Stacy Webb Thompson: Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Stacy Web Thompson photo 1870

Stacy Webb Thompson

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

J.R.R.Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring

My great great grandfather, Stacy Webb Thompson left what appeared to be a stable household in Curwinsville, Pennsylvania to venture westward. By 1869 he had moved all five of his sons (Ambrose, Byron, Edwin, Stacy and John) to Michigan.  Later his only daughter Lilly and his wife Elizabeth would follow.  With the exception of Edwin, who moved southward to Ligioner, Indiana, and John who moved first to Colorado and later to New York, all of his family remained in Michigan for the rest of their lives.

Stacy C. Thompson 1884

Stacy Clay Thompson

In the census of 1870, Stacy Clay Thompson , then 14 years of age, is listed as living in Grand Traverse County as a boarder and going to school. By 1874 he is living in Albion, Michigan and going to College where he meets his bride to be, Ida May Goodenow. Together they marry and move to Manistee the following year. . Stacy C. apprenticed himself first as a printer, then worked as the editor of a Manistee newspaper until he left to start his own newspaper, The Manistee Independent.  He became  a Representative in the  Michigan State legislature in 1906 and later a Judge of Probate in the City of Manistee.  He was a Realtor and Developer in the Manistee region until his death in 1944. Stacy Clay is my great grandfather.  There will be several blogs concerning his life, families and accomplishments. Stay tuned!

Byron R. Thompson photo

Byron Thompson

Ambrose W. Thompson photo

Ambrose Thompson

Byron Register Thompson and his brother Ambrose Winfield Thompson made their homes in Grand Rapids where they  married and lived out their  lives as lumbermen. Byron died in 1907 and Ambrose died in 1915.  They are buried next to each other in a Grand Rapids, Michigan cemetery.

John A. Thompson photo

John Thompson

John Alexander Thompson came to Manistee in 1875 and worked first as a clerk in the postoffice, rising to postmaster of Manistee, a post he held until 1888 when he left Michigan,  first for Colorado before settling in New York City, with the distinguished address: 35 Wall Street, New York. John died in 1930 and is buried in Camden, New Jersey.

Edwin G. Thompson photo

Edwin Thompson

Edwin Gainer Thompson apprenticed first as a printer in Michigan. He worked for several newspapers in Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. On June 4, 1880 he published the first issue of The Ligonier Leader in Ligonier, Indiana and continued as owner and editor of The Leader until his death in 1936. One of his son’s, James Stacy Thompson, shortly after graduating University of Wisconsin, went to work for McGraw-Hill Publishing House and rose to a leadership position.  He became President and CEO of McGraw-Hill in 1945.

Elizabeth Bloom Thompson

Elizabeth Bloom Thompson Stanley

Elizabeth Thompson, Stacy W’s wife and my great great grandmother,  came to Michigan, divorced her husband, married a man named Isaac Stanley and lived out her days in Allegan, Michigan, as did her daughter Lilly. Elizabeth died in 1904 at the home of her daughter, Lilly, in Allegan, Michigan.

I have only one photo of Lilly Thompson Johnson, taken of her as an elderly woman. Lilly May Thompson was born on November 12, 1864 and died in Kalamazoo, Michigan on August 14, 1937.

Lilly May Thompson Johnson photo

Lily Mae Thompson Johnson

Stacy Webb Thompson was a complicated man.

I can never decide if I like Stacy W. or not.   He was a lumberman. A lumberman was someone who brokered deals that resulted in lumber being produced and sold.  He gained access to large tracts of land with trees on them, arranged for the trees to be cut, transported to a mill, turned into boards and sold.  In the process of doing this, the early cities of the United States were built. And in the process, the entire forest that once was Michigan was destroyed.

Stacy Webb Thompson

Stacy Webb Thompson

Stacy Webb photo

Stacy Webb Thompson

Stacy W. left Curwinsville, Pennsylvania shortly after the Civil War.  At about the same time, he and his father, my 3rd. great grandfather, Isaac Thompson, were involved in  a disputed land transaction resulting in a legal battle which ultimately reached the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1878. The decision of the court was not in their favor.

Judging from the family letters which I have read,  I can surmise that Stacy W. made many trips to Michigan. Sometimes he took his children and some times he went by himself.  By 1870 he had all of his sons, most of them teenaged,  placed in different locations in Michigan.  His wife, Elizabeth, and his daughter, Lilly, were soon to follow.

Stacy W.  spent considerable time in Northern Michigan, especially around Manistee and Traverse City. On January 11, 1888, at the age of 69 years, he married Clara Bradshaw McCormic Thompson.  Together they travelled as far westward as Oregon.  They had two daughters: Daisey Elvie Thompson, born September 19, 1888 and Violet May Thompson, born April 8, 1890.

Stacy W. photo with Clara & Daisey

Stacy Webb Thompson with 2nd wife Clara Bradshaw and child


Stacy W. died in 1896 at the home of his son, Byron, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  His remains were brought back to Manistee where he was buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Manistee.  In the obituaries that were printed in Manistee and Grand Rapids, Michigan, no mention is made of his wife or two daughters.

