldiers were disposing of land given them for pay for service came west to Mercer County and purchased 400 acres of land.  Later, Adam took over some land in Salem Twp. and moved to that location.

John settled on the 400 acres in Sandy Creek Twp. and married Martha Furley (?) who was a dark eyed young woman of 16 years.  They had 16 children.  Fifteen grew to adult life.  Third son David died in childhood and a younger son was named David and lived on the old homestead at the time of his father's death.

I do not know the life story of the older children, but Robert Thompson was given a farm in Deer Creek Twp. adjoining Sandy Creek Twp. when he married Jane Montgomery.  Moses was given a tract of timber and had a sawmill and later the village hotel.  David remained on the old homestead.

Maria married a cabinetmaker and lived in Greenville.  Cynthia married a Mr. Hill and also lived in Greenville.  Jane, the youngest daughter married Archibald Montgomery, a brother and Moses married Sara Montgomery a sister of Jane and Archibald.  These children lived in Mercer County during their lifetime and a goodly number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren are still there.

The Montgomery family also were of Scotch Irish origin and came to Juniata County, Pennsylvania and after the death of my great grandfather the four elder sons came to New Vernon Twp. in Mercer County and built a cabin.  The mother and three younger children came.  They had very little resources but the mother was a weaver and felt she would get work which was the case.

One of the sons, James, fought in the war of 1812 and was a captain. Charles became a miller and earned much of the food for the family grinding grain for others.  He also learned the blacksmith trade and did much toward support of his mother and sister.  Charles married a girl who was an only child named Betsy Custard.  I believe of Dutch decent.  They had 12 children.  The four eldest came west at time of gold rush.  Two went northern route and two the southern route and were lost in Death Valley.  Others in the northern group who returned said they reached California but did not find gold.  They did not communicate with the family.

Jane Montgomery and Robert Thompson were married in 1838.  Moses and Sara a short time after that and still later Archibald Montgomery lost his first wife and married Robert Thompson's youngest sister Cynthia.  All lived in western Pennsylvania and greater number in Mercer County.

Robert and Jane Thompson had 12 children but lost the first six in infancy and childhood including their three sons.  Later had six daughters Emmaline, Mary Ann, Martha, Sara (my mother), Maria who died at twenty of diphtheria and Rhoda.

Emmaline had 4 daughters but only one grandchild.  She has two great-grandchildren living in Florida.

Mary Ann had two sons, both of which are dead.  Edwin had two sons and five grandchildren.  Robert had two daughters and two grandsons and one granddaughter.

Martha remained unmarried.

Sara, my mother, had your grandfather and me.

Rhoda had four daughters, one died at 8 years of age and there are seven grandchildren.  Gertrude and Myrtlee (?) are still living.

Grandfather James McDowell was born in Kentucky but lived his adult life in West Virginia.  I do not know grandmother’s maiden name but she was a large woman six feet tall and stout.  She died in her sleep at 54.  It may have been heart or cerebral hemorrhage.  There were three sons and 4 daughters: William, Thomas, and Edwin; Sara, Bella, Annie and Bertha.  I never knew any of father’s people.  He came west in 1885 and just disappeared.  We never heard after 1888. He had a violent temper and may have met with tragic end.

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