Thompson, Cal (unknown–ca. 1889)

By: Kenneth Kesselus

Type: Biography

Published: October 1, 1995

Updated: March 12, 2021

Cal Thompson was a freed slave who became a leader among African Americans in Bastrop County in the decades following the Civil War. He purchased land in 1869 in the Cedar Creek Community, at the suggestion of his former master, Marshall Trigg of Hills Prairie. Thompson amassed holdings of 500 acres in farm land a few miles west of Bastrop. He was described by the local newspaper as "a Negro of much influence in the community." The area around Cedar Creek was heavily populated by Blacks. In the May 1888 elections two African Americans, Orange Weeks and Ike Wilson, were elected justice of the peace and constable, respectively, for the Cedar Creek precinct. Resentment of this on the part of unreconstructed Whites led to intense interracial feelings. A fracas at a trial in Cedar Creek resulted in the deaths of four men, two Blacks and two Whites. Local White people swore revenge on every Black connected with the incident. One by one they were murdered or left the county. Thompson was shot by two White men as he left Bastrop one day. At least 100 White men saw the murder, but no one would tell who it was, saying he was "nothing but a trouble maker and both sides were glad he was killed." Sources differ as to the year of Thompson's death, from May 1889 to around 1895.

Bastrop Historical Society, In the Shadow of the Lost Pines: A History of Bastrop County and Its People (Bastrop, Texas: Bastrop Advertiser, 1955). Bastrop Advertiser, Historical Edition, August 29, 1935. Bill Moore, Bastrop County, 1691–1900 (Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1977).

  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civil Rights, Segregation, and Slavery

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Kenneth Kesselus, “Thompson, Cal,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995
March 12, 2021

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