The Thompson brothers, John, Richard and William were among the early settlers of the New Garden area of what is now Russell County, Virginia. Records indicate that they settled there as early as 1771. When the Thompson family came to the New Garden area, it was still a vast wilderness. The settlers of the area were confronted by hostile Indians who carried out frequent and savage attacks against them. In 1774, to protect these settles, three companies of militia were organized with Captain William Russell commanding the unit responsible for protecting the lower Clinch Valley. About the same time, the Royal Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, ordered that several forts be built in the area.
Indian attacks continued, however, and Governor Dunmore finally decided to take military action against them. This short war, known as Dunmore's War, was fought wholly by Virginians in 1774. The high point was the battle of Point Pleasant on 10 Oct 1774, in which more than two hundred men from Russell County were involved. William Russell, David Looney and Daniel Smith commanded companies containing Russell County men. Daniel Boone, Michael Stoner and David Gass served as scouts. In the battle, the troops were attacked at sunrise by the Indians. Fierce fighting continued throughout the day. At nightfall, the Indians withdrew having been defeated by the frontiersmen. Richard and William Thompson were among the roster of soldiers that took part in the battle of Point Pleasant.
In December, 1785, a petition was signed requesting that then Washington county, Virginia be divided in two and that a line be drawn along Clinch Mountain as the dividing point. Thus Russell County was formed. The Thompson brothers were among the signers of the petition. At the first Russell County court, held on 9 May 1786, John Thompson was appointed a County Justice. William Thompson was appointed as Captain in the county militia and John Thompson an ensign.
John Thompson moved to Tennesse about the year 1812, but returned about the time of his brother Richards death in 1816. In Richards will, it identifies his daughter Isabella. A subsequent lawsuit between Richards children and their uncle John identifies two additional children of Richard, Abner and Nancy, wife of John Hibbard. Depositions taken during the suit also identify John, Richard and William as being brothers. Abner later settled in eastern Kentucky. It appears that John died after 1820, probably in Russell County.
It is through William Thompson that most of the known Thompson descendants trace their lineage. William was born about 1752. He married Nancy Jackson, the daughter of Jacob and Lydia Jackson about 1770, possibly in Fincastle County, Virginia. Nancy died about 1825, probably in Russell County. William died about August or September, 1830. His will was signed on 7 Aug 1830 and proven on 5 Oct 1830. In Williams Will, it identifies eight children: Anna m: William Combs, Susannah m: Solomon Crabtree, John m: Viginia "Jane" Fletcher, William, Jr. m: Catherine Sherman, Nancy m: Elijah Smith, James m: Mary Smith, Lydia m: Elexious Musick and Celia m: James Fletcher.