The agricultural interests of Montague county find a worthy representative in Joseph H. Thompson, who was born in Alabama, April 16, 1839. His parents were John and Henrietta (Turrentine) Thompson, the former a native of South Carolina and the latter of North Carolina, their marriage being celebrated, however, in Alabama. The paternal grandfather, James Thompson, was of Irish parentage and became an enterprising and leading farmer of his locality in South Carolina, whence he afterward removed to Alabama, spending his last years there. His children were: Thomas; John; Crow; Edward; Mrs. Sela Skidmore; Emily, who became the second wife of Mr. Skidmore; and Alice, who died unmarried.
John Thompson was born in South Carolina and with his parents removed to Alabama, where his youth was passed. There he was married, reared his family and spent his remaining days, passing away in 1890. He was too old for active service in the Civil war, but used his influence in behalf of the Confederacy. In politics he was a staunch Democrat, and he was a devoted member of the Methodist church. His entire life was given to farming, and at all times he commanded the respect of his fellow men. His wife passed away in 1869, in the faith of the Methodist church, of which she, too, was a loyal member. She had been left an orphan at an early age, and was reared by strangers. Her parents were natives of North Carolina, and her father died while serving his country in the war of 1812. His widow afterward removed to Tennessee, taking all of her belongings on a pack horse and there she reared her family. Later she removed to Alabama, where her last days were spent. Her children were: John, James, Mrs. Henrietta Thompson and Nancy. Unto Mr. and Mrs. John Thompson were born seven children: Mary J., who became Mrs. McClanahan and after the death of her first husband became Mrs. Martin; John J., who was killed while serving in the Confederate army; William S., who was also a soldier and returned home ill, passing away soon afterward; Joseph, of this review; Harvey M., who is living in Alabama; Sarah E., the wife of J. Means; and Fannie A., the wife of M. Brown.
Joseph H. Thompson is the only member of the family who came to Texas. His youth was passed in his parents’ home in Alabama, and in 1861, when twenty-two years of age, he espoused the cause of the Confederacy, becoming a member of Company A, Fortieth Confederate Provincial Regiment, under command of Colonel L. M. Walker. This regiment was assigned to the Army of the Mississippi, and Mr. Thompson participated in the battles of Fort Pillow, New Madrid and Island No. 10. There the regiment was captured and Mr. Thompson and his comrades were held as prisoners of war at Camp Butler, in Illinois, for five months, being exchanged at Vicksburg. The regiment then co-organized at camp in the wilderness near Canton, Mississippi, joining the Fifty-fourth Alabama Regiment, under Colonel Alpheus Baker, with J. C. Pemberton commanding. This regiment did duty with the Army of Louisiana and Mississippi until 1864, when it was transferred to the Army of Tennessee. Mr. Thompson had participated in many hotly contested engagements, including the battles of Baker’s creek, Jackson, Resaca, New Hope Church, Pine Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain and Atlanta. After the capitulation of that city the regiment went to Mobile, Alabama, and Mr. Thompson left the command at Hamburg, Alabama, and went to the northern part of that state, where he joined a cavalry regiment. Not long afterward General Lee surrendered, and it was subsequent to this that the regiment had a fight with an Ohio regiment, capturing nine of their men. The command was at Somerville, Alabama, at the time of the surrender and was paroled at Apple Grove, Alabama, the men were returning to their respective homes. Mr. Thompson was never wounded, but saw much hard service, displaying always unfaltering valor and loyalty to the cause he espoused.
