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William G. Thompson

William G. Thompson

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History of William G. Thompson

William G. Thompson; a pioneer of 1851; was born 1806 at Longloan, near Coatbridge, Scotland. He was the oldest son of David Thompson and Jean Wetherspoon. There was a family of twelve; six boys and six girls. He married Elizabeth McCauley of Portnahaven, Islay, Scotland, in 1831. Immigrated to America in 1833, locating in Canada with one son; here two more sons were born. Here also he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The family traveled west to be with the Church and joined the Saints in Missouri at the time of the persecutions and drivings. Here my mother was born, August l6, 1838. We next find them living in Quincy, Illinois, where two more children, a boy and girl, were born; and the baby and wife and mother died in July and October of 1845.

In letters written to his parents in Scotland, while living in Quincy, Illinois, he tells of his troubles and how thankful for the gospel and urges them to go listen to the Elders laboring in Scotland, he also tells of his work, which was raising garden truck, milking cows etc., and compared prices. He says, "David cares for cows and chores, Daniel keeping house and caring for the younger children, and William helping at a doctor's house." Also tells of the killing of the Prophets and the burning of homes, etc. Be was very anxious to get a letter back by spring as they would go west with the Saints to find a place where they could be in peace. From Quincy he would go to Nauvoo to meetings and conferences.

The next stop was at Garden Grove; crossing the plains in the Company of Hector Haight. They arrived in Salt Lake in the fall of 1851, stopping a short time in Salt Lake City, then coming to Bountiful, then known as Sessions Settlement.

So William G, Thompson, and family of four sons and one daughter were true pioneers. David W. Thompson was called to protect people in Sanpete from Indians.

He married and located in Ephriam, Utah. Daniel Thompson and Orvil Thompson were early settlers of Fillmore and Scipio, Utah. William Thompson settled in Richmond, Utah, and Maria married and after two years in Nevada came back and lived with her father and cared for him.

There were other William Thompsons in the community when he took out his citizenship papers on June l, 1868, so he added the initial "G" to his name. He was licensed to preach the Gospel, December 25, 1844, signed by Enos Curtis, presiding Elder. He also had a membership and attended the School of Prophets, which was held in Salt Lake City. He died on December 5, 1876 on the farm and home that he located on in 1851.

Several years ago I visited an aged lady friend of his. She said, "Brother Thompson used to visit us, and what a lovely hymn singer he was in his sleep."

(By Elizabeth "Lizzie" HATCH [1871-1956]. In an email dated 10 June 2003, Lisa TALBERT identifies Lizzie HATCH as a daughter of Martha Marie THOMPSON HATCH, a daughter of William G. THOMPSON who was born in Caldwell, Missouri on 16 Aug 1836. Lisa noticed that the author states her mother was a child of William G. and was born in Missouri on 16 Aug 1836 and that Martha Marie THOMPSON's children would be surnamed HATCH because she married Orin HATCH.)

Pioneer and Prominent Man of Utah Go to Top

William Thompson/Came to Utah, October, 1851, Harry Walton Company.
Came to Utah. October, 1851, Harry Walton Company.
THOMPSON, WILLIAM. Came to Utah in October, 1851, Harry Walton company.

Married Elizabeth McCeruley. Their children: David, m. Mary Thompson; Daniel; William, Jr., b. Jan. 12, 1836, m. Mary Ellen Isaacson ; Maria, m. Orin Hatch; Orville, m. Emily Snyder. Family home Bountiful, Utah.

Married Mrs. Hale.

(Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, Frank Esshom, 1913. The photograph comes from p. 701, the text from p. 1211.)

