Thomas W. Thompson, ex-chief of police of Topeka, Kan., and for a number of years assistant United States marshal for the eastern district of Kansas, is a well known citizen of the capital city. His life has been a strenuous one and if written in detail would make a volume of exceptional interest. He comes of stanch Scotch-Irish ancestry and is a native of Bradford, Canada, where he was born, Dec. 3, 1847. The first of the line to immigrate to Canada were his grandparents, John and Mary Morrison Thompson, natives of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Ireland, and they located near Toronto in 1826. They later removed to Bradford, Canada, where they reared a family of five sons and five daughters and continued to reside there until their respective deaths, the former passing away at the age of seventy-nine years and the latter at the age of eighty-four. John Thompson was a Tory in politics and a member of the English yoemanry. Of their ten children, five daughters spent their entire lives in Canada, as also did their sons John and William. Their second son, Robert, removed to Fairmount, Neb., where he died in 1887. Ralph, their third son, and the father of the subject, was eight years old when he accompanied his parents to Canada, in 1826. He grew to manhood there, and in 1846 was united in marriage at Bradford, Canada, to Miss Mary H. Hempstock. In 1849 he removed to Racine, Wis., where he resided two years and then removed to a farm near Bangor, La Crosse county, Wisconsin, where he and his wife continued to reside until their respective deaths. He was a great reader and took an active interest in the political issues of the day, being a Douglas Democrat, advocating "The Union as it was and the Constitution as it is." Mary H. Hempstock, the mother, was a native of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, and the eldest in a family of four sons and five daughters of Benjamin and Ann (Butry) Hempstock, all of whom were also natives of Nottingham, England. Benjamin Hempstock and family emigrated from England to upper Canada about 1840, and after residing there about ten years they removed to La Crosse county, Wisconsin, in 1851. There the four sons continued to reside several years, when John Hempstock, the eldest, removed to Minneapolis, Minn., where he died at the age of seventy-three years. William, the second son, removed to McMinnville, Ore., and also died in his seventy-third year. George, the third son, removed to Redwing, Minn., where he died at the age of forty-four, and Benjamin, the fourth son, who had located in the Red river valley in Minnesota, ended his days there at the age of fifty-one. The mother of the subject who, as stated, was the eldest child of the Hempstock family, died in Topeka in 1898, at the age of seventy-eight years. The second daughter, Harriet, married Joseph Coulson, and after residing many years in Rochester, Minn., died there at the age of eighty-one years. Ann, the third daughter, died in La Crosse county, Wisconsin, in 1864, at the age of thirty-eight. Elizabeth, the fourth daughter, married John Campbell, of Honey Creek, Minn., and died there at the age of forty-six years. Esther, the fifth daughter, and youngest child, married Mitchell De Kay, a Spaniard, and while residing at Grass Valley, Ore., she met an untimely death about 1865, by being murdered by a Mexican. Ralph and Mary H. (Hempstock) Thompson became the parents of two sons and two daughters, namely: Harriet C., who died at Bangor, Wis., at the age of seventeen; Benjamin J., who was born in Canada and died in Winslow, Ariz., in 1882, at the age of thirty-two; Lucy E., who became the wife of A. D. Smith, at Bangor, Wis., when eighteen years old, or in 1868, and died at Olustee, Okla., in 1910, left two daughters, Mrs. Hattie B. Stephens, of Bellingham, Wash., and Mrs. Etta Baker, of Olustee, Okla.
Thomas W. Thompson, of this review, the second child and oldest son, was born at Bradford, Canada, Dec. 3, 1847. He was but two years old when he accompanied his parents to Racine, Wis., in 1849 and from thence to La Crosse, Wis., in 1852. La Crosse county contained but few white settlers at that time outside the village of La Crosse, which today is one of Wisconsin's most progressive cities. He was reared to farm life and educated in the common schools. He began his independent career by learning telegraphy and station work at Lawler, Iowa, on the Iowa & Minne division of the Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad. This business offered a better field for advancement than anything else in sight at that time. After six years with that company, he accepted a similar position at Vinita, Indian Territory, where, in addition to his other duties, he superintended the loading of live stock and the handling of trains while in the yards. This position he filled until 1874, when he became a brakeman on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railroad and was soon promoted to be a conductor. However, being offered a better position on the International & Great Northern railway, with headquarters at Palestine, Tex., he accepted it and was with that road during 1875-6. He then accepted the position of general yard master at Pueblo, Col., for the Denver & Rio Grande railroad and remained with that road during 1877-8. In 1879 he became connected with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company at the time of the construction of their line from Las Vegas, to Santa Fe and thence to Albuquerque, N. Mex., and had charge of three fully equipped boarding trains caring for 500 workmen. In 1880 he returned to Kansas and operated a boarding train for the Santa Fe between Burlingame and Manhattan and between McPherson and Elwood, Kan. In the fall of 1880, he removed to Topeka and built the Santa Fe Hotel, situated on the corner of Fourth avenue and Madison