In looking at whether or not George Hightower, Jr. could possibly be the father of Thompson, it helps to establish where George was living in relationship to Thompson. First, here is some background on George. He was born 31 March 1770 in Amelia County, Virginia to George Hightower, Sr. and Susannah (Thorn) Hightower. The Hightower and Thorn families are well-documented as they are both early settlers in what would later become the State of Virginia. These families came from England and settled in an area that was not yet the United States.
There are records for a Joshua Hightower in North Farnham Parish, in the late 1600s. North Farnham Parish was located in the general area of what would become Richmond in 1737. The Parish records date back to 1663, and it is in those records that the Hightower, Thorn and other related families are listed.
George Hightower, Sr. and his wife Susannah sold their land in Amelia County in 1771, and in 1776 purchased 715 acres of land adjacent to Hightower relatives in Lunenburg County. By 1787 they sold this property and moved to Campbell County, Virginia. Susannah died there in 1797.
It was in Campbell County that George Hightower, Jr. married Frances Ann Hall on 3 February 1796. Their daughter Mary Polly b. 1797 and son Austin b. 1799 were born in this location. Mary Polly’s marriage record lists George Hightower as her father. Austin is buried in the same pioneer cemetery in Ursa, Illinois as George and Frances, so he is most likely their son.
By 1800 both George Sr. and George Jr. are listed in the tax records in Jessamine County, Kentucky. Jessamine County was formed in 1799 from Fayette County, one of the three original counties founded by Virginia on 30 June 1780. (The other two were Jefferson and Lincoln.) The State of Kentucky separated from Virginia in 1792. It is possible that the men did not move but it was simply that their county name was changed.
By the 1810 census, George Jr. was in Campbell County, Kentucky. This record indicates there were 3 males under the age of 10, 4 females under the age of 10, and 1 female aged 10 thru 15 in addition to the adult male and female in the house. Mary Polly would have been about 13 in 1810, and Austin would have been about 11. Who are the other children?
The 1820 census shows George Hightower, Jr. in Covington, Campbell County, Kentucky. It also lists 2 males under age 10, 3 males ages 10-15, 1 male 45 and over, 1 female under 10, 3 females 10-15, 1 female 16-25 and 1 female 45 and over. It is possible that their daughter Mary Polly and her children were living with them. She was married in 1815 and since her first husband died young, she could be the 1 female 16-25 who appears here. Austin did not marry until 1823, so you would think that he would show up as a male 16-25.
By 1830 George and Frances were living in Adams County, Illinois. The census for that year indicates a male 15-19, a female 15-19, and a female 20-29 in addition to George and Frances. It would be very interesting to know what brought them to the small community of Ursa. Their daughter Mary Polly and her second husband did not move to Ursa until about 1850, and their son Austin moved there with his family around 1840.
Many Hightower family trees online list these additional children with George and Frances as the parents: Rolla b. 1802 in Kentucky, Richard b. 1812 in Kentucky, Archibald b. 1814 in Kentucky, and of course Thompson b. 1815 in Kentucky. I have found no proof of parentage on any of these boys. I do know, however, that they all lived in Campbell County (which became Kenton County).
Any of the older teens or young adults on the George Hightower, Jr.’s census records could be boarders, servants or laborers, of course. Since these early census records that do not list names of people in the household, they are of somewhat limited use.
But what the records do indicate is that George and Frances Hightower were living in Campbell County at the time of Thompson’s birth around 1815. Thompson could be one of the males under the age of 10 in their 1820 census, and he could be the 15-19 year old male in their 1830 census from Adams County, Illinois.
But is he?