IAGenWeb Bremer County Family History

The Thompson Family Story
by Calvin Carleton Thompson

[Note: Katherine Thompson transcribed and submitted the following history written by her uncle in 1929. In addition to the Thompson family story, the piece contains information about the Coffman, Buroker, Pence, Worden, Bonner, Lampman and Pence families. Most of this family lived in Chickasaw County, but Henry Coffman settled in Bremer County and is buried in the Horton Cemetery along with his wife Susan Pence Coffman and child Emory.]


To whoever is interested –

I was impressed with the value of such a book as this might be (in other hands) by Mother Martha R. Hinkley Simmons. She was always telling of the past and a good many stories were before her time. The earliest date that I found was on the Baxter side – 1779. At no place did I run across people born in other lands – other than Canada.

Alice Smith (Clyde’s mother) was a daughter of one of the Thompsons in Michigan. I wrote to them but had no answer. Alice furnished some of the names. Lucy Huffman also gave me some help from her home out west. I have always saved clippings regarding important events.

Jennie Hildreth was very nice to copy from her record all the data that she thought I could use.

I was very grateful to Aunt Elsie T. Hauxhurst for her help and her "Indian Story." Then on the Coffman side Aunt Olive McKenzie and Vadia Perkins as well as Uncle Joe Buroker were a great help on the Buroker side.

In every family there is at least one bug on this subject and the trouble is to find that one. We have two girls and a book for each. The books are ours till we are gone then the girls take them over.

I’ve put in things of a historical nature. Historical of the family, country or anything that is especially interesting. I have a lot of stamps collected for a good many years. Colonial money dating back to Colonial days. One is a $6.00 bill and one is an $8.00 bill. Worthless now but very interesting from a historical standpoint. I also have samples script from all over the country used during the depression.

I brought the record down to where you know as much about it as I do so I am in hopes that you may be interested in it to keep it up or pass it on to Fred or Margery.

A greater work than this would be hard to find – one really lives with them and dreams of them. I was disappointed because I did not find one of the outfit that was a master mason while on the Hinkley side the Master Masons were all lined up since 1800.

I hope that you enjoy it half as much as I do to write it out.

Calvin Carlton Thompson
429 Canter Street
Waterloo IA

The Thompsons

Samuel Thompson was born in the year 1791, and with his wife Polly Ann Worden Thompson lived at Oswego New York State. There were twelve children, two died as infants, the children were Mary, Clinton DeWitt (grandfather of Lucy, Nellie and Clarence), Richard died an infant, Milton, Polly, Andrew, Marcia, Alzina (married Romando Lake), Elizabeth (married Will Hildreth), Melissa, Oscar Fitzaland (grandfather of LO Thompson) and another infant that died and we cannot name.

Samuel Thompson, with his family moved from Oswego New York State to Calhoun Co Mich. In 1837. They were farmers and settled near the town of Albion and lived there fifteen years. The death angel visited the home several times and the mother, Polly Ann Worden Thompson as well as several children died during those years. In the year 1852, Samuel Thompson and at least two of his sons – Clinton DeWitt and Oscar Fitzaland moved to Iowa and settled in a village called Bradford, Chickasaw County.

Samuel Thompson kept some kind of a tavern or hotel at Bradford and died four years later in 1856. He was buried just east of the Little Brown Church a short way. His body later was removed to a new cemetery called Greenwood. Of the children, Oscar Fitzaland is the one that we are most interested in at this time.

Oscar F. was born at Oswego New York State in the year 1830. He was eight years of age when he moved to Michigan with his parents.

Here was a man among men! His word was truly as good as a bond. He married Cintha Fordham of Olivet Mich and they moved to Iowa, Chickasaw County in 1852 where Oscar entered a quarter section of land under the Homestead Act. Under the laws, the head of the family could enter not more than 160 acres of land, in Iowa, and by residing thereon and making certain improvements, were given clear title to the same after a certain length of time.

Soon after their arrival in Iowa there was a daughter born named Elsie, the mother, Cintha died at that time and the young father had his hands full to care for the child. He returned to Michigan after a time and married Anna M. Lampman. To them were born several children and we will write of that later.

The next page must take up the origin of Anna M. Lampman, the mother of Frederick Oscar Thompson.

