Family History – Part Three

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[READ PART TWO]

Part Three

Here’s a sample of Joshua’s writing, taken from his Preface:

About seven years ago, I started to write sketches of my Father’s family history (including my brothers and sisters) and short biographies of each of his children. As I was the only surviving child of a large family of eleven children, it seemed to me that God had lengthened out my life and health for a purpose and had given me a family to train up in the way they should go, both by example and precept, and the six children who are living might prize a work of this kind from the brain and pen of their aged Father as one of his last acts of kindness that would remain with his children when his body is laid to rest in the silent grave.

I have to write under some disadvantages as some of the events I shall narrate took place many years before I was born and I got the facts orally from my Parents more than sixty years ago and stored them in my memory. My parents are dead over fifty years. As to the age of my grandparents, I had to suppose or guess their ages. I had my parents’ age in a family record and that of all their children. I left my first family home at the age of twenty-nine years. My parents had died and I left in the year 1852 [leaving] three brothers and four sisters all in good health and in 1882 the last one died leaving me the only living child in my Father’s family. It is wonderful how well the memory retains what it gained in childhood or youth. I cannot trace our Family history in the past further back than Grandfather.

As a strong inducement for me to undertake such a task now in my old age, my children have given me tangible proof of their sincerity in supplying me with blank books for me to write a copy for each of them (providing the task was not too much for my strength) as they would preserve it carefully as a lasting souvenir of my many acts of paternal kindness to my family. I make no promises as the future is all hid from me. My life and times are in the hands of my Heavenly Father. I have four blank books to fill; not a bad year’s work for me to do. “I may die in the harness” and some of my children may complete the task. I feel better to be employed at something that may benefit those I shall leave behind. If I have blank pages to spare, I will give a short sketch of my mother’s family (the Langfords) and the mothers of my children (the Walden and the Stewart families). They well deserve a page in this book of chronicles.

If these biographies and narratives and reviews give my children or grandchildren or reader of these pages the pleasure they have given the writer, I will be amply rewarded. I pray that God may preserve me in health to finish this volume which I will cheerfully present to my son Dr. C. W. Thompson of Clinton and his family to improve on a new edition.

I have written this introduction on Saturday the Sixth day of May, 1905. May Almighty God bless this last effort of your aged Father and Grandfather! Amen!

Joshua Thompson
St. Marys
[Updated September 10, 1910]

Part One |Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine

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5 Comments on “Family History – Part Three”

  1. Deb Says:

    This is amazing, Larry!


  2. Thought you’d like the last version “PREFACE”… now on two pages!
    SOURCE: “A Sketch of the Thompson Family for the last 125
    Years” by Joshua Thompson of St. Mary’s now in his 86th
    year, July 9, 1909

    1 PREFACE:
    The author of these Biographies presents these
    narratives to his descendants, with much diffidence,
    and under a deep sense of his many imperfections.
    About ten years ago, I commenced writing sketches of
    my Parent’s history, and short Biographies of each of their
    children, on pad paper. It seemed to me that God had wisely
    lengthened out my life for a purpose, and had given to
    me a large family to train up in the way they should
    go both by example and Precept.
    Five of my children had died, and the six who remain
    might prize a Family History and Record of past relatives,
    and Events, and to none living as well known, as the present
    author.
    In sketching the history of my Father’s Parentage, and
    for more than forty years of my Parents natural life. I
    do it from memory, what I got Orally from my parents,
    more than sixty years ago, and will not knowingly, write any
    event, but what I believe to be strictly true, and I have
    placed the dates as correct as possible.
    30 Dec 1847 – My Father is dead over fifty eight years,
    and he was in his thirty eighth year when I was born, and
    if I count seven years for my Childhood, that would only
    leave me seventeen years contemporary with my Father,
    Insane – and about half that time he was mentally weak.
    Apr 1851 -My mother is dead fifty five years. It is wonderful
    how well the memory retains what it learns in childhood or
    youthful years. I cannot trace our Family History further
    back than my Grand Parents. and have to guess their ages
    (turn over)

    2 PREFACE
    As a strong inducement to undertake such a task
    for me in my old age, my children have given me
    tangible proof of their sincerity in supplying me with
    Blank books to write a copy for each of them, if the
    task was not to much for my strength, as they would
    preserve it carefully and prize it highly as a lasting
    souvenir of my many acts of Paternal kindness to
    my Family.
    I make no promises as to the future, it is hid from
    me. My life and times are in God’s care. This is now
    my seventh copy of Family History I have commenced
    and I might be spared to finish and think it my last,
    or nearly so. Each of these blank books cost two dollars
    or over in Hamilton, and it takes me my spare hours,
    over two months to write a copy, should I died with
    pen in my hand, some one will finish the task.
    I had my Parent’s age, and all their children in a
    Family Record, which they kept on a fly leaf, of
    an old book in our family home, but not the age
    of my Grandparents, or my Uncles or Aunts. I did
    not forget their names or calling. I will record what
    I know of my Mother’s Family. Also a short Sketch
    of my first wife’s family, the Walden’s and my present
    wife’s family, the Stewart Family.
    I left my native home at the age of 29 years in Oct
    1852 and three brothers and Four sisters, all in good
    health, and 30 years after, in June 1882, the last living
    one died, leaving me the only living child of my Parents.
    If I am spared to finish this volume. I cheerfully present
    it to my youngest daughter M. Gertrude Thompson St.
    Mary’s (now married to H. Pringle living in Victoria)
    I have written this Introduction April 9th 1906, in my
    eighty-third year.
    Joshua Thompson
    I am renewing and making additions –
    March 1911 – J.T., St. Mary’s
    June 1910 – J.T., St. Mary’s
    Sep/Oct 1912 – J.T.
    Nov 1913 – J.T.
    Oct 1914 – J.T.
    Aug 1915 – J.T.
    1916 to 1948 – Gertrude Pringle entered some BMD dates.

    NOTE: There was a 32 page history written by Joshua that appears in the back of his 2d Edition compilations, completed
    on the 4th of Dec 1904:

    “The Life of Christ” and
    “Lives of some of the Apostles”.

    Joshua’s last entry in the family section was at the birth
    of his grandaughter Margaret Jean Lapum Pringle on
    27 Aug 1912.
    At some point, it was given to the Rev. Laura Butler of Metropolitan United Church, Victoria, BC
    and she returned it to the family in October 1998.

    I wonder if this makes for SEVEN copies, as he
    has written above…


  3. oh.. yes… both prefaces on two pages..

    • Larry Says:

      It does indeed seem that Joshua complete six copies for his children, and perhaps a master for himself, totalling seven. Makes one wonder about the fate of the rest. It could also make for an interesting comparative project down the road. Thank you so much for sharing and comparing the ‘Gertrude’ preface!


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