William C. “Curley Bill” Thompson

Kentucky, USA
Death 16 Feb 1865 (aged 56–57)
Larue County, Kentucky, USA
Burial Coakley, Green County, Kentucky, USA
Memorial ID 113240834 · View Source
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William C. Thompson was a son of Edward (James?) Thompson (abt 1780-bef 1825) and Elizabeth Cory (abt 1780-aft 8Nov1858). Edward and Elizabeth came from Virginia to Kentucky. They married 23 Feb 1796 in Virginia or Kentucky. They had seven children, the first born was our William C. Thompson, b. abt 1808 in Green County, Kentucky.

In the 1850 Green County census, Elizabeth Thompson was head of household 335. She was 64 years of age and born in Virginia. The children still at home were: Margaret, 30; Priscilla, 25; and William 9 (most likely a grandchild). Living next door in the household of Nathan Warren was another one of Elizabeth's sons, Wesley Thompson, age 22 years, a laborer.

Elizabeth purchased 40 acres on the waters of Brush Creek, Green County, Kentucky on May 5, 1857 for $80. On November 8, 1858 she sold that land to her daughter, Margaret, "for love and affection." She included with the sale all of her household and kitchen furniture. Margaret Thompson was living with her mother at the time of the 1850 Green County Census. Elizabeth was referred to as Elizabeth Elkin when her daughter, Lucinda, married in 1828. All later references to her was as Elizabeth Thompson.

William C. Thompson became known as "CURLEY BILL." He married twice but had 5 batches of children (that we know of).

He married (1) Lydia Wood, April 19, 1828 in Green County (Surety: John Wood)...they had 13 children. See Lydia’s Find A Grave memorial # 146329107 for a list of their children.

He met (2) Louisa (Unk maiden name) NEVER MARRIED before abt 1845. They were the parents of Alexander Thompson (bet 1845/47- 21 July 1930. Alexander married Frances Mildred Marcum. He is buried in the Bloyd-Perkins Cemetery in Green County, Kentucky.

He met (3) Mary Ann Perkins bef 1847. NEVER MARRIED (b. 1831 Taylor Co d. Dec 24 1888 in a train wreck) She was buried on Dec 25 in the Old Houston Cem near John Brown Skaggs' house, 2 miles NW of Corinth Ch - AKA Old Skaggs Cemetery.
Six children were born to them: William James Perkins, abt1847; Mary Jane Perkins, 1847; John Henry Perkins, abt1848; Elizabeth Perkins, 1848/47; Celia A. Perkins, 1860; Simon Richard Perkins, 1862

He met (4) CINDIA RILL (CINDERELLA) HOWELL before 1849 NEVER MARRIED, daughter of Andrew Howell and Eleanor Houston, b. Jun 8, 1833 in KY (Cindia Rill Howell) on headstone. d. Jan 21, 1914 in LaRue Co KY. Buried in PLEASANT RIDGE BAPTIST CHURCH CEM.
Six more children were born to this meeting: Thomas Howell, 1850; Martha Alice Howell, 1856; Emily (Emma) Howell, 1859; Didamia Howell, 1860; Susan (Sudie) A. Howellk 1862; William W. Howell, abt 1862; James A. Howell, 1865

He married (5) Martha Ann Houston, March 4, 1862 in LaRue Co KY at John Houston's by Elijah Etherton. Daughter of Amos Houston and Melvina Johnson. She was born Aug 7 1843 in LaRue and d. Sep 22, 1922 in Lexington MO. Buried in Machpelah Cem in Lexington Lafayette County, MO. Curley Bill and Martha Ann Houston were parents of Hobson Thompson, b. abt 1862; and Alice T. Thompson, abt 1864
Curly Bill was a member of the Home Guard. He was murdered by rebel guerillas at his home in Green County (family oral history says that America saw the murder and that Curly was shot in the back while running for cover. They also said that Curly had his gun with him at the time. I guess that he planned to fight back. It was also said that Curly was widely known for his boxing skills and that strangers would sometimes challenge him to fight). A diary account by a Bloyd says that it was Capt Marion and his men that killed Curly Bill. Capt Marion was killed by Union cavalry only a few weeks after Curly's murder!

Rhonda Calhoun, in a letter dated May 4, 1995 to Barbara Wright, Campbellsville, KY: My husband, Billy, was told the Thompson's walked through the Cumberland Gap. There is also a family story that Wm. C. was killed by a rebel, but I noticed the suit that said he died in 1870. Supposedly he was being looked for and hid. When the rebels left, he came out of hiding and they come back, shot him and put his body in a house & set it on fire. Someone saw this, pulled his body from the house after the rebels left, and he was buried on a farm on the ridge. No one knows exactly where the grave is but know the general area. Since Wm. died in 1870, I guess this story is more legend than fact.

Another related story:
Curley Bill fought against the Confederate guerrillas, who found him in his living room. He had married Martha Houston after Lydia's death and they had two small children. He had one of these children (America Thompson) on his lap when he looked out the window and saw the guerrillas coming. He tried to get away by going through the back, but they caught up and shot him. They then went up and shot him two or three more times, killed his horses and burned his barn. One of the Guerrillas, who had gone the other way around the house, got in the line of fire and he was killed also. They say, they took a good's box, broke the dead Guerrillas's arms and legs and wadded him in there and he's buried by the side of the road, up there near Ward's store. Curley Bill's great granddaughter, Beatrice Thompson Smith recalled, with shivers, that when she and her friend's walked to school they always walked on the other side of the road when they passed the "Guerrilla's grave." That was in the early 1900s

Like most legendary stories, the story of Curley Bill's death tends to vary in the manner told. In the Thompson Book, by William Smith, there are different stories about how the guerrilla was killed; once by being in the line of fire and second by begging for Curley's life.

There is even a story that Curley Bill survived the attack and did not die until later because of a naming in a lawsuit.
This diary entry from 1864 is a first-hand account.

Diary Entry: (The following was taken from page 118 of William Bloyd book by Nichols/Simpson)
November 6, 1864
This is a day long to be remembered on a cold day. The Greensburg Yankees, killed the Guerrilla George Wright, on that day he fought them, until he fell, mortally wounded. He died with in two hours after he fell. Having never been any Rebel Guerrillas thru here since that memorable day until Feb. 16, 1865. Guerrilla Capt. Marion, with fourteen men robbed old Mr. Dick Skaggs, Jerry Skaggs, and Daniel Estes, Daniel Williams and set fire to John Walkers house because he would not give money. They put it out themselves. They met Louis Bloyd, in the road and robbed him of $30.00 and robbed John H. Bloyd, they robbed Mr. Hagans store of $100.00 worth of goods. He had three ladys hats, they put them on and walked out and said "This is the way, we gay Guerrillas go." They then came on to James A. Howell and took some whiskey from him, they met Charlie Mat Buckner and robbed him, they come to James A. Scott and took from him a horse and broke his musket and told his family, I'm was at home. They would kill him for he had often reported to them as a Home Guard. Next they came to Gabe Warrens and combed his head with their pistols and took his money. They went out to Dr. Hazelwoods, there they stayed all night, there from Dr. Hazelwood, they took one pair of boots and one pistol. From the Drs. they went to Jim Edwards. Jim was not at home, they beat mat and robbed him of his money and boots, took his hat, left ladys hat, in the place of one. They told the children to tell Jim, that if he would go to John Bloyd and surrender his arms to him and take the oath, they would never pester him any more. From Edwards, they went to Bill Lees and gave Henry a whipping. And took a quarter from old Mr. Lee, inquired for Bill Lee, said they intended to kill him. Mrs. Lee told them he had gone to Munfordsville, From Lees they went to George Drewens, they beat him and said they intended to kill him, then ask his name. He answered George Drewen The Capt. immediately ordered his men out of the house. they all went out and then came back to the door and ask his pardon, for treating him so said they was mistaken, they was at the wrong house. They then left him and went to William C. Thompsons, they killed him. They shot him three times. They also killed one of their own men, for begging for Curly's life. The man was on his knees with one hand lifted towards heaven, praying for Curly, when they shot him and killed him. They burned up the house and everything in it. Shot Curly's two horses.
[Bio by Russell Perkins]


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  • Created by: CatheaC
  • Added: 2 Jul 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 113240834
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William C. “Curley Bill” Thompson (1808–16 Feb 1865), Find a Grave Memorial no. 113240834, citing Sand Lick Cemetery, Coakley, Green County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by CatheaC (contributor 47339429) .