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James Thompson papers

 Collection 0251-MDHC

Group of six handwritten business letters to and from James Thompson of Pennsylvania from correspondents in Baltimore and Havre de Grace. One of the letters, written to James Thompson by Magrew and Virdin, gives details of the damage to the Tide Water Canal and of the accidental drowning of its superintendent William Boyd.


  • 1808-1841
  • Majority of material found within 1841

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


6 Items

Scope and Content of Collection

The papers of James Thompson consist of five business letters and one document, dated 1808 to 1841, which relate to the trade of flour, plaster, and wheat. The correspondence includes discussion of the condition of the goods, prices, and commercial transportation via the Tidewater Canal. Correspondents include a Mr. Albers of Baltimore, Samuel Thompson, and Tiffany, Fite & Co. in Baltimore.


James Thompson was born on February 2, 1782, in Thompsontown, Pennsylvania. He was the son of William Thompson, who settled and laid out Thompsontown, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, and Jane (Mitchell) Thompson. Thompson moved to New Mexico, Pennsylvania, in 1810 after his father completed building a stone gristmill there. He married Martha Allen on April 2, 1810. They had three sons, Charles A. (1811-1852), Allen A. (1814-1844), and Jerome (b. 1817). Thompson opened a store in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, in 1814. His brother Samuel joined him in this merchandising endeavor until about 1827. In 1821, Thompson became the first postmaster of New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and held that position until his death. His son Charles succeeded him. James Thompson died on December 14, 1847.


The collection consists of one series:

Series 1
Business Documents

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the papers of James Thompson from Charles Apfelbm in 1995.

Related Material

Researchers interested in James Thompson and his family may consult the following related collections and publications:

  1. Ellis, F and A. N. Hungerford, eds. History of that part of the Susquehanna and Juniata valleys, embraced in the counties of Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Union and Snyder, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Everts, Peck & Richards, Philadelphia., 1886.
  2. A History of the Juniata Valley, Vols.I, II, III. National Historical Association, Inc., 1936.
  3. History of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys. Counties of Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Union and Snyder. Vols. I and II. Everts, Peck & Richards., 1886.
  4. Hollingworth, Levi, 1739-1824. Papers, 1811-1841. William L. Clements Library. The University of Michigan.
  5. Thompson, Edward Shippen, 1869. Collection, 1684-1941. Edward Shippen Thompson Collection, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
  6. Thompson, James William. Descendents of John Thompson. Stevensville, MD, J. W. Thompson, 1994.

Processing Information

The letters were placed in and acid-free folder and stored in an acid-free box.

Guide to the James Thompson Papers
Processed by Martha Hooker, November 2003
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742