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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #39 John A. Thompson, Husband of Mattie Hairston and His Surprising Link to John Neely Bryan, Founder of Dallas, Texas

The solid lines indicate that the connection to the family is documented while
the dotted lines indicate that direct evidence has not yet been found to
make the connection. Click on the family tree to see a larger image.
No Story Too Small
I descend from both Hairstons and Bryans on my father's side. My late
cousin, Jackie, told me that our Bryans were related to John Neely Bryan, founder of Dallas, Texas. I never found a connection between my Bryan family and John Neely Bryan and put it aside as another tall tale.

 A reconstructed model of the home and trading
 post erected in 1841 by Dallas founder,
 John Neely Bryan.
However, today when researching Mattie Hairston's second husband, John A. Thompson, I found a link to John Neely Bryan. John's sister, Sarah Jane, was the wife of John Neely Bryan, Jr. Maybe the story about being connected to John Neely Bryan was not so much a tall tale, but information that had been misconstrued. 

My direct family line is in no way related to John Neely Bryan, but all of my grandmother's close Thompson cousins could call John Neely Bryan, Jr. Uncle John as he was married to their father's sister.

John A. Thompson was born in Tennessee to Moses S. Thompson and Martha Warnick on February 26, 1848. The family moved often when he growing up. In 1850, his family was living in Henry County, Tennessee, but by 1860 they were living in Conway County, Arkansas. A move to Dallas County, Texas followed in 1865 and before 1878 Moses Thompson and some of his children were in Erath County, Texas. 
John's known siblings are listed below.
  • Mary Thompson was born about 1840 and appeared on the 1850, 1860, and 1870 census records with the Thompson family.
  • William Thompson was born about 1842 and appeared on the 1850 and 1860 census records with the Thompson family.
  • Lucinda Thompson was born in 1843, married Tom Newton, and is buried in the Old Gordon Cemetery in Palo Pinto County. 
  • Sarah Jane Thompson was born in 1846, married John Neely Bryan, Jr. and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Wichita Falls, Texas.
  • Robert W. Thompson was born in 1850 and married Sarah Elkins in Erath County. Robert, Sarah, and one child, Agnes are buried in the Bethel Cemetery in Erath County.
  • Margaret Ellen Thompson was born in 1856 and married Samuel Anderson. She died in in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma and is buried in Highland Cemetery along with some of her children. 

John A. Thompson married Mary A. Lowery on June 16, 1878. They had daughter Mahalia who married William Benjamin Smith in 1899.  It is not known if Mary Lowery passed away or the marriage dissolved, but on August 28, 1884, John married Martha Elizabeth "Mattie" Hairston Chisum in Erath County. 

John and Mattie had five children; Floyd William, Aaron Whitney, Edgar Richard, Jessie Mae, and Claud Clarence. Mattie also had three children from her previous marriage; Walter, Philip, and Stella Chisum. They lived in the Bethel Community where John died following a wagon accident that occurred while he was building a new home in 1899.


© 2014

Sources Texas, Marriage Collection, 1814-1909 and 1966-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Find A Grave. Find A Grave.

"Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records." Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Oct. 2014. <>.

Ipri, Tom. "John Neely Bryan Cabin."Flickr. Yahoo!, 24 Jan. 2012. Web. 7 Oct. 2014. <>.

Lewis Publishing Company. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas., Book, 1892; digital images, ( : accessed October 05, 2014), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Dallas Public Library, Dallas, Texas.

Year: 1850; Census Place: District 13, Henry, Tennessee; Roll: M432_884; Page: 361A; Image: 235.

Year: 1860; Census Place: Griffin, Conway, Arkansas; Roll: M653_39; Page: 576; Image: 578; Family History Library Film: 803039.

Year: 1870; Census Place: Precinct 3, Dallas, Texas; Roll: M593_1581; Page: 360B; Image: 205; Family History Library Film: 553080.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Precinct 1, Erath, Texas; Roll: 1302; Family History Film: 1255302; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 149.

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