History of Thomson, Carroll County, Il
From: The History of Carroll County, Illinois
H. F. Kett & Co., Times Building
Chicago 1878.


The Village of Thomson is an outgrowth of the Western Union Railroad. It is situated on sections 24 and 25, York