THOMPSONS, TEXAS. Thompsons is on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe line and Farm Road 2759, twelve miles southeast of Richmond in eastern Fort Bend County. Settlement in the area began around 1830, when Robert E. Bohannon moved to Texas from Alabama and was given a land grant under a program where the Mexican government contracted with empresario Stephen F. Austin to bring in settlers. When Bohannon died, his wife married Hiram Thompson, who named the community after himself. It became a station on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe in 1879, and was granted a post office in 1888. The town at one time was called Thompson's Switch. By 1896 the community had an estimated 300 residents, who were served by a cotton gin, a general store, and two saloons. The community had a population of 104 in 1900. In 1903, the Thompson school district, surrounded by former plantations farmed predominantly by black tenants, had three black schools with 175 pupils and one white school with eight pupils. From the 1920s through the mid-1940s the town reported a population of seventy-five. The Cane Belt Railroad built a second line through the community in 1930, and in 1940 the town included a school, a cotton gin, a store, and two churches. In 1947 the community reported a population of 100; in 1972, 73; in 1982, 240; and in 1990, 167. The population was 236 in 2000. Thompsons incorporated in 1979.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. A. McMillan, comp., The Book of Fort Bend County (Richmond, Texas, 1926).

Mark Odintz


Thompsons Ferry

[There were two, One three miles above Richmond and one at Thompsons]

MORTON, JOHN V. (ca. 1805-1843). John V. Morton, early Texas soldier and lawman, son of William Morton,qv was born in Nashville, Tennessee, about 1805. He moved to Texas with his family in 1822 and lived at the Morton ferry near the site of present Fort Bend or Richmond. In 1836 he married Elizabeth Shipman, a daughter of Daniel Shipman.qv According to one authority Morton served in Company A under Andrew Briscoeqv at the battle of San Jacintoqv and by June 1836 was enrolled in Nicholas Lynch'sqv company. In December 1836 he was a lieutenant in the company of Robert D. McCaskey. In 1837 he polled ninety-five votes to win election as first sheriff of Fort Bend County. He also operated his ferry from 1838 to 1843. While serving as sheriff, he was killed at Richmond by George W. Pleasantsqv on February 7, 1843.  Read More


 

THOMPSON'S, TEXAS-POSTMASTERS

Haley Jr., Henry H., 17 Oct 1888

Slavin, John L., 27 Dec 1888

Slavin, Jas. W., 11 Jun 1895

Hampil, Julius W., 17 Apr 1915

Selleh, Steve, 1940 to 1965


Santa Fe To Abandon Stations

Regional Freight Needs Handled From Galveston Soon

Train Depot At Thompsons Since 1913 To Be Abandoned. Sold

Tom Murphy, assistant regional manager of Santa Fe public relations in Dallas,

 

says an agent still will man the Rosenberg depot, but his responsibilities will lie in

 

yard functions (such as train handling), not in accounting or billing.

Shippers who are accustomed to calling the Rosenberg agency will have to call a 24-hour toll free regional number for service.. Before a rail company is allowed to close an agency station, it must prove to the railroad commission that the public will not be adversely affected, according to commission information specialist Ray Grasshoff.

Murphy says Santa Fe is hoping to discontinue agencies all over the state, replacing

them with regional offices. Although about 13 regional offices have been

established, the company is still waiting for approval to close some stations.

Murphy said he did not know how  many Santa Fe employees could lose their jobs

as agencies close, but he did say some senior union members may "bump" other

employees. He said he did not know if this was the case with the Rosenberg and

Thompsons  stations. Thompspms residents reported that the Santa Fe agent

was moved to the Rosenberg station at the beginning of the year, although

Rosenberg declined comment on the matter. The Santa Fe railroad was founded

in Galveston in 1873, and was opened in Richmond-Rosenberg in 1878. By 1880,

Santa  Fe had   reached Brenham and Milano.


OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW

For years Thompsons was a town with a railroad running through it. Now it is a town with two raiiroads running through it. The 100-year-old Santa Fe Brazos River Bridge was replaced with a new modern, low-sided bridge. The old iron sided covered bridge was moved to the side, cut into scrap and hauled away Before this bridge was removed, Houston Lighting and Power and Union Pacific Railroad built another railroad bridge beside the Santa Fe bridges and continued the track from the Brazos River through the edge of Thompsons to the Parish Station Power Plant.


 

The railroad track going Southwest went to New Gulf to the sulphur plant at Bowling Texas. There used to be a train everyday that would come through Thompsons carrying sulfur to Galveston. Uncle John  Lundell, Uncle Lee "Buddy' Lundell, and Weems Moller used to go there every Sunday to play Golf. It was the only golf course around in the forties and early fifties. I used to go with them and mess around.

Huge pieces of sulfur spilled from the train along the main tracts in Thompsons. We would gather the sulfur, put it in Coke bottles. Then we would heat the sulfur until it reached a liquid state. When it cooled we would break the bottle and have a sulfur Coke bottle. Not a great idea now but fun then. By dumb luck we never burned ourselves.


A Drive through Thompsons

By Richard Selleh                                     

Steve Selleh, Richards's Father came to Thompsons in 1931 to work for Mr. Hampil in his General Mercantile Store. He bought the store from Mr. Hempil in 1945. Steve Selleh was Postmaster from 1940 to 1965. When Steve Selleh came to Thompsons they were just developing the oil field.

The road from Thompsons to Richmond was gravel and a bumpy washboard road. When the war started the oil field was very inmprtant to the war effort. The road to Richmond was paved in 1940.

Employes were paid once a month, at the end of the month. Many famlies who lived in Thompsons only went to town once a month, usually after payday. During the war years many items were rationed, such as meat, sugar, gasoline, tires, etc. Mr Hampil not only owned the store, he was a rancher. When we could not get meat for the store Mr. Hempil would slaughter one of his calves. He drove a Pontiac Coup with a Indian Chief Head hood ornament. Most of the time he would come by the house to pick me up when it was time to kill a calf. Mr Hampil would drive his car across tthe fields like is was a jeep. His men would follow in a pick up truck. When he found the right animal he would point to it and we would return home. The men would shoot the calf and field dress it. There were beams behind the store, they would hang the calf up and skin it. After washing , it would be carried into the store and put in the large icebox.

During the war years Mr. Swank was foreman for Humble Oil Co. and Uncle Early Freeman was the Gulf foreman. They supplied my father with ration tokens for gas and tires so we could keep the store suppleid during the war years. Thompsons suffered less than most towns during the war. Many of our young men went to war and most of them returned home after the war was over.

There was a ferry across the river at the end of North Thompsons Oil Field Road. The road was called the Thompsons Ferry Road. The road came out at DeWalt. The ferry washed away in the early 1930's.

The railroad came through Thompsons in the 1880's. The Thompsons Depot is now located off road 359 in Richmond. The depot was built in 1880's. The depot was closed around 1985.

A passenger train delivered the mail in the morning and afternoon until the mid 1940's When I was eight to ten years old we used to catch the passenger train to Rosenberg on Sunday mornings. We would see a movie and catch the afternoon train home.

Jesse George, Ray Longserre's father, used to bring his family to Thompsons for the summer. Jesse had a 16 millimeter sound movie projecter. Every week he would order a movie through the mail from California. Then on Friday night, if the weather was good he would show the movie outside in the yard. Most of the movies were good old shoot em up westerns. The movies were on two reels of tape. Between reels he would give us soda water and snacks.

During the height of Thompson' population there was maybe 400 to 500 people lived here.

