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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Thompson

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 1635-1636 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

John Thompson, born in Scotland, and his wife Mary, removed to Belfast, Ireland, where he was engaged in business. He was a man of considerable influence in the city, was master of the Masonic lodge, and a devoted member of the Scotch Presbyterian church. He and his wife are buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. Among his children was a son James.

(II) James, son of John and Mary Thompson, was born in Belfast, Ireland, March 12, 1831, died in Valley Falls, Rensselaer county, New York, April 11, 1899. He received a good education and was engaged with his father in the manufacture of linens. In 1852 he came to the United States, landing in New York, where he worked in the cotton and linen factories of that section and in New England. In 1859 he started in business for himself in New York, continuing until 1872, when he settled at Valley Falls and established a mill on the south bank of the Hoosick river. He demolished, with one exception, all the old buildings which were on the premises, and which had been operated as a twine mill by Lape & Sproat. He erected a large brick mill and engaged in the manufacture of flax and hemp twines. Later he built a large cotton mill in which he manufactured mosquito netting, tarlatans, buckrams, and similar goods, such as previously made at his New York City plant. In 1878 the firm of James Thompson & Company was formed, R. A. Schoneman, of New York, being admitted a partner. Four additional buildings were erected in 1880, and another in 1881. In the latter year the Valley Falls Water Power Company built a new dam, James Thompson & Company being a leading spirit in the enterprise. Further improvements in water power were made in 1886 by the firm, building a new flume, and making extensive rock excavations. In 1887 the old building was demolished and a substantial brick structure erected. Previously they had built a commodious store house along the line of the Fitchburg railroad, and in 1894 acquired possession of the Valley Falls Paper Company's property on the north bank of the Hoosick river. In 1895 a large brick structure was added to the mills, devoted to the finishing of cotton goods. The mills were equipped with all modern improvements and constitute the principal manufacturing plant of the village. Mr. Thompson was a man of high character and of most excellent business quality. He was made a Mason in Ireland, his father being master of his lodge. In Valley Falls he was a useful member of the Baptist church, and liberal in his benefactions to all churches, regardless of creed, contributing to the building funds of the Baptist, Methodist, and Catholic churches. He was a Republican in politics, and served the town as road commissioner. He was of a quiet, genial nature, and made many friends. He was a great lover of the horse, and on his farm of one hundred and fifty acres had many choice specimens of the Wilkes breed of trotting horse, the particular strain in which he was most interested. He married (first), in 1854, Isabella Curran, of Belfast, Ireland, who died October, 1879. Children:

  1. Mary Jane, married Allan Milks, of Valley Falls; children: Clarence and Ellis.
  2. Hannah, married Adam Lohnes, of Valley Falls; children:
    1. James, married Ada Harrington, and has James (2);
    2. Isabella;
    3. Estella, married Lieutenant Albert Baker, of the United States Navy, and has Janet.
  3. James, of further mention.
  4. Isabella, married Thomas Doran; children: Arthur, Edward, Isabella, Rita, Leo, Clare.
  5. William, married Theresa Barrett.
  6. Eliza, married Frank Stover, and has Jennie, died at the age of seventeen years, and Allan.
  7. William.

James Thompson married (second) Lucy E. Larken, of New York; child,

  1. Leslie Eugene, of Valley Falls.

(III) James (2), son of James and Isabella (Curran) Thompson, was born in New York City, October 25, 1861. He was educated in the city schools, and the College of the City of New York, from which he was graduated 1877. After leaving college he at once became associated with his father in the manufacture of linens and cottons in New York City, and later at Valley Falls, New York. He became superintendent of the plants, and on the death of his father in 1899 came into possession of the latter's interest and succeeded him as general manager and principal owner. He is a director of the National City Bank of Troy, and the Rensselaer County Bank of Rensselaer, New York, and of the Prixite Comb Company of North Adams, Massachusetts, and president of the Valley Falls Improvement Company. He is an active Republican, and was the first president of the village of Valley Falls, and county committeeman and leader of the party in the town of Pittstown, Rensselaer county. In 1910 he was Republican candidate for state comptroller. He was a delegate to the national convention of his party in 1908 that nominated Taft and Sherman, the successful candidates for president and vice-president of the United States, at the ensuing election, and has at various times sat as a delegate in State Conventions of his party. He is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Rensselaer County Republican Club. He married, October, 1881, Caroline Smodell, born 1861, daughter of George W. and Elizabeth Smodell, of Valley Falls, New York. Children:

  1. Mary.
  2. Flora, married, June, 1910, Dr. Charles Sproat, of Valley Falls.
  3. Elizabeth.
  4. Caroline.
  5. Viola Isabella.

Mr. Thompson maintains a residence both in Saratoga and Valley Falls.

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