Letters from William G. Thompson Go to Top

William (Thomson) Thompson was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, June 16th, 1806, son of David and Jean Wetherspoon Thomson. After his arrival in America he located in Canada where he was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Desiring to live among the people of his new-found religion, he moved to Quincy, Illinois. Sometime during his early years in the United States, William changed the spelling of his name to Thompson. Time was spent following the Saints from place to place and in 1851 he arrived in the Valley of the Salt Lake. William's parents had made plans to follow him, but through circumstances over which they had no control they never arrived. In 1887 Orvil Thompson, grandson of William, was called to perform a mission in the homeland of his people and was given letters written by William, which are presented by Edith Elkins:

Quincy July 22, 1843

Dear father and mother brothers and sisters—I take my pen in hand to let you know that myself and wife and five children are all well in good health at this time of which we feel thankful to God our heavenly father for all his blessing toward us, hoping you are enjoying the same blessing I expect you all have lost hopes of hearing from me I have been very neglectful of writing to you but I am in hopes you will all forgive me this time It is not because I forget you but I am a poor writer and not much in practice I will be glad to hear how you are all getting along as we hear of great poverty in your country among the laboring class of people in Paisley and other manufacturing towns I feel glad that I am in this country which is a land of plenty and of liberty We speak of dull times in America but it is not to be compared with Scotland I would be glad to see all my friends in this country if it was so ordered in the providence of God I would be glad to hear if my father and mother are yet alive and where they reside in Cranhill or liverpool

have heard them (elders) preaching there is some of them in Glasgow and I will be glad if you will go and hear them because I believe they preach the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity with all its gifts and blessings as in days of old and not according traditions and creeds of men I was glad to hear that my brother Robert thinks of coming to this country as he wrote to me to that effect and wished that I would let him know respecting his trades in this place. taylors get from ? to 7 dollars for making broad cloth coats for light summer coats from one dollar and a half to two dollars for vests and pantaloons in proportion clothes are higher in this country and it is better for a man to bring as many good clothes as he can and have them made up there is a risk in bringing goods some times your chest may be searched cotton clothes are about as cheap as they are in Glasgow provisions of all sorts are very low I wrote in my last letter why I thot was the best way to come to this country by New York but I am informed that to come from Glasgow to Liverpool to New Orleans is the best and cheapest and quickest way that you can come to this country and from New Orleans up the Mississippi to this place. All the way by water there is a number of people from Paisley living in this place that came the way I have directed you and they have told me that it only costs them ten pounds ten shillings from Glasgow to Quincy where I am living eat well and have bread and pork and potatoes and sugar and coffee is very good on board ship I have lived in this place four years and worked at laboring work by the day I get plenty of work at a dollar per day but money is not so plenty as it was three or four years ago We have to take the most of our pay out of the merchants store I keep three milk cows and other young cattle I have three acres of land rented this summer and I entend to get a farm next spring as my stock is to large to have in town and my boys will be some help to me on a farm we can rent land and give one-third of the crop for rent I must bring my letter to a close with requesting you to show this letter to Robert and all that wishes to see it hoping you will forgive me for not writing sooner I hope that you will write soon as this comes to hand I trust that my mother and father will not sorrow on account of my being far from them it may be that we may behold each others faces in the flesh I conclude by saying may the God of Isaac and Jacob bless you all and keep you blameless to the coming of our lord and Saviour Jesus Christ I remain your affectionate son and then till death

William Thomson

October 26, 1845
Quincy Adams County, Illinois

Dear brother it was with much pleasure I received your last letter and to hear that your all in good health and in prosperous circumstances and to hear my father and mother is still alive and well. I have mornful news to rit in this letter, our youngest child died the morning of July 8 last and my wife has been confined to her bed four months entirely helpless with a severe pain and weakness in her back and she died on the 7th day of October and has left me with my four boys and one girl to mourn her loss. She was a virtuous woman and was respected as such by all that knew her both at home and in this country. Now she is gone and is numbered with the dead and she wished often that the Lord would take her to himself but she wished to live for the sake of her children and me and charged me to be good to the children. She has seen trouble and persecution in her days but now she is gone where the wicked cease from troubling and where the weary are at rest. My boys and myself keep house together. David feeds the cows and works out some times. Doneld cooks and washes and keeps the house and takes care of the two youngest and does better than some women would. William is living with a doctor and takes care of his children and goes on errands and takes care of his horse and we intend to stay in the same place till next spring and do the best we can and I wish you to write to me as soon as you receive this mournful intellengence that I may have a letter from you as soon in the spring as possible. I have no doubt but you have heard of the persecution that is got up against the Latter-day-saints as a people and how they have killed our prophets in prison and burning our houses we are satisfied as a body of people that we can live no longer among them as the latter day saints are making ready to leave here the United States of America this spring for some distant land unknown to me as yet where they can worship God according to the dictate of their own conscience without being molested and made afraid and I believe if God spares my health and life I and my family will go with them and I want to hear from you all before I start and may the Lord bless you all and your familys in there day and generation and may his holy spirit lead you and guide you in the way of all truth and enable you to prove all things and hold fast that which is good that we may be prepared for the messenger Death and be counted worthy to enter into that rest that remains for the people of God. I have no doubt but you feel to mourn my boys in a land among strangers but why do we mourn for dying friends or shake at deaths alarms. Tis but the voice Jesus sends to call them to his arms. From your affectionate brother till Death

