JAMES THOMPSON, a gentleman who is widely and favorably known in McLean County, and a resident of Cheney's Grove
Township, which he represents in the Board of Supervisors, is a native of Summit County, Ohio, and was born Jan.
2, 1840. He is the son of Bowman and Elizabeth (Cannon) Thompson, natives respectively of England and Pennsylvania.
His father was born in Northumberland County, Jan. 5, 1811. He remained in his native county until he was nineteen
years of age, then emigrated alone to the United States and, locating in Stark County, Ohio, followed farming pursuits.
Thence he went into Maumee County, where he purchased a farm but remained there only a short time. On account of
the fever and ague in that region he then removed to Summit County and purchased a farm.
On the 2d of September, 1834, he was married, near Massillon, Ohio, to Miss Elizabeth Cannon, who was born near Carlisle, Pa., March 13, 1813. Mrs. T. was the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Gilchrist) Cannon. Her father for a number of years before the war was a slave-owner, but finally liberated his slaves of his own free will. The grandfather of Mrs. T. was a Major in the Revolutionary War, serving directly under Gen. Washington, and came out of the conflict without a wound. The Gilchrist family, in years gone by, was widely represented throughout the Southern States.
The parents of our subject were orphaned at an early age, and Bowman Thompson, in his early life, probably acquired those habits of persistence and industry which proved the secret of his success. He departed this life in Cheney's Grove Township, Oct. 13, 1865. His wife survived until May 2, 1876, nearly eleven years. Their five sons and two daughters wereóJohn, George, James, our subject, Robert, Sarah C., Harry B. and Jane E.
James passed his childhood and youth upon the farm in Summit County, Ohio, receiving a common-school education. After arriving at years of manhood he was united in marriage, Jan. 2, 1861, with Miss Charlotte S. Cliver, who was born Feb. 23, 1843, and was the daughter of Richard and Ann (Britnell) Cliver, both natives of England. Richard Cliver was born Nov. 28, 1816, and departed this life in Tazewell County, Ill., in 1881. The mother died in 1854. They were married in England, came to America in 1837, and located in Tremont, Tazewell County, where they passed the remainder of their lives. Of their seven children three are now livingóJohn, Thomas and Charlotte S.; Thomas H., Lucy A., and two unnamed, died in infancy. Mr. Cliver was a painter and cabinet-maker by trade, and carried on a good business in the grocery line. He was a member of the A. F. & A. M. for many years, belonged to the Sons of Temperance, and during his early life had connected himself with the Episcopal Church. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson became the parents of six childrenóJames R., who married Miss Ida Newland and has two children; Albert B., Lucy C., Elizabeth C., John R. W. and Harry G.
During the late war Mr. T. became a member of Co. L, 4th Ill. Vol. Cav. He participated with his comrades in the fight at Fts. Henry, Donelson and at Pittsburg Landing, being among the first on the scene of conflict. Thence he went with his regiment to Corinth. Miss., and after the capture of Island No. 10, moved upon Memphis, thence to Trenton, and in February was with his regiment at the battle of Coffeeville, where the famous Col. McCullough was killed, being pierced again and again with the enemy's bullets. There our subject was taken prisoner but escaped within an hour on account of the friendly darkness which aided him. He then proceeded to Vicksburg and from there to Natchez, Miss. This was in 1864, and in October of that year, having completed his term of enlistment he was mustered out, receiving his honorable discharge at Springfield, Ill. He had determined to aid in the conflict to the end and retired with the comforting assurance that he had performed his part bravely and faithfully. He entered the service as a private and was promoted Commissary Sergeant. After retiring from the army he resumed his occupation as a farmer, and has distinguished himself as an intelligent and valuable member of the community. He served as Collector of his township three years, was Supervisor four years and still holds the office. He has held other prominent positions among the counsels of his townsmen, and is a worthy member of the Masonic fraternity, having held the various offices of Lodge No. 468 at Cheney's Grove. He gives close attention to his business, is prudent in the management of his affairs, and strictly honorable in his dealings, and is a man who enjoys to the fullest degree the confidence and respect of his friends.
The farm estate of our subject comprises 167 acres of finely cultivated land with a good residence, barn and out-buildings, and in fact all the accessories of the skilled and intelligent agriculturist. Mr. Thompson since 1872 has been a member of the Republican County Central Committee, and has upheld the principles of his party to the best of his ability. Both he and the various members of his family are prominently connected with the Christian Church.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 669. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.