Central Virginia Family Featured on PBS Show

By: Tara Wheeler Email
By: Tara Wheeler Email

July 24, 2012

Last year, Lesley Foster got a call from the PBS show “History Detectives,” asking if she knew anything about a set of pistols belonging to John P. Thompson.

“Those were a set of pistols that had been in my family; they were really family relics that had sat in the same place for a 106 years until they were stolen in night in 1978,” said Foster.

The family tried many times to catch the thief, but it eventually became a cold case. One day the pistols were spotted at an antique roadshow. The guns had the name John P. Thompson engraved on the handle.

The history detectives found out about the pistols and were determined to find out who Thompson was.

It turns out Thompson was married to Foster’s great-great grandmother. The two would write letters to each other and the Foster family kept those letters. Foster’s great-great grandmother only had a few of her husband’s items, including the pistols. She kept the pistols in a case on a table inside her home.

Thompson was married to her great-great grandmother for ten years before he died.

The pistols have been appraised for more than $30, 000. Detectives from the show discovered that the set was sold for about $500 30 years ago.

For the Foster family, they are excited to delve into a romantic tale of generations past and hope the pistols will return home.

The PBS show “History Detectives” featuring Foster’s family heirloom airs Tuesday’s episode. To see the full episode visit the “History Detectives” website.


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