The Thompson family timeline- By Carol Pelosi, The Wake Forest Gazette
1745 Swann or Swan Thompson and his brother, Michael, emigrated from England. Swann is said to have built the first grist mill in Wake County. He was a merchant and a large land owner.
1750s Daniel Higdon had a trading post at The Falls. “The Falls" community thus well may be the oldest continuous trading community or “village” within Wake County. By 1765, Charles Sims had secured a license to keep a tavern at the Falls. There was a grist mill there as early as 1787, acquired by Samuel High before 1790: and mills of various types continued to operate at Falls until midway into the 20th century.
A community may have grown up around Horse Creek, where beginning in the 18th century, the Crenshaw family maintained a mill and a store. Nearby was the well-known store of Col. Ransom Sutherland, five miles north of the Falls. Neighbors with whom both families intermarried were Thompsons and Harrises. Wake Union Church had its beginnings in 1789 and first meeting house was built in 1791 on land donated by Sutherland.
The William Crenshaw mansion called “Waterfall” (later abandoned) overlooked the mill site, which was later owned by the Thompson family and known as Doctor’s Old Mill. The Williams Crenshaw home burned in 1967.
At least part of the Sutherland store is thought to comprise the rear part of Wakefield.
The upper part of the present Wake Forest Township was called the Forest District. Dr. Calvin Jones established the first Wake Forest post office in his home in 1823 and he was the first postmaster.
By the mid 1929s, there were three excellent schools , one classical, two churches, a lawyer and a doctor in the area.
The Macedonian Academy, opened in 1822, became Wake Forest Academy a year later, located in the present Forestville. It specialized in preparing boys for university entrance. Dr. Jones was one of the sponsors. The Rev John Purefoy was the master.
The third school, about three miles south of the Wake Forest post office near the present community of Wyatt, was the Wake Forest Pleasant Grove Academy, opened in 1826. It was located opposed and facing the large country home in which some of the children boarded, belonging to the school’s founder, Jesse Powell. Each of the three schools was along the highway from Raleigh to Oxford by way of Jesse Powell’s bridge over the Neuse River.
1780 March, William Thompson (the 2nd son), 14 was bound as an apprentice to Swann Thompson.
1788 May 16, Swann Thompson purchased 75 acres on both sides of the Neuse River, including the Great Falls in order to set up a grist mill at the falls. He had earlier been in the Barton’s Creek area. Swann died in 1801. He was married to Susannah and their children were Solomon, Williams, James, Mark, Jacob, Drury, Michael, Delilah, Penny and Gilley. Solomon, the oldest son, married Sarrah Warren and they had 12 children including George W. Thompson and Michael Thompson. George and Michael married sisters Francis and Martha Crenshaw.
1818 Forest Hill Academy incorporated near the Calvin Jones home 15 miles north of Raleigh on the road to Oxford. Original trustees were William Crenshaw, David Fowler, Foster Fort, James Harris, J. Martin and Solomon Sutherland. Foster Fort was a local builder that would later put up buildings for Wake Forest Institute.
1827 On December 10, George W. Thompson (Dec. 4, 1804 to Dec 5, 1891) married Frances Crenshaw. Their children were Williams Marcellus, Dr. A. Judd Thompson and Sarah who married Samuel Tate Morgan.
1829 Crenshaw Hall was built on Oxford Road (now Hwy 98 business)
1830s Forest Hill became a college preparatory school conducted by George W. Thompson. He often accepted at no charge, young men planning to enter the ministry. Isaac Rogers described a dance at the school in 1839. After a 4th of July oration and midday dinner, he wrote, “at 3 o’clock, we knocked up a dance.” A Methodist minister, Dr. Nevels, “was there and layed of his Methodist coat and joined us in a reel.”
1834 Wake Forest College founded with Williams Crenshaw, John Purefoy, George W. Thompson and Williams Roles among the initial trustees. John M. Crenshaw, son of William, was the first to enroll. Thompson served through the years as a tutor, board secretary and agent as well as trustee. In later years, his portrait was hung in Memorial Hall that occupied the entire upper story of the college building. All the portraits were lost when fire destroyed the building in the 1930s. George W. Thompson, when his strength was equal to it, attended meetings regularly, for the last time at the commencement of 1888. His name was on the roll of active membership at the time of his death, 58 years after he had been named a trustee. He had been on the program for the semi-centennial of the establishment of Wake Forest Institute on Feb 3, 1884. He was to speak on “Her Early Struggles” but was too feeble to read the address he had prepared.
1840 The census showed George W. Thompson as owning 705 acres valued at $2,431 as well as 1 polls and 8 slaves.
1844-1849 George W. Thompson served as a Senator from Wake in the state legislature.
1850s Mount Pleasant Lodge and Academy in the Rogers Store area of Bartons Creek Township was built on land donated by George W. Thompson. Also a farm on Old Creedmoor Road, the Ray farm complex now, and the early part of the house were owned by George W. Thompson until 1877, when he sold it to Williams A. Jones. George W. Thompson was also the postmaster at Rogers Store for a time.
1853 On December 3, Williams Marcellus Thompson married Mary A. Thompson, his third cousin through James, third son of Swann and Susannah. Their children were Edgar, Willie and John.
1861 The first local unit to leave for the front of the Civil War was the volunteer company of Oak City Guards although made up of many from outside the city. The Bartons Creek Guards transferred in a body to the Oak City Gurards and their captain, Marcellus Thompson, was named first lieutenant and was killed at Gaines Mill, VA June 27, 1862. It became Company E of the Fourth Regiment North Carolina.