Driving South on Oil Field Road from the railroad track

Before oil was discovered in the Lampley bottoms most residents of Thompsons were tenant farmers. Much of the farming was done with mules. Thompsons Oil Field Road was a dirt road with cotton fields all the way to Dry Bayou. Some of the early farmers were: Enoch McCall, Mark Freeman, Cleveland Mays, Ely Smith, Tom Turner and John Hargrove. On the left side of the road was a house ocuppied by Williams James, and his wife, mother, and grandson. William James was the gardner for Mrs. Hampil and Goldie Selleh. After William James died his grandson Harding Gamble was the gardner for Goldie for many years.

Fletcher and Allice Morgan's house and ranch is on the left. Rita Morgan Miller and Marion Garcia live just down Riggins Road.

Just past the first bridge on the left, lived Hiram Edwards, his wife, and grandson. Hiram used to collect the people of Thompsons trash in his mule drawn wagon. Lonnie and Bertha Kiser lived east of Hiram's house.

K. F. Copland and his son Mack were contractors to the oil companies. The Coplands lived just past the second bridge on the rignt hand side of the road. They had equipment but in the early days they used mules to do the heavy work. Mr. Copland had five or six small frame houses for his workers to live in. He contracted with the school board to pick up the Thompsons children and deliver them to the school at the Humble and Gulf camp. He also had a bus that he ran to Richmond and Rosenberg in the mornings and afternoons, The bus driver was Willie Novack.

The Humble Oil and Refining Co. and Gulf Oil maintained a camp of sixty to seventy houses for their workers. Texaco, Quintana, Naylor and Loffland Brothers Drilling Co. also maintained housed for their workers. There were about 60 to 75 famlies who lived in the oil field. The companies had workers who maintained the camp property. In the first building on the right in the old oil field camp is Exxon headquarters, the first town council met in this building. There were houses laid out in blocks with street lights. Just past the headquarters building in the next block was a recreation hall. On Sunday mornings they would hold church services there. They would have Sunday School from 10-11:00 A.M. Then they would have a non-denominational service from 11-1200 A.M. with 50 to 75 people in attendance. There was no real minister, the service was led by laymen. Shirley Selleh's uncle Robert Jakubik was one of them. School plays, covered dish suppers and dances where held in the recreation hall.

In the summer Humble and Gulf would have a big barbecue at Clear Lake, named for a small lake there. The workers and their famlies from other oil field camps would come for the day. There would be two to three thousand people at the gathering. They had big concrete barbecue pits at the lake and the men cooked all night so there would be enough food for the next day. The highlight of the day was the Houston Gulf Oilers would play the Thompsons Oilers in a fast pitch softball game.

Thompsons beat them two years in a row when we had Carl Buddy Russ pitching for us. Thompsons beat them the next year too. After loosing to us three out of four years they refused to play us again. Richard was not sure if Wayne Jones or J. T. Joines pitched the last win for us. One year when we beat the Gulf Oilers, Richard's uncle Lee "buddy" Lundell got the hit that won the game.

Richard Cones used to live here on Riggins Road. It looks like someone is living here as it is being mowed. Rita Morgan lives in the first house after the curve and Lillie Newton lives next to her. Lillie is 96 years old. Lillie's husband, Mack Newton, used to work in the oil field as a maintenance man.

Marion Garcia lives at the end of the road. To the northwest of Marion's house Silver Dollar Jim West had his oil holdings. Ed Wakefield was the foreman who took care of the oil field. Jim used to fly all over the country. He also constructed a 500+ foot tower so Ed could talk to him. Ed would have to stay up all night long so he could talk to Silver Dollar Jim West when he was flying to other parts of the country.

When Jim West died he had a big vault in his River Oaks house that was full of silver dollars. His office was in downtown Houston and he gave strangers he met on the street silver dolars. That was how he got his nickname "Silver Dollar Jim West". He was an eccentric rich oil man of the times.

Cemetery's of Thompsons

The cemetery on Riggins Road and Thompsons Oil Field Road is owned by the Riggins and Edwards families. It is still an active cemetery for family members.

