William George (Bill) Long, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was born on May 9, 1865, in Parker’s Landing, Pennsylvania. Information on his ancestors, siblings and son can be found in the links at the bottom of this page. This account includes the following sections:
The Young Bill Long
Bill Long’s father, Samuel W. Long, had died during the Civil war, in January 1865, four months before Bill was born. After Sam died, Bill’s mother, Sarah Agnes (Abbie) Parker Long, had traveled back to Pennsylvania from Ohio with her other child, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Long, and she was living in Parker’s Landing with her parents when Bill was born.
With children to support, Abbie wanted to secure a pension based on Sam’s Civil War service. To support that claim, Sarah’s mother, Elizabeth Vanderford Parker, wife of James Wilson (Curley Jim) Parker, appeared before a justice of the peace in Butler County on March 18, 1867. Witnesses for her affidavit were her son George W. Parker and her son-in-law William J. McKee. She said this:
I declare on oath that my age is 49 years and I was present and witnessed the birth of William George Long, who was born by Sarah Agnes Long, with whom I am personally acquainted [Sarah was her daughter] and I was also acquainted with her husband, Samuel W. Long, in his lifetime, and that the afore-mentioned William George Long is the child of the said Sarah Agnes Long and Samuel W. Long and that he was born on the day and date hereinafter written, to wit, William George Long, born on the 10 day of May 1865, and that the father of the aforesaid child was a soldier in the service of the United States, a member of Co. “E” 177 Regt. Of Ohio Inf. Vols, and died in the said service at Nashville Tenn, and also that there was a physician present at the birth of the above-mentioned child.
Bill Long grew up in the area near Parker’s Landing, surrounded by oil derricks. Like his forefathers and many descendants, Bill Long was involved in the oil business. While working in the oil fields in Pennsylvania as a young man, he fell off an oil derrick and broke both his legs. Family members said he always walked with a limp after that.
About 1888, Bill married Mattie Thompson, who had been born on November 17, 1864. Mattie told census takers she had been born in Pennsylvania. Thompson family photographs show that many were taken at Parker's Landing and at Butler, not far away. Since Bill Long and the Parker family lived in Parker's Landing, that is likely where he and Mattie met. Mattie and the Thompsons were a much photographed family. Some illustrations are included here.
Bill and Mattie had a common family misfortune. Mattie’s father, Wesley F. Thompson, like Bill’s father, Samuel W. Long, had also died as a result of his service in the Civil War. More on the Thompson family is below.
Bill and Mattie Long, who were six months apart in age, had one son, Clarence Ray Long, in 1889. Sometime between the birth of Clarence in 1889 and the census of 1900, the family moved to Harrison County, West Virginia. The census of 1900 showed them in the “Ten Mile District,” near Clarksburg, living as boarders with the widow Sarah Boggess and her children. William, 35, was described as a driller of oil wells. Mattie was also 35, and Clarence was 10. Bill and Mattie had been married 12 years.
By the time of the 1910 census, the family had moved to St. Albans, a town in Kanawha County, near Charleston, a considerable distance southwest of the Clarksburg area. There, Bill, 45, was listed as a retail merchant in the hardware business, probably related to the oil business. Mattie was 45, and Clarence, 20, was living with them. Bill, however, clearly traveled in his business. In 1907, for example, he was in Terre Haute, Indiana, from which he wrote a note to his niece, Clara Else, daughter of Mattie’s sister Jessie Thompson Else. (Photographs in the possession of Rachel Long Misey, daughter of Clarence Long, included multiple pictures of Mattie Thompson Long, the Else family, and other relatives.)
Tulsa and Dove Parker
Sometime around 1913, Bill and Mattie moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. The discovery of oil in Oklahoma about that time opened up many job opportunities that didn’t exist in the east, especially since the Pennsylvania oil boom was proving to be a bust.