The Lampmans

Name Birthplace Born Married Died Place
Henry S. Lampman Greenville 2-22-1810 8-9-1832 3-31-1890 Green Co, NY
Huldah D. Bonner Barry 7-21-1814   1-18-1884 Orleans Co, NY
Ira S. Washtenaw Co. 9-21-1833   7-3-1857  
Anna Maria Homer 9-4-1835 12-1853 7-25-1878 Calhoun Co, MI
Malinda L. Butler 8-14-1837 2-14-1856 10-31-1881 Branch Co, MI
William H. Butler 7-11-1839 1-2-1868 6-15-1897 Branch Co, MI
Mary M. Butler 12-8-1841   11-13-1867 Branch Co, MI
Elizabeth E. Butler 5-29-1845 11-21-1861 9-21-1909 Branch Co, MI **
Huldah L. Butler 10-7-1846 2-11-1868 3-5-1902 Branch Co, MI
John B. Butler 10-3-1849   12-8-1870 Branch Co, MI
Emiline P. Butler 4-22-1854 19-23-1873 2-9-1897 Branch Co, MI

** The transcription adds a date after Branch Co, MI: 3-19-1874

Thompson – Lampman

Oscar Fitzaland Thompson born at Oswego New York was married in Feb 1857 to Anna M. Lampman born at Homer, Michigan and they at once took up their life on the homestead near the old village of Bradford Ia. To them were born Delbert, Alice, Frederick Oscar (father of the writer and LO Thompson) form [born?] Feb 2, 1865, and Charles M. and Bertha. The mother, Anna M. Lampman Thompson must have been a wonderful woman. There were family prayers each morning and I think these were due to her influence. She died at the age of 42 years and again Oscar F. Thompson was left with a family to look after as well as manage the farm. He had the usual run of housekeepers some good and some not so good.

Oscar F. was a hustler and had his mind working on a good many ventures to keep his family all under one roof. They had a herd of cattle, made butter and cheese which they shipped to New York City. He sold all kinds of fruit trees during the fall and winter and traveled a good many miles that way. It was on just such a trip as this, that in Worth County he was overtaken by very cold weather and was forced to find a place to store the load of young trees. The man’s name was Will Hildreth and a widower who was having a hard time to get along. The outcome was that Oscar F sent for his sister to visit him, then had Will Hildreth visit him. They were married and lived a long and happy life. Oscar always had a number of others to plan for besides his own children. If a young man had no home and wanted to work, Oscar could use him to good advantage to them both. He raised onions and started the boys out in the fall with a wagon load of onions to sell. The method of salesmanship was this, one boy would go to make the sale while the other would sit on the wagon and eat an onion to prove that they were as "sweet as an apple" (quoting one of the boys).

The family were quite musical, Oscar, the father, and several of the boys played the violin. One of the children told me this story. Charles, the youngest boy, was the so-called protector of the home. He would protect them. One of the girls dressed in old clothes to represent a tramp and as she came to the gate, Charles and his dog retreated to their safe hiding place, under the bed with the sure enough observation, that the tramp would not hurt girls anyway.

We appealed to the oldest child, Elsie, many years before she died July 26, 1938. Her story –

I was especially interested in Indian tales and as my father was one of the first settlers in Chickasaw County, Iowa. He saw considerable of the Indians and Indian life. The Chickasaw Indians were peaceful law-abiding people and gave no trouble to the early pioneers but to the north in Minnesota, there were raids, some fraught with terror but more often they were termed "Indian Scares."

To give an idea of these scares, I will relate the one that stands out to that extent, that I imagine I can hear my father telling it now for he was always ready to entertain us children and I believe this little narrative was a favorite of his and that is the reason I remember it so well.

Word came one day from the North "Come up and Help us! The Indians, The Indians!" At once Father and three others started on horseback and when they reached their destination, they found the white people assembled and they had done all in their power to fortify themselves, believing that their lives were in great peril. To the east was quite a hill and the actions of the Indians indicated trouble. The Indians were camped over the hill. One of the Indians would ride up over the hill toward the improvised fort, then ride back and another would come.

Finally a member of the horror stricken white people was sent out with a flag of truce, to find out if possible what the Indians were aiming to do. The man chosen to meet the foe was the only one that could speak the Indian’s language. It was well that they had an interpreter for he soon ascertained that the Indians were laboring under a great mistake. They thought the whites were secreting one of their number, a Winnebago boy. The one sent out to meet the Indians could not convince them otherwise until they searched the camp of the white people, which they did and left at once, perfectly satisfied. The poor frightened settlers returned to their homes, happy once more to possess a sense of safety.

