The Thompson Choctaw Indians Photo Gallery

Thompson Choctaw Indian Descendants Association

Representing the interests of the Choctaw & Chickasaw Indians of Rusk and Smith Counties in the state of Texas

 Our People 1818-2000

"A Brief Community History"

The Thompson family of Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians of Smith and Rusk counties in east Texas and southern Oklahoma, trace their Native American blood lines back to Sally McCoy a half blood Chickasaw Indian listed on the 1818 Chickasaw Annuity Roll. Her first husband was a full blood Choctaw whose name is unknown. From this union she had three children Margaret, William and Judge James McCoy (Supreme Judge of the Chickasaw Nation). Later she was married to Harry Fraser a half blood Chickasaw with whom she had at least one son, Dickson Fraser (Frazier) and possibly one daughter Polly. Her last husband was Major James Colbert a half blood Chickasaw and the son of Scottish trader James Logan Colbert. From that union, one child was born named Jincy Colbert, however she died young leaving no descendants. Most of the individuals that make up the Indian community in Smith and Rusk Counties are descendants of Sally's daughter Margaret who married Henry Butt Thompson who was of Scot-Irish and a small percentage of Cheraw Indian ancestry.


The Thompson's along with allied Choctaw-Chickasaw families such as the Jackson's, Jones, McCoy's, Colbert's, Love's and some relatives of Mingo Apukshunnubbee began settling in east Texas in 1835, forming two communities known as Patroon and Theona (1835 Republic of Texas Census). By 1837, the villages were combined and located on Attoyac Bayou near what is now the Rusk/Panola County border in east Texas. At that time it contained about seventy Choctaws and a few Chickasaws according to Republic of Texas authorities (Texas Indian Papers). This was also the first time that the group was listed as an independent band of Choctaw Indians being referred to as Yawani Choctaws by the Texas government.


Our peoples association with the Cherokee Indians in Texas can be seen in our inclusion into the Treaty of February 23, 1836 as an "Associate Tribe" of the Texas Cherokees. Our people generally left Texas following the brutal attack on the Cherokee by the Texas Army in July 1839. However, a few did remain, including Jeremiah Jones and William Thompson, the son of Margaret McCoy-Thompson. William, along with two half blood Cherokees, Devereaux and Samuel Bell, sought to acquire lands from the Republic as a grant in the spring of 1840. With the threat of more Anglo retaliation against them, William left for Fort Towson in the Choctaw Nation. Whereas, Devereaux Jarrett Bell was soon to became known as Chicken Trotter, joining Vicente Cordoba and the Mexican Army, in leading the remaining Cherokees against the Army of Texas until the Treaty of Birds Fort in 1843.


William Thompson died at Fort Towson, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory on September 1, 1840. As to how many family members stayed in Texas is not known, but it is believed that nearly all the others except for Jeremiah Jones and his family, returned to Mississippi. In 1845 Benjamin Franklin Thompson, a whiteman and cousin of Henry Butt Thompson relocated to Rusk County, Texas. He had married a Cherokee, Annie Martin, the daughter of Cherokee Chief Justice John Martin and Eleanor McDaniel (the granddaughter of Granny Hopper). He, his sisters family (Rachel Thompson, wife of Black Watt Adair) along with a number of his wife's relatives formed the Mount Tabor Community in northwestern Rusk County. (A name given to the community by John Bell Jr., see Cherokee Cavaliers and Genealogy of Old and New Cherokee Families.) The Cherokees of Rusk County included some of the Starr, Vann, Duncan, Benge, Adair, Bell, Cooper, Harnage, Harlan, Watie, Green and Candy families. These Cherokees who were part of the Ridge Faction (Ridge Party or Treaty Party), were granted permission to settle in Texas and acknowledged as a distinct group by President Polk over the arguments of Texas authorities.

Mount Tabor Indian Community ca. 1860, photo courtesy Stephen F. Austin University-Thompson Collection