Bill joined a cousin, Dwight (“Dove”) Parker (1887-1970), in a firm called the Robinson Packer Company, a manufacturer of tools for the oil industry. (He sold his interest in 1925.) Dwight was the son of James Wilson Parker, who was a brother of Bill’s mother, Abbie Parker. Dwight had been born in 1887 and was 22 years younger than Bill. He had moved to Coffeyville, Kansas, about 75 miles north of Tulsa, also about 1913.
Clara Else, a niece of Mattie Long, wrote in 1978 that she recalled very well visiting her relatives in Tulsa about 1915. “I have such happy memories,” she wrote to Rachel Long Misey, a second cousin, “of your grandmother, my aunt Mattie; your grandfather, my uncle Bill; and your Dad, Clarence. I can remember that visit as if it was yesterday. Tulsa, so proud of its three-story hotel, one paved street, and wooden sidewalk!”
Bill Long was easily noticed in this Tulsa. He apparently was a very large and rather noisy man. Wendell P. Long (1894-1982), a son of Samuel Parker Long and a nephew of both Bill Long and Dwight Parker, decided in 1977 that he needed to record his memories of both men. Bill Long, he said, “was the only complete extrovert” in the family “and certainly the most colorful.” Some excerpts from his text:
Nevertheless, Bill Long apparently stayed very active in the oil business, buying and selling properties. Land and mineral rights that he owned were passed down to Clarence and then to Clarence’s four children, and then to their children, and in 2007, the Long cousins were still getting communications (although no money!) from oil companies in regard to their interests.
Bill’s son, Clarence, got married in Tulsa on December 26, 1914, and spent the night at Bill’s house. Clarence was 25, and his wife, the former Odie Deeta McLaughlin, was 26. Clarence apparently had moved to Oklahoma because his parents had gone there, and he was working for a newspaper in Sapulpa.
The Death of Mattie Thompson Long
Odie went through numerous illnesses after she moved to Oklahoma to join Clarence. The heat was unpleasant for her. Clarence’s mother, Mattie, was also not well. She had never been strong after the premature birth of Clarence. In June 1915, Clarence wrote to Odie’s friend Mary Jane Vallance that “if Odie was to be sick for any length of time, I certainly would be tempted to tell you to come down now, for mother [Mattie], good as she is, is no nurse. Like me she takes things as a matter of course and is entirely too reasonable to be around a sick bed.”
Mattie’s health worsened and she died at Clarence’s house in Sapulpa on Christmas Day, December 25, 1915, at the age of 51, just one year after Clarence and Odie were married. Clarence was only 26. Mattie was buried in Butler, Pennsylvania. A long item about Mattie -- but not giving her first name, in the newspaper style of the times -- was printed in the Okmulgee Daily Democrat, in a town a short distance south of Tulsa:
Bill’s Second Wife
Before 1920, Bill was remarried, to Maude E. Jensen Heileman Little, who had been born on January 18, 1881, 15 years after Bill was born. Bill was her third husband.
Maude had a fascinating history. She was born in Geneva, Nebraska, the daughter of John Jensen (1843-1911) and Eva T. Hooker. Information on John Jensen has been provided by one of his descendants, Bill Walderman of Springfield, Virginia, whose grandfather, Christopher Derbyshire Jensen, produced an extensive family genealogy. The research showed that John Jensen had been born in the neighborhood of Husum, a town on the North Sea in southern Schleswig. The Jensen family background was Danish. The family name was Jensen, and Jens was the given name of John in Denmark (he was "Jens Jensen"). The Husum area was incorporated into Prussia in 1864, at the end of the Danish-Prussian War. In the area of southern Schleswig, there was a mix of people who spoke Danish, Low German and Frisian. The northern part of Schleswig-Holstein was returned to Denmark after World War I, but the area where Husum is located remained a part of Germany.
