Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


WILLIAM E. THOMPSON. It used to be if there was a bright boy in the farmer's family he must needs forsake the farm to become a lawyer, or a doctor, or some sort of a. professional man, but those whose wits were seen to be dull, would do very well on the farm. On the surface it would seem that the farms lost and the professions gained. But it was not always so and more often the farmer lad who chose to remain on the farm outstripped his apparently brighter brother. Yet because he dealt with things earthly his occupation and he himself, likewise, were very frequently "looked down upon." As years went by, however, it became more and more apparent that to succeed in crop producing required knowledge no less exacting in its requirements and covering a vastly wider range of subjects than the knowledge which brought success in other walks of life. For many, many years, however, it was true that our practice as applied to crop raising far outran our knowledge of the principles involved. While it is true that the cultivation of the soil and the handling of crops will never become an exact science, yet the knowledge which we now apply to the work in which we are interested and which any tiller of the soil must have at his command, has increased manifold within very recent years. And it is because of this gain in knowledge, both theoretical and practical, that the attitude of every one toward the farmer and his occupation has changed. Today farming in its several more or less specialized branches of vegetable growing, fruit growing, berry raising, poultry raising, and field crop production is regarded as a worthy calling for the brightest and best minds in the land. One of the most progressive general agriculturists of the northern part of Greene county is William E. Thompson, of Cass township, who owns a large acreage of valuable land and who applies twentieth century methods to his business.

Mr. Thompson was born in the above named township and county on January 14, 1867. He is a son of William E. Thompson, who was born on April 28, 1827, in Tennessee, and there he grew to manhood on his father's farm and received a common school education. Remaining in his native state until 1851, he emigrated to Greene county, Missouri, and established the future home of the family in Cass township. During the Civil war he served in the Federal army, in a home militia regiment, and was stationed in Springfield during the latter part of the conflict, however, he saw little actual fighting. After being discharged from the service he located on a farm of his own in Cass township and developed a good place through his good management and hard work. He married Malinda Earnest, May 23, 1850. She was born, June 11, 1830, and was a daughter of Wesley Earnest, one of the early settlers in the vicinity of Cave Spring, this county. To their marriage ten children were born, six of whom died when young; those who survived were named as follows: Sarah married Doctor Delzell, of Rogersville, Webster county, Missouri, where they still reside; Alice is the wife of W. S. Julian and they make their home near Gravel Springs, Oklahoma; William E., of this sketch; Ethel is the wife of W. E. Haun, and they live on a farm in Cass township.

The father of the above children was a Democrat. He was an active member of the Presbyterian church, and gave liberally of his time and means in building the church of this denomination at Cave Spring, which structure has been used as a high school for a number of years. He was a member of the Masonic Order and was active in the work of the same in this county. The death of Mr. Thompson occurred on February 3, 1908, his wife having preceded him to the grave on June 14, 1906. They were held in high esteem by their neighbors and friends, being noted for their honesty, charity and hospitality.

William E. Thompson, of this sketch, grew to manhood on the homestead farm in Cass township and there worked hard when a boy during the crop season. During the winter he attended the common schools and the high school at Cave Spring, later spending one term in Morrisville College and one term in Drury College, after which he worked with his father on the home farm for two years, then purchased a farm of his own. Ten years after leaving school he purchased his present excellent home farm of two hundred and forty acres. He has managed well and applied himself closely to his work as general farmer and stock raiser and, prospering with advancing years, has added to his original purchase other tracts until today he owns in all four hundred and five acres of valuable and well-improved land. He makes a specialty of raising large numbers of mules for the market. He is an excellent judge of live stock, especially of mules. He has a commodious home and substantial and convenient outbuildings where his stock, which he tries to keep up to a good grade, is properly cared for at all seasons. Everything about his place denotes thrift and that a man of modern ideas is at the helm.

Mr. Thompson was married on February 12, 1890, to Fanny Staley, who was born in Cass township, Greene county, and there reared and educated. She is a daughter of Weldon E. and Angeline (Evans) Staley, a complete sketch of whom will be found on another page of this volume. To our subject and wife one child was born, which died in infancy.

Politically, Mr. Thompson is a Democrat, and he has been more or less active and influential in local party affairs for some time, having been township committeeman for twelve years.

[1547-1549]


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