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Centennial History of Hurricane: The W. E. Thompson Family

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 235th installment of the Centennial History.


Submitted by Ruth Mary Thompson Jones

Robert Napoleon Bonaparte Thompson, great grandfather of Ruth Mary Thompson Jones and her sisters and brothers, married Juliana Morris, twin daughters of Thomas Morris, son of Joshua Morris, son of William Morris, Sr., first permanent settler in the Kanawha and Teays Valley.

Thomas Morris is buried in the cemetery behind Hurricane First Baptist Church. His tombstone reads that he served in the Revolutionary War.

William Morris, Sr., has the first will recorded in Kanawha County.

R.N.B. Thompson was born in Augusta County, Virginia.

R.N.B. Thompson had a son Joseph Patterson Thompson. Joseph Patterson Thompson married Mary M. McCallister, and had one son William Earl Thompson. He had five children. They were William Joseph Thompson, Florence, Ruth Mary, Frances and James Lee. Thomas Morris who was Juliana and Casandra’s father, died when he was 49 years old. He died in 1820 and was born in 1771.

On March 28, 1863, R.N.B. Thompson’s Hurricane bridge property and estate of 3500 acres including his tobacco factory (roll your own) burned and was confiscated by Federal Forces. He had owned all land back to Clymers Creek from Hurricane Bridge.

William E. Thompson was a graduate of Marshall College.

He served in World War I and at the time of his death was a Major in the United States Reserves. He served as Superintendent of Schools of Putnam County for 16 years. He was a deacon of the First Baptist Church and served 9 years as Sunday School Superintendent. He was active in civic affairs, charter member of the Lion’s Club of Hurricane, Patron of Order of Eastern Star Chapter 116 of Hurricane, and Recorder of the City of Hurricane.

He was instrumental in getting the bridge at Winfield across the Kanawha River, making many trips to Washington D.C., to talk with State and Federal Officials about the necessity for a bridge to connect the north and south sides of the county. The two sons of William E. Thompson became Circuit Judges. Ruth Mary married and had twin daughters, picking up the genetic line from Juliana and Cassandra, twins of Thomas and Kinnard Morris.

Phillip Roots Thompson had a large plantation called Holly Grove. His son was Robert Napoleon Bonaparte Thompson, the grandfather who settled in Hurricane Bridge.

Phillip Roots Thompson had a son, Benjamin S. Thompson. He married Elizabeth Lewis Thompson and their son William Roots Thompson received his law degree from West Virginia University and practiced at the law firm of Vinson, Thompson, Meek, and Hanshaw, which was the largest and most impressive law firm in West Virginia. He was born at Coals Mouth, Virginia, (now St. Albans, WV.). He married Sally Huie and they had one son, Robert.

William T. Thompson, son of R.N.B. Thompson, was born at Hurricane Bridge. His father R.N.B. Thompson was a member of the General Assembly of Virginia, and in the West Virginia House of Delegates for four years. W.T. Thompson became the State Treasurer for two years under Governor Fleming. Earlier he was in the Battle of Scary under Col. Barbee. He received his degree at Wythesville Academy and studied law under Judge James W. Hoge of Putnam County. He married Lola L. Biggs and after her death, he married Nannie S. Hagan, both of Huntington.

William E. Thompson’s five children married: William Joseph to Helen Sullivan, Florence to Vincent McKeever, Ruth Mary to E. Forrest Jones, Frances to Donald Carnohan and James Lee to Eloise Erwin.

Ruth Mary Thompson and E. Forrest Jones, Sr., have four children, Ruth Ellen Thompson Jones, a writer and publisher, E. Forrest Jones, Jr., an attorney, Dr. Frances Jones, a dentist, and Florence Jones Rutherford, Vice President of Merrill Lynch.

James Lee Thompson and Eloise have only one daughter, married and living in Lexington Park, MO. Marsha Leigh is a distinguished pianist. She has a husband and three children.


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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