Thompson, Geauga, Ohio
The site of Thompson, Ohio was significant for a brief moment in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In May 1831, the revelation now known as section 51 of the Doctrine and Covenants was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith at Thompson, a site about 20 miles northeast of Kirtland. This revelation marks the beginning of the Saints being commanded to consecrate their lands and resources to the bishop who would then “appoint unto this people their portions, every man equal according to his circumstances and his wants and needs” (D&C 51:3). In this case, the bishop was Edward Partridge and “this people” was the Colesville Saints who were arriving from New York.
Thompson resident and convert to the Church, Leman Copley, had offered much of his 759-acre farm to the incoming Saints from Colesville, who immediately began building houses, fences, and preparing the land for sowing so that they could live by the sweat of the brow. The Colesville Saints were likewise asked to surrender their properties, a request that was difficult for some. Unexpectedly, after several weeks, Leman Copley turned from the Church and returned to his former religious organization. He subsequently broke his commitment to consecrate his land and evicted the Colesville Saints from his property. On June 10, 1831 the Prophet Joseph received a revelation instructing the Colesville Saints to leave Copley’s land and move to Missouri (D&C 54:7-8).
Leman Copley later returned to the Church, but he never went west with the majority of the Saints when they left Ohio for Missouri and Illinois in 1838. The acreage that was once the Copley farm has been divided and is no longer in the unincorporated community of Thompson. According to Keith Perkins and Donald Cannon, it is now part of Madison. Moreover, the unmarked graves of Leman Copley and his wife are located in the Evergreen Cemetery in Thompson.
Map and Directions
It should be remembered that the land that was once the Leman Copley farm is no longer in present-day Thompson, Ohio. It is now in Madison, south of I-90 and just west of SR 528. Perhaps the best place to envision the farm of Leman Copley and the Colesville Saints is to view the land situated on the southeast corner of the intersection where Ford and Fisher Roads intersect.
Years of subdividing and other changes have made viewing the Copley farm as a single entity impossible. The block of acreage on the southeast corner of Ford and Fisher Roads allows one to see some of what was once the Copley property, but it is privately owned and not open for visiting within the fence that surrounds it. Interested persons should view the land from outside the fence.
Articles & Resources
William G. Hartley, Stand By My Servant Joseph, 114-119.
Keith Perkins and Donald Q. Cannon, in LaMar C. Berrett, eds., Sacred Places, Vol. 3, 44-45.
Matthew McBride and James Goldberg, eds., Revelations in Context, 42-43.