Biography of Thomas E. Thompson

Thomas E. Thompson, a native of Iowa, had lived in Kansas for forty-six years, and is one of the veteran newspaper men of the state, being editor and proprietor of the Howard Courant.

As to his American ancestry, there is record of his Thompson forefathers coming from England and settling in Maine in colonial days. Mr. Thompson’s grandfather, Samuel Thompson, was born in Maine in 1781. He took an active part in the pioneer development of the Middle West, lived in Ohio for a number of years, and about 1846 moved to the new State of Iowa, where he was one of the pioneer farmers. He died in Henry County, Iowa, in 1866.

It was in Henry County, Iowa, that Thomas E. Thompson was born, May 23, 1860. His father, Asa Thompson, who was born in Ohio in 1829, was about sixteen years of age when the family removed to Henry County, Iowa, where he grew to maturity and married. He also followed farming, and in 1871 came to Kansas and secured a homestead of 160 acres in Howard County, now Elk County. In 1875 he removed to the Town of Howard, and lived there until his death in 1896. He was a man of much prominence in this section of the state. He served as clerk of the District Court six years, from 1875 to 1881, and in 1887 was elected a representative in the Legislature and also filled a vacancy in the office of probate judge of Elk County. He was a very strong republican. He and his son Thomas were associated in the purchase of the Howard Courant, and he retained a financial interest in the paper until his death. Fraternally he was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Asa Thompson married Emma Ables, who was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, in 1829, and died at Howard, Kansas, in 1910. The oldest of their children, a son, died in infancy, and the others were Catherine, Thomas E. and John A. Catherine, who was born in 1852 and died at Howard, Kansas, in 1887, married J. L. Hart, who was one of the early farmers at Grenola, Kansas, and is now deceased. John A. is a photographer living at Eureka, Kansas.

From the time he was eleven years of age Thomas E. Thompson continued his education in the public schools of Elk County. When thirteen he entered a printing office at Boston in Howard County, and completed his apprenticeship by experience in several newspaper plants. He was barely twenty-one years of age when in 1881 he and his father bought the Howard Courant, and its business management and editorial control have been in his hands ever since. The Howard Courant was established in 1874 by Abe Steinberger, and it had always been a republican paper and is still the official organ of Elk County. Mr. Thompson is a very competent newspaper man, and is one of the few journalists in the State of Kansas who have been continuously identified with one paper in one location for so many years. He is the owner of the entire plant, and his well equipped plant is located on Wabash Avenue. The Courant had its circulation and influence all over Elk County and surrounding counties.

Mr. Thompson and family reside in a modern residence which he erected on Pine Street in 1904. He also had another dwelling house on the same street. He had played his part as a citizen in this section of Kansas. In 1891 he was elected mayor of Howard for one term, and from 1899 to 1907 served as postmaster, during the administrations of McKinley and Roosevelt. He is an active republican, is affiliated with Hope Lodge No. 155, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Howard; Howard Chapter No. 49, Royal Arch Masons; Oklahoma Camp No. 935, of the Modern Woodmen of America; Howard Lodge No. 124, Ancient Order United Workmen, and was formerly a member of Emporia Lodge of Elks.

In 1882, at Elk Falls, Kansas, Mr. Thompson married Miss Maude Cummings, daughter of Dr. William M. and Susan (Pike) Cummings. Her mother is now deceased and her father is a retired physician living at San Diego, California. Mr. Thompson takes justifiable pride in the talent shown by his only son, Clad H., who had attained more than local reputation in newspaper circles, and is a member of the staff of the Kansas City Star. He writes the “Kansas Notes” and the column of “Star Beams,” which are familiar features of that great journal.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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