Wayne County Biographies

Part of the Indiana Biographies Project

William M. Thompson

William M. Thompson, the subject of this memoir, and at one time the county treasurer of Wayne county, was one of the most popular and efficient financiers and officials of this section of the state. For more than thirty years he was an honored citizen of Richmond, actively interested in all measures advanced for the good of the people, and performed his full share in the development and improvement of the city.

A son of Montgomery and Piety (Horne) Thompson, William M. was born October 6, 1838, on a farm which his father had entered from the government, this homestead being situated east of the town of Arba, in Randolph county, Indiana. His education was acquired in the district schools of the period, and long ere he had reached his majority he had mastered all departments of agriculture, under the judicious instruction of his father, who was a practical, successful farmer and a leader in local affairs. When he was twenty-one years old he was married, and for some five years subsequent to that event he carried on agricultural operations on a farm adjoining the old homestead owned by his father. Later he turned his attention to the management of a general store at Bethel, Wayne county, and in 1861 he came to Richmond, which was thenceforth to be his home. Here he went into the grocery business with George W. Barnes, and continued with him for some six or seven years. Then, buying an interest in a grocery, the business was conducted for five years under the firm name of Thompson & Good, at the end of which period the senior member retired and embarked in the same kind of enterprise on his own account. He continued actively engaged in business until 1892, when he sold out and retired from the field of commerce.

One of the most noticeable characteristics of Mr. Thompson from his youth was the readiness with which he won friends. He possessed that rare sympathy and sincerity, that genuine kindliness of heart and manly courtesy of manner which never fail to attract. Doubtless these traits accounted largely for his popularity and prosperity in business and as a public official. From his twenty-first year he was zealous in the Republican party, and was sent as a delegate to numberless district, county and state conventions. In 1876 he received the nomination for the county treasurership, and, having been duly elected, he entered upon the duties of the office in October of that year. Accurate and methodical in his work, he won the commendation of all concerned, and, when he was again placed in nomination, upon the expiration of his first term, he was elected with little opposition, and continued to give general satisfaction while he was in office.

On the 2d of February, 1859, Mr. Thompson married Miss Lucinda Vannuys, of Bethel, Indiana, and for over thirty-five years they harmoniously pursued life's journey together. Two children were born to them, a son and a daughter: Charles V., now a resident of Chicago; and Rosa, wife of Theodore H. Hill, a member of the well known Richmond firm of Louck & Hill, proprietors of the Richmond planing-mill. The death of Mr. Thompson occurred at his pleasant home on North Thirteenth street, Richmond, October 17, 1894. His loss has been deeply mourned in this community, and his memory is enshrined in the hearts of scores of his old friends and associates, to whose interests he was ever faithful, sacrificing his own rather than theirs.

Biographical and Genealogical History of Wayne, Fayette, Union and Franklin Counties, Indiana, Volume 1, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1899