In 1851 Archibald Thompson, the brother of William, returned to Texas leading a group of Choctaws to Mount Tabor. The Choctaws along with the Cherokee Harnage's and Cooper's settled to the southwest of the original community just across the Smith County line near present day Overton, Texas. Along with Archibald were the sons of his brother William and four sons of his brother Henry. Thus the foundations for the community were laid. Additional Choctaw, Chickasaw and Creek families moved into the area, but for most this was only temporary. With the death of Bill Berryhill, (of which Berryhill Creek in Rusk County was named after) all of the Muscogee (Creek) families left the area, some joining the Alabama-Coushatta in Polk County and others making the trip into the Creek Nation with the Pakana Muscogees. The majority of the Cherokees left the area following the death of Chief John Ross in 1866. Ross was seen as the arch villain to the Ridge Party Cherokees and his death along with the end of the Civil War was seen as a sign for better times in the Cherokee Nation. Among the Choctaws that came to Mount Tabor, was the family of Thomas Fanning an Irishman and his half blood Choctaw wife Sally Doak-Fanning. Sally was the granddaughter of Mingo Apukshunnubbee and the daughter of Trader William Doak (by his second wife), the owner of Doak's Stand where a major treaty of the Choctaw was signed between the nation and the United States government. Two of their granddaughters, Inez Monterey and Willie Ann Virginia Fannin married local Choctaw-Chickasaws. They were the daughters of William Moore Fannin and his wife Sarah Horton. Sarah was the daughter of J.R. Horton a whiteman and Elizabeth Hicks who was half Chickasaw and one-eighth Cherokee. The rest of the Fanning family, with the exception of one other son, did not maintain ties to the Choctaw Nation and faded into the dominant society. The other son who proved to be the exception was Nathaniel Fannin who died at Willis, Chickasaw Nation in 1891. His death before the start of the allotment period meant that his children who left with their white mother for Arkansas would not be included on the Final Rolls of the Choctaw Nation.


The only Cherokees remaining in the community after 1870 were some of the Thompson's, Starr's, Harnage's, Green's and a few of the Bean's and Coopers. Even these were reduced by 1900 as the older family heads died off such as George Harnage. Today most of his descendants are a part of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. During this period, most Choctaws stayed in Texas rather than relocate to Indian Territory. However in 1895 a large group did relocate to Atoka in the Choctaw Nation while others settled near Marlow in the Chickasaw Nation. William C. Thompson, the son of William Thompson and Elizabeth Jones Mangum became the primary leader of those that settled in the Chickasaw Nation, whereas Martin Luther Thompson lead those at Atoka.


With the Dawes Commission intent upon destroying tribal land holdings, they set about designing a tribal roll that would allot certain portions of the tribal estates to tribal citizens. A number of the Thompson's relocated to Indian Territory in order to be eligible to apply. Of those that did apply, it became a very extensive fight, eventually going to the United States Supreme Court in the case of William C. Thompson et al vs. Choctaw Nation. In the end, only those that were a part of this case were enrolled, as all of the others had their applications "lost". In several cases it went so far as one individual would be enrolled whereas all of his or hers siblings were not. When these Choctaws appealed they were told, as with the case of Althea Thompson, that there was no record she ever applied in the first place. Yet correspondence between the Choctaw Nation and her father (see letter below) and other family members proved otherwise. In all the Dawes Commission disenfranchised some forty-two Thompson Choctaws, while not including another four Thompson's due to their father dying before the rolls closed (John Thurston Thompson Jr. in 1907).

The above letter demonstrates the problems many Texas Choctaws had with the Dawes Commission as the Choctaw Nation had already issued a citizenship certificate to Martin Luther Thompson as shown above. Letter courtesy of O. Phillip Kent

Most of those that were excluded returned to Texas rejoining those that didn't go to begin with. Thus the present community took shape, with the Choctaws far outnumbering the Cherokee descendants. Throughout much of our communities' history, we have been seen and mis-labeled as Cherokees. Our families did remain tied to the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands, until 1975 when it became a non-entity in Oklahoma following the adoption of the constitution of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. While the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands in the state of Texas continued to struggle to survive under the leadership of Judge Foster Bean, Mack Starr and Jerry Thompson, the evolution of the Choctaws as the dominant bloodlines within the group continued. Today, while the old Mount Tabor town site no longer exists, our people continue to remain near it in our east Texas homeland, keeping some of the traditions alive within our community, while time and the influences of the dominant society eat away at what is Choctaw. The Thompson-Choctaws hope to keep these ways alive in the hearts of our young and this photo gallery is but one way to do so. We hope you'll enjoy viewing a little of the mix-blood Choctaw Indian community and who we are in these pages.


