Wesley Sylvester Thompson
*Signature Of W. S. Thompson
Getting Aquainted With Our Preaching Brethren
W. S. Thompson was born in Marion County, Alabama, in 1907, where he was reared and obtained a high school education in the Public School System of that state and county. His early life was uneventful except for severe sickness which many times gravely threatened his life, the effects of which it seemed impossible for him to ever overcome until he was past twenty years old. He was reared on a farm where he still claims to have gotten many of his best ideas and experiences. In the fall of 1938 he entered Freed-Hardeman College, Henderson, Tennessee, shortly after becoming a member of the church, with the anticipation of becoming a minister of the gospel. Because of illness he was not able to remain in school very long. He returned to his home in Alabama and after his recovery worked at the carpenter's trade for some time, all the while hoping to re-enter Freed-Hardeman College and study the Bible. The depression, though, caused him to abandon such plans and in December, 1929, he was married to Miss Letha Irine Jones of his home community. Any success he may have obtained thereafter he unhesitatingly attributes to her. She had been a member of the church for years and due to her piety, devoted loyalty to church work, her conservative encouragements, untiring efforts and personal sacrifices he was able to enter Freed-Hardeman College again in 1935. During the two years there they kept rooming students in the home to meet the expenses of living. He was in the graduating class of 1937, after which he began work with small congregations in Tennessee and Mississippi. Having preached at many places on Lord's days during his two school years he soon became a preacher of experience and ability.
He taught in the public school system in northeast Mississippi the school year of 1937-'38 while holding meetings in the summer time and serving local congregations of that section throughout the winter. During his three years in the ministry he has sung for meetings and conducted many good meetings in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. He came to Maysville, Oklahoma, the first of June, 1938, where he has held two meetings and worked with the congregation very acceptably during his stay.
- W. D. Bills, Firm Foundation, January 24, 1939, p.3.
Brief Biography of Wesley S. Thompson
Brother Wesley S. Thompson, minister, educator, author, writer, speaker, Winfield, Alabama, is the fifth child of a family of eight born to Lee Robert and Sarah J. [Logan) Thompson. He was born near Guin, Alabama, June 14, 1907. He attended the rural schools of Marion County, and was graduated From Marion County High School in Guin in 1928 where he was president of the senior class. He attended Freed-Hardeman College, Henderson, Tennessee, From which he received his Diploma in 1937. He received his B.A. Degree cum laude from South Western State College in Weatherly, Oklahoma in 1940. He received the MA Degree with a maior in history from the University of Oklahoma in 1944, and later continued his studies at the University of Alabama and at Abilene Christian College.
Brother Thompson has taught at Mississippi College for Woman, John C. Calhoun State Junior College, Brewer State Junior College, Winfield High School, Phillips High School, Corner High School, Winston County High School, Berry High School, and Lamar County High School.
As an author and a writer, he has published five books, "Tories of the Hills," a story of the Civil War with a north Alabama setting; "Comments on the Revelation," an original commentary of the Revelation without speculation; "Royal Gypsies," a book of fiction based on historical facts and principles; "So Turns the Tide," a Civil War story with setting around Tuscumbia and Florence, Alabama; and "The Free State of Winston: A History of Winston County," relating some of the conflicts and struggles that actually happened in and around Winston and the surrounding counties during the Civil War. He has published many articles in religious and historical papers and pamphlets. Another of his publications of special interest to Bible students is a "Workbook on the Revelation'' which has recently been published. Brother Thompson has served as president of Alabama Writers' Conclave. He is past president of Hale County Historical Society, and is member of the Alabama Historical Association. He served as secretary of the Alabama Civil War Centennial Commission for five years and represented Alabama as a delegate to several national meetings.
Brother Thompson has served as minister of the Church of Christ for nearly forty years. Among the places where he served are Acton, Tennessee; Maysville, Weatherford, and Lexington, Oklahoma; Bear Creek, Double Springs, Sylacauga, Sandusky, Berry, Vernon, Greensboro, Decatur, and Berea in Fayette County, Alabama.
