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Noted Abolitionist & Family In Old Parish Cemetery

Rev. Edwin Thompson (1809-1888)

Charles M. Thompson (1856-1909)

Roxa Ellis Morse Thompson (1813-1848)

Cynthia J. Morse (1838-1863)

Louisa Jane Fisher Thompson (1815-1871)

Susan Matilda Fisher Thompson (1819-1899)


Edwin Thompson was born in 1809 in Lynn, Massachusetts. As a teenager he took up the abolitionist cause and was active in the Young Men’s Anti-Slavery Society of Lynn. By the early 1830s, he was speaking throughout the state often in the company of abolitionist leaders William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips. Thompson was among those who influenced escaped slave Frederick Douglass to take on a public role in the anti-slavery cause.


Rev. Edwin Thompson

Thompson embraced the Universalist faith in 1833 and was the minister at South Dedham from 1841 until 1846. While the leader of this community’s Universalists, in April of 1844, he spoke alongside Frederick Douglass at a meeting of the Norfolk County Anti-Slavery Society held in Dedham. Thompson was also a leader in the Total Abstinence Movement, founding a temperance chapter in South Dedham.


The Thompson home as it appears in East Walpole in 2019.



On April 8, 1842, Edwin Thompson married Roxa Ellis Morse. Roxa Ellis was born on August 14, 1813, the daughter of Royal and Betsey Ellis. Roxa Ellis had married Joseph Morse on January 29, 1837. They had one child, Cynthia J. Morse, born on May 2, 1838. Joseph Morse died in Walpole in 1839.


Roxa Ellis Morse Thompson died on December 31, 1848 of consumption. The couple had no children but 10-year-old Cynthia Morse continued to live with her step-father at his home at 12 East Street in East Walpole.



On October 9, 1849, Rev. Thompson married Louisa Jane Fisher, born on April 10, 1815 in Franklin. They had one child, Charles M. Thompson, born in 1856. Louisa Fisher Thompson died on June 15, 1871.


On March 18, 1872, Susan M. Fisher became Thompson’s third wife. She was born in 1819.

Rev. Edwin Thompson died in his East Walpole home on May 22 1888 at the age of 79. His widow, Susan Fisher Thompson died on August 4, 1899 of senility. Although her name is not on the stone, she too is interred in Old Parish Cemetery as are Cynthia J. Morse, Roxa Ellis Morse Thompson’s daughter, who died on January 22, 1863 of tuberculosis, and Charles M. Thompson, the son of Edwin and Louisa Thompson, who died in 1909 after a heart attack.




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