John Jensen apparently moved to the United States about the time of the Civil War. He enlisted on July 25, 1864, as a second lieutenant with the Union troops at Camp Nelson, Kentucky. A military-related website said he was commissioned in Company D, 12th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA) Regiment, which joined white and colored troops. John Jensen reportedly served, in part, in a Wisconsin regiment that was part of the contingent guarding Washington, D.C. John's military record and tombstone used the title Lieutenant, but he apparently was known as Major. He later settled in Geneva, Nebraska, where he met Eva T. Hooker (her full name was Evaline Theresa Hooker). Eva had been born on October 16, 1845, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Her grandmother, Ann Derbyshire Hooker (c. 1773-1826), had been born in England about 1773. Ann married John Hooker (1769-1829) in Utica, New York, in 1802, according to a study on Rootsweb. One of their children, Phillip John Hooker (1811-1885), married Mary Ann Derbyshire (1814-1906), and Eva was one of their three children, all born in Geneva, Nebraska. Genealogists were able to trace Eva's ancestors to participation in the Revolutionary War, and Eva was accepted as a member of the DAR. John and Eva Jensen later moved to Perry, Oklahoma, where he served as a U.S. Indian agent.
John Jensen founded a small bank in Perry, which failed in 1929. The bank building was on the National Register of Historic Places and known as the Foucart Building. A real estate firm advertising it for sale in 2010 described it this way:
The 1900 census showed the Jensen family living on the Ponca Indian Reservation in Perry. The census report said that John had been born in Denmark and was employed as the U.S. Indian Agent. The census showed that the family consisted of John, 56, Eva, 54, daughters Jessie, 22 (a school teacher), and Maude, 19, a son, Phillip Jensen, 16, and a servant, John Young, 24. The oldest child, Christopher Derbyshire Jensen, was apparently not present when the census was taken. Christopher had eight or nine children and was the grandfather of Bill Walderman, who has supplied much of this information on the Jensens.
John Jensen died on December 31, 1911, in Perry. Eva died on June 12, 1922, at the home of her daughter, Maude Jensen Long, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. John and Eva Jensen were buried at Grace Hill Cemetery in Perry.
The 1900 census showed that, at the age of 19, a year after her first marriage, Maude Jensen was already a widow. She told the census-taker she had been married at the age of 18 (about 1889) to a man named Heileman. No other information about him or his death could be found.
On April 20, 1902, when she was 21, Maude married for the second time. Her new husband was William Thomas Little, age 41. Will had been born on June 14, 1862, in Newark, Licking County, Ohio. The 1870 census showed his family in Olathe, Kansas, when Will was 8. In the census of 1880, the family was in Abilene, Kansas. Will was educated at Kansas University and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. When he was 26, he participated in the land rush of 1889 at the opening of the Oklahoma Indian Territory, and on April 26, four days after the land rush was opened, he published the Guthrie Getup, reported to be the first newspaper in the Oklahoma territories. It did not last long. In 1896, Will established at his own expense "the beautiful park at Perry, Oklahoma, and won recognition among the leading forestry societies of the United States," according to one of his descendants. One historian said he served in 1895 as the newly elected representative of the territorial legislature. He was the first compiler of the statutes of the Oklahoma Territory, and he founded the Historical Society of Oklahoma. Much of the information here is courtesy of the Lougy Family Tree. Additional information is available on the Conover family website. Other interesting family details were posted by Robert E. Sweeney and others based upon the 1951 study, The Little Family of Monmouth County, New Jersey, by Donald C. Little. (Each account is somewhat different.)
Not long after their marriage, Will and Maude had two children.
-- Sarah Maude "Sallye" Little was born on March 15, 1903. She worked for a time as a newspaper reporter. She married Joseph A. Brandt, a Rhodes scholar who at one time was head of Princeton University Press and later president of the University of Oklahoma. A descendant understands that he lost the university job after suggesting that football be de-emphasized, which was heresy at the time. He was featured in a Time magazine article on December 2, 1940. Joe was also head of the University of Chicago Press and later taught journalism at UCLA. Sallye died in Florida on January 15, 1987.
-- Edward Thomas Little was born on June 6, 1907, in Perry. He married Frances Presker. Their tombstone in Holdenville Cemetery, Hughes County, Oklahoma, shows that Edward died on March 30, 1968. The census showed both children were born in Oklahoma.
