Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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1883 History of
Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa


W. E. THOMPSON was elected county judge in October, 1865, by an almost unanimous vote. His term began Jan. 1, 1866, and expired Jan. 1, 1868.

Watson E. THOMPSON came to Mason City in August, 1863, and has since that time been a resident of the county. Judge THOMPSON's father was a native of Kentucky, and a sea captain by occupation. The family were originally from Connecticut. His mother was of English descent.

W. E. THOMPSON was born on the ocean, his father being accompanied by his family on his sea voyages. Judge THOMPSON lost his parents when he was ten or eleven years of age, and was thus early thrown upon his own resources. For several years he followed the sea and engaged in other occupations, going from place to place, as circumstances seemed to direct, in securing a livelihood. He learned the printer's trade in Philadelphia, and at one time set type for Horace GREELEY, on the New York Tribune.

When about twenty-one years of age, he went to Cleveland, Ohio, and engaged in boating. The late President GARFIELD was a driver on the canal as that time, and Judge THOMPSON has frequently seen him when thus engaged.

He was married in Ohio, to Annie GREEN, who was born near Cleveland, with whom he lived sixteen years, when she died, in Ohio, though four years of their married life were spent in Winnebago Co., Ill.

Previous to his marriage he had learned the cooper's trade, at which he worked for several years. He was at one time a regularly ordained minister in the Universalist Church, in which denomination he preached for seven or eight years. In the spring of 1864 he was engaged as foreman in the office of the Cerro Gordo Republican, published by Horace G. PARKER, and was connected with that paper for three years. In 1866 he settled on a farm in what is now Lime Creek township, three miles and a half northwest of Mason City. He was the first justice of the peace of that township, an office he has held most of the time since.

By his first marriage he has four children living - Jane C., wife of John D. HARRIS who resides at Brecksville, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio; Benjamin F., who was in company A, 103d Ohio Volunteer Infantry; Annie, wife of William CARTHART, and Mrs. Nellie E. ROOD. The last two live in Pleasant Valley township.

By his second marriage, with Mrs. Phoebe WIGGINS, he had two children - Elizabeth D. and Asa D., who live in Ohio.

Judge THOMPSON has for the last few years resided with his two daughters in Pleasant Valley township.

Transcriber's Note: Some accounts give his name as Walter E. Thompson.

SOURCE: History of Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa. p. 716. Union Publishing Co. Springfield IL. 1883.

Transcription by Susan Steveson



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