Stacy W. Western Union message

Stacy W. Western Union message

This Western Union Telegraph was received in Manistee at 10:27 AM on November 11th, 1896, addressed to Mrs. S.C. Thompson.  It says:


Stacy W. Obituary

Stacy W. Obituary

The first obituary reads:

The death of Stacey Webb Thompson of 205 Scribner street recalls the history of one of the oldest and most successful lumbermen of the East and Northwest. Deceased was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1825 and resided there till 1868 when he moved westward. His parents were natives of New Jersey and sprung from a hardy race of early pioneers whose foregathers were of Scotch-English decent and were among the prominent and sturdy characters in the early history of this state. He followed the business of lumbering until the forests of Pennsylvania became pretty well stripped of their product, when he removed to Michigan and re-engaged in the business in the northern part of the state.  He was a man of sound business ability and an expert in inducing Eastern capital to invest in lumber regions of Michigan.  Possessed of a strong constitution he endured many hardships in early life as a lumberman, acquainting himself with much of the more valuable tracts of timber by visiting in person.  His last illness was of but a few days’ duration, but full of suffering, which he bore without murmur, retaining full consciousness until the shadow of the grim reaper appeared, when he gently sank to a dreamless sleep.

Stacy W. Obituary 2

Stacy W. Obituary 2

The second obituary reads:

Laid To Rest.  Thursday noon the remains of the late S.W.Thompson arrived, accompanied by his sons, A.W. and E.G. Thompson from Grand Rapids.  They were met at the depot by S.C. Thompson, family and quite a number of people and were escorted to the grave. Father Hines conducted the services. S.W. Thompson came here in 1868; he conducted a lumber business in Grand Traverse Co., and at Green Lake, for 18 years and is well and favorably known by all; he was a man who made friends everywhere. Of late years he had made the Pacific coast his home, but for a while he had been residing with his children in Grand rapids and Manistee.  He was well and able to cast his vote on election day, and it was a great surprise to everyone to hear of his death which resulted from abscess of the lungs superinduced by grippe.  Six children survive him, five sons and one daughter.  Byron Thompson, who is South now but his home is at Grand Rapids, A.W. Thompson, Mrs. Lillie M. Johnson of Grand Rapids, E.G. Thompson of Leganier, Indiana, John Thompson of Colorado, and Stacy Thompson of this city. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved children in this sad hour of affliction.

The preceding telegram and obituaries were found in the now threadbare scrap book of Stacy C. Thompson, now in my possession. Many more tidbits of information will be shared in blog entries to follow.

Scrapbook cover S.C.Thompson

Old scrapbook of Stacy C. Thompson

Stacy W. death card

Stacy W. death card

This ends the recounting of the complicated and confusing life of Stacy Webb Thompson, my great great grandfather.



  1. Look great. We enjoy the read. Thanks. Joanne

  2. Stacy Thompson says

    I just found your site. In some way, we’re related, although I can’t tell you exactly how. I’m the 5th Stacy in the Stacy Thompson line. I’m Stacy Ray Thompson, my father is Stacy Webb Thompson, his father was Stacy Winfield Thompson, his father was Stacy Clay Thompson, his father was Stacy Thompson (I don’t know if he had a middle name), and his father was Isaac Thompson. I was born in 1966 in Paw Paw, Michigan. It’s interesting to see this branch of the Thompson family; I don’t know much about it.

    Best regards,

    Stacy Thompson

  3. Jack Porter Anderson was 4F because of his flat feet, but he volunteered for Army Air because they didn’t have to march. He was stationed at Mather Air Base. Lucy and Jack met at a USO dance. He was sent over seas for two years. While Jack was over seas his father got TB and refused to go to Weimar for the cure, so he had to stay home. Lucy would go over and help take care of Jerry. She was also working at the Sacto. Bee. Lucy got run down and became ill with pluracy and inactive TB. She went to Weimar hospital for a year while Jack was gone. After she was released from the hospital she went home to Sierraville. When Jack got home from the war they got married. Jack was stationed in Bagdad during the war. He worked fueling bombers. He also volunteered helping the homeless children find homes. He also had children helping him. He asked one boy to go get a wrench. The Bagdad authorities stopped the boy and thought he was stealing the wrench. They were going to cut off his hand when Jack stopped them. While he was overseas he went to Cairo, Egypt for R & R. He saw all the wonders if Cairo. (more info to follow)

  4. When Jack was in the war Lucy contacted a type of TB, she spent one year at Weimar with rest and recuperation. When she got out she went home to Sierraville until Jack for home from the service when they then got married. (David, review the above remarks also. Your cousin article was beautiful.) Joanne will call u soon.

  5. Denise Criscella says

    I am decedent from Issac Thompson and Kesiah Webb through Robert Thompson who was my 3rd Great Grandfather. This was so informative. And, it looks like we are related:)

    Denise Criscella

    • David Thompson says

      Dear Denise, We are indeed related. Recently I have come upon Robert’s Civil War records – all 118 pages of them. I have been attempting to make a story from them, but am still in the throughs of the task. Perhaps you know something about Robert or Levina that might help. Do you have any stories, photos etc? Please let me know and thank you for reading my Thompson blog. Who is your 2nd great grandfather/mother?

  6. Richard Johnston says

    There are a lot of Stacy’s defended from the original Stacy Webb Thompson. My grandfather, Stacy Webster Johnston was his grandson. His son was Richard Stacy Johnston and I am also Richard Stacy Johnston.

  7. Is this Claudia Berland? If not she has same stuff stacy webb thompson my grandmothers on dad side father i have a lot of stuff but dont know much than what you know that i don’t thats connect to stacy

  8. This is my family all my info and thank you for doing the research I could never do and if anything contact me. I am Christopher Leman Barton son of Kenneth barton who’s mother was Daisy E Barton, Stacy Webb Thompson is her father. I contact Claudia once but she don’t respond to people well. I been looking for the rest of details oof the family for years. I see you referring to letters ? How do you have thous and can I get a copy I have a map of land that I have never figured out not even the language the book is in ether. Contact me in any way soon as possible. Thank you.

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