Donna's concerned regarding MLK {previously Gubbles Road off Y. U. Jones} which has a cemetery on it. There are names on the grave stones. There is a soldier buried there who was killed in World War II. Y. U. Jones owned the land that the cemetery is on.

There is a cemetery on the Rudolf Gubbles ranch. Matt Gubbles, Rudolf Gubbles, Candace Gubbles and Norman Johnson are interred there.

There is a cemetery at the Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church.

A trip down Stephen's Lane

Where Ray Freshour lives there used to be a barn and a red wooden house. In the 40's there was a Mexican family called Davalos who lived there. There was a father and two sons, I do not remember any females there. They would work out in the fields where they raised cotton. When they would come in after work they would clean up and eat supper. After supper they would sit on a the large back porch and all three of them played the guitar. They would play and sing in Spanish until about 10 or 11 o'clock. That was almost every night. It was pleasant to hear them because they had pleasant voices.

Next to the Davalos there was a yellow house that was owned by Theo Oberhoff. The Lossy Jones family lived in it. The Jones children are Wayne, Philma, Geneva and Jo Ann. The next house was where Jack Redmond lived. Mr Jones worked for Naylor Oil Co. and Mr Redmond worked for Loffland Drilling Co. Their only child was a son named Donald.

Y. U. Jones Road

Y. U. Jones Road....Dad said Y. U. Jones had eighteen hundred acres of land, three hundred fifty thousand dollars cash in the bank, and 350 head of cattle when he died in the early 1930's. He owned the land from the railroad track on Thompson Highway to Y. U. Jones Road. He also owned three or four hundred acres on the south side of Y. U. Jones Road. Yuin was the grandfather who built the large ranch. Yuin Jones had passed away before I was born, My father always considered Yuin a good friend and spoke well of him.

Slavins were from Kentucky.  Nannie Slavin married Thomas Walter Jones, the youngest son of Henry Jones, Old 300 settler.  When T. W. Jones died, Nannie Jones and her daughter, Eliza, moved back to Kentucky.  Her descendants still own property around Thompsons.

On the left just past the second railroad track is the house Buster Hudgins built.

Just past the first bayou on the right is where Al Harris lived. Al was an employee of Humble Oil Co. He also had a cafe in Thompsons.

The house that is falling down in the jungle was Ben Boston's house. He had a son, Rod. This is the house where you can barely see the roof. Ben Boston worked in the store for my father. The next house is Ruth Cone's. Eddie Harrell lived here before Ruth. Later  he built the house next door. This house was built where the old cotton gin was.

Richard can remember when they would put the cotton bales on a wagon pulled by mules and take them to a freight platform behind the depot. They would store the bales there until a train came and loaded them for the trip to Galveston.

The freight platform behind the depot was where most of the heavy equipment used to build the oil field came in. The equipment came in by train and was unloaded on the platform. The gang trucks from the oil field with booms and winches would come and load the equipment for the trip to the oil field. Most of the first three generating stations of HL&P Smithers Lake plant came by train and was unloaded on the freight platform.

Buy the railroad track across from the gin there was a huge cattle pen that covered a least an acre. Twice a year ranchers would bring the cattle out of the bottoms and keep them at the cattle pen over night. During the night they would bring in a train which would idle through the night and the next morning at dawn they would start loading the cattle. They would load a car, pill it up and load another until they were all loaded. The loading process would take most of the day.

Twice a year the cowboys would bring the cattle out of the bottoms to be dipped. There would be hundreds of cattle with a dozen or so riders. Some of the cattle would get loose and run all around Thompsons. The dipping vat was behind the store. There were holding pens in which the cattle were held. Then, one by one, they were dipped. A cowboy with a Y-shaped tree branch would stand on each side of the vat and push the cow or bull's head underwater when they reached them. After the cattle had been diped the young people would throw our dogs in the vat and dip them. If the dogs were not tied they would run off before it was their turn. They really hated that dipping vat.

