Owen A. Thompson

OWEN A. THOMPSON of Independence represents one of the pioneer families of Kansas and has had an eventful career in nearly all parts of the world. Returning to his native state a few years ago, he exercised his original mind in inventing a machine now extensively used in all the oil districts of the country, and has since applied himself to the management of the manufacturing plant known as the Safety Pulling Machine Company at Independence, of which he is secretary and treasurer.

His grandfather, James A. Thompson, was descended from Scotch ancestors who came from Ayr, Scotland, to New Jersey about 1774. The original ancestor came over as a British soldier but his sympathies were all with the colonists, who soon afterwards engaged in the struggle for independence. James A. Thompson was born in 1831 at Morristown, New Jersey, and came out to Kansas in 1869, taking up a homestead and following farming until his death at Liberty, Kansas, in 1890.

It was at Liberty, Kansas, that Owen A. Thompson was born July 27, 1885. His father was Ransom G. Thompson and he was born near Elgin, Illinois, in 1864, He has spent his active career as a farmer and stock man and in 1888 left Kansas and moved to Cook, Nebraska, where he was among the early settlers. He is still living there. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Modern Woodmen of America and politically is aligned with the socialist party. Ransom G. Thompson married Viola Kelsey, who was born at Elgin, Illinois, in 1868.

The only child of his parents, Owen A. Thompson had only a public school education. When about sixteen he left school and started out to see the world. He traveled in every quarter of the United States and has also seen the different countries, the great cities and many of the interesting places of Europe, Asia and other quarters of the globe except Australia. This wandering career occupied about two years of his life. He then became connected with the United States marine corps, and for four years was in service in the Asiatic Station.

Having satisfied his desire for travel, he returned to the United States and in 1909 located in Independence, Kansas. Then, while working in various lines of employment, he invented the Safety Pulling Machine. This is a machine used in the oil fields for pulling rods and tubing, and is manufactured in the plant at Independence. The Safety Pulling Machine Company is incorporated under the laws of Kansas. Mr. Thompson is the manager and the secretary and treasurer of the company.

Politically, like his father, he is a socialist, and is a member of the Sons and Daughters of Justice. On June 12, 1912, he married Miss Eva Cox, daughter of N. F. and Susie Cox of Independence. They have two children: Ivan W. and Cleda.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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