Liberty County History

An occasional gathering place for articles, documents, photographs, records and other ephemera dealing with the history of Liberty County, Texas.

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Kevin Ladd is director of the Wallisville Heritage Park at Wallisville, Chambers County, TX and lives in Hardin, TX. He is chairman of the Liberty County Historical Commission and writes for "Texas Illustrated," a monthly publication of the Liberty Gazette newspaper, which is devoted to local history and folklore.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cyrus W. Thompson (1802-1876)

There have been a lot of interesting people who have called Liberty County, Texas home since the first settlers began arriving here in the early 1820s. One of the more interesting of these, one who is rarely mentioned in any of our history books or articles is Cyrus W. Thompson. He was born in Utica, New York in 1802, started out life as a fur trapper, and was a veteran of two wars. He lived variously in Liberty, Chambers and Galveston counties. Although these articles posted below do not mention it, he also served as Chambers County Sheriff from 1868 to 1869. In another portion of the April 10, 1876 Galveston newspaper, Thompson appears in the Mortuary Report, the weekly listing of deaths for Galveston Island. It listed him as being 74 years of age when he died. The cause of death was listed as "general debility" by Dr. W. F. Blount, a local health physician. Mr. Thompson was the second husband of Melina (Dalton) Whittington, who received an early headright in the Devers vicinity of Liberty County. Melina and her first husband, Elijah Whittington, were the progenitors of the modern-day Whittington family still living in Liberty County today. She was married to Thompson in Jefferson County, Texas on June 22, 1840. It is interesting to note that the two different articles give two different death dates for Mr. Thompson. Cyrus and Melina are listed as residents of Wallisville in the 1860 and 1870 Censuses of Chambers County. Melina Dalton Whittington Thompson appears to have died in Galveston in 1874. I think Melina was one of the more interesting women ever to live in Liberty County, and I would like to reflect on her more at some later point in time. Look at any map of the Original Grantees in any county of Texas and count the [small] number under a woman's name. Melina was a pioneer.

Here follows two different articles from the Galveston paper describing the life, times, and death of Cyrus W. Thompson:

Galveston Weekly News
Monday, April 10, 1876

Cyrus W. Thompson, the Texas veteran, who died in Galveston on the third instant, was a member of Capt. [William M.] Logan’s company of Liberty volunteers, who were attached to Colonel McNutt, afterward General Sidney Sherman’s command. The company joined General Houston’s command on the Colorado previous to the battle of San Jacinto, in which it was engaged. It was eighty strong. Captain Franklin Hardin, who was First Lieutenant, and R.O.W. McManus, Cornelius Devour [DeVore] and Robert Whitlock were surviving members at last account.

Galveston Weekly News
Issue of Apri1 28, 1876

A Chambers County correspondent of the NEWS gives the following incidents from the life of Mr. Cyrus W. Thompson, an old Texas veteran whose death in Galveston on the 6th instant has already been announced.


He was born in the City of Utica in the State of New York on the 1st day of May 1802. At the age of sixteen he was employed by the Northwest Fur Company, the head of which was John Jacob Astor of New York. His travels along the great lakes and rivers of the great northwest collecting furs from the trading posts located in the extreme portions of the then almost unknown wilderness and conveying them to points to be forwarded to the head of the company at New York, would make a volume. When the Black Hawk war broke out Thomson (sic) volunteered with others, and being familiar with the Indians and their mode of warfare, rendered valuable services in the army under General [Henry] Dodge.In 1835 Thomson came to Texas. When General Cos invaded and took San Antonio and the Texans were called upon by committees of public safety, Thomson volunteered in the Company of Capt. [Andrew] Briscoe and was at the fall of San Antonio from the Mexicans. After the fall of that post, and [General Martin Perfecto de] Cos and his garrison had been paroled, he returned to Liberty, where he concluded to reside. When the letters of Travis called for assistance were sent through the country in March 1836, Thomson was again ready, and, as a private in Wm. M. Logan's Company marched for the relief of the Alamo. When the Company had nearly reached San Felipe, it met the news of the massacre. The Company then decided to push on and join the army under Houston in which Mr. Thomson remained until after the battle of San Jacinto and the Mexicans had been driven beyond the Rio Grande.

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