This was Reed Hill's house, which is still owned by his family who lives in Houston.

On the knoll in front of Gina and John's house is where the black school used to be. Tennessee Edwards was one of the teachers. The school burned down around 1949. After that I belive the children were bussed to A. W. Jackson school in Rosenberg.

Railroad tracks used to extend to the end of Stephen's lane and there were two railroad cars on the end of the track. Mr MacPherson kived in one and Walter Glenn lived in the other and the depot used to be open 24 hours day, five days a week and 16 hours on the weekend.

There used to be a long narrow yellow house, built six or seven feet off the ground behind the depot, This is where A. O. Lamb, the head depot agent, and his wife Mable lived.

When I was growing up Jack Ivory who worked for the Loffland Brothers Drilling Co. lived in this house. Mr. and Mrs. Ivory had a boy Billie who was a year younger than I was and a little girl.

Max Shanks built the next house and lived in it. It is the house the Russaw's live in now. Max Shanks also worked in the store for Mr. Hampil.

The other houses east of Dry Bayou weren't here in the 30's and 40's. The Methodist Church was right in this jungle, just past the bayou. It's grown into a jungle now. There was a little store here, A. O. Lamb, the depot agent's store. Mrs Wilson ran it. Then there was the Lampley house there that burned about twenty-five years ago. It was a large frame house.

Next was Bob Covington's barber shop. There were 3 slot machines in the barber shop and haircuts were 25 cents. My parents use to give me 40 cents when it was time for a haircut. I would ride my bicycle to the barber shop and lose my 15 cents in the slot machine. Very seldom, would I get ahead a few nickels, when it happened I would quit playing. I think Bob also had a package store in the back. He later moved to Rosenberg and opened a package store across from Franks Pharmacy.

There was a little wooden building here. It was where Al Harris started his beer hall. Al Harris was an employee of Humble Oil Co. Later after Carl Loracella left Thompsons, Al moved his cafe to the garage. After Al passed away Jimmy Solomon bought the cafe.

The building where Jimmy's place is now was a garage. Carl Laracella had two gas pumps in front and he had a small grocery store to the west of the garage. Then his house was here too, and it's all gone now.

Babe Bushnell and his wife had a saloon and a cafe to the right of Jimmy's Place and left of the Lampley house. It was a popular spot and a lot of oil field workers came here to drink and eat after work. I have been told there were many good fights in the parking lot.

Just past the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church is where Bunk Edwards used to have a house. The house here now is where Bruce Roberts lives.

This building in poor repair in the brushes is where the Mexican school was. Dorthy McCormic tought here. Most of the Mexican children's parents worked for Mr. Copeland.

Mark Freeman and Cleveland Mays lived down the dirt road by the Mexican School. Cleveland Mays used to have a mule and plow people's gardens for them in the spring and fall.

There was a white, two room school house on the next block. In the first room there were grades 1-4th and in the second were 5-8th. Era Mae Kennedy Harper was the teacher for the 1-4th grade and Hilda Midtank was the teacher fir the 5-8th. After Mrs. Midtank retired, Charlie Weigh from Boston taught until she retired and went back to Boston. In the 1947-1948 school year the 7th and 8th grades were droped at the Thompsons school. The 7th and 8th grades then went to Richmond school. Richmod and Rosenberg consolidated the two school districts in 1949 for the 1949-1950 school year.

The bus driver lived in Thompsons. Mr. Philips lived in a frame house where our house is now. He kept the bus at his house at night. In the morning he would drive to the camp and pick up the children and drive them to town. He would spend the day in town, When school was out he would pick up the children and return them to Thompsons. Later Antie Jones who lived in the camp drove the school bus. The bus was kept in the Humble Oil Co truck barn at the time.

Shirley attended the 1st grade in Thompsons. There was only the 1st-3rd grades when she attended.

