This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Judy Simpson. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of M. B. Thompson

SOURCE; "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878

SURNAMES: BENNER, HATHORNE, THOMPSON


M. B. THOMPSON was born in Vigo county, Indiana, August 27th, 1833. His father, Samuel C. THOMPSON, settled at an early date in the above county, where he married Miss Sarah A. THOMPSON in 1823. He was a farmer; a man of some prominence and political influence as he represented his district several terms in the State legislature. He also served with distinction through the Black Hawk war as captain of a company of volunteers.

The son, Captain M. B. Thompson, at the age of eighteen years left the parental roof, and served an apprenticeship of five years in Terra Haute, at the cooper trade. In 1853 he married Miss N. J. HATHORNE, by whom he had one son, now living.

Two years later the youthful wife and mother was, in the providence of God, called to exchange this life for a better.

In 1853 he took up the study of medicine, and in the spring of 1856 he came to Illinois and located in Urbana, his present home, where for a brief period he practiced the "healing art." In 1857 he was united in the holy bonds of wedlock to Miss Elenora BENNER, his present estimable wife, and by whom he has four children, two boys and two girls. About this time he abandoned the practice of medicine, and became a disciple of Blackstone and acquired the rudiments of his present profession. The practice of law was not only more congenial to his tastes, but at the same time afforded him a wider field for the display, and exercise of those rare talents with which nature has so richly endowed him.

The captain's motto is "Excelsior," and the success that has already crowned his professional life, stamps him as a man of no ordinary merit, and must be taken as the measure of his ability as an advocate and lawyer.

We now enter upon the eventful period in the life of Mr. Thompson, the year 1861 that witnessed the inauguration of one of the most formidable rebellions that ever drenched the earth with fraternal blood, and that taxed to their utmost the mighty energies of our nation to subdue. The captain with that enthusiasm and impetuosity, so characteristic of the man, did not stop to consult with flesh and blood; but in response to his country's appeal for help in this her dire extremity, and hour of deep distress, abandoned for the time being his practice and family, laying all upon the altar of his country, enlisted for three years and entered as a private the ranks of Company A, 25th Regiment, Illinois volunteers. He was shortly afterwards promoted to a second lieutenantcy. Upon the expiration of his term of enlistment he came home, raised a company, and was commissioned captain, and assigned to duty in the 154th Regiment, Illinois volunteers. He was afterwards relieved from active service in the field, and appointed by Major General Thomas on the Military Commission, in the Department of Tennessee, in which court he served nine months and until mustered out of service. We need say nothing farther about his military career. It is sufficient to know that he was a member of the famous 25th Regiment, Illinois volunteers, whose illustrious history is, embalmed in the hearts of a grateful and patriotic people, and whose valorous deeds in defense of our country during the late rebellion, have given it a prominence of which not only its native state may boast, but of which our nation may well be proud.

The Captain is a republican, dyed in the wool, a prominent and active member of that organization, a man of deep political convictions, and who most heartily subscribes to the political creed of his party. He joined his fortunes to that party almost at its inception. How well, and substantially his services as a soldier, and fidelity to the principles of his party have been acknowledged by a grateful and appreciative people, we need but briefly refer to the following important positions of trust he has so ably filled. He held for four years the important office of State Attorney, for the 16th Judicial District. He was elected in 1872 presidential elector for the 14th Congressional District, and was at the same time elected to the office of Prosecuting Attorney for the county of Champaign.

It is with no small degree of satisfaction, that we submit the foregoing necessarily, brief and imperfect biographical sketch of Mr. Thompson, one of Champaign county's favorite sons to the public, and to his host of warm personal friends and admirers. The early part of his history does not differ very materially, from that of many thousands of young men who started with him in life's journey. But how the parallel ends, and the sequel or their history tells a different tale.

While many of them with like opportunities of success, have sunk beneath the oblivious waves of unpropitious circumstances never to rise again; he by an indomitable will, directed by a noble and lofty purpose, has utilized his surroundings to subserve his best interests, and has advanced step by step, rising higher and higher until he has attained to his present honorable position, and can hand down the noblest legacy man can bequeath to posterity, ---a successful life.


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