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"Our People"

Archibald Thompson taken ca. 1850, Lauderdale County, Mississippi. Archibald was a mix blood Choctaw-Chickasaw and leader of the Choctaws within the Mount Tabor Indian Community in Texas from 1851-1856. He was one of three sons of Henry Butt Thompson and Margaret McCoy -Thompson (3/4 Choctaw-Chickasaw). Archibald died in 1856 and was the first person buried in Asbury cemetery in Smith County, Texas. Archibald was married twice, the first time to Elizabeth Jackson a full blood Choctaw and sister of his brother Henry's wife. His second wife was Anna Strong Thompson, his first cousin who was of some Cheraw blood but was not Choctaw. (photo courtesy Dr. Douglas Hale and O. Phillip Kent)


Benjamin Franklin Thompson a whiteman and son of William Allen Thompson and Mary Johnston (second cousin to Archibald Thompson above) lived among the Native Americans in the east most of his life. He married a mix-blood Cherokee, Annie Martin, and relocated to Rusk County with other Ridge Party Cherokees and some Choctaws in 1845. He later purchased some 10,000 acres of land of which the original estate at Laird Hill, Texas is still in family hands. Although white, his influence among the Ridge Party Cherokees in Indian Territory and Texas was quite strong. His sister Rachel married a half blood Cherokee named Black Watt Adair and two of his brothers, Johnson and James Allen Thompson also married mix-blood Cherokees of the Lynch family all of which are still influential among the Cherokees in Oklahoma today. Benjamin was buried in the Thompson Cemetery in Rusk County. (photo courtesy of R. Nick Hearn)



Photo of the old Wiley Thompson home place. Wiley was the son of Charles Madison Thompson and a great grandson of mix blood Choctaw-Chickasaw Henry Thompson Jr. (brother of Archibald above) and Priscilla Jackson a full blood Choctaw. (photo courtesy of Jesse Thompson)




Winburn Jones (far right) and relatives, Smith County, Texas ca. 1890. He removed his family from Texas to the Chickasaw Nation in 1895 and was enrolled as 15/32 Choctaw (roll number 16017) in the William C. Thompson et al vs. Choctaw Nation case in 1909, thereby being placed on a supplemental roll of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. (photo courtesy of Cecil Lee Pinkston Vinson)


Willie Ann Virginia Fannin daughter of William Moore Fannin, the son of Sally Doak-Fanning and great grandson of Choctaw Mingo Apukshunnubbee. Her mother was Sarah Horton, the granddaughter of Rueben Hicks a quarter blood Cherokee (nephew of Cherokee Chief's Charles R. Hicks and William Hicks) and Chomoctay a full blood Chickasaw. Willie married first Lee Dan Nelson (photo below) a mix-blood Choctaw-Chickasaw of which she had two children. Following his death she married his cousin, Robert Lee Thompson (photo below) and had four children by this union. She removed to the Choctaw Nation in 1897. Following problems with Choctaw enrollment she and her husband Robert returned to Texas where she remained the rest of her life. Photo taken at Stigler, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. (photo courtesy Liddie Belle Thompson-Yates)







Martin Erastus "Uncle Rack" Nelson ca. 1892 Martin was the son of Lee Dan Nelson and Willie Anne Virginia Fannin (Choctaw-Chickasaw-Cherokee). Lee Dan was the son of Ole Lee Nelson a whiteman of Norwegian blood and Alsey Ann Thompson the daughter of Archibald Thompson by his second wife (and cousin) Anna Strong Thompson. Rack moved to California in his adult life and died in Sacramento in 1975. His was one of the forty-two enrollment applications of Texas Choctaws "lost" by the Dawes Commission. (photo courtesy of Cecil Lee Pinkston-Vinson)



Thomas Umphres Thompson (left) and his brother Lemuel Turner Thompson, were sons of Henry Thompson Jr. and Priscilla Jackson. Thomas married his first cousin Martha Strong Thompson, daughter of Archibald and Anna Thompson. He was killed during the Civil War in 1864 and was later buried at Asbury Cemetery in Smith County. His son Martin Luther Thompson and wife Inez Monterey Fannin-Thompson removed to the Choctaw Nation in 1895 but later returned to Texas and were part of the forty-two Choctaws whose applications were "lost" by the Dawes Commission. Martin was a leader of the Texas Choctaws until his death in 1946. Lemuel first married a whitewoman, Julia Ann Marie Collins and after her death married a mix-blood Cherokee, Sarah Jane Henson. He died from falling from his horse in 1872 and was buried in the Asbury Cemetery. He had been blinded from injuries received during the Civil War in Mississippi. This photo was taken ca. 1859 in Smith County, Texas. (photo courtesy Brad Thompson)



Lee Dan Nelson, son of a Norwegian father and a mix-blood Choctaw-Chickasaw mother. His mother Alsey Ann Thompson was the daughter of Archibald Thompson and Anna Strong Thompson. Lee Dan married another mix-blood Choctaw-Chickasaw, Willie Anne Virginia Fannin. He died in 1891 and is buried in the Asbury Cemetery in Smith County. (photo courtesy Cecil Lee Pinkston-Vinson)