The men that had come to their relief must return. As they neared home, they came to the place where Nashua now stands, they found the Little Cedar River over its banks. There was a log hut on the bank, no one was at home, however, the men went in and helped themselves to bread and buttermilk. One of them said "Well boys, if we drown it will be on a full stomach." A timely remark as you will see later. They swam the horses across first and then it was with dread that they contemplated the task before them. Two of them went across first, they were good swimmers and reached the bank on the other side in good time. Father was one of the next two men that started across. He was not much on the "swim" and barely got across, and would not have made it if it had not been for a grape vine that was suspended from the branch of a tree and hung over the water. He said his nose was just ready to dip when he got hold of the grapevine. The last man then started but failed to make the other shore.

Father (Oscar Fitzaland Thompson) always felt that Chapman should have been saved by one of the better swimmers.

This was the sad ending of an "Indian Scare."

By Mrs. Elsie Thompson Hauxhurst
( born July 2, 1855; died at Salt Lake City, Utah July 26, 1938; age 83 years)

Oscar Thompson married again for the 3rd time. The third wife was Jane (Hildreth, I think – sister of Will) James who had several children by a former marriage. Their names – George, John, Wallace, Gertrude and Jennie. So it was a fine thing for them all, while Oscar had a housekeeper and mother for his children, he also was as a father to these children. Jennie never came west and lives in Vermont. Wallace lives in Waterloo, having spent most of his life on the Old Thompson Homestead east of Nashua. Gertrude or Aunt Gertie married Elmer Buell. She lives at Minneapolis or St. Paul Minn. The one that we are most interested in now to carry on our story is Frederick Oscar Thompson.

Buroker – Pence

Martin Pence was the father of Catherine Pence.

Name Birthplace Born Died
Joshua Buroker Shenandoah, VA 10 Mar 1806 1887
Catherine Pence Shenandoah, VA 1816 23 Aug 1863
Martin Sims Twp, Grant Co, IN 9 Jul 1832  
Elizabeth Sims Twp, Grant Co, IN 17 Jan 1834  
Levi Sims Twp, Grant Co, IN 8 Oct 1835  
Susan Sims Twp, Grant Co, IN 22 Sep 1837 **  
Maryanne   1 Dec 1839  
Darius   12 Aug 1842  
Nancy   5 Sep 1844  
Jacob   24 Jan 1847  
Sarah   6 Apr 1849  
Joseph   13 Feb 1852  
Caroline   11 Feb 1854  
Lewis   21 Jun 1856  
Alvin   3 Sep 1858  
Almeda   6 Sep 1861  

** grandmother of LO Thompson

Joshua and Catherine Pence Buroker established their home about 1830 on 80 acres in Sims Twp, Grant County, IN. They had a one room house or cabin with what Joseph Buroker (a son) calls a shed kitchen. Later they built a two story hewed log house 18’ x 30’ with a porch and kitchen. I asked Uncle Joe to tell me something about those days. He says in part, "We felt like we lived in town when the new house was finished." He was born in 1852 and the hardships were of the past. He says, "I do not date far enough back to know much of hard times. Two of my brothers Jake and Darius "went out" for the Civil War. They both served over two years. There were fourteen children in our family and we had good times always. There are but two of us still alive (1929) Joseph and Lewis." Joseph is postmaster at Sweester, IN. Lewis is a farmer and lives near Swayzee, IN.

This is where we find the Coffman story. We have no trace of the origin of John Coffman or Margarette Baker. They lived someplace in Penn. It was in Penn. that their son Henry was born. He is the one that we are to carry on. Henry Coffman was born in Penn. Jan 5, 1824. As a young man he became an expert on the violin and played to entertain the passengers on board the Susquehanna River steamboats. Henry Coffman was married twice – the first time to Nancy Baxter. (Uncle Joe Buroker says Nancy led him a dog's life and the old lady Baxter was a Tartar). There were two children, Rachel, who married Amos P. Sommars and George who joined the 787colors during the Civil War. He died in service and is buried in a National Cemetery near New Orleans.

The Coffmans

This following information was furnished by Vadia Perkins, daughter of Peter and Elizabeth Coffman Perkin.