On returning home he resumed farming, and remained in Alabama until December, 1872, when he came to Texas, locating first at Jefferson and afterward at Kellyville. Later he went to Pittsburg, where he was employed in a tannery for ten months, after which he engaged in making rails in Hopkins county. In 1874 he came to Montague county, were he rented land and raised a crop. He then leased some raw land from Wash Williams and brought it to a high state of cultivation, remaining thereon for six years, when he sold his lease and bought one hundred acres in Cooke county. He then improved his farm, remaining there for three years, after which he sold out and paid a visit to his old home in Alabama, spending almost a year in that state. Returning then to Texas Mr. Thompson bought eighty acres of land in Montague county, which he afterward sold and for three years rented a farm. In 1893 he married Mrs. A. A. King, a widow, and settled at his present place of residence, where he has since remained. He took charge of the farm, which he has successfully conducted, now carrying on general agricultural pursuits and stock raising. He has fed and handled stock for the market and has supervision over a fine farm of two hundred and forty acres of rich valley land, a large portion of which is under cultivation. Since he has located here a commodious two-story frame residence has been built, also barns and out-buildings and an orchard has been set out. He has likewise purchased the Patrick farm adjoining, comprising one hundred acres. This he rents, and he is also interested in other lands, being a prosperous and successful agriculturist who in all his business dealings is found thoroughly reliable and trustworthy.
Mrs. Thompson was, prior to her present marriage, Mrs. Ava Adelia King, the widow of John H. King. Her first husband was born in Tennessee, was educated in the common schools and reared to farm life, his parents being James and Marium (Hereford) King, both natives of Tennessee, where they were married, and where their children were born. In 1848 they came to Texas, settling first in Van Zandt county, where the father purchased land and improved a farm, residing thereon until 1865. He then removed to Cooke county and his two sons took charge of the business. With them he found a good home until his death, October 10, 1878 when he was seventy-four years of age. Throughout his active business career he carried on agricultural pursuits and was highly respected in each community in which he lived. His wife survived him but a short time, passing away in December, 1878, at the age of seventy- one years. She was a devoted member of the Presbyterian church. In their family were five children: James, who died while serving in the Confederate army; William R., who died in 1885; John H.; C. M. or Kit, who was a farmer of this county; and Buena Vista, the wife of C. Loring.
John H. King was born in Tennessee and accompanied his parents on their removal to Texas in 1848. Here he was reared and educated and at the time of the Civil war he joined the Confederate army as a member of a Texas regiment. In 1865 the family removed to Cooke county, where he and his brother Kit purchased four hundred and eighty acres of land from the Jacob Wilcox survey and took charge of the family affairs, caring for their parents during their remaining days. They improved a good farm, devoting their attention to general agricultural pursuits and stock raising, making a specialty of horses. They had much difficulty with the red men, and also committed many depredations, especially in the way of stealing stock. Mr. King, however, continued actively in farming operations until his death, which occurred December 36, 1889, after which his brother Kit and his widow carried out the plans that had been agreed upon by the brothers and divided the property and lands, each holding the home which they had previously occupied. John H. King was a prominent and successful farmer, well known and highly respected as a man whose business integrity was unassailable. He left a widow and three children: Linnie, born September 8, 1883; Joseph H., November 11, 1886; and Myrtle, November 26, 1889. Joseph is now attending school at Bowie.
Mrs. King was a daughter of John and Melvina (Thackston) Scisson, both of whom were natives of Tennessee. They were married in that state, and all of their children were born there. Mr. Scisson was a tanner by trade and followed that pursuit through the period of the Civil war for the benefit of the Confederacy. He died in the year 1870, and his wife after W. M. Boyd. In 1878 he removed to Texas, settlings in Grayson county, where he resided for two years and then came to Montague county, where he rented land, but later bought a farm which he operated successfully for several years. He then rented his farm and retired from active business life, making his home at the present time in Hardy. Both Mr. and Mrs. Scisson were worthy members of the Methodist church. In their family were four children: William, deceased; Lodusta, now Mrs. Young; Mrs. Thompson; and Delbert, deceased. It was in 1881 that John H. King and Ava Adelia Scisson were married, and they took up their abode upon the farm where she yet remains. Here Mr. King died December 26, 1889.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Thompson have been born five children: John and Delbert, twins, who were born November 6, 1893, but the latter died at birth; May M., born August 6, 1897; Esther, born May 16, 1900; and Benjamin T., born May 4, 1903.
In his political views Mr. Thompson is a stalwart Democrat, but is without aspiration for office. He belongs to the Methodist church and takes an active and helpful part in its work, while fraternally he is connected with the Masons and with the Tribe of Red Men. He has worked persistently and energetically, realizing that labor is the basic of all success, and is now one of the prosperous and leading agriculturists.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 579-582.