William Thomson

(Our Pioneer Heritage , Kate B. Carter, 1958–1977. Vol. 12, pp. 344-346, courtesy Lisa Talbert.)

Conqueror of the West Go to Top


William G. Thompson, younger than previous picture

Born: 16 Jun 1806. Langloan, Lanark, Scotland
Parents: David and Jean Wothespoon Thomson
Died: 5 Dec 1876, Bountiful, Davis, Utah
Arrived in Valley: 1851, Harry Walton Co.

Married: Elizabeth McAulay (McCaulay)
Date: 1831, Portnahaven, Islay, Argyll, Scotland
Died: 7 Oct 1845, Quincy, Adams, Illinois

William’s name changed three times over the years. He was given the name of William Thompson when he was born. Soon after moving to America, he changed it to William Thompson. When he discovered there were many other of the same name, he added the initial “G” to make his different from the others.

There are three letters written by William to family members and that is where much of his story is obtained. Because of the potato famine in Scotland in 1832-33, he brought his family to America. They located in Canada for a time and they joined the Church in 1836.

Shortly after, they traveled west to be with other church members and settled for a time in Missouri. When they were driven out from there, they settled in Quincy (Nauvoo). While there, two children were born, but one of them died. Elizabeth, his wife also died of cholera. In one letter he told how his oldest son kept house and cooked. Another son lived with a doctor and helped him.

When they were driven out of Nauvoo, they stopped at Garden Grove. The company of Harry Walton arrived in Salt Lake in 1851. They stopped awhile in Salt Lake and then went on to Bountiful where William purchased some land. He and his four sons and one daughter lived there. He farmed and was active in the church and community. He apparently had a nice voice.

Children: There were apparently 6 boys and 6 girls born to this good couple.

DAVID. b. in Scotland
DANIEL b. in Canada
WILLIAM. b. in Canada
MARIA. b. 16 Aug 1838, Missouri
ORVILLE BROWNING. b. in Quincy, Illinois
ELIZA JANE. b. Quincy, Illinois. D. 8 Jul 1845
The other children are unknown

Submitted by: Elaine Ashcroft

(Conquerors of the West, Sons of Utah Pioneers, 1999. Pp. 2563-64, courtesy Lisa Talbert.)

Land in Nauvoo Go to Top

Map showing Joseph Smith plat block 10 (tenant) and Nauvoo block 66 lot 2.

(Information provided by Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. via Lisa Talbert, 2002. Map adapted by Robert Raymond.)

In his autobiography and journal, Isaac C. Haight (1813-1886) says that on 2 October 1842 he moved into a house which he bought of William Thompson on the Hotchkiss purchase the last of this month. (Typescript, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Available onlineSince this link exits to a different website, 
it will be displayed in a new window..) I think lots 1 and 2 of block 66 were part of the Hotchkiss purchase. Perhaps William sold his property in the city after the death of his wife and child and moved to Quincy.

Land in Hancock County Go to Top

(Information provided by Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. via Lisa Talbert, 2002. Map by Robert Raymond.) Sunday, 15-Jun-2003 22:56:05 MDT