The name of Thompson has throughout a long period been closely identified with the business and official interests of Melvin and Ford county, representatives of the name having occupied a prominent place in the public life of this section of the state. John M. Thompson is a native of the Buckeye state, his birth haying occurred near Williamsburg, Noble county, April 24, 1837, and is the fourth in order of birth in a family of children born unto William and Catherine (Dyer) Thompson, natives of Virginia and of Ohio respectively. Three members of the family died in infancy and those who still survive are: Mrs. Nancy Grove, of El Paso, Illinois; John M., of this review; T. D., of Paxton; Mrs. Sarah Day, of Melvin; and William II., also of Melvin. The father accompanied his parents from Virginia to Belmont county, Ohio, and it was there that he was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Dyer. In 1843 he removed with his family to Monroe county, that state, but after seven years returned once more to Belmont county, where the wife and mother died April 8, 1863, when she had reached the age of fifty-four years. The year following the father removed to Illinois, settling first in LaSalle county, near New Rutland, where for several years he engaged in farming, which had been his occupation previous to coming to this state. His death, however, occurred in Melvin, in March, 1874, where he had resided for about four years prior to his demise. Both he and his wife were consistent and faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal church.
John M. Thompson of this review, spent his boyhood and youth under the parental roof, accompanying his parents on their removals in Ohio until 1864, when he was brought to Illinois. He was reared to farm life, devoting his time and energies during the summer seasons to work on the home farm, while in the winter months he pursued his studies in the district schools. He also attended Barnesville Academy, and taught school in Belmont county, Ohio, for three years, from 1858 until 1861. It was in 1872 that he came to Ford county, and engaged in the dry-goods and grocery business in partnership with his brother, T. D. Thompson, who now makes his home in Paxton, where he is filling the office of circuit clerk. The brothers were quite successful in this undertaking and conducted the business for several years, but in 1878 John ]M. Thompson sold his interest in the business to his brother, after which he engaged in the implement business, to which he later added a stock of lumber. He was thus successfully engaged until 1886, when he disposed of his interests to his son, William E., and his brother, William H. Thompson. In his business affairs he met with a gratifying measure of success and acquired a competence which now classes him among the substantial citizens of this section of Ford county.
Mr. Thompson has been married twice. He first married in 1861, to Miss Jane Day. who was born in Belmont county, Ohio, September 18, 1837, a daughter of John and Anna (Crew) Day, natives of Pennsylvania and of North Carolina respectively. Their marriage was blessed with three children: William E., who was born February 9, 1863, and wedded Miss Maggie Slather, now making his home in Melvin; Anna C, who died June 17, 1874, at the age of four years; and Frank M., who was born February 3, 1877, and is now a practicing attorney of Paxton, Illinois. On the 15th of May, 1887, Mr. Thompson was called upon to mourn the loss of his first wife, and on the 6th of December, 1888, he was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Jennie Thompson, his brother's widow. She was born in Lancashire, England, March 25, 1851, and when a child of two and a half years was brought to America by her parents, Joseph and Sarah (Brierly) Fletcher, who were likewise natives of England, the family home being established in Kendall county, Illinois. The parents are both deceased, the father having passed away in Illinois, while the mother's death occurred in Iowa. The daughter first gave her hand in marriage to Israel A. Thompson, by whom she has one daughter, Katherine, and by her marriage to John M. Thompson she has one child, Gail Fletcher.
Mr. Thompson has given his support to the republican party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. His first presidential ballot was cast for Lincoln. He has held many public offices, having for twenty-five consecutive years filled the office of justice of the peace, his long continuance therein giving proof of his fidelity and trustworthiness in the discharge of his duties. In 1898 he was elected drainage commissioner and served in four drainage districts, and has filled the office to the present time. He was also elected township supervisor to fill out an unexpired term. He is a charter member of Peach Orchard lodge, No. 179, K. P., in which he has filled all of the chairs, including that of deputy grand chancellor. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church at Melvin, in which he is serving as trustee. It is fitting that the sketches of the distinguished citizens of the county should find a place in this volume, in which connection Mr. Thompson by the consensus of public opinion is rated. He stands today as a high type of American manhood, who has won the good will and confidence of his fellowmen by his public service and private life.

Extracted 16 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 467-469.

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