Lum Thompson 1882 to 1967

Some may wonder why Columbus Upson “Lum” Thompson, who was born September 26, 1882 on his family’s Nueces Canyon Bonner
Ranch and passed away on June 13th, 1967 in Leakey would be posted on the Camp Fawcett site, so let us convey why and provide a history of Lum, after providing the sources of this information.

A) Florence Fenley interview with Lum in 1965 for her “Oldtimers” column.
B) Marjorie (Clark) Kellner from her book Wagons Ho - A History of Real County, Texas
C) Comments from website
D) Relatives of Lum
E) Paul Burrier a 1956 Eagle Scout from Leakey for doing intel for us.


Left to right: Lum and brother Jeff sporting their new “mule ears” ( cowboy boots).

Within the coffers of the Texas Southwest Council,  a gift of $60,000.00 was discovered from Lum’s Estate given solely for the maintenance and improvement of Camp Fawcett, which was given to the Council somewhere around the late 1950's or early 1960's - 54 years ago. A portion of these funds are currently being used to upgrade the shooting range, to remove lead based paint from the Health Lodge, to repaint and install a septic system for the Health Lodge that was nonexistent. 

The former Trading Post built and dedicated in June 1971 at Camp Fawcett came from the Lum Thompson Estate. This Trading Post was removed in 2012.

Lum was near 46 years young when Camp Fawcett came to be in 1928-1930 and Lum liked what he saw on his many visits to summer camp and other camp activities. This was his motivation to leave a portion of his estate to the future maintenance and improvement of Camp Fawcett and for that we honor him.

After Lum’s father Dave bought the Bonner Ranch they lived there for about eight years until they sold it in 1886 and bought part of Survey 3 about one or two miles north. Lum was born to David Denning and Rosanah (Brice) Thompson; he was the second of three sons born at the Bonner Ranch locations. Lum’s two oldest sisters, Margaret and Julia, were born in Bell County and the remaining children in Frio Canyon.

Izora Lee O’Bryant’s family settled in the Dry Frio area originally but moved to the Vance area (Nueces Canyon). She was the daughter of Ben and Lena O’Bryant.

Lum said to her, “There was a girl in the family by the name of Izora. I went over to see her every opportunity I had….”

The two very talented persons were married December 21, 1904. Lum was a rancher and a cowboy and she was a teacher and actress. She entertained Lum’s nieces with shadow dancing and other clever ways as they visited them. Izora taught at the “Angora School” in the Nueces Canyon “a couple of years”, but the ranch work called her back to Lum – he said she was a good ranch hand when it came to riding and helping with livestock.

Lum told of an Indian raid when they took all the horses they could find in the canyon. His father, Dave Thompson, borrowed a horse and took their trail with some of the other settlers and Texas Ranger Captain Heard and his men. They trailed the horses to Quihi country and they “picked up” horses here and there that the Indians had “dropped”. Lum said “When my father rode up to a certain house at Quihi and called ‘Hello, a sorrel horse stuck his head out of the crib window and neighed.” It was “Sorrel Top”, the favorite horse of Lum’s mother, Rosanah. “Sorrel Top” had gotten away from the Indians and the Quihi resident had penned the horse – they had lost all their horses – and the lady reluctantly allowed Dave to take the horse, since it was apparent that he was the owner. Dave and Tobe Edwards his nephew, met Captain Heard and the other men and Jake O’Bryant from off down the road with another bunch of horses. They threw all the horses together and headed for the Frio Canyon.

Lum told about Miss Carrie Burditt and Miss Ellen Bell and the small school he went to when he was a young boy. We must presume, by his age that it was the West Frio Bluff School just across from the big field from the Thompson home. On that location the Elms Log Cabin stands today. The “Bluff” school was built after the Huffman School burned in about 1883. The Huffman School was of logs with a fire-place in each end; the Bluff School was across the river and was made of split lumber.

Lum told of joining a cattle drive which began on the Dietert Ranch. They had about one thousand head of steers and spayed cows which they rounded up and branded. They had to be driven to Pearsall to a ranch Mr. Dietert had leased. Along on the drive was Richard Marcus, John Buckalew, Jim Payne, Will Wilson, Fred Fisher, Arthur James and Jim Vaughan as cook and Walter Large as horse wrangler. In spite of several stampedes, the rattlesnakes and the prickly pear they reached their destination in about six or seven days. The pay was $1.00 per day whether or not they rode day and night, which they did on this drive. Lum said there was no overtime.

At some point in his life Lum was partially blinded by a explosion of a cartridge dropped into a fireplace. Four of his sisters Julia and Margaret and two cousins Lon and Ed Brice, had “sore eyes” that also damaged their site.

Lum and Izora bought a ranch on Bullhead. After living there a few years, they leased out the ranch and went to Mexico in 1919 to work for Alamo Lumber Company on the “Tuli” Ranch. A great many United States citizens worked in Mexico at that time, mostly as managers.


Izora and Lum Thompson at the Tuli Ranch, Mexico.

Lum and his brother Ace leased a ranch in Mexico and ran cattle and Spanish goats. They were very successful and Lum and Izora remained there ten years – then sold their cattle and goats to the company and returned to their Bullhead Ranch where they remained until 1950 when they sold to the Patti Family.

Comments from  (3-1-13): “Lum Thompson was deceased when I came into the council in 1974.  I worked with Claude Gilmer, an attorney, who lived in Barksdale next to the river, but had his office in Rocksprings.  I use to go by his house and visit with him quite often, even after he retired.  He, years before, had dug up his entire front yard to a depth of three feet and had his house full of Indian artifacts he had found there.  A most interesting person.
The Lum Thompson Foundation was a limited foundation that gave the interest to the council each year, which we used to pay the electric bill and do a few other maintenance jobs.  At some point the foundation was dissolved, in accordance to the bylaws of the foundation, and the corpus was given to the council.  The $60,000 sounds about right as to what was in the foundation when I was there.”

Izora was ill and in the hospital in the 1960’s and so they moved to Leakey where they were near relatives. Izora died November 29, 1965 and Lum June 13, 1967. They were laid to rest near the graves of other family members in the Floral Cemetery, Leakey, Texas.

Thanks Lum for caring enough to leave funds to benefit Camp Fawcett and Scouting.