The prolific storyteller, who later changed his name to James Maurice, settled in Gordon County around 1854.
Thompson grew up with two passions; writing and hunting. Later on in his life he married the two, writing several books about archery, hunting and other musings surrounding his craft.
According to his last book, Toxophilus of Arcadia, an unpublished account on archery, was in the works when Thompson died.
Toxophilus of Arcadia is a book of essays devoted to the uncanny archer.
Cliff Huntington, the writer behind the introduction and biography of Thompson in Toxophilus of Arcadia, has compiled all of Thompson’s manuscripts from the Emory University Special Collections Department, which take the reader through a vivid and exquisite journey of Georgia to Indiana—the birthplace of Thompson.
The book denotes Thompson’s love affair of the rugged countryside and his adaptation to his new environment.
In his biographical sketch by Huntington it states: “Early in my childhood our family went to live on a lonely estate amid the mountains of Cherokee Georgia. The farmstead was circled around by the foothills, above which in all directions blue peaks kissed the rim of a heave that looked like the half of a pale blue bird egg shell turned hollow side down. All of our neighbors and friends were mountaineers, and I grew up a mountaineer boy. I spoke the mountain lingo, wore the mountain garb, conformed to all the customs and manners of the mountain fold for many years, and, indeed was scarcely less than to the manner born … moreover I chewed ‘mountain-twist’ tobacco and smoked the same, until I became aware of better habits and reformed.”
After pursuing a career in politics and law, Thompson left those worlds behind and became a writer. His writings include, “Hoosier Mosaics,” “The Witchery of Archery,” and “Alice of Old Vincennes.”
A limited number of Toxophilus of Arcadia copies are available at the Gordon County Historical Society for $10.
For more information, call 706-629-1515.