Abby: The Boy With Six Names by Gary D. Crawford
In the January 2016 issue, we presented the story of Dr. Absalom Thompson, the extraordinary fellow who founded the first hospital on the Eastern Shore in 1832. As sometimes happens when researching an article, interesting material turns up that is outside the scope of the task at hand. In this case, it was the story of Dr. Thompsonâ€™s son. Information has continued to come to light about this fellow, though his record is far from complete or, indeed, certain. But with much help from my friends Pam Covington and Ron Frampton and my brother Brian, here is what I have learned p to this point. Absalom and Anthony Thompson were brothers ~ and we need to keep them straight, as their lives are intertwined. Absalom studied at Harvard, practiced surgery in Boston, traveled to Europe and elsewhere, then returned to his family home in Dorchester County. His younger brother Anthony had trained as a doctor, too, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. By 1816, the brothers apparently were ready to settle down, for both wed in that same year. Dr. Absalom, then 27, married a local girl, Miss Ann Gurney, 21.
The Thompson family owned farms and woodlands throughout the area we now call the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, from Madison Bay in the north to Parsonâ€™s Creek in the south. Absalom and Ann lived there somewhere for five years until their son was born in 1821. Tragically, records indicate that Ann passed away the same year, suggesting she may have died in childbirth. Dr. Absalom chose to name his baby Anthony, honoring his father and his brother. Then he tacked on four middle names: Christopher, Columbus, Americus, and Vespucius. How he connected with these two early explorers of the New World, we