Rev. John Thomson

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John Thomson

Also Known As: "Thompson"
Birthplace: County Down, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Statesville, Iredell County, North Carolina, United States
Place of Burial: Iredell County, North Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of William Thomson and Elizabeth Thomson
Husband of Margaret Ireland Osborne; Margaret Thomson and Mary Crockett
Father of Mary Baker; Hannah Lawson; Esther Sayers; Samuel Osborne Thompson; John Thompson and 9 others

Occupation: Presbyterian Minister (Old Side), Reverand, Reverend, presbyterian minister
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Rev. John Thomson

The Reverend Mr. JOHN THOMSON was born about 1688 in Ulster, County Down, Northern Ireland and died in 1753 in Rowan County, North Carolina. He was married 1) about 1711 in Ulster, County Down, Northern Ireland to MARGARET OSBORNE born about 1694 probably in Ulster, County Down, Northern Ireland who died before 27 August 1734 in Williamsburg, James County, Virgina. John was married 2) by March 1735 to Mrs. MARY REID nee McKEAN of Octorara, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


Rev. Thomson was a Presbyterian minister.

ev. John Thomson, born by the River Foyle, County Down, Northern Ireland, entered Glasgow University, Scotland on March 1, 1706. He was licensed as a minister by the Armagh Presbytery on June 23, 1713, and then sent back to Ireland. Two years later he sailed to America, Port of New York, as a probationer with his wife (the former Margaret Osborne?) and two children. By 1717, he was the ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in Lewes-Town, Delaware, where he remained until 1729. In 1728, he authored an overture, which the Synod of Philadelphia adopted, making the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms the "Confession of Faith of this Church." He was a Middle Octorara, Pennsylvania from 1729, where he was harrassed by dissentions among his people, and he removed, in 1732, to the Chestnut Level Church congregation in Drumore Twp., Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. While there, he was an itinerant preacher at other meeting houses, including Middle Actarara, Upper Actarara, Fishing Creek, and Red Lyon and others in Maryland. His first wife died around 1733/34 and buried in Lancaster Co., PA. Around 1738, he visited Virginia and was on a committee to wait on the governor. During the winter of 1738, he "travelled up the Shenandoah, crossed the Ridge at Rock Fish Gap into Piedmont Virginia and crossed the James to the tobacco fields of the Southside."

In September, 1740, His friend, Benjamin Franklin printed his religious tracts - "Essay Upon Faith of Assurance" and "Poor Orphan's Legacy."

While in Virginia, he preached at Tinklin Springs, Opequon and Stone Church. His home was in the neighborhood of Beverly Manor, Augusta Co. Rev. Thomson was the first pastor of Buffalo Church, Prince Edward County. By 1745, he had purchased 386 acres in Buffalo. His famous treatise "An Explication of the Shorter Catechism" was published in Williamsburg, Virginia. Thomson established a successful school for the young men of "the back parts of Virginia," and Hampden-Sydney College sprang from this school.

Rev. Thomson moved to North Carolina in 1751 where he married Mary McKean "a Highlander of dark complexion." He purchased a large tract of land just west of Statesville, Iredell County. He went on a 350-mile circuit by horseback and established "stands" for four more Presbyterian congregations.

He died at the farm of his daughter Hannah and son-in-law Roger Lawson in Mecklenburg County. He spent his last years living in a small cabin separate from the main house. He was buried beneath the floor of this cabin which stood near Beatty's Ford Road, just a mile north of the Iredell/Mecklenburg County line. After the cabin was taken and other Lawson and Baker family graves were added, this became a family cemetery. Years later the area was flooded under to create Lake Norman. The remaining portion of the road was renamed Langtry Road. Prior to the flooding, the Lawson/Baker Cemetery, with Rev. Thomson's grave was relocated three miles away to Centre Church.

Children of Rev. Thomson and his first wife: Esther Crockett Sayers, Mary Baker, John, Abraham, Sarah Sankey, daughter Graham, Roger, daughter Finley, Jane Baker Watson, Ann Cunningham, Margaret, and Elizabeth Baker Harris. Child of Rev. Thomson and Mary McKean: Hannah Lawson.

"For nearly forty years, Rev. Thomson was one of the leaders in the Presbyterian Church in America, and was very busy with tongue and pen in building up his church. He was always noted for profound thought and adequacy of expression. He had some very bitter opponents in the church, as all men of strong convictions do have, but by his masterly way of handling every subject, he discussed, and also by his even temper and Christian spirit, he usually carried his point and finally won the admiration of those who opposed him." [From "the Crockett Family," by Mrs. J. Stewart French and Miss Zella Armstrong, 1928.]

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Rev. John Thomson's Timeline

County Down, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Age 20
County Down, Ulster, Ireland
Age 24
Age 25
Sussex County, Lower Counties on the Delaware
Age 26
Age 28
Age 30
Sussex County, Delaware, Colonial America
Age 32
Age 33
Amelia County, Virginia, Colonial America