Will Little died on July 5, 1908, in an insane asylum in Norman, Oklahoma, the victim of an organic brain disorder, according to descendants. He was only 46. Maude was 27. He was buried in Perry, Noble County. Maude died 54 years later and was buried with Will Little. The 1910 census showed that Maude was living in Perry with her children, Sarah, 7, and Edward, 2, and a servant from Denmark, Lerina Dason, 32.
Sometime before the 1920 census, Maude married Bill Long. Bill's first wife, Mattie Thompson Long, had died in 1915. The date of his marriage to Maude is not known. The census of 1920 showed that, living in a house at 1426 Cincinnati Avenue, Tulsa, were William G. Long, 54, Maude E. Long, 39, Sarah M. Little, 16, daughter of Maude, Edward T. Little, 12, her son, and Eva T. Jensen, 74, Maude’s mother. Bill was listed as a dealer in oil supplies. In the 1930 census, Maude, age 49, a widow, was listed as an apartment manager on South Peoria Street in Tulsa. She died on November 26, 1962.
Bill and his Grandchildren
Maude was not held in high favor by Clarence, and there are numerous caustic references to her throughout his letters. The Jensen family apparently had been staunchly Republican, and Clarence's political views were likely in conflict with the beliefs of Maude. “Everything is very peaceful with us,” he wrote, with relief, in June 1923. “Maude hasn’t been out to the house but once for weeks.”
Letters written by Clarence suggest that he and his father did not get along very well, either. One example surfaced because Clarence and Odie did not have much faith in the Tulsa public schools, where policy was dominated by the Ku Klux Klan. They decided to teach their children at home, beginning with first child Billy, and one day this happened:
A school principal called and said that our family had been reported as being of school age but not in school. . . . Odie had been wanting an excuse for seeing Mr. Claxton [the new superintendent] and finding out whether he was human, wind or antique. She made the occasion good for a call on the gentleman. . . . However, no discussion was necessary. . . . Odie produced her Geneseo certificate, which seemed to make an impression, which impression was apparently heightened when she said she had taught in Rochester [New York] eight years. . . . He seemed impressed and asked her to come down and see him often as he would like to talk to her. It was quite a love feast.
But Clarence later was annoyed to learn that his dad, Bill Long, who didn’t believe in home schooling, had stimulated the school system to try to get Billy into school. “Have I told you that we found out that Dad was behind that truancy fuss? He has been quoted as saying that when Billy is eight (eight is the law) he is going to see to it that he goes to school or the law will take its course. I wish him luck. There is going to be a grand row shortly.”
Clarence also resisted his dad’s offer of an electric train for the children, preferring more practical Christmas gifts, and he was annoyed when Bill insisted on giving Clarence’s family a train, especially when it didn’t work. On the other hand, when Rachel, their fourth child, was born in 1924 and the house was getting cramped, Clarence clearly was pleased that Bill Long was helping him add a room to the back of the house. In January 1924, Clarence wrote this to Mary Jane:
I am afraid I have bored you too much with fusses with Dad, but really Odie and I have almost ceased to talk about it anymore. It is just one of the few D--- things of life we have to contend with, and what’s the good of talking about it much. Occasionally, however, it does me good to write it out to you and sort of get it off my chest. I always feel better about it afterwards and you are such a good friend that I know you can understand and sympathize.
It was also clear that Clarence had admiration for his father. Three months later, in April 1924, he wrote in praise of heredity:
The more I see of John and Billy [his sons], the more I think of the strength of heredity. If John is not like his grandfather [Bill Long], there never was a grandfather. To see him get a chair for visitors, make them welcome and launch into an unending stream of talk is most startling – so at variance with the traditions of his own family. Nor can that be attributed to seeing his grandfather, for he has seen him very little really, and practically not at all in the last year. It has been more than a year since John or any of the boys have been over at his house now, and I don’t think Maud has been over at our house but once or twice since the baby [Rachel] was born and then only for a minute.