Name Born Married Died
John Coffman, Sr. Jun 18, 1799 Jan 14, 1923 Apr 18, 1866
Margarette Baker Jul 16, 1803   Aug 27, 1877
Henry Coffman Jan 5, 1824 (1) Feb 7, 1858 - Nancy Baxter Oct 30, 1886
    (2) Susan Buroker (Sep 34. 1837 - Feb 9, 1905)  
George Coffman Dec 25, 1825 Jan 15, 1852 - Barsheba Anderson Sep 28, 1852
Elizabeth Coffman Nov 8, 1827 Sep 25, 1848 - Peter Perkins May 10, 1906
John Baker Coffman Oct 14, 1829 Oct 16, 1851 - Mary Lane Nov 5, 1900
Mary Ann Coffman Oct 3, 1834 Apr 8, 1857 - Emanuel Pence Sep 30, 1880
Catherine Coffman Sep 3, 1832    
William Coffman  Feb 3, 1837 Sep 23, 1868 - Isabel Clanin Jun 18, 1899
Sarah Jane Coffman Nov 4, 1839   Jun 2, 1856 **
Ephriam B. Coffman  Sep 17, 1841 Oct 27, 1867 - Parthena Casinger  
Margaret Senitha Coffman Nov 3, 1843 Mar 1, 1862 - Ethon Allen Lucas Feb 13, 1925
Albert Moorhouse Coffman  Aug 18, 1849 Ida Kem Nov 27, 1917
Nancy B. Coffman July 1, 1850   Nov 3, 1855

** Buried Thrailkill Cemetery, Converse, IN

When Rachel was but eight years old Henry married again, this time to Susan Buroker. The Coffmans moved to Richland County, Wisconsin where they lived some years and then moved to Bremer County, Ia somewhere around 1870 and lived near Horton, Ia.

They had a family of seven children:

  1. Henrietta, born in Ind. 1858 Mother of Will Runyon
  2. Catherine, born in Ind. 1850 Mother of Walter, Clarence and Glen Housons
  3. Elizabeth, born in Ind. Mother of Emory & Belle Potter
  4. William E. born in Ind. Father of Nora, Louis, Ira, Warren and Mildred Coffman
  5. Emily born in Wisconsin 1865, Mother of LO and Cal Thompson
  6. Emory born in Wisconsin – died in infancy, buried at Horton, Ia
  7. Olive born in Bremer Co, IA 1873 Mother of Verlyn, Hazel, Clarence, Ralph, Merle, Ida Belle, Lucille and Olive McKenzie

Mrs. Olive Coffman McKenzie has furnished a lot of the record and this is largely her story that follows. Henry and Susan Buroker Coffman with their children came overland from Richland Co Wisc. to Bremer Co Iowa. While traveling overland, the hardship was so great that all suffered but the baby Emory suffered most and soon after their arrival in Bremer Co, the little boy was laid at rest in the Horton Cemetery. I [Mrs. Olive McKenzie] was the youngest child in the family and was born after settling in Iowa. Our home was not like the modern homes of today [1929], but it was a happy home. It seemed to be a favorite place for young and old to gather. Many days our yard was a large playground for the house was not large enough to hold them all. Every year we had lots of melons, Father (Henry Coffman) would build a long table under the large cottonwood tree in the yard and many people gathered around that table.

That cottonwood tree has a bit of unique history. Uncle Jake Cagley cut a stick from a cottonwood tree to use on his horses while helping Father plow corn, after the work was finished he stuck one end in the ground. That night a good rain came and the whip started to grow and is still standing.

There were a lot of Indians and they caused a great deal of worry. If they could beg a little sugar they would usually go on.

One year Father lost some hogs with cholera, he hauled them out quite a way from the house. It was cold and before long some Indians came and asked for the meat. They cooked the meat and ate it without any ill effects, so far as we knew.

The children were all good singers and many happy hours were passed that way.

In 1882, our family moved to a farm east of Bradford, Ia. It was while we lived here that Sister Emily and I (Olive) attended the Thompson School. Two years later, in 1884 we moved to a small farm south of Plainfield, Ia and after a year there, Father bought a place two miles from Horton, Ia where we lived until his death Oct 30, 1886. Mother and I were the only ones at home so we moved to Horton where Mother took up carpet weaving. After I left home to establish my own home, Mother married an old friend of the family, Emanuel Pence of Converse, Ind and they lived here until her death Feb 9-1905. Her body was brought to the Horton Ia cemetery to rest beside her husband Henry Coffman and son Emory. (I wonder if this Emanuel Pence was the same that married Henry’s sister Mary Ann Coffman?)

Frederick Oscar Thompson, born on a farm near Nashua Feb 2-1865. Married March 10-1886 to Emily Crucian Coffman born near Richland Center Wisconsin on June 5th 1966. Born to them were four sons named

  1. Lucien Ora Born July 30-1887
  2. Calvin Carleton Born Aug 12-1889
  3. Samuel W Born July 17-1895 – died Oct 24, 1924
  4. Robert A. Born March 2, 1900 – Killed in World War I Oct 9-1918 Buried in France

This is the end of the book as written 1929 by Calvin Carleton Thompson.

This page was last modified on March 11, 2007