Lee County Biography

James H. Thompson
Lee County


James H. Thompson, Clerk of Lee County, was born in Luzerne County, Pa., April 8, 1843. His father, William A., was born in Pittston, the same county, and his grandfather, John, was a farmer, who, so far as is known, spent his entire life in the Keystone State, with the exception of the period during which he served in the Mexican War. The father of our subject learned the trade of a tailor, but was mainly engaged in the mercantile business until his death, which occurred in Abingdon, thatcounty, in 1847.

The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Nancy Harding, and she was born in Exeter, Luzerne County, Pa. After the death of Mr. Thompson Sr., she mamed John Colville, with whom she came to Illinois in 1852 and settled at Paw Paw, where she died in 1881. Our subject was a small child when he accompanied his mother and stepfatber from Wilkes Barre by stage to Binghamton, N. Y., where he first saw a railroad. They came by rail and steamer to Detroit, from there by rail to New Buffalo, thence by lake to Chicago, and from that city to Ottawa by canal. A team conveyed the little party from Ottawa to Paw Paw where settlement was made.

The education of our subject was obtained in the schools of Paw Paw, East Paw Paw and Wilkes Barre. Before he attained to his majority he enlisted in September 1862, as a member of Company K, Seventy fifth ll1inois Infantry, and served until the close of the war, being honorably discharged June 12, 1865. Among the important battles in which he participated were Prairieville, Stone River, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge and Dalton, Ga., where he was wounded, February 25, 1863.

After returning home, Mr. Thompson engaged as a farmer for a time and also operated as a merchant at Paw Paw in partnership with his stepfather, John Colville, being prosperously conducting the mercantile business when he was elected County Clerk in 1886. He is popular among his fellow citizens and his faithful discharge of the duties of his office as well as his uniform geniality, has won for him a high place in the confidence of all.

In 1867 Mr. Thompson was married to Miss Catherine J. Swarthout, who was born in Exeter, Luzerne County, Pa., the daughter of Elijah and Sarah E. Swarthout. They are the parents of five children, who, with themselves are universally esteemed. In his political belief, Mr. Thompson is a Republican, and socially is connedted with the William H. Thompson Post, No. 299 G.A.R.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co Pg 822

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