General David Thomson’s Horn Drinking Cup


This drinking cup made from an animal horn was used by General David Thomson at the October 1813 Battle of the Thames, an American victory against the British and Tecumseh’s Confederacy in the War of 1812. The American troops serving under William Henry Harrison won the battle in which Tecumseh was killed. The victory led to American control of their territory around the Great Lakes and to the collapse of Tecumseh’s Shawnee alliance. 

David Thomson was born in Virginia in 1775 and spent his early adult life in Kentucky. He married Betsey Suggett in 1801, and the couple raised ten children on a farm in Scott County, Kentucky. As was the case with many western men, Thomson served in the War of 1812 to protect his home and property. He commanded a regiment at the Battle of the Thames and was promoted to the rank of general the following year. Thomson presumably kept the drinking cup a relic of his role in the decisive battle.

In 1833 and 1834, David Thomson and three of his adult married children moved with their families and enslaved people to Pettis County, Missouri. Thomson practiced diversified agriculture using the labor of over 20 enslaved people, thus making him one of the largest slaveholders in the county. He was instrumental in establishing the town of Georgetown, which served as the first county seat, and he operated a saw and grist mill in the area. In 1840, he constructed a sizable brick home, which he named Elm Spring. George R. Smith was married to Thomson’s daughter Melita Ann and accompanied him to Missouri. He founded Sedalia in 1860 to attract the Pacific Railroad to the new community. Sedalia became the county seat of Pettis County in 1864 and has hosted the Missouri State Fair since 1901.

Object Details

Categories: People, War & Conflict

Date: 1813

Subject: War of 1812; Thomson, David

Contributing Institution: Missouri Historical Society

Accession Number: 1918-033-0002

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County: Pettis

Region: Central

Type: Object

Latitude: 38.758645

Longitude: -93.238129