On December 12, 1929, he married Letha Irene Jones of Guin, Alabama, and they have two daughters, Annie Laurie, who received the Ph D. Degree in Romance Languages from Tulane University, and is teaching at Delgada State College, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mary Aka, M. A., University of Alabama, who is married to Dr. Eugene Yarbrough, and the two are teaching at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.
Brother Thompson has kept a busy schedule for himself for many years. In addition to his ministerial work, which is his first love, and to teaching and writing. He has constantly been engaged in speaking to Civic and Women's Clubs, making after dinner speeches, delivering Baccalaureate sermons, and teaching the Revelation to church groups. His experience in lecturing on religion and philosophy on radio and television cover a period of many years.
Even though Brother Thompson has been busily engaged all his life in the many spiritual, cultural, and educational activities, he has taken time to enjoy his favorite hobby, building cherry furniture. His own creations almost completely furnish his home. This furniture supplemented with his wife's beautiful paintings present a lovely home to enjoy. The Thompsons live in Winfield, Alabama.
-Basil Overton, World Evangelist, January, 1974, page 6
Brief Sketch on the life of W. S. Thompson
Wesley was the son of Lee Robert and Sarah Jane Logan Thompson. He was named after his grandfather who died at the age of 34 by a falling tree whilst carrying the United States mail from Columbus, Lowndes County, Mississippi to Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama.
Wesley served as Senior Class President and graduated from Marion County High School in Guin, Marion County, Alabama.
On December 12, 1929 he married Letha Irene Jones, daughter of Troy Newton and Laura Jane Smith Jones.
He attended Freed-Hardeman College in Henderson, Chester County, Tennessee. He later obtained his Bachelors degree from Southwestern College in Oklahoma. In 1944 he received his Master's Degree from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma.
Wesley was a minister of the Church of Christ for four decades. He was also a history Professor at Mississippi State College, Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, Calhoun College, Decatur, Calhoun County, Alabama, and Bevill State College in Fayette, Fayette County, Alabama.
He was the author of Tories of the Hills, a book about Northern Alabama during the Civil War. It addresses the divided loyalties of many of the families during that time. Thompson wrote of how the "Free State of Winston" came about. Many families wanted to be neutral, but were forced to either side with the Union or the Confederacy. There were many horrors done upon both sides of the conflict.
Wesley S. Thompson II also served as President of the Alabama Writers' Conclave while living in Winfield, Marion County, Alabama. His other books are So Turns the Tide, Royal Gypsies, and two books on The Revelation.
-Obituary taken from Find-A-Grave
In Honor Of Wesley S. Thompson
In Matthew 10:39 Jesus says "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Wesley Sylvester Thompson, a minister and true soldier of the cross has certainly learned the true meaning of these words as he has fought in the army of our Lord.
Brother Wesley S. Thompson, minister, educator, author, and writer resides in Winfield, Alabama. In 1928 he was graduated from Marion County High School, and in 1929 he married Letha Irene Jones of Guin, Alabama. Following this, brother Thompson attended Freed-Hardeman College, Henderson, Tennessee, and Western State College in Weatherly, Oklahoma where he received his B.A. degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1944.
Brother Thompson has served very diligently as a minister of the Lord's church for approximately forty years. He has served in the Lord's army in such places as Bear Creek, Double Springs, Sylacauga, Sandusky, Berry, Vernon, Greensboro, and Decatur, all of which are in Alabama. He has also served in various places in Tennessee, as well as Oklahoma. In addition to brother Thompson's work for the Lord, which is certainly his first love, he is also a teacher and a writer. As an author, brother Thompson has written and published five books, one of which and travel he wrote four books. These four books published by brother Thompson are: Tories of the Hills, a story of the civil war in North Alabama: Royal Gypsies, a book of fiction based on historical facts; So Turns the Tide, a civil war story in the area of Tuscumbia and Florence, Alabama; and The Free State of Winston, a history of Winston county which tells of some of the conflicts and struggles that actually happened in Winston county, and the surrounding counties during the civil war. Brother Thompson has certainly made a great contribution to the history of Alabama. His biographical sketch was selected for the Library of Alabama Lives in 1961.
