Hello Professor Oliver-Velez,
Am researching this family from Chester PA:
From "History of West Caln Township," by Joan Lorenz, 1994 "Rev. Edward Y. Buchanan, brother of President James Buchanan, received a call in 1835 to serve as rector of St. John's [Episcopal Church in Compass]...a known abolitionist, the Rev. Buchanan presented three 'colored' people for confirmationbetween 1835 and 1842. One of the confirmed colored members was Prudence Ann Thompson who had escaped from Maryland sometime around 1835 and made her way east to the Skiles family who lived across the road from St. John's Church.
Prudence Ann, who could sew ten quilting stitches to the inch, worked as a servant to the Skiles', and had married Jacob Thompson by the time she was confirmed. Jacob became sexton of St. John's in 1852...Jacob and Prudence had two sons: James Wesley and Matthew. On the Witmer Map of 1873, Jacob and James appear as substantial landowners in west Caln Township on either side of Route 10 north of Compass. The Thompson land remained in the family until the 1960's. Jacob lived to the age of 96 and Prudence Ann to the age of 101. They lie "asleep in Jesus" in St. John's Cemetery along with many of their descendants." >From the 1850 Census, West Caln Township, Chester County, PA: Thompson, Jacob 50 B b. PA laborer, $500real estate Prudence 50 M " James W. 16 M " laborer Mathew H. 14M " >From their tombstones at St. John's: Prudence Ann, wife of Jacob Thompson, died Oct. 11, 1888, aged 101 years Jacob Thompson, died Sept. 23, 1881, in his 81st year"
Listed in 1840 and 1850 census:
Thompson, Jacob 50 B b. PA laborer, $500 real estate
Prudence 50 M "
James W. 16 M " laborer
Mathew H. 14 M "
Name: Thompson, Jacob
Township: West Caln
Anyone else following this family?
We are anxious to hear from you. We hope you can help direct us to more answers about how our great-great grandfather was able to purchase the land.