Thomas K. Tomson

THOMAS K. TOMSON, A life of more than ordinary fruitfulness and influence came to a close with the death of Thomas K. Tomson at his home in Dover, Shawnee County, November 2, 1910. He was one of the ante-bellum settlers of Kansas. In the fifty years of his residence in the state his name became widely known and respected and as a farmer and stockman he was one of the most successful in his section of the state.

He was in his eighty-fifth year when death called him. He was born in Mahoning County, Ohio, September 25, 1826. He grew up there and there married his first wife, who died soon afterward. Though he acquired the tinsmith's trade, farming and the handling of stock constituted his major vocations. In the early '50s, with his second wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth C. Davis, and a daughter, he came west and for a time lived near Fort Madison, Iowa. From there he removed to Tipton, Missouri. While his family lived at Tipton he spent most of his time on a boat plying the Mississippi River. His occupation was the making of tinware and the selling of the product to stores in the towns along the river. Those were years when the strife between the anti and pro-slavery people was reaching its final stage of bitterness. Around Tipton, Missouri, the pro-slavery element was dominant and Mr. Tomson being a strong Union sympathizer found the community very disagreeable. To find more congenial surroundings he set out with a wagon for Kansas in 1860. For a number of years after coming to this state he lived at various places in Shawnee and Waubansee counties, but finally established his home at Dover.

During the war when Price invaded Kansas he joined the state militia but arrived a little too late to participate in the battle of the Blue.

The late Mr. Tomson possessed the pioneer's instinct, courage and endurance, and worked out problems that were perplexing and often in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He had much to do with the improvement of livestock in Kansas. His public exhibitions of Shorthorn cattle gained him more than local fame as a cattle raiser and his stock was frequently awarded prizes. He was of rugged type, companionable, possessing a distinct fondness for children and young people and a tender sympathy for those in need or distress. He also had a quiet reserve and strength of purpose and character that stood him well in all the exigencies of a long life Modest to a high degree, he courted no public favor, yet invariably supported any movement for the public welfare. His life was an open book and one but needed to read the lesson there inscribed to reap benefit. Altogether his influence was one of the most wholesome in the community where he spent so many years.

After his death he was buried in a cemtery[sic] situated on a part of his homestead. This cemetery is skirted by native forest trees where the wind in winter sings a ceaseless requiem amidst leafless branches, and where the blessed spring rains give promise of seed time and bountiful harvest and in Nature's impressive language assures mortal man of the wonderful truth of immortality.

When his second wife died she left six children Mr. Tomson married for his third wife Mrs. Marion (Miller) McArthur. To this union there were born two children. Of these eight children two reside at Dover, one at Cottonwood Falls, one near Wakarusa, one at Lincoln, Nebraska, and three are deceased. The late Mr. Tomson was a member of the Congregational Church and in politics a republican.


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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Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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