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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JAMES K. THOMSON. The Thomsons are an old family in Norriton township. Hannah Thomson kept the Jeffersonville Hotel in 1784 when Montgomery county was created. The date stone in the western wall shows the inscription, “A. T., 1765,” the initials being those of the builder, Archibald Thomson, who was a colonel in the Revolutionary war. Colonel Thomson’s grandfather, also Archibald, on March 23, 1742, purchased of the Isaac Norris estate one hundred twenty-six and one-half acres of land, and in 1743, of Samuel Norris, ninety acres. He died September 17, 1746, in his sixty-eighth year, leaving a widow, Rebecca, and the following children: Robert, James, Samuel, Archibald, Moses, Martha and John. Rebecca died in 1748.

Robert Thomson, the eldest son, had purchased land five years before his father, as well as two other tracts later. These tracts are all located in Norriton, Jeffersonville Hotel standing in their center. He died August 6, 1747, in his fortieth year. His wife’s name was Mary, and his children were: Archibald (Colonel), Mark, James, Martha, Agnes, and Rebecca. Robert Thomson’s widow afterwards married Robert Curry, a neighbor. She died April 9, 1804, aged ninety-seven years, her husband having died ten years previously. Of the children of Robert Thomson, Mark settled in Sussex county, New Jersey; James married Sarah Falconer and settled in Chester county; Martha married James Sheppard and settled in Plymouth; Agnes married Thomas Darrah and settled in Bucks county; Rebecca married William Darrah and settled in Bucks county. Archibald Thomson married Hannah Bartholomew. Having built the hotel, he secured a license as an innkeeper in 1766. He took a very active part in the Revolutionary war, but like other members of his family he died early, on November 19, 1779, in the thirty-ninth year of his age. His wife and seven children survived him, as follows: Sarah, Robert, Joseph, Mark, Benjamin, Archibald and Mary. His widow conducted the inn after his death. She died November 4, 1789.

Benjamin Thomson (grandfather) married Elizabeth Stroud, and they had a large family of children. She lived to a great age, and was known as Aunt Betsy Thomson, dying in 1878, at the age of one hundred and two years. Among the children of Benjamin and Elizabeth Thomson was James, who married Susan Keel. Their children were: John A., deceased, Mark, a well-known resident of Norristown; Archibald D., who died in 1880; Samuel, who died young; James K.; Emma Margaret, who died young; and Charles H., who lives in Roxboro.

James K. Thomson was born January 27, 1844, at Laurel Hill, Philadelphia, where his parents were residing at that time. His father died in May of the same year, from the accidental running of a hemlock sliver under his finger nail while he was unloading a barrel of flour from a wagon. His wife had died a month previous.

The earlier years of James K. Thomson were spent on a farm, he attending the schools of Plymouth township, in which he resided. From 1871-75 he was engaged in mercantile business at 128 East Main street, Norristown, being most of the time with Ambrose Dettre. He was married March 9, 1875, to Annie Ramsey, they commencing married life on the Herberner farm, near Hickorytown, now occupied by Orlando Rex. Later he occupied the Vail farm, and for a time served milk in Norristown. Another farm he occupied was that of James Loeser, the farm which he now owns. From 1883-1886 he occupied the Harley farm and for the next three years the Sylvester Zimmerman farm in Whitpain. In 1890 he returned to the Rhoads farm where he now lives, purchasing it in March, 1903, after having occupied it thirteen years. It contains seventy-seven acres of good land and a house which was erected in 1775 and is still in good condition, having been very substantially built. The couple have one child, Mary R. Thomson, born May 18, 1877. Mrs. Thomson is a daughter of Michael S. and Mary Holgate (Rodenboh) Ramsey. She has a brother, William H. Ramsey, who lives in Norristown, and a sister, Mary J., in Upper Providence. Her father died in 1857, and her mother in January, 1899, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years.

James K. Thomson has been, from the time he became of age, a very active Republican, taking an earnest interest in party successes in township, county, state and nation. The district in which he resides being Democratic, he has held no office therein except those of auditor and member of the election board. In November, 1901, he became a candidate for director of the poor of Montgomery county, on the Republican ticket. He was elected and has filled the office with credit to himself and benefit to the institution.

Mr. Thomson is a successful farmer. He takes an active interest in farmers’ institutes and other agencies for promoting the progress of agriculture. He is prominent in every movement for the advancement of the community in which he lives. Since 1865 he has been a member of Curtis Lodge, No. 239, I. O. O. F., of Norristown, filling several subordinate offices therein. He is also a member of Cold Point Grange and has been its secretary for the past fourteen years. He was its master for one year and also of the Pomona Grange No. 8, of Montgomery county, of which he is chaplain.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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