Biography of James M. Thompson

James M. Thompson, planter of Autaugaville, and ex-sheriff of Autauga county, Ala., was born in 1836 in the county named, a son of William N. and Cynthia A. (Manning) Thompson. The father was born in Wiltshire, Eng.., about 1789; was a man of great information, obtained after leaving school by constant reading, research, and observation in travel. During the war of 1812, between England and America, he was sent by his government on some public mission, and later drifted to Autauga county, where he married and engaged in farming for a number of years; he then, about 1830, moved to Kingston, the old county seat, where he was occupied in merchandising and in keeping a hotel; for eight years he was also circuit clerk, in which office he was followed by his eldest son, William N. He was very public-spirited and progressive in his nature; was a successful businessman, and active in politics. He was the only member of his family that came to America, and but little is known in regard to his progenitors. His death took place in 1851, at the age of sixty-two years. Mrs. Thompson was born in Alabama, and died when her son, James M., was an infant. James M. Thompson is the youngest but one in a family of six boys and two girls, his brothers and sisters having been born in the following order: William N., who died in 1870, was circuit clerk of Autauga County eight years, and was an excellent public official; he took part in the Indian war of 1836, and also saw three months’ service in the Civil war at Mobile. Dr. Horatio P., of Wells Point, Tex., where he has resided forty years, was in the quartermaster’s department, during the war; Thomas L. was killed at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862, while serving as a private in the Autauga Rifles, attached to the Sixth Alabama infantry; Dr. Greene H., who died in 1886, in Autauga county, was captain of company G, Sixth Alabama infantry, from May, 1861, until the surrender; he had resigned just before the close, but was requested to resume command of the company; he was a graduate from the university of Louisiana, and a most successful physician; Joseph, who died in 1890 in Autauga county, served in the Fourth Louisiana infantry during the Civil war, was disabled at Vicksburg, was captured, and saw no more service; Elizabeth, the wife of Gen. Goodson, and the sixth of the family, was killed by a runaway horse about 1867; Mary J., the youngest child, is the wife of T. C. Smith. James M. Thompson was educated at old Kingston and at Selma and finished at the age of fifteen on the death of his father. In May 1861, he joined company G, Sixth Alabama infantry, commanded by his brother, and from 1862 served as sergeant. He fought at Seven Pines, Malvern Hill, where he was wounded; he returned home until recovered and rejoined his command just after the battle of Sharpsburg; he fought at Cold Harbor, where he was again wounded July 2, 1864; fought at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Front Royal, Warrenton Springs, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, and Fisher’s Hill. In the spring of 1865, he fought around Petersburg, and March 24, 1865, in front of the town, was shot through his right arm, which wound ended his active service; but he still remained with the army and was at Danville at the time of the surrender. He was never captured, but was three times severely wounded, and was always ready for rollcall except when these wounds were being cared for. The marriage of Mr. Thompson took place in 1866 to Miss Virginia C. Pou, a daughter of John Pou, of Autauga County, but he had the misfortune to lose his bride in 1868. In October 1869, the took for his second matrimonial partner Miss Emma C., daughter of Robert and Cordelia Shackleford. Mr. Shackleford was formerly an extensive commission merchant of Mobile and was first married to Amelia Harper; he then settled in Greensboro, Ala., where he engaged in merchandising, and where he died about 1876, his wife still surviving. Mrs. Thompson was born in Mobile and educated at Greensboro. She has presented her husband with three children, named Eliza, William N. and Robert S. Mr. Thompson resided at old Kingston until 1854, then at Independence until after the war, and then settled near Autaugaville, where he has a fine farm, and from 1888 to 1892 was sheriff of the county. He is secretary of Autaugaville lodge, No. 31, F. & A. M.; is president of the Autaugaville alliance and is assistant lecturer and member of the executive committee of the county alliance. He and his wife are members of the Methodist church, and the family are held in high esteem by the community in which they live.


Memorial record of Alabama : a concise account of the state’s political, military, professional and industrial progress, together with the personal memoirs of many of its people.. Madison, Wis.: Brant & Fuller, 1893.

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