Biography of William Thompson

WILLIAM THOMPSON. The man from Tennessee has always been a potential element in the civilization and development of Missouri, and in early days along the woodsman’s trail came men of all avocations and of every degree of social life. No better blood ever infused pioneer life; no sturdier arm ever set about the task of subduing the wilderness and no less vigorous mental activity could have raised a great commonwealth, amid the unbroken elements of nature, within.the limits of half a century. William Thompson, who is one of the pioneers of the county, is now retired from the active duties of life and is living in peace and quiet at Billings. He was born in Williamson County, Tennessee, May 10, 1832, and is a son of Thomas and Lucinda (Baker) Thompson, natives respectively of Indiana and Kentucky. The parents moved to Tennessee at an early date and there passed the remainder of their days. The Thompson family is of Scotch-Irish and the Baker family of Irish descent. Our subject was one of nine children as follows: Hugh, Elizabeth, Joseph, Nancy, Richard, Alexander, Jane, William and Lucinda. Joseph, Alexander and our subject were in the Civil War, while Hugh, Joseph and Richard participated in the Mexican War. The only ones now living are Alexander, Richard, William and Lucinda. Richard resides on the Wilson Creek battle-ground in Christian County, and is engaged in farming. During his youthful days our subject attended only private schools and when he had reached mature years he married Miss Mary A. Meacheam, a native of Tennessee and the daughter of Green and Elizabeth (Cowen) Meacheam. Mr. and Mrs. Meacheam died in Tennessee and after marriage their daughter came with our subject to Missouri.

In 1854, and they settled in Dunklin County, where they remained until 1856, when they moved to Greene County, locating on Wilson Creek. In 1862 Mr. Thompson enlisted in the Home Guards at Springfield and was on guard during the Wilson Creek battle. After this he enlisted in the Fourth Missouri Cavalry of volunteers and served three years, ranking as sergeant and taking part in the Marmaduke and Springfield fights. He was disabled in the former fight, his horse falling with him and breaking his arm between the elbow and wrist, but he was not discharged until the expiration of his term. After this he followed farming and part of the time was engaged in merchandising in Christian County, near Billings. He was with Kelson on the campaign after bushwhackers through Christian, Taney and other counties, and was in many a skirmish and fight under that leader. Mr. Thompson retired from active farm life about 1879 and came to Billings, and part of the time since has been engaged in the hardware business. He has also been engaged in general merchandising and the harness business, and has been successful in all. He and his wife are worthy members of the Congregational and Christian Churches respectively. They have reared five children as follows: Joseph G., a farmer on James River; D. F., the county sheriff; William, a painter of Billings; Ozias, clerk in store; Nancy, the wife of Mr. Thornton. Since the war Mr. Thompson has been a Republican in his political views, but previous to that was a Democrat. He is a G. A. R. man and commander of Billings Post No. 266, and he is also a Mason, a member of Lodge No. 379 at Billings.

In 1875 he was elected to the office of county assessor, served two years and has held other positions of trust. On the 4th of January, 1893, he fell and broke his arm in the same place where it was broken during the war, and it had to be amputated. He is receiving a pension from the Government. Mr. Thompson is the owner of real estate in Billings principally, and is a wide-awake, energetic citizen. He is deeply interested in all worthy movements and is at present building up Billings Woman’s Relief Corps No. II1, and also a soldiers’ home, and is looking for a location for the same at the present time.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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