Bill and Maude
Three weeks later, in 1924, Clarence wrote to tell Mary Jane that his dad and Maude had bought a new Nash sedan and that they were leaving on a trip to Cleveland. “The Gas Convention is the attraction as usual,” making clear that Bill was still involved in the oil and gas business. Clarence told Mary Jane that his dad likely would be passing through Rochester, New York, but “he has no intention of seeing you and we did not encourage him to do so as he has the incubus [Maude] with him.” (See a photograph of the Nash Ajax, a model of the car that Clarence later inherited and then traded in for a Packard. http://www.nashcarclub.org/nccaphot/twenty/26_224mnu.html.)
“Dad and his family have more and more permitted our relations to become perfunctory to the point of extinction,” Clarence said in September 1924. Two months later he wrote to Mary Jane, “let us hear from you soon with a full description of your Thanksgiving dinner. We are to eat at grandfather’s and I dread the ordeal.” At Christmas 1924, Clarence had mixed views on his father:
Grandfather took the three boys down town and outfitted them to the extent of about eighty dollars, which was fine. We are being disagreeable about it as usual because he will persist in getting what he wants instead of what we want. He asked Odie again about one of those “Jew” suits for John and was told no. He bought it nevertheless but afterwards he feared it would share the fate of the suit he bought for Billy once and so it is to be returned and something more suitable bought instead. He also bought a pair of long trousers for Billy which are to be exchanged for short ones. All the children are wearing them here, but they are homely, unsanitary and prevent the freedom of movement a boy needs. I wish I could wear short trousers myself.
In May 1925, when Bill was 60, Clarence wrote “Dad has gone to Texas. He sold his interest in the Robinson Packer Co. I don’t know what he is going to do, and care less.”
Bill Long’s Death
By Thanksgiving of 1925, Clarence reported that his dad was not well, and on April 1, 1926, he wrote this:
They operated today and found a huge cancer that had spread in all directions and was of course too far gone to be touched. I can face it all right, though with mother [Mattie] gone and no brothers and sisters, I feel more lonely than I can tell. But what the boys will do when the inevitable happens I do not dare think. He is the only relative they know and consequently means more to them than we possibly realize. I grew up with hordes of relatives. . . . They have no blood relatives except third and fourth cousins of no consequence.
By April 14, Clarence said his dad was slowly sinking, having had several bad heart attacks. On April 30, 1926, Bill died. He was 60. Clarence reported on the death of his father with great detail. At the end, he said, Bill “was comfortable and mentally as acute as he ever was. About the last thing he said was to Don [Clarence’s cousin, Don Long] and me was ‘you boys go home and get some sleep now and I’ll try to rest too.’ And just before that, he had waked up from a doze and saw the two nurses, the doctor, Maud, Don and me around the bed and said, ‘Gee, havin’ a hell of a party!’” Bill’s ashes were placed in a mausoleum, D-Tier 315, in Rose Hill Cemetery in Tulsa. In time, Clarence and Odie also were buried in that cemetery.
After Bill’s death, Clarence found a little poem Bill had written just before going to the hospital. It was “artistically the best he ever wrote,” Clarence said, “tucked away in his desk drawer.” Also among Bill’s writings was an essay about Charles McLaughlin, the father of Odie, and a former neighbor in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
“You know how I feel,” Clarence wrote to Mary Jane after Bill died:
I keep my feelings pretty well under cover, and Dad and I have had a few rows of late years, but the past is crowded with memories of good times he and I have had together, and they all come crowding back now that they are joys that can never happen again. The boys just about break me up with their frank and concerned comments. . . .
The funeral is tomorrow [May 2, 1926] at three in the big Presbyterian church of which another Parker’s Landing boyhood friend of Dad’s is pastor. An elaborate Masonic service is to be used, but the grave ceremony is to be eliminated as we are going to leave the body in a receiving vault until the big community mausoleum is completed and then placed in a crypt. You know of course how I feel about burial and the gaudy trappings of the early Egyptian superstition. Odie and I have always agreed on cremation and subsequent scattering of the ashes. But Dad liked a show, you know. He liked flowers and fuss and big doings wherever he was concerned, and in this case the slang phrase is right – it’s not my funeral!
