Thompson, George D.
THOMPSON, STUDLEY, HOWD
Posted By: Janelle Martin (email)
Date: 6/2/2013 at 13:59:43
History of Hamilton County, Iowa, vol. II, 1912, J.W. Lee. pp. 248-250.
George D. Thompson, more familiarly known by his associates as "Dell" Thompson, was born in Bureau county, Illinois, June 12, 1867. His parents were Hiram E. and Maria L. (Studley) Thompson. They moved from Illinois to Hamilton county in 1873. Hiram Thompson was a farmer and most of his life in Hamilton county was spent in Cass township. He died in 1897 at the age of fifty-nine years. Maria Thompson survived her husband nine years. She passed to her reward in 1906 at the age of sixty-two years.
G. D. Thompson's early education in books was acquired at the country schools of Cass township but he learned to work on a farm in those strenuous days when farming was done by hand and when to bush or shirk was an unpardonable offense. His early associates were the sons of Augus McLaughlin, "Dave" Douglass and Simon Day, and it is a significant fact that an unusually large per cent of these rugged farmer boys from Cass township have grown up to be lawyers, doctors, and ministers and nearly all of them have attained positions of distinction.
It is curious how an apparently trifling incident will make a tremendous impression on the mind of a growing boy. It must have been in 1879 that the famous Daniels-Van Winkle cow case was tried at the McLaughlin schoolhouse. The opposing lawyers were Oscar Hall, young, brilliant and audacious, and the vigorous and somewhat pugnacious J. L. Kamrar. "Dell" Thompson and the McLaughlin boys attended the trial and the forensic affray was as vigorous as it was interesting. After the trial, the boys crowded quickly to the schoolhouse door. They expected to see a fight when the lawyers met outside. Surely after the terrific arraignment of each other that had just occurred, these lawyers could not meet without fighting! Imagine then the wide-eyed wonder and almost disgust of the boys when the lawyers met with smile and joke and finally got into the same buggy and rode home together! The trial made a tremendous impression. Five of those boys became lawyers.
In 1884 young Thompson came to Webster City to attend the high school. He worked for his board, in the meantime, for George Smith at the Grand Central Hotel. Today he is one of the owners of the hotel in which he worked as "bell hop" while attending school. After leaving the high school he attended the Iowa State Teachers College at Cedar Falls and graduated from that institution in 1890. He then adopted teaching as a profession and for six years held the position of principal of the schools at Rippey, Greene county, Iowa. While teaching school he read law and in 1898 was admitted to practice by the supreme court of Iowa. He did not at once commence active practice but accepted the presidency of the Lehigh Valley Bank at Lehigh, Iowa, which he held for two years. In 1900 he came to Webster City and formed a partnership with J. H. Richard, and the firm of Richard & Thompson at once took an active and prominent position at the bar of Hamilton county. This partnership continued until 1902, when J. H. Richard was elected judge. Since that time Mr. Thompson has continued his practice alone.
G. D. Thompson is a lawyer who devotes all his time to the practice of law. His development as a lawyer has been gradual and continuing. He is not of the flashy, brilliant type whose reputation is made by the trial of a single case, but rather of that more solid and steady type whose success is the result of hard work. He is a striking example of a self-made man. He has a logical, well trained mind and is an eloquent forcible speaker, and these qualities have given him a leading position as a trial lawyer.
In politics Mr. Thompson is a stanch republican and has been active and prominent in local politics for the past ten years. For six years he was chairman of the county republican central committee. Several years ago he was a prominent candidate for the state legislature and he has received flattering mention as a candidate for congress. He is now and has been for several years a member of the board of county commissioners of insanity.
On January 23, 1891, G. D. Thompson was united in marriage to Mary Howd, a daughter of C. A. and Ann Howd of Cass township. To them have been born four children, Irene, Ruth, Bessie and George D., Jr. Irene, the eldest, is now attending the college from which her father graduated. The family reside at 1114 Second street, Webster City, Iowa.
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