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William Thompson-Jane Beam
(By Shari & Ken Knight, June 2010)
Jane Beam was born in Ohio in 1805. She married William Thompson in Ross Co, OH in 1830. They had five children in Ohio and then moved to Morgan Co, Illinois about 1843. William died shortly thereafter, at the age of 35, leaving Jane a widow with 5 children. Jane married John Knight in 1845. They had one child, Richard Henry Knight. John died by 1851, but was not enumerated with her and the family in 1850. Following John’s death, Jane moved to Missouri and then to Kansas. She died, and is buried, in Miami Co Kansas in 1878.
Ohio 1805-1830 (Jane , 0-25 years)
Ohio became a state in 1803, but “was still very much the frontier. At the beginning of this era, towns were still forming; schools and churches were few; American Indians still fought to keep their dwindling land; and tensions continued to rage between Great Britain and the United States of America.”
Jane was born in Ohio, according to 3 censuses. We have not yet discovered her parents, and don’t know when they moved to Ohio, or to where they migrated.
Perhaps they were like most, and moved to Ohio because it’s farmland was very fertile and cheap.
From northeastern United States, the two most traveled migration routes into Ohio were the rivers and Zane’s Trace, named because it was a “trace” of a road. Flat boats were the most common way of traveling a river, and the most prominent river was the Ohio, which forms the southern border of the state. River boats were built and then used to travel downstream. When the travelers reached their destination, they disassembled the boats and sold the materials or used them to build other things. (2)
Zanes Trace was a rugged road . Much of the road only had two ruts in which the wagons moved along. Wagons often got stopped or “stumped” by tree trunks in the road. The road was formed by “Ebenezer Zane's woodsmen [who] cut down trees to make a trace of a road. But there was not a lot of care in the tree felling, and stumps of the fallen trees still remained along the entire route. Horse-drawn wagons could negotiate the trace, but often the tree stumps were so high or close together that a wagon would become high centered or stuck between stumps. Travelers on Zane's Trace began calling the experience of getting stuck on Zane's left-over tree stumps as ‘getting stumped,’ a term which continues today--when we are stuck on something!“ (3)
Jane married in 1830 in Ross County, whose county seat Chillicothe, is on the Zanes Trace. This might lead us to speculate that her parents traveled to Ohio via Zanes Trace. They may have traveled via this route, but the fact than she married in Ross County is not evidence of the fact; they traveled to Ohio at least 25 years prior to her marriage (she was born in Ohio and 25 when she married). Is it possible that Beam is not her maiden name? Could she have been a widow when she married William Thompson?
Five known children were born to Jane & Wm in Ohio:
John H 1834
Mary Jane 1839
Michael Cleaver 1841
Where did they live? We have yet to find an 1830 or 1840 census that fits this family. Two biographies written in 1894, differ as to the Thompson family home. Michael states he was born (1841) in Ross County, Ohio. Gideon Sibert’s biography states he married ” Elizabeth Thompson, daughter of William and Jane Thompson, old citizens of Morgan county, though formerly of Pike County, Ohio.” Pike is next to (South) Ross County.
George Thompson’s millitary record lists his nativity was Waverly, Morgan Co, OH. We feel this is a clerical error, and probably was Waverly, Pike Co, OH. 1) There is no Waverly (city or township) in Morgan Co, OH. 2) He enlisted from Morgan Co, IL, and 3) Waverly was the county seat of Pike Co, OH. So we have two so-so references to them being from Pike Co, OH. We could not find land transactions in the Pike Co Court House during a visit there in 2005. Nor did the county library have information on the family.
Morgan Co, IL (1843-1857/9)
1843 Jane and William and their 5 children moved to Morgan Co., Illinois
1844 William died at the age of 35, leaving Jane a widow with 5 children. Buried in Meredosia, IL
1845 Jane married John Knight
1847 Richard Henry Knight born, only child of Jane and John
John had problems. “He neglected his family and business, separated from his family, and became a sot and a wanderer without a home or business or money or property or friends.”
