BIOGRAPHY - A. M. Thompson

A. M. THOMPSON, a prominent merchant of Piper City, deals in dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, and has one of the neatest and best-appointed stores of the place. He was born in Juniata County, Pa., and is a son of R. N. and Rebecca (Thompson) Thompson, the former born in Juniata County, and the latter in Chillicothe, Ohio. The Thompson family was founded in America by a native of Scotland, in the early part of the seventeenth century. The great-grandfather of our subject served in the Revolutionary War. R. N. Thompson was a farmer, and, in 1851, emigrated to Illinois, locating in Warren County. He came to Piper City in 1866, and engaged in farming in this locality until his death. He enlisted in the Eighty-third Illinois Infantry for the late war, but was discharged on account of disability. In connection with Mr. Lewis, he served as land-agent for the Illinois Central Railroad. In politics, he was a Whig, and was among the first to espouse the cause of the Republican party. He held membership with the United Presbyterian Church. His wife is still living, and makes her home in Colorado with her son.

Unto this worthy couple were born the following children: A. M., of this sketch; Mary E., who died in Piper City; Rebecca J., wife of J. J. Greenlee, of Kansas; Mrs. Sarah I. Williamson, also living in Kansas; Thomas S., who served for a short time in the Seventy-seventh Illinois Regiment during the late war; Mrs. Florence A. Shotwell, who makes her home in Kansas; Julia A., who went with her mother to Colorado for her health; David S., who is engaged in business in Greeley, Col.; and Ida, a teacher of Kansas.

We now take up the personal history of our subject, who spent his boyhood days in Warren County, Ill., and acquired a good education in the public schools and at Monmouth College. In 1861, at the age of eighteen, he left school to enlist in his country's service as a member of Company I, Fiftieth Illinois Infantry. The regiment assembled at Quincy, and was sent into Missouri. The first engagement in which Mr. Thompson participated was at Ft. Henry. This was followed by the battles of Ft. Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, Corinth, Chattanooga, Rome, Resaca, and Altoona Pass. He saw the signals which Gen. Sherman made to "Hold the Fort," and with him made the celebrated march to the sea. The last engagement in which he took part was the battle of Bentonville, N. C. He then marched through Petersburg and Richmond to Washington, where he participated in the Grand Review. His term of service having expired, he then re-enlisted and served for four years as Corporal and Sergeant. He was honorably discharged in Springfield, in 1865.

Immediately upon the close of the war. Mr. Thompson returned home, and, in 1866, came to Ford County, where he embarked in farming in Brenton Township, one mile south of Piper City. He secured an unimproved tract of land and engaged in its cultivation until 1869, when he began business with his brother-in-law, Jasper J. Greenlee, in a restaurant. A few years later, he bought out his partner's interest, and continued alone. For the past ten years he has been proprietor of a dry-goods and grocery store. In the meantime, he has spent three years in Dakota, but the business was carried on by his brother. In Dakota, he took up a Government claim in the Red River Valley, which he still holds. He began business with the small capital which he had saved in the army and has steadily worked his way upward until he is now a prosperous merchant doing a thriving business.

In 1876, Mr. Thompson married Miss Lizzie Johnson, their union being celebrated in Bloomington, Ind., her native city. She is a daughter of David and Mary Johnson. Her father is now deceased, but her mother is still living. Our subject and his wife are both members of the United Presbyterian Church, with which he has been connected since its organization, and has held the office of Trustee. He cast his first Presidential vote for U. S. Grant in 1868, and was a Republican until 1884, since which time he has exercised his right of franchise in support of the Prohibition party. He is as ready to support all causes of reform as he was in the days of the Rebellion. He made a good record as a soldier, which is equaled by his record as a citizen and business man.

Extracted 22 Aug 2019 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 248-249.

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