This is my great-great grandmother Mary Thompson. She was born in Eaton, New Hampshire in 1821. She had a twin sister named Nancy. After her marriage to Clement Drew in March of 1843, she moved with her husband to Stoneham, Maine where they established a 60 acre farm and had their first two children, Malvina and Albert. They then moved to Biddeford, Maine, where they owned a general store and their daughter Molly was born.
Malvina, their oldest child wrote down memories of her mother in notebooks collected by her children and quoted in “Clement Drew and Mary Thompson, born 1821” – a very fine family genealogy book by Judy Webb.
I’ve always called Mary “the reluctant pioneer” Here’s what her daughter Malvina had to say about her.
From the notebooks –
My mother, Mary Thompson, was moderate size, had black eyes and black hair. She made quick nervous movements. She was afraid of animals in the wilderness. If moving west was talked about she was fearful of Indians and wild animals . . . She had sick spells (perhaps from fright). The doctor recommended leeches and dashing cold water on her.
In the winter of 1852 Kansas was considering entering the Union. Clement Drew decided it was his patriotic duty to move there and vote it in as a free state. Mary refused to go. Clement went anyway, decided it was a little bit too wild for his family and started the trip back home. By the time he got to Rock Island, Illinois, he was seriously ill. The people who were caring for him wrote Mary and told her that he was recuperating, but unable to travel.
So guess what she did:
She sold the store, loaded up the children in the buggy and set out for Illinois. They traveled by horse, by stage, and finally when they reached the inland river system, by boat. They reached Port Byron, Illinois in May of 1853. A remarkable journey for a woman who was scared of animals coming down the chimney. I’m sure that love was the only motivation that could have gotten her there.
My great grandfather Cal Drew was born in Port Byron. The family kept on moving west, first to Iowa, and then to Rice County, Kansas where they set up another general store and started another new life.