One of the reasons I think that I like old photos so much is that there is usually an interesting story behind each shot. Sometimes not. Sometimes the shots are emblematic, though, and that's what makes them timeless. Today I decided to share some shots of the Thompson side of my family.
I've always been very curious about the Thompsons because I know so little about them. My grandfather Algernon Thompson died 5 years before I was born. My dad adored him. He was a character. [His relatives all called him "Slick" but most people in Hepzibah, including my grandmother, called him simply "Thompson."]
I left the really old photos large on purpose, to more easily see the details.
Even though it's a blurry shot because Dad had it enlarged from a tiny snapshot, this is the only known photo of my dad and his father and brothers when Dad was a child. This was probably the late 1930's, in Hepzibah Georgia, and my dad is the smallest boy. My grandfather had his arm around Bobby, the middle son. Grandaddy Thompson was only about 5'9, but he had been a soldier for years and fought in France in World War I. He had dropped out of school before high school to support his mother and younger siblings when his father died. His father was named Alexander Hamilton Thompson -- babies were often named after famous people in the 19th century. I know almost nothing about Thompson's ancestors because he came from Cordele Georgia and the Crisp County courthouse [ironically] burned down many times so there simply aren't many records.
Below, Dad and his brothers as older guys..
My dad's father, Algie Thompson, died when Dad was 27 years old. Dad didn't know much about his folks.
This lady is Algie Thompson's mother, Annie Lou Lewis Thompson, and Dad said everyone called her "Little Granny." Look at the pretty bed jacket and contrast it with her hands. She was a farmer's wife in South Georgia in the late 19th century, widowed young, left with 8 children, and undoubtedly life was hard for her. I think she died in the early 1940's. Dad remembered going to see her when he was a boy and she was always in bed, but everyone would just go in her room and visit. Below, two of her daughters, Nannie and Oline [or possibly "Olene"], and Uncle Wood [Charles Woodfin]. Sorry he's horizontal...
Oline is a name with a Polish origin. I thought the Thompsons were all English and Irish but who knows? "Chillie," "Nannie" and "Oline" [Grandaddy's siblings] are also interesting names, and then there was my grandfather "Algernon." Obviously the Thompsons were creative when it came to naming, except perhaps for great Uncle Roy..
Left is my grandfather Algie Thompson as a young man, posing with a stuffed alligator. A number of things are striking to me about this shot. My dad and my brother and my cousin Tony [son of my uncle Lewis] all bear a great resemblance to Grandaddy here. Below, Thompson and my grandmother Cordelia around 1956.
above, my grandmother Cordelia and Tony [not my dad, my cousin] as a toddler - unfortunately he was small when she died and he doesn't remember her. I have quizzed my older cousins on what they remember about her and just gotten nowhere; they were too small. I have intense curiosity, as I grew up hearing my mother say "You have her forehead / her hair / her giggle." Mother loved her and nursed her through her final illness in 1959 when she was pregnant with my brother.