Bill's ashes were placed in a mauseleum in Rose Hill Memorial Park in Tulsa, in D-Tier 315. Later, Clarence (in 1935), Odie (in 1976), and their daughter Rachel Long Misey (in 2007) were buried in a grave in the same cemetery. When Bill died, Clarence said that, despite a lot of ill feeling about his step-mother, “Maud has really outdone herself in standing up under the strain. She always has been lazy and very much disinclined to be agreeable if there was sickness around. But she lived there at the hospital in his room for a week before the end and, as she truly says, these last ten years have been the happiest of her life, and her grief is genuine.” When Bill Long died, Maude had to bury her third husband, and she was only 45. See the genealogical chart that begins with Bill's father, Samuel W. Long, and includes Bill and his descendants.
Settlement of Bill’s estate was somewhat complicated, given the involvement of Maude Long. Clarence normally had few good things to say about her. When Rachel was born in 1924, Clarence wrote that “best of all, when Dad came out to see his granddaughter, he left Maud at home.” In the end, however, Clarence and family were able to receive furniture, an automobile, and other items that greatly relieved their somewhat impoverished position.
For the dining room we have the old mahogany table with the curly cue legs now put into use as a stand for the dictionary and the telephone, and the old red rug looking almost as little worn as when we bought it in Clarksburg twenty-seven years ago. For the study I have the old oak chair that I was rocked in as a baby and a lamp that Dad made out of the big old vase he bought one time in East Liverpool [Ohio] where all the hotel china is made.
But Clarence didn’t get some of the books at his Dad’s house that he thought he should have received, or even some of his own books that were in Bill’s house. Maude’s daughter Sally “liked the looks of that old Shakespeare set of mine that I carried with me to college and read when Odie and I used to play together in Clarksburg, and so I was refused that. I have made up my mind now to get even with that outfit if it is the last thing I ever do.” Later he wrote that “personally, I think this quarreling over dead people’s possessions is the most barbaric and indecent thing that is done in this simian world.”
The 1930 census showed that Maude Long, 49, was living on South Peoria Street in Tulsa and was working as an apartment manager. She died on November 26, 1962, at the age of 81, and was buried with her second husband, Will Little, at Grace Hill Cemetery in Perry, Noble County, Oklahoma.
The Thompson Family
Mattie Thompson, first wife of William George Long and the mother of Clarence Long, was the first of seven children of Wesley F. Thompson and Elizabeth J. Rose. The Rose family was well photographed, as evidenced by the pictures here.
It is not known where Wesley and Elizabeth met. They were married on October 21, 1857, at Monongahela City, Washington County, Pennsylvania. By the time of the 1860 census, they were in Butler, in Butler County. Wesley was a blacksmith. He said he was 27, and thus born in 1837. Elizabeth said she was 21, and thus she would have been born in 1839, although she told the census taker in 1900 that she had been born in February 1841. This latter date is more specific and probably more accurate.
Mattie Long told the census in 1900 that her father had been born in Ohio, her mother in Pennsylvania. However, that same year, her sister Mary Cochrane said she and both parents had been born in Pennsylvania. It appears that both Elizabeth and Wesley had roots in Parker’s Landing, Pennsylvania. However, the Thompsons moved around a great deal. They were married in Monongahela, and at some time later, they lived in Pulaski, in Lawrence County, western Pennsylvania. They moved from there to New Castle, about 20 miles to the south, and apparently then to other places.
The census in both 1860 and 1870 showed Wesley as a blacksmith, probably working in the oil fields. A grandchild, Clara Else, said Wesley was an oil driller, “like Uncle Bill,” and they moved from one town to another as the oil drilling activity constantly relocated. She said the seven children were born in almost as many different places.
The Civil War and Wesley Thompson
It was at Pulaski that Wesley enrolled in the army on June 19, 1863. This was less than four years after he and Elizabeth were married, and they had two young children at the time. Wesley served as a corporal in First Lieutenant James Brown’s Company C, 6th Departmental Corps, of the Pennsylvania Militia Volunteers during the Civil War. One note said that Lt. Brown’s company had been locally formed and was in existence only nine months.