Alsey Ann Thompson daughter of Archibald Thompson and Anna Strong Thompson. She was the mother of Lee Dan Nelson (above photo). She first married William Alexander Fox of whom she had at least one child, William Alexander Fox Jr. Following his death she married Ole Lee Nelson a whiteman. She was born in 1835 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi and died in Smith County, Texas. She is buried in the Asbury Cemetery in Smith County under the name Alsia Nelson. (photo courtesy Dr. Irv May)




Lucy Incy McCoy-Harris was the daughter of Judge James McCoy and Sibbie Walker-McCoy, also a mix blood Choctaw-Chickasaw. James was at one time the Supreme Judge of the Chickasaw Nation and later a Chickasaw Legislator. He was also the brother of Margaret McCoy-Thompson. Lucy married Robert Maxwell Harris on July 4, 1872. Robert was later elected Governor of the Chickasaw Nation on August 12, 1896 and was one of the last Governors before Oklahoma statehood. Lucy and Robert had seven children together, all enrolled as Citizens by Blood in the Chickasaw Nation. Lucy died at Tishomingo, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory on November 15, 1891. (photo from Pioneers of Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory by Nova A. Lemon)





Robert Lee Thompson (Windy Bob), son of Lemuel Turner Thompson and Sarah Jane Henson. Robert and his family moved to Atoka, Choctaw Nation along with his cousin (and brother in-law) Martin Luther Thompson in 1897 but returned to Texas due to the problems in seeking enrollment with the Choctaw Nation. Robert and his family were part of the forty-two Texas Choctaws whose applications for Choctaw citizenship were "lost" by the Dawes Commission. He settled by 1910 in west Texas near the community of O'Brien. He married Willie Anne Virginia Fannin on April 15, 1893 and had four children by this union. Bob was a 32nd degree Mason and the only known Texas Choctaw to have ever been a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He died in 1959 and is buried in the Rochester Cemetery near Rochester in Haskell County, Texas. (photo courtesy Liddie Belle Thompson-Yates)



Troup, Texas School's 6th grade class in 1930 with a few Choctaw faces among the mostly white students at the school. (photo courtesy Smith County txgenweb)








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Cherokee Leaders of the Mount Tabor Indian Community


Two of the principal figures linking the Texas Cherokees under Duwali (Chief Bowles) and the Mount Tabor Indian Community were Devereaux Jarrett Bell also known as Chicken Trotter and David Vann. The portrait to the right is of David Vann who was influential in Cherokee affairs in Indian Territory and Texas. He was living at Mount Tabor when the Civil War broke out. Pro-union Cherokees known as Pin Indians killed him in Indian Territory in 1863. (photo courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society)





 Colonel William Penn Adair was the son of George Washington Adair and Martha "Patsy" Martin. Martha Martin was the daughter of Judge John Martin and a sister of Annie Martin-Thompson, wife of Benjamin Franklin Thompson. George Washington Adair was the son of Walter "Black Watt" Adair and Rachel Thompson the sister of Benjamin Franklin Thompson and second cousins of Henry Butt Thompson. William Adair rose to prominence during the Civil War as one of the primary officers of the Cherokee Mounted Rifles under Confederate General Stand Watie. After the death of Watie in 1871, Adair took over as the primary leader of the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands, including the Mount Tabor Community along with Clement Neely Vann the son of David Vann. In 1871, Adair and Vann began a serious of lawsuits aimed at getting the 1.5 million acres guaranteed to the Cherokees and Choctaws by the Treaty of 1836 with the Republic of Texas. These suits eventually went before the United States Supreme Court in 1920, and the Indian Claims Commission in 1948. The State of Texas offered 15 million acres of Texas panhandle land to settle the suit, but Adair declined as his eyes were always on the Texas Cherokee lands in the Piney Woods. William Penn Adair died in Washington, D.C. on October 21, 1880 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. (photo courtesy John Thompson Crim)





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Our People in the 20th Century



William Green "Bill" (Oklacutchubbee) Thompson and wife Thelma (Falbee) Lamb-Thompson at the 1925 meeting of the Texas Cherokees in Miami, Oklahoma. Bill was the son of Robert Lee Thompson and Willie Ann Virginia Fannin. He was the grandson of Lemuel Turner Thompson and great grandson of Henry Thompson Jr. and Priscilla Jackson. Willie Fannin-Thompson was the great great granddaughter of Choctaw Mingo Apukshunnubbee through her grandmother Sally Doak-Fanning. Her mother Sarah was the granddaughter of Rueben Hicks (the grandson of Nathan Hicks and Nayehi a full blood Cherokee) and Chomoctay a full blood Chickasaw. Bill was one of the forty-two Choctaws whose applications were "lost" by the Dawes Commission when he was a child. (photo courtesy of Thelma Ritter)