“John sold land to JH Thompson for the purpose of depriving Jane of her dower,”
1850 Census; Jane listed as head of household with her 6 kids.
1851 In 1851, Jane went to court to get legal ownership of her land and house, which she claimed her deceased husband John gambled away.
1852 dau Elizabeth married Gideon Sibert in Morgan Co, IL
1855 dau Mary Jane married Joel Turnham.
1856 son John married Elizabeth Ann Matthews in Morgan Co, IL
1857 Jane sold land in Morgan Co, IL
1859 son George married Eliza Armstrong in Morgan Co, IL
Barton Co, Missouri (1857/59-186?)
We don’t know when Jane moved to Missouri. Was it soon after she sold her farm in Illinois in 1857? Her son John probably did not move to Illinois until 1859, because his daughter Louisa was born in Illinois in 1859 (as per the 1860, 1870, 1880, & 1900 census). Did they all move together, or did Jane go before John and his family?
1860 Feb: John died of drowning in Barton Co, MO
1860 Census, Jane was head of household with Mikel Knight (19y), Henry R Knight (14) Ann Thompson (25), Richard Thompson (3y) and Louiza Thompson (1y)
John is buried in Barton County His tombstone is almost identical in shape to his fathers in Morgan County and his Mothers in Miami Co, KS.
John’s wife Elizabeth Ann died in 1861, presumably in Meredosia, Morgan Co, IL, where she is buried next to her parents and in the same cemetery as her father-in-law William Thompson. It doesn’t seem likely that if she died elsewhere, she would be buried in Illinois. He daughter, Louisa, was living with John’s sister Molly (Mary Jane) Turnam in 1870 in Morgan County. We cannot find her son Richard on an 1870 census, but he died in 1872 (age 15) and is buried next to Jane in Miami, KS. Jane died 6 years later. He was not with Jane in 1865 (Miami KS census) When did he begin living with Jane?
Miami County Kansas (~1861-1878)
Jane’s residence between 1857-1878 is confusing. We know that she is enumerated in Missouri in 1860 and in Kansas in 1865. We have not found her on the 1870 or 1875 census.
1862 Michael moved to Kansas by 1962. We don’t know if Jane moved to Kansas at the same time as Michael or if she returned to Illinois with Elizabeth Ann. By 1865, Jane was living in Kansas.
1862 Michael enlisted as a soldier in the civil war, in Kansas, and served for 3 years.
1862 George enlisted in the civil war, in Meredosia, IL
1864 George died in a hospital in Alabama from injuries sustained during the war.
1865 Thompson, Jane 53 farmer $600 OH, Michael 24OH, Henry 18IL
1866 Michael married Martha Collins in Miami Co
Daisy T. Early, daughter of Michael & Martha, wrote the following about Jane in a 1955 letter to Pearl Knight. “Grandmother Knight’s maiden name was Bean. Grandfather Thompson passed on..... Later she married a Mr. Knight and they had one son, Henry. Grandmother and Uncle Henry kept house, but they often lived with us off and on. I was about 15 when she died but do not remember the year.”
1867 Richard Henry Knight married Elizabeth Chambers
1872 Richard Thompson. Jane’s grandson, died (15y).
1878 Jane died and was buried next to her grandson, Richard Thompson, & 3 graves away from another grandson Alfred Knight, who died at 10 yrs old. These words are etched on her tombstone:
She has left this world of sorrow
She is free from pain and care
She has gone to dwell in glory
Oh may we meet her there
1 Early Statehood (1804-1859). Ohio History Central. Online at http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/time_period.php?rec=3 Accessed 4 June 2010
2 William Dollarhide. Map Guide to AmericanMigration Routes, 1735-1815. Bountiful, UT: Heritage Quest, 1997
3 William Dollarhide. Getting stumped on zane's trace: A Saga of Westward Migration. Online at http://www.genealogical.com/newsletters/genealogy_pointers_10-31-06.pdf. Accessed 4 Jun 2010