Wesley apparently contracted some disease during the 13 months he was with the army, and he was discharged in Pittsburgh on July 23, 1864. Although the record showed that he was very ill, Wesley lived 10 years after his discharge and fathered five more children, including one while he was still in the army. He died on November 6, 1874, in Parker’s Landing, according to the military record, although some family members thought he died in Erie. He was 36, if born in 1837, as he had told one census taker. Wesley left Elizabeth with six children and one more on the way, and apparently no resources.
After Wesley’s death, Elizabeth filed a claim with the Pension Office. It appears she had received some resources for the benefit of the children at an early stage, but she did not seek a widow’s pension until 1889, fifteen years after Wesley’s death. It was a complicated process. Many of the people she had known were required to file affidavits explaining that they knew Elizabeth and Wesley, that they had seven children, that Elizabeth had not remarried, and that Wesley had not been ill before he went into the Army. At least 22 such documents were included in Wesley’s file in the Pension Office, mostly filed in 1889 and 1890.
First Lieutenant Brown, who lived in Pulaski, said in his affidavit that Wesley was a corporal in his company, and “I well remember that at Camp Howe, near Pittsburgh, shortly or soon after we laid there, the said Thompson from exposure contracted chills and fever and was not able for duty . . . and suffered from said chills and fever when discharged.”
Two couples from Butler said they had been present at the marriage of Elizabeth and Wesley and were neighbors in Butler before Wesley went into the Army. One said, “We never knew of him complaining of any disease until after his return from the Army. After his return, we visited him frequently and knew of him complaining of night sweats and severe headaches. His color was sallow, and he suffered a great deal from chills and fever.”
One work colleague said that Wesley was not able to do much work when he was discharged from the Army, and was taken sick with fever, and “I thought he would surely die, and the doctor said he had very little hope of his getting well, and I nursed him and stayed with him when he was wild and had to hold him in bed (with fears) and I believed him to have been a sound man when he went into the Army.” Another co-worker said that he had never heard of Wesley being sick before he went into the Army, but when he came home he was bothered by dysentery or chronic diarrhea.
There was even an affidavit from a woman who did washing for the Thompson family. “From the condition of his shirts,” she wrote, I believed he had night sweats. I knew that he had chills and fever, and I recalled him being brought to his house at North Washington, Butler County, sick with chills and fever.”
Elizabeth herself said that she had “no property, real or personal, and no investments of any kind whatsoever yielding an income, that she has no income except that arising from her own labor and that she is dependent upon her own daily labor for support.” Her granddaughter Clara Else said that Elizabeth worked as a practical nurse to keep her family together.
The government eventually concluded that disease contracted during the war was what had caused Wesley’s death and began to pay a pension to his widow. On the other hand, Clara Else, granddaughter of Wesley, said in 1978 that the family had been told that Wesley died of “acute indigestion,” but she and her mother, Jessie Thompson Else, had decided “it undoubtedly was acute appendicitis, which they knew little about in those days.”
Records showed that Elizabeth was paid a pension of $8.00 a month, apparently retroactively, beginning from the date of Wesley’s death, on November 6, 1874, for the benefit of the children. This was raised to $12 a month on March 19, 1886. Later, Elizabeth received more. The military record that terminated her widow’s pension after she died in 1923 showed that her pension of $25 a month had been paid up through December 4 of that year. She said in her pension claim affidavits that she lived in a variety of places after her husband died. In 1889, she was in Parker’s Landing. A year later, she was in Erie. In the 1900 census, Elizabeth was in Butler, living with her daughter and son-in-law, Calvin and Mary Cochrane.
Elizabeth Thompson’s Death
When Elizabeth Rose Thompson died, on December 30, 1923, in Youngstown, Ohio, she was living at the home of her daughter, Jessie Thompson Else, in Youngstown, Ohio, where she had been for about 15 years. She was buried in Butler, Pennsylvania, where her daughter Mollie had secured a plot. When Elizabeth died, Clarence Long wrote about the death of his grandmother. He was not correct in the facts about Wesley’s war service, and Wesley died before, not after, the youngest child was born. If Elizabeth had been born in February 1841, as she told the census taker, she would have been 82.