As an educator, brother Thompson has taught in many colleges and high schools in surrounding counties and states.
The faculty, staff, and especially the students of International Bible College wish to thank brother Thompson for his contributions and support of International Bible College. Brother Thompson has donated most of the books from his personal library to the International Bible College library.
For this, we are certainly thankful. A man such as Wesley S. Thompson with all his accomplishments and his great contributions, first to the Lord and then to society, is a man worthy of being honored.
-Stan Brantley, World Evangelist, February, 1978, page 4
Wesley Sylvester Thompson
Wesley S. Thompson, Winfield, Alabama, departed this life on Sept. 9,1978, at Winfield, at the age of 71 years and 3 months. In the passing of Brother Thompson, Winfield has lost another of its distinguished citizens.
Mr. Thompson was born and reared in Marion County, Alabama. He-was the fifth of eight children, born to Lee R. and Sarah J. (Logan) Thompson. He was a noted gospel minister, having served churches of Christ in several states and localities in Alabama. He was a writer, having authored six published books. He was a well-educated man and an outstanding teacher. He had taught school in several of the county public schools in Alabama. Some of the locations where he taught and did ministerial work are: Bear Creek, Double Springs, Sandusky, Winfield, Sylacauga, Berry, Vernon, and Brilliant. He also taught in three colleges: Mississippi State College for Women, Calhoun State Junior College, and BFem State Junior College.
Mr. Thompson has held memberships and offices in several state-wide organizations: President of the Alabama Writers Conclave; Secretary of the Alabama Civil War Centennial Commission; President of the Hale County Historical Association; and President of two College AEAs. His last work was as minister and elder of the Berea Church of Christ.
Brother Thompson is survived by his wife, Letha Jones Thompson; two daughters, Dr. Annie Laura Thompson of New Orleans, La., and Mary Alice (Thompson) Yarbrough of Greenville, N.C.; two grandchildren, Sarah Elizabeth and Wesley Cole Yarbrough; three brothers, A. W. Thompson of New Orleans, La., and C. G. Thompson and H. D. Thompson of Guin; and one sister, Mrs. Iva Lee Martin of Arlington, Texas.
Funeral services were conducted at the Church of Christ meeting house in Winfield, on Tuesday, September 12, 1978. Brother Wiley Hollingsworth was the minister in charge, assisted by brethren: Bill Cox, Chester Estes, and Lyndell Fike. Internment was in the Guin City Cemetery. Services were under the direction of Miles Funeral Home of Winfield.
-Basil Overton, World Evangelist, October, 1978, page 19.
L2R - Cecil May (College Dean), R.L. Garner (Winfield Businessman), Charles Coil (IBC President) & W. S. Thompson
Thompson had given his library to I.B.C. (now Heritage Christian University)
Photo Appeared in World Evangelist, February, 1978
The Tuscaloosa News, September 13, 1953, page 18
Directions To The Grave of Wesley S. Thompson
W. S. Thompson is buried in the Guin Cemetery in Guin, Marion County, Alabama. The cemetery is located in the east section of town on Hwy. 118. It is located next to a Funeral Home. See GPS location below for specific location of cemetery. When finding Guin Cemetery, note that the Thompson plot lies just behind and to the left of the Guin Cemetery sign.
Wesley S. June 14, 1907 - September 9, 1978
Letha I. May 14, 1908 - June 30, 1994
When that which drew from out the boundless deep turns again home
On Letha's Stone: You were the wind beneath our wings!
Photos Taken 05.2011
Courtesy of Scott Harp
*Many thanks to my son Richard Harp, who was visiting in the home of his in-laws, Chuck and Donna Palmer of Paragould, Arkansas, July 4, 2017. Chuck found an original, signed edition of Thompson's, Tories of the Hills, book in a thrift store in Paragould recently for $2.00. The book sells online at up to $700.00 being out of print.