Biography - Stephen Thompson
STEPHEN R. THOMPSON. The efficient Postmaster at Tilden, Randolph County, has long been known as one of the prominent citizens of this locality, and for many years has been identified with the progressive interests of the county, materially aiding in the promotion of local improvements and mutual welfare. Possessed of sterling integrity of character, executive ability and excellent judgment, Mr. Thompson is especially adapted to discharge the duties of his responsible position, and is doing so to the universal satisfaction of his fellow citizens.
Richard Thompson, the father of our subject, was born in Nova Scotia in 1804, while his mother, who bore the maiden name of Nancy Embree, was born in 1811 in New York. The parents were married and lived in Nova Scotia for a few years, and then, coming to the United States, located in Bangor, Me., thence later removed to Canada. Their last removal was made when they came to the state of New York, where the father died July 22, 1854, aged fifty years. His wife preceded him to the better land by a number of years, dying June 10, 1848. They reared a family of ten children. Mrs. Thompson was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, while the father of our subject held membership with the Free Will Baptists.
Stephen R. Thompson, of this sketch, was the eldest in the parental family, and was born May 17, 1830, in Nova Scotia. His parents being in limited circumstances, his education was very much neglected, and he was compelled to earn his own living when reaching his fifteenth year. In 1837 he came to the States. Learning the carpenter's trade, he followed that for a time, and in 1850-51 worked in the lumber camps in Michigan. Thence he went to Minnesota, where he built the first billiard saloon ever erected in Rochester, that state. He remained in that place for ten years.
On the outbreak of the Civil War, Mr. Thompson offered his services, joining Company H, Fifth Minnesota Infantry, and with his regiment served under General Pope. He was present at the battles of Corinth, Iuka. Champion Hills and the siege of Vicksburg. Then, with his company, he was transferred to the department commanded by General Smith, and with him participated in the battles of Tupelo and Guntown. He later aided in building the bridges between Mozelle and St. Louis, Mo., and Memphis and Nashville, Tenn. During his three years and five mouths of service he was never wounded or taken prisoner, but lay sick in the hospital near Grand Gulf, Miss., for three months.
Mr. Thompson received his honorable discharge May 30, 1865, and on being mustered out at St. Paul, returned to Michigan, where he remained only a short time, however, and removed to Franklin County, Mo., where he was in the employ of the Michigan Lumber Company. From that place he went to Marble Hill, the same state, and after a short stay there came to Grand Tower, this state, in 1869, where he was engaged in working at his trade for a period of two years. February 17, 1871, he moved to Sparta, and during the same month came to Tilden, where he has since made his home and followed his trade until about eighteen months ago.
In 1858 our subject and Miss Annie La Saur were united in marriage. Mrs. Thompson died in 1863, after having become the mother of two children, both of whom are deceased. Five years later our subject married Mrs. Mary (Nettle) Sonels, who was born m England November 8, 1827. Mr. Thompson votes with the Democratic party and is a stalwart advocate of its principles. In 1893 he was appointed Postmaster by President Cleveland, and now gives his entire time and attention to the duties devolving upon him. H« may truly be called a self-made man, for he has worked his way unaided to a position of influence, and is numbered among the substantial citizens of Randolph County.
Extracted from Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, published in 1894, page 416.