I am not sure but I think she was 85. She was married when she was 16. Her husband fought through the four years of the war and came home with numerous wounds and died shortly after the youngest child was born. She raised them all and kept a home for them until they were all married and then packed up and using her pension for clothes and presents traveled, mostly alone from family to family as the spirit moved her and there was most work to be done. She had an indomitable spirit and her death ended in a sleep. When she was buried she was only four feet two and weighed less than 70 pounds. I hope I can be as gallantly unconquered by life and as busily useful for as many years as she.
Children of Wesley and Elizabeth Thompson
See the genealogical chart for the Thompson family. The seven children were:
Caroline (Carrie) Thompson Clawson (b. 1859)
Mary I. (Mollie) Thompson Cochran (b. 1862)
Mattie Thompson Long (1864-1815)
Jessie May Thompson Else (1867-1950)
Leon Thompson (b. 1870)
George L. Thompson (b. 1872)
Wesley Anna Thompson (1875-1885)
Details are as follows:
1. Caroline (Carrie) Thompson was born on May 21, 1859. She married Charles Clawson in Erie, Pennsylvania, and they had one son, Edward Clawson. In February 1929, Clarence wrote to say that “my Aunt Carrie died a few days ago. I think she was well into her seventies. [She was actually 69.] She was the oldest of the family and just recently they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. I do not remember seeing her since I was about sixteen.”
2. Mary I. (Mollie) Thompson, was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, on August 16, 1862. She married Calvin Cochran in Butler, Pennsylvania, who had been born in February 1848. They had a daughter, May Cochran, who died at the age of 6. Mollie and Calvin lived in Butler, and in 1900, Mollie’s mother, Elizabeth, was living with them. Mollie and Calvin were both buried in Butler.
3. Mattie Thompson was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, on November 17, 1864, and died on December 25, 1915, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the age of 51. In the 1870 census, she was living with her parents and siblings in Butler County and listed as “Matty Bell,” age 5. In 1880, her mother and siblings were in Parker, in Armstrong County, but Mattie was not there. It is possible she had gone off to work elsewhere. That same year, a “Mattie Thompson,” age 18, was listed as a servant in Steubenville, Ohio, about 120 miles from Parker, but it is not clear this was the same person. About 1888, Mattie married William George Long. He had been born in 1865 and died in 1926. They had one son, Clarence Ray Long, born on November 19, 1889. (See the account above.)
4. Jessie May Thompson was born on July 6, 1867. Jessie married Harry Gibson Else in April 1888 in Westfield, New York, and they lived in Youngstown, Ohio. He had been born on December 24, 1865, and died in January 1936. He was a railroad clerk. After he died, Jessie continued living in Youngstown with her daughter, Clara. Jessie died there in 1950 at the age of 82.
5. Leon Thompson was born in North Washington, Butler County, on January 31, 1870. His wife was Agnes, and they had four children: George, Wesley, John and Mary Thompson.
6. George L. Thompson was born on May 23, 1872. He married Julia Garvey. They had seven children: Catherine, Elizabeth, Leon, Rita and Ray (twins), Mary and Paul Thompson.
7. Wesley Anna Thompson (female) was born on January 23, 1875, two months after her father died. She died of diphtheria on January 1, 1885, three weeks short of her tenth birthday, according to the attending physician in Parker’s Landing.
Back to Top of this Section
Clarence Ray Long
Children of Clarence and Odie Long
William George Long
Samuel W. Long
Samuel Parker Long
Parkers and Vanderfords
Genealogical Charts for the Long Family
Genealogical Chart for the family of Mattie Thompson Long
Genealogical Chart for the Else Family
Neil Boyer's Family History Page
Corrections and additional information are requested and welcome.
Please contact Neil A. Boyer.
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids