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The Road Not Taken The Road Not Taken
A Documented Biography of Randall Thompson, 1899–1984
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Chapter I - Family History and Formative Years

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 May 2020

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Summary

… and I was thrilled when my father produced

this old-fashioned square piano.

(Randall Thompson)

EARLY FAMILY HISTORY

Randall Thompson's family roots extend deep into America's past. The Sturgis family on Thompson's maternal side can be traced back to the pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower in 1620. Subsequently they travelled from Cape Cod to Maine where they settled. In more recent times Randall's great-grandfather, George Le Baron Randall (1815-94), married Caroline Matilda Sturgis (1822-93) on October 16, 1845. Their son, Ira Hildanus Randall (1847-1919), married Adeline (Addie) Morse Webber (1847-83), and their daughter Grace Brightman Randall (1870-1932) became Randall's mother.

On the paternal side Randall's great-great-great-grandfather, Alexander Thompson (1761-1827), who had immigrated from Perth, Scotland in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, settling in Antrim, New Hamp¬shire, married Elizabeth Nutt (1772-1840), and their son, Daniel Thompson, was born in 1794. At this point the Ladd family—originally of English origin but for generations living in Haverhill, Massachusetts—came upon the scene when Daniel Thompson married Persis Matilda Ladd (1793-1879). Their son, William Ladd Thompson (1823-94), Randall's grandfather, married Sarah Bickford Varney (1837-1920), the daughter of Captain Samuel Var¬ney (1796-1875) and after her death Mary Archer (1801-83). William Ladd Thompson, a prominent doctor in Augusta, Maine for many years, purchased a farm on a mountain in Vienna (pronounced “Vy-enny” by locals), Maine called Scratch ‘n Scrabble where the family gathered during the summer. Their son, Daniel Varney Thompson, Randall's father, married Grace Bright¬man Randall in Augusta, Maine on September 5, 1893.

RANDALL THOMPSON'S FATHER AND MOTHER

Born in Augusta, Maine on May 10, 1867, D. V. Thompson, belonged to a family with strong ties to that city. His brother Frederic Lincoln Thompson and sister Mary E. Thompson (Aunt Mary [Mollie]), were also both born there. “Uncle Fritz” was chairman of Amherst's History Department, and Mollie, a nurse, maintained her own nursing home in Boston.

Daniel Varney Thompson's description of his early years and career up to 1923, entitled “Annals of a Schoolmaster,” sheds important light on a ca¬reer that had a considerable impact on the education of his three sons.

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The Road Not Taken
A Documented Biography of Randall Thompson, 1899–1984
, pp. 1 - 42
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2018

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