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Title: Lazewell Thompson, Virginia, To Mr. Carter, Belfast.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileThompson, Lazewell/28
SenderThompson, Lazewell
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender Religionunknown
OriginGloucester Court House, Virginia, USA
DestinationBelfast, N.Ireland
RecipientMr Carter
Recipient Gendermale
RelationshipMr Thompson asks for info about ancestry
SourceD898: Presented by Mrs. J.A. Hind, 150 Sandown Road, Belfast.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Belfast.
Doc. No.9604039
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 15:04:96.
Word Count1208
TranscriptGloucester Court House, Virginia
Sep [September?] 27 1886

My Dear Mr. Carter
It has become necessary to the prosecution
of a claim against the U.S. [United States?] Govr.
[Government?], under the French [Spoliation?] Bill that our family
should (if possible) know something of a certain uncle of my
father's, --- by name Neill Thompson. My father was, by a
letter of this Uncle bearing date May 25 1800, and written
from Norfolk in Virginia, made the sole heir of his uncle, and
this heirship was further confirmed by a decree of a chancery
Court in Virginia by which his sisters and brothers (I mean of
course my father's sisters and brothers) were forever barred
as coheirs &c. This last document cites my
father's brothers and sisters by name, but is now in Phila.
[Philadelphia?] in the hands of my nephew F.R. Penberton, who
is the agent of my sisters and self in the prosecution of our
claims. His address I give you --- Girard Building, 3rd. Lulow
[below?] Chestnut Sreet, Phila. [Philadeliphia?].
As to our being the rightful heirs then of this uncle, we
fancy there is no doubt, and if we could only follow him and
locate him as a merchant doing business in Charleston, South
Carolina, as easily as we can trace him doing business
and writing letters from Norfolk, we would much relieved, as
the larger part of the claims hinges heavily upon this point.
That you may understand our status, I will now tell you all we
know of the connection between this uncle and his heir, (my
father), and much of this information is from my recollection
of conversations with my father when I was a mere boy. It
seems then that at a very early age, I think about 14 years,
my father left his parents in Newry [County Down?] and was
regularly articled as a clerk to his uncle, Neill Thompson, at
that time a merchant in the Island of Saint Domingo, --- that
not long after his arrival there the blacks rose in
insurrection, and my father and his uncle were forced to
Abandon everything and took shipping and landed in Phila.
[Philadelphia?], I have often heard my father speak of the
discomforts of that trip and how he suffered from change of
climate, and how the captain of the vessel loaned his pia
[pea?] jacket, and how he walked up with his uncle in Phila.
[Philadelphia?] and was fitted out with thicker clothing.
Business at this time in Norfolk was almost exclusively
in the hands of the English and Scottish merchants, and
consisted largely of West India trade --- very naturally then,
--- this uncle and my father as his companion found themselves
in Norfolk in the year 1793. In the letter to which I have
already referred as written to my father by this uncle, and
bearing date 25th May 1800 Norfolk in Virginia, he opens in
this way "we have not met since we parted at this place in
1793 --- he then goes on to express very strongly his
disapproval of the fact that my father's parents had seen fit
to [weak?] my father to his home in Ireland, stating as his
reason that his (my father's) prospects in life were rather
worsted than improved, inasmuch as by remaining with him (the
uncle) he would have been advanced to --- he then goes on to
describe how "since we parted this place " 1793 --- he the
uncle had visited his former place of business (which he
speaks of as the Cape), and in what condition he had found his
affairs. "The Luteudant [Lieutenant?] (presumably the officer
in charge of the French Government) had succeeded in saving
the lower warehouse from fire, and had taken possession of its
contents valued at $30000, which together with other property
had from him, amounted in all to Fifty Thousand dollars, and
that the Lutendant [Lieutenant?] had given him bills for this
amount upon the French minister, and that he not knowing what
better to do, had accepted these to realize from them" --
These bills have never been paid, and as I understand
it, constitute our claim against this government.
The second claim I do not understand very thoroughly
but is based upon the capture of the Brig "Aquilla," which,
with her cargo was valued at $500,000 or perhaps more ---, but
the claimant is Neill Thompson, a merchant of Charleston So.
Ca. [South Carolina?] We all feel that this was our uncle, but
can't prove it, nor do I see any way in which it can be proved
except from old letters in the possession of the descendants
of the family in Ireland.
I am aware that this is a weak chance, but we all know
that in the old country family letters are preserved and
treated with more respect than they meet here. In this
connection my hopes are rather weakened by the facts that the
uncle in the letter to my father uses these words, ---
"remember me to the members of your family provided you think
they care to hear from me." This of course looks like there
might have been some ill feeling between him and his
relatives, and to this extent have prevented the very
correspondence from which we might expect some information.
While conveying his Kind regards to his relatives, "provided
they care to hear from him," he was most particularly to be
remembered "to the Gordon family."
Do you think there was any one in that family with whom he
could possibly have corresponded?
This whole letter gives one the impression that the
writer was a vigorous old fellow, and if he made ventures from
Norfolk in a Brig loaded with sugar and coffee for Lighoru
[Leghorn?] (as this letter of 25th May 1880 states that he had
to do in a few days), there is certainly no reason why he may
not have done business in Charleston So.Ca. [South Carolina?]
and [suit?] or taken his ventures from that point also.
I have quite a distinct recollection that my father
occasionally corresponded, when I was a youth, with a newphew
of his hearing your name and I am not entirely mistaken this
newphew held some position in the Custom House in
London. Could he have been your father or an uncle of yours?
Do you think it possible at this late date to identify
Neill Thompson a merchant doing business in Charleston So. Ca.
[South Carolina?]. This is the question, and its solution
would be a tremendous lift to me.
During the life of my sister Mrs. [Loyale?], I used
frequently to hear from or of you, but of late years I go so
little from home that I have heard nothing of you, except that
you had married. I trust we may meet again, and if, at any
time, you should be passing through Norfolk and would care to
see us, we would be very glad to see you. Is your father still
alive? And is your brother still in the country?
I shall be glad to hear from you, even though you may not
have it in your power to put me in the way of this desired
information; aud aiu
Very sincerely yours
Lazewell Thompson