Fundy to Chesapeake: The Thompson, Rundall and Allied Families (2 vols.)


Ancestors and Descendants of William Henry Thompson and Sarah D. Rundall, Who Were Married in Linn County, Iowa, in 1889

This book tells the story of two families that were joined in marriage in Central City, Iowa, a small town on the Wapsipinicon River. This river cuts across the prairie near Stone City, home of the artist Grant Wood. The story of Will Thompson and Sadie Rundall brings to mind Wood’s iconic painting, American Gothic. Will and Sadie’s ancestors all came from northern Europe, mostly from Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. They came to Iowa from settlements on the northeast coast of what was then British North America. Most of them arrived before the American Revolution, many in the early 17th century. They first settled near the Atlantic Ocean, along the coast from the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia to northern Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay. Most of the emigrants were Puritans, Presbyterians, Anglicans, or Quakers, and they lived in communities with others who worshipped in the same way. As time passed, the ancestral families mingled, and many then found common ground in the Methodist Church. As it was with most early settlers in British America, the principal occupation of the men was farming, although some were also fishermen. More than a few were soldiers, craftsmen, tradesmen, and land speculators. The women were, almost without exception, occupied with bearing and raising children, and housework. Their stories are typical of the times in which they lived, and the records presented here show what the lives of men, women, and children were like in those times.

There are, inevitably, some dark spots in the stories. The most famous is the tragedy of one of Will Thompson’s ancestors, Rebecca (Towne) “Goody” Nurse, who was hanged at Salem. But then redemption occurred, when her great-granddaughter Elizabeth Nurse married Caleb Putnam, grandson of the acting constable of Salem, and a close relative of many of her principal accusers. One of the other famous characters in this book is Elizabeth (Fones) (Winthrop) (Feake) Hallett, the so-called “Winthrop Woman,” who appears many times. She was the daughter-in-law of one of Sadie Rundall’s ancestors, and the mother-in-law of another. The Thompson and Rundall families include Torys and Patriots, slave-owners and abolitionists. Some were among the founders of the towns of New Haven, Greenwich, Stamford, Southold, and Oyster Bay. The Rev. Abraham Pierson led his flock to Newark, New Jersey. Others, such as John Sharples, came with William Penn to Pennsylvania. A wealth of photographs, a complete bibliography, and a full-name index of the members of the Thompson-Rundall families add to the value of this work.

George J. Hill, M.D., M.A., D. Litt.

2016, 8½x11, paper, index, 2 vol. set, 828 pp.

ISBN: 9780788456954