street, which he operated four years, or until he received the appointment of chief of police of Topeka, through Michael Heery, who at that time was president of the city council, and through Hon. Joseph C. Wilson, mayor of Topeka. He made an excellent record during the one and a half years under Mayor Wilson, and when the Hon. Bradford Miller succeeded to the office of mayor he reappointed Mr. Thompson chief of police, which position he held another year and then refused to be a candidate for reappointment, as the strife and turmoil attendant with the office were too unpleasant. In recalling the conditions of those times and his experience as chief of police, Mr. Thompson said: "We were enforcing the prohibitory law twenty-six years ago, and I speak advisedly when I say that Topeka was as dry then as it is now. It ought to be better. I wish it were." In speaking of the late Bradford Miller, former mayor of Topeka, during Mr. Thompson's last year of service as chief of police, Mr. Thompson said of him: "I knew him well and feel it an honor to pay a tribute to him. He was one of the noblest and manliest of men, conscientious, honorable and upright in all his dealings with his fellow men. If every man for whom he did some kind act were to bring a flower to his grave today, he would sleep beneath a wilderness of blossoms." It was during his term as chief of police that the gamblers and toughs who were driven out of Dodge City decided to open up in Topeka. They had a game started before Chief Thompson was aware of their presence, but he had no sooner learned of its location than he and his deputies raided the gang and placed under arrest such men as Bat Masterson, Luke Short, Dave Mather and others, whom he marched to headquarters, where each was fined and warned not to repeat the offense. At the close of two years of service as chief of police for the city of Topeka, Mr. Thompson was appointed field deputy United States marshal for the State of Kansas and for one division of the Indian Territory. He received his appointment from Col. W. C. Jones, United States marshal for Kansas under Cleveland's administration. At that time a great deal of the travel over this state and the territory had to be done by teams, as the railroads traversed but a small portion of the territory and were not so numerous in Kansas as they are now. During Harrison's administration, Mr. Thompson was appointed a special deputy United States marshal for Wyandotte county and Kansas City, Kan., under Col. R. L. Walker, and during Cleveland's second administration he was appointed field deputy United States marshal under Dr. S. F. Neely, of Leavenworth. He served four years under his last appointment, and with that term he completed twelve years of service for the government as a deputy United States marshal. From that time to the present Mr. Thompson has engaged in farming, fruit growing, and in the grading and paving of streets, his contracts for the latter business having been principally in Topeka, Hutchinson and Lawrence, Kan. He owns a fine apple orchard of forty acres in Jefferson county, near Grantville, where he raises eight choice varieties of apples. He also owns a farm in Jefferson county, his pleasant home at Nineteenth and Adams streets in Topeka, besides two other Topeka properties.
In 1877, at Southwest City, Mo., Mr. Thompson married Mary E. Dustin, a daughter of Sylvanus and Elizabeth Dustin, to whom she was born at Council Bluffs, Iowa, June 15, 1854. To Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were born two sons and five daughters. Frank Ralph, born at Marshfield, Mo., No. 22, 1878,[sic] is now secretary and general manager in three cities for the commission firm of Gamble, Robinson & Company, with headquarters at Aberdeen, S. D. He married Margurette Timmerdale, of Minneapolis, Minn., and to their union has been born a sonFranklin Thomas Thompson. George R. Thompson, the second son, born in Topeka, Aug. 25, 1880, died at the age of ten months. Grace A., the eldest daughter, born in Topeka, July 26, 1883, was married in Topeka, Aug. 19, 1905, to J. C. Yeargain, of Southwest City, Mo., who is there engaged in a general mercantile business. They have one son, J. Maxwell Yeargain, now (1911) one year old. Mary L. Thompson, born at Topeka, Oct. 11, 1886, was married Sept. 1, 1909, to H. C. Tromp, a broker, and resides in Topeka. Ella C. Thompson, the third daughter, born at Kansas City, Kan., July 24, 1890, resides with her father in Topeka. Maud R. Thompson, born at Topeka, Nov. 24, 1892, is a stenographer for her brother, Frank, at Aberdeen, S. D. Esther L. Thompson, the youngest daughter, born at Topeka, Nov. 24, 1895, is a student in the Topeka public schools and resides with her father. All these children, except the youngest, are graduates of the Topeka High School. Their mother died Aug. 10, 1906, and is buried in the Topeka cemetery beside her son, George. There also repose the remains of Mr. Thompson's father, mother and brother, Benjamin, the last named having died in Winslow, Ariz. Mr. Thompson has seen much of the South and the West and has made Topeka, Kan., his home through choice. In politics he is a progressive Democrat. In 1907 Mr. Thompson was a candidate for sheriff of Shawnee county on a strictly partisan platform. Though that county is normally Republican by about 3,600 votes, Mr. Thompson was defeated by but 525 votes, a complimentary vote considering the strength of the opposing party, especially so in consideration of the fact that Mr. Thompson made no particular campaign for the office, and did not employ a dollar for that purpose, not even for a newspaper announcement. He has an optimistic faith in humanity and is himself respected and esteemed by all who know him.Pages 1572-1576 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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