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by Gary D. Crawford There’s this guy, see. His name is Absalom Thompson. I keep crossing paths with him, which is strange since he died 174 years ago ~ in 1842, for crying out loud. Yet he just keeps turning up. A name like Absalom catches one’s eye even when you’re just skimming documents. I didn’t set out to research him, but he won’t go away. So I’d better share with you what I’ve learned about him so I can get on to other things. A fully researched biography of this gentleman is beyond my scope, and probably my abilities. Besides, who would read it; who cares about him? Nevertheless, I’ve learned to respect these kinds of coincidences (my wife has Welsh blood), so here goes. This is what has turned up so far about Absalom Thompson. My thanks to Ron Frampton, Pam Covington, and Brian Crawford for their assistance. And if you have additional information, please pass it along. (We’re in this together, Gentle Reader.) 1. It all began some years ago while glancing through the list of people who were the sole owners of Choptank Island, today known as Tilghman’s Island. It’s not a long list, just ten in all. Seth Foster became the first owner in 1659;

1. Seth Foster 2. Vincent Lowe 3. William Coursey 4. Jonathan Hawkins 5. John Hyde 6. Matthew Ward 7. Matthew Tilghman 8. Lloyd Tilghman 9. Absalom Thompson 10. Tench Tilghman the next two were Vincent Lowe a nd W i l l i a m C ou r s e y, Fo s ter ’s daughter Elizabeth’s two husbands. (One after the other, of course.) The fourth owner was Jonathan Hawk ins, Foster’s stepson, who raised money by mortgaging the island to a London merchant, John Hyde. When Hawkins defaulted on the note, Hyde foreclosed and sold Choptank Island to Matthew Ward, of Rich Neck Manor near Claiborne. Ward passed it on to his adopted son Matthew Tilghman, who passed it on to his son Lloyd. If you’ve been counting, that makes eight. When Lloyd passed away in 1811 leav ing no w ill, the island went jointly to his two daughters, Mrs. Ann Tilghman and Mrs. Henrietta Hemsley. They split the island between them. Then, after nearly 20


January 2016 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times January 2016

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