Featured, Local History, The Centennial History of Hurricane

Centennial History of Hurricane: Robert Napoleaon Bonaparte Thompson

In 1988, The Centennial History of Hurricane, WV was published to commemorate the town’s 100th anniversary. Since the Centennial History is now out of print, the Breeze is reprinting articles from the book as space allows. This week’s selection will be the 232nd installment of the Centennial History.


Submitted by Nancy Edwards Buell

He was born on November 21, 1813 in Augusta County, Virginia. He died on March 24, 1879 in Hurricane, Putnam County, West Virginia. He was of Scotch-Irish descent. He married Julia Ann “Kitty” Morris in Winfield, January 24, 1833. They had a large farm near Hurricane Bridge. He was a prosperous farmer and raised a large family. They also had a number of slaves and their home was burned down by Union soldiers during the Civil War. His son, James Brock, remembered that an old rooster came out and crowed after the fire. He was the only thing the soldiers had missed. The family walked all the way back to Virginia across the mountains. Food was in short supply and they ate a lot of pumpkin. He said he never liked pumpkin after that winter. RNB and Julia Ann are buried in the old cemetery behind the Hurricane Baptist Church.

Their son, James Brock Thompson, was born October 12, 1849. He married Josephine McCallister, September 30, 1879 in Putnam County, West Virginia. He also lived at Hurricane Bridge and operated a stage stop for travelers on the Midland Trail Turnpike. She died June 4, 1915, and he died November 6, 1930. Both are buried in the old Hurricane Cemetery on the Old Grade.

James Franklin Thompson was born January 19, 1890. He married Gladys Helen Dudding of Cabell County, August 26, 1911. He was a mail carrier and rode a motorcycle over his route. Forty years later his son Franklin carried the mail in a jeep over the same route. They had two other children, Naomi Ruth, born 1914, and Samuel Dudding in 1917. James Franklin died in 1933 and Gladys in 1968.

Wilson Franklin, born October 12, 1912, was raised by his Thompson grandparents and married Julia Kathryn Stephens who lived on an adjoining farm. He served in the infantry in World War II and lost an arm in France during the Invasion of Normandy. Naomi Ruth went to Marshall College to be a teacher. She taught at Henderson, Big Creek and Sycamore Schools in Putnam County before marrying Norman Edwards. She had two children, Nancy Jane and Norman Jr. and returned to college after they were grown. She received her Masters Degree in Speech Therapy from the University of Wyoming and retired in California in 1977.

Samuel grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was a First Lieutenant during World War II, serving in the Third Army under General George Patton. He returned to West Virginia and married Orva Lee Fought. He owned and operated Modern Equipment Appliance Store in Hurricane for many years until his retirement in 1983.


A digital copy of the Centennial History can be obtained from the Hurricane City Hall for a small donation. For more information, call the City of Hurricane at (304) 562-5896.

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