Biography of H. Y. Thompson

H. Y. Thompson was born at Senecaville, Guernsey county, Ohio, June 4, 1845. He was favored with a liberal education in the public and high schools of his native town. With the hope of improving his health, which had become impaired, in 1862, he undertook a trip across the plains and during the winter of 1862-3 was engaged in mining in Auburn, Baker County, Oregon. In the spring of 1863 he went to Idaho City and for three years carried on his mining operations at that place. His health not improving, he determined to try the climate of the valley region of Oregon and in 1866 came to Salem. He soon after obtained a position as a teacher in a school near Silverton, Marion County, at which time he began the study of law, having made arrangements with Shaw & Holman, attorneys of Salem, for the loan of the necessary books. He continued to teach and at the same time pursued his legal studies for one year near Silverton, when he secured a position in the city school of Salem, where he taught and read law for another year. He was then admitted to the bar and commenced the practice of his profession at Salem in partnership with Sylvester C. Simpson. At this time, the Recorder of Salem having resigned, Mr. Thompson was appointed for the unexpired term and was afterward elected by the people for three successive terms.

Before the expiration of his last term he determined to remove to Portland for the purpose of practicing his profession. He accordingly resigned his position and came to this city in 1870. For a time he was in partnership with C. B. Bellinger, but in 1872 became associated with Geo. H. Durham, then Prosecuting Attorney for this district. He became Mr. Durham’s deputy and together they transacted the business of the office. In 1874 Mr. Thompson was elected Prosecuting Attorney of the district-at that time comprising Multnomah, Washington, Columbia, Clatsop and Clackamas Counties, and for a term of two years most ably and efficiently performed the duties pertaining to the office. In 1876 W. Lair Hill became associated as partner with Mr. Thompson and Mr. Durham, and subsequently Geo. H. Williams was added to the firm. The four partners remained together until the spring of 1886 when the firm was dissolved, and since that time Mr. Thompson has pursued practice alone. He is a lawyer of conceded ability and has long held a prominent place among the most successful lawyers of Oregon. As an advocate he has made an enviable record and in some of the most notable criminal trials which’ have occurred in this section during recent years he has borne a conspicuous part as prosecutor or defender. As a speaker he is widely and most favorably known. He was engaged in a general practice until about a year ago and since that time he has devoted his attention almost exclusively to practice pertaining to corporations and real estate. He is attorney for the Oregon Real Estate Company, Fair Haven and Southern and New Westminster and Southern Railroad Companies, the Skagit Coal and Iron Company and the Fair Haven Land Company.

Mr. Thompson has always been an enthusiastic republican; has taken an active part in State political affairs, and has long been regarded as an able leader. He has never been a seeker after office, but whenever called upon has devoted his time and energies to the service of his party without being moved by personal interest or expectation of reward. He has delivered political addresses in different parts of the State and as an effective political speaker has few superiors. That his services in this regard as well as his conceded ability as an organizer have been potent factors in achieving party victories in Oregon is freely acknowledged.

Mr. Thompson was married in April, 1871 to Miss Anna B. Smith, daughter of the late Hon. Joseph S. Smith, an estimable lady, who with her husband deservedly holds a high place in the social life of Portland. They have three children. Mr. Thompson is a man of refined and cultivated tastes, but unpretentious and utterly devoid of any desire for display. He is genial in manner, a popular citizen and is held in high esteem both in and out of his profession.


Biography, History,

Harvey Whitefield Scott. History of Portland, Oregon: with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Citizens and Pioneers. Portland, Oregon. D. Mason & Company, 1890.

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