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James Edgar Thompson (1857-1931)
Source: Information from his grandson, Tom Thompson, Montana - July 2011 - thanks so much :) KZ
James Edgar Thompson (1857-1931) James was born to Jonathan Thompson, son of John Thompson and Sarah Fields, and Sarah Clark, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Clark. He was the nephew of Dorcas and Elizabeth Thompson already having bios posted to this site and was born 17 Jan 1857 Crawfordsville, Indiana. He managed over time to complete 12 years of school, no doubt with inspiration from his mother who was the daughter of a school teacher in Crawfordsville. James’ father died in the Civil War and the family moved to Ash Grove, Iroquois, and Illinois, where Sarah Clark Thompson married Phillip Lutz. Phillip became the official guardian for James and his sisters Elizabeth and Dora and then Sarah and Philip added three more daughters, Ada, Mollie and Anna. James was living in a good home but being outnumber by five sisters, parents and grandparents, he struck out for adventure on his own. He worked a number of common labor jobs until meeting up with Martha (Mattie) Dalton in Sidney, Fremont, Iowa where they were married (1882) and had five children of their own; Nellie (1887), Hazel (1889), William (1891), Lambert (1897) and Lucille (1905). James and Mattie parted ways and James remarried to Hilda Swenson in Kansas 1910 where they added five more children James Alva (1911), Narvis Edgar (1913), Dorothy Helen (1918), William Hale (1920) and Jeanette (1923). James was a fairly successful insurance agent, returning to Des Moines, Iowa (1915) and providing well for his family. Once again though while marriage seemed to agree with James, not so much with his wives. Hilda divorced James in the late twenties and the family dissolved, some old enough to go out on their own, one to travel to San Diego, Cal with her mother and new father, and two to be raised in Kansas by their grandparents, Theodore and Celia Swenson. James died 18 Dec 1931, Des Moines Iowa, of a heart attack. All the people that could tell the true stories are gone now, which is a good advertisement for getting your tree done while the information is still fresh. James was raised in a good home but without the benefit of his biological father. He apparently liked to be married and provided well for his family but for whatever reason couldn’t make it work. James wasn’t a saint or a hero, nor a villain or bum, he was for the most part Mr. America; he represented the effort to live what we call today the American dream and falling a bit short. James was my Grandfather RIP.
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