After turning left at the next road it was noted that the road was overgrown. There were about seventy families that lived out here. Shirley's uncle Frank and Robert lived in the Southwest corner of the camp.

On the knoll east of Rabbs Bayou on the left side of the road is where Hope Jackson and his wife ran their beer hall. Hope's place burned down 40 years ago.

Across the railroad tracks from Hope Jackson, on the Y. U. Jones ranch, there were 3 tennant farm houses. There also was a lake and the Banks family lived on the east side of the lake. Before the country completed the drainage project on Rabbs Bayou, whick drained the lake, it was a favorite swimming hole. The water was clear and fifteen feet deep at the levy.

Down MLK Road on the left hand side of the road is where Lou and Elizabeth Edwards lived with their three children. The children are: Robert Edwards, Dorthy, and Louise. Lou was a ranch foreman for Rudolf Gubbels. On the right hand side of the road is where Walter Newell, Alma, his wife and family lived. Tad Branch lived in a house next door and worked for Rudolf Gubbels. The Spears live at the end of the road.

Annie Mae Godfrey use to live in a house that is gone. Around the bend Johnny Ulrich and Henry Faniel lived in their homes.

Here is where the Dittman's lived. Their house is still there on Rabbs Prairie Road. The Dittmans owned a touring car, I guess about a 1913 model. It had a windshield and was open around the sides. It had a canvas top. They'd come to the store once a week, always on Saturday morning. She'd bring butter and eggs to trade for groceries. They had two sons and I believe both of them were killed in WWI.

There used to be a school here, Rabbs Prairie School, and the teacher lived with the Dittmans. It was a white school.

Around the curve there used to be a house that belonged to two old bachlor brothers, the Schmidt brothers. One time I was collecting bottles in the woods behind their house. On an old oak tree that had been struck by lightening, fire had hollowed out the middle of the trunk. Where it had burned it was filled with mustard and ketchup bottles--those two old men must not have been very good cooks for they must've covered everything with mustard and ketchup. Never saw so many French's mustard jars.

If you have suffered to read what I remember of Thompsons in the 1930's, 40's, and 50's I hope that no one has been offended.


J. T. Joines by his reckoning, spent 39 years, 6 months and 13 days in the Thompsons Oilfield, going to work in February 18th, 1947. Even though he retired on July 31, 1986, Mr. Joines still holds the record for continuous employment in the Thompsons Oilfield. During all that time, he was absent only ten days! Although he can only account for eight. As you might imagine, Mr. Joines has witnessed many changes in the oil field. During the 39 and a half years,  Joines says there were only six blowouts. When the oil company offered to add three years of service and age toward his retirement, J. T. Joines retired..  He still lives on Y. U. Jones where he raises chickens and leases trailer space for Reliant/HL & P contract workers. He too remembers "the good old days", the summer picnics in the oil field camp, and the fast-pitch softball games.


Thompsons Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church is over 100 years old.

 

In the year of 1893, a group of Christian people were inspired by the Holey Spirit to organize this church. These Christians desired a place to worship in their own mannor, and that their children might be reared in the Baptist belief and traditions.


A SURE FOUNDATION

Matihew W. Shanks was born in Cherokee County near Troup, Texas where he attended public school. His parents were L. D. and Virgina Shanks. He was baptized by the late Rev. C. Grayson and joined the Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church at Thompsons, Texas. Mr. Shanks is a great church worker and can be relied upon at all times to play his part. He has been Superentiendent of the Mt. Pilgrim Sunday School for 35 years and served as church clerk for 40 years, and has served as clerk in the leading mercantile store (white) of Thompsons for 40 years and has never had a black mark against his record. He is honest to the core and is held in high esteem by both white and colored in Fort Bend County. He married January 5, 1907 to Miss Ella Washington, who died December 18, 1918. He married his present wife, Mrs. Jane Anderson, in 1922. He has been keeper of Records and Seals for K. of P. lodge No.298 since October 1907.



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