Charlotte Sample and her son Rus Muckleroy ca. 1885 in Rusk County, Texas. Charlotte was a slave of Mary Elizabeth Samples Harris-Thompson the second wife of Benjamin Franklin Thompson. Rus' father was John Martin Thompson, son of Benjamin Franklin Thompson and Annie Martin-Thompson. Rus was well taken care of by his father through the Thompson and Tucker Lumber Company. Following the death of John Martin Thompson in 1907, Rus disappeared and the whereabouts of his descendants are unknown. (photo courtesy Stephen F. Austin University-Thompson Collection)



William (Oklacutchubbee) Thompson and son Charles ca. 1918, Smith County, Texas. (photo courtesy Liddie Belle Thompson-Yates)











Thompson Choctaws at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Pow-wow in Gallup, New Mexico ca. 1935. (Photo from the late Dr. Irv May, but he wasn't sure exactly who it was.)










Left to right, top row, William Thompson, Maime Thompson and Lular Thompson. Second row, one child is believed to be Liddie Belle Thompson, but the other is unknown and could even be a doll rather than a child. This photo was taken ca. 1902 near Troup, Texas in Smith County. (photo courtesy Cecil Lee Pinkston-Vinson)








Dora Nelson-Speck daughter of Lee Dan Nelson and Willie Anne Virginia Fannin ca. 1930. Dora was one of the forty-two Choctaws whose applications were "lost" by the Dawes Commission when she was a child. (photo courtesy of Michael Allen)







Four generations, Dora Nelson-Speck, her daughter Nelma Speck (Brown) Allen, her daughter Betty Brown-Varner and her son Rex Varner ca. 1956 (photo courtesy of Michael Allen)








Charles Merrell Thompson with wife Muzetta Todd-Thompson and son Jerry Charles Thompson. Charles was the son of William Green Thompson and Thelma (Falbee) Lamb. His son Jerry was chairman of the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands from 1988-1998 and is currently the Chairman of the Board of the Thompson-Choctaw Indian Descendants Association. Charles died in 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri. Muzetta passed away in March 2001 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Photo taken ca. 1959 (photo courtesy J.C. Thompson)







Charles Merrell Thompson in 1961 about one year before his death. Pictured here with his favorite dog Whitey. (photo courtesy J. C. Thompson)


Jerry Thompson, Chairman of the Texas Cherokees and Associate Bands 1988-1998, along with his five year old son Jesse at an inter-tribal pow-wow in 1985. This photo made the front cover of a local magazine. (photo courtesy Urban Pioneer magazine)











 Liddie Belle Thompson-Yates along with her great great nephew Jesse Tylee Thompson, taken in 1993 at Canyon, Texas shortly before her death. She was the youngest daughter of Robert Lee Thompson and Willie Anne Virginia Fannin-Thompson. This photo was taken at the home of her son Guy Paul Yates. Belle was the wife of Chester Yates a quarter blood Choctaw and had three children with him, LaQueta, Guy and Catherine. (photo courtesy J. C. Thompson)



54th annual Thompson-Choctaw reunion supper at the old Wiley Thompson place, June 1999. Seated in front Barbara Thompson (Wyandot-Miami), wife of Jerry Thompson, and behind her is Ras Pool Deputy Chairman of the Texas Band of Choctaw Indians. Ras is the grandson of Martin Luther Thompson and Inez Monterey Fannin-Thompson. (photo courtesy of Jesse Thompson)








Lunch after the morning business meeting at the 54th annual Thompson reunion in June 1999. Brad Thompson (standing center) is the Chairman of the 2000 Reunion Committee. The lady at the far right and standing is Nancy Alvarado, member of the Business Committee of the Texas Band of Choctaw Indians. (photo courtesy Jesse Thompson)




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"Note photos of Thompson family at top of page courtesy of Cecil Lee Pinkston-Vinson"

Thus ends a brief photo essay of the Thompson-Choctaws. More photos will be added as time permits so please continue to check back often.



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Mikmut Chihowa yut yumma i nishkin okchi puyuta ma im a kasholichit chi; mikma nana tikba tuk ut ont taiyaha hoka, himak a pilla ma isht ai illi, micha nanukhaklo, micha yahaya aiena kut ik ai iksho ka he, mikmut na-hotopa mut ik ai oksho ka hi oke ahanchi tok.

Nan Otuni (Revelation) 21:4