CHAPTER XXIII

THOMPSON ROAD, THE LOWLANDS, WARRENTOWN, PURCHADE

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HE Thompson Road district extends for two miles and a half on Thompson Street on the western side of Bartlett's Brook and the great cedar swamp. Thompson ® 3^ Street was among the first roads in town, extending from the meeting-house toward Boston, substantially as at present. At one time many descendants of John Tomson lived here. What is known as Danson Brook crosses the street, running into Bartlett Brook between the houses occupied by

the late Reuel and Venus Thompson. Here George Danson, neglecting the warning of John Tomson, was shot by the Indians in King Philip's War. The residents have been for the most part well-to-do farmers. Perhaps the most prominent man, next to the first settler, was Isaac Thomson, a descendant of John Tomson, familiarly known as "Squire Isaac." He married Lucy Sturtevant1 in 1775, and died December 21, 1819, in the

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CAPTAIN ISAAC THOMSON

1 Sturtevant is probably the same as Stuyvesant. Thompson Genealogy.

seventy-fourth year of his age. He served the town in different capacities for more than twenty-five years. He was selectman for seventeen years, one of the representatives to the General Court for five years, and state senator for nine years. He was for thirty-three years a prominent member of the First Church, and was widely known throughout the county as a man of more than usual intelligence, thrifty, and faithful in the discharge of every duty. The house in which he lived is still standing on the western side of Thompson Road. Mr. George Thompson, whooccupied thishouse from his early manhood until his death in 1875, was a worker in marble, and not a few of the gravestones in the different cemeteries of the town were of his workmanship.

Upon the western side of this neighborhood lay the great swamps known as White Oak Island,

Beaver Dam Swamp, and Meeting House Swamp, which cover a tract of land almost entirely destitute of houses or cultivated land, measuring nearly four miles in length and a mile and a half in width.

A familiar spot in the early history of the town was Bear Spring, opposite the junction of Plain and Thompson streets. It is often mentioned in bounds of land connected with the great swamps in this immediate vicinity.

Upon Bartlett Brook, which flows a little to the east of Thompson Street along its entire length, was in 1715 erected the first sawmill of which we have any record in the town of Middleboro. It was built by Edward Thomas, Jacob Thomson, Henry Wood, and John Tinkham. They were owners in equal shares of the mill and the meadows lying near it.

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GEORGE THOMPSON HOUSE

September 10, 1725, Jacob Thomson, John Tinkham, and Isaac Tinkham, the owners, agreed that "the price for sawing boards should be twenty-five shillings a thousand, of two inch oak plank and oak slit work forty-five; of two inch spruce plank thirty-five; spruce and pitch pine slit work to be measured by board measure twenty-two shillings and six pence, and to have half the slabs, the owners of said mill to saw by turn." In 1744 Isaac Tinkham, Jacob Thomson, and Caleb Thomson rebuilt this mill.

THE LOWLANDS

This place in the extreme northeastern portion of the town bordering upon Taunton River, including River Street and the northern portion of Thompson Street, was never thickly settled. It was the home of Thomas Darling, one of the early settlers, and for many generations his descendants have been found here as well as some of the descendants of John Tomson. Soon after the close of the Revolution, Captain Joshua Eddy

built a small vessel at Woodward's Bridge. There was a shipyard from which small ships were built and launched in the river back of the house occupied many years ago by Thomas Covington. Upon the south of this neighbor

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SHIPYARD FROM WOODWARD'S BRIDGE

hood lies White Oak Island, partly included in the Thompson neighborhood, through which no street or road has ever been built.

On River Street was the home of Captain William Thomson, called "Squire Bill," a great-grandson of John Tomson, born February 15, 1748. He married Deborah Sturtevant, a lineal descendant of Peter Sturtevant, the celebrated governor of New York under the Dutch rule. Her portrait, painted by her son Cephas, is described as that of "a most beautiful woman." "Squire Bill," a captain of a company of militia in the Revolution, was at the battle of Bunker Hill, and was known as a most fearless advocate of the patriot cause. He was a large land-owner, and a man of great energy, who held many positions of trust until his death, March 14, 1816. His house, later occupied by his son, Cephas Thompson, was of solid oak boards and timber, and was probably the last of the blockhouses built after King Philip's War to resist any attacks of the Indians. It would probably have stood for generations, had it not been destroyed by fire about the year 1860. It was a onestory house, with the old-fashioned gambrel roof. In the front rooms were the " beaufats," placed there when the house was first built; one of the chambers was hung with ancient tapestry of a beautifully wrought biblical scene, made by nuns at a convent in Paris.

Cephas Thompson was born July 1, 1775, and from his earliest boyhood could readily, with pencil and paper, draw excellent likenesses, of his school friends. His great love for portrait painting made him a successful artist, and he attained great celebrity in the South, where he had a wide circle of acquaintances. He was a friend of Parke Custis, Jefferson, and Chief Justice Marshall, whose portrait he painted, and of whom he used to relate many interesting anecdotes. Once when in Rich

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CEPHAS THOMPSON

mond, having occasion to go into the court house where the chief justice was presiding, he was invited to take a seat with him on the bench, and he remained there during the session of the day.

Mr. Thompson had a select library, in which were some valuable books. In his parlor used to hang a number of pictures of tropical scenery which had been presented to him by his southern friends. The latter years of his life he spent in quiet in the enjoyment of his library and attractive studio, a two-story building on the opposite side of the street. Here his friends used to gather; and during the summer days one could rarely visit his home without finding men and women of note who came to spend a short time in his genial society. In most of the well-to-do homes in town of three generations ago could be found portraits from Mr. Thompson's brush.

Cephas G. Thompson and Jerome B. Thompson, his sons, artists, and Marietta T. Thompson, his daughter, a miniature painter, settled in New York. His brother, Dr. Arad Thompson, was for years a physician in practice at the Four Corners.

WARRENTOWN

This village is situated on the road to Bridgewater, about two and a half miles from the centre of the town. It takes its name from Jabez Warren, an early settler, and from his numerous descendants, who, until the past twenty-five years, lived upon lands formerly owned by their ancestor. Mr. John Warren, his great-grandson, built and maintained a grist-mill, a shingle mill, and a sawmill on Murdock Street, across the Nemasket River. Business was done here for many years, but upon the death of Mr. Warren it was given up, and later the buildings and the dam were destroyed. The house of John F. Alden was the home of John Warren, and in the latter part of stage-coach days was a tavern.

This is one of the old houses in town, and was probably built in 1734 by Edmund Weston for his son, soon after he

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