ALFRED C. THOMPSON. To make a comfortable living for his family and push the struggle of life from the field of immediate necessities to the point of modest luxuries, and do all this on only a quarter section of Western Kansas land might be regarded by many as almost an impossibility. But that has been the achievement of Alfred C. Thompson on the single quarter section which he took up as a homestead upwards of forty years ago. He has made money in spite of the many adversities and vicissitudes of existence. He now has a large and comfortable house, well furnished, and outside there is a good roomy barn, and everything indicates on the face of it at least a modest degree of prosperity and contentment. Mr. Thompson's home is near Brownell in Ness County.
He was one of the pioneer makers of Ness County. He arrived in September, 1878, entering as a homestead the northeast quarter of section 15, township 16, range 22. He was just twenty-one years of age at the time, and had accomplished little for himself financially. He had worked as a farm hand for several years, and on locating in Ness County his possessions comprised a yoke of cattle, a wagon, plow, and eighty dollars in cash. Within a month after coming to Ness County he entered his land. His first habitation was one of the familiar sod houses. Later that was succeeded by a stone dugout, a marked improvement over his first home. However, it had its limitations. He brought his wife to this stone dugout, and occupied it until 1891. At first there was only a dirt floor and the roof was made of sod. When the first baby was born and began to crawl he put in a wooden floor, and ceiled the building overhead.
Some of the early settlers in Western Kansas had failed before they started. Mr. Thompson began with the hope and expectation of making his crops grow and getting something out of the harvest. His early experiment was chiefly successful in the growing of broomcorn. When the price of that product went down he tried out wheat, and continued its cultivation until there was a general tumble in wheat prices. As rapidly as possible he began growing cattle. Then came on affliction of his eyes which almost spelled disaster to the little family. He had to leave Kansas in order to secure adequate treatment, and his expenses while away and the necessity of hiring help on the farm, together with poor crops, swept away all his modest accumulations and he had to start all over again with nothing but his hands and a single cow. Gradually he has raised himself above those early misfortunes, and with what is apparently a change of seasonal conditions in Western Kansas he has more and more resumed the growing of wheat, and another important adjunct to his farm is the raising of horses.
Alfred C. Thompson was born in Athens County, Ohio, August 29, 1857. His grandfather, John Thompson, was of English stock and by his marriage to Lura Carpenter had the following children: Dorothy, who married Rufus Lilly and spent her life in Iowa; Jerre, who spent his years in Ohio; Joseph C.; Louis, who lives in Ohio; James, who died in that state; Eliza married Sam LaFollette and died in Ohio; Ruth married James LaFollette; Mart, who spent his life in Ohio; John, who died unmarried; and Caroline, who married James Corwin and died in Ohio. The sons Louis, James and Mart were all soldiers in the Civil war.
Joseph C. Thompson, father of Alfred C., was born in 1837 in Athens County, Ohio, and spent his life altogether as a farmer. He never mingled in politics beyond voting the democratic ticket and was a member of the United Brethern Church. He married Permelia Andrews, of a family that became identified with Ohio in pioneer times. Her parents were David and Christiann (Mowery) Andrews. By this marriage Joseph C. Thompson had the following children: Edward, who came to Kansas with Alfred, homesteaded land in Ness County and died leaving children by his marriage to Susan Ryan; Alfred C.; Ezra, who also came to Kansas and homesteaded in Ness County, and married Mollie Brook, by whom he had five daughters; Hiram, who homesteaded land in Ness County and died there in 1896, leaving a widow; Mary, who first married Elmer Howard, lived for some years in Kansas, but is now in Ohio, the wife of William T. Lane; Robert, a farmer in Ohio. Joseph C. Thompson married for his second wife Eliza Campbell. Their children were: Rilla, who married Charles Robb and lives in Ohio; Vina, who died young as the wife of Bert Wilson; Joseph and Emmet, of Union County, Ohio; and Blanche, wife of Edward Hall, of that location.
As Alfred C. Thompson says, he grew up "in the woods," and his early environment was a farm eleven miles from Athens, Ohio. Country schools gave him all the education with which he started life. He was fourteen when his mother died. His father died about twelve years ago. As a boy he worked as a farm hand, and at the age of eighteen he came into Kansas, spending tbout[sic] two years in Doniphan County before coming out to Ness County.
On January 14, 1883, he married Miss Susan Brook, daughter of John Brook, who came from Laurel County, Kentucky. Mrs. Thompson was born in that county March 24, 1860. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson have the following children; Mary E., wife of George Hetzer, of Leoti, Kansas, and they have a son, William Albert; Professor William R., who is a graduate of the Kansas State Normal School, is now principal of the Halstead schools, and married Elsie Hamilton; John A., who is with his father and has proved up on a quarter section of land in Kearney County; and Florence, who is still at home with her parents.
Pages 2495-2496.[Added note from researcher on 2 June 2007, not part of the original work: Mark Thompson was in the Civil War as were his brothers, Lewis and James. Mark was married to Ellenore Shannon. She died of measles a week after her twins, Mary E. and Perry M. succumbed to the same disease. I really don't know that much about my gg grandfather, Perry Thompson,╩except that he was a coalminer, married to Mariah Graham, and died in 1886 in Orbiston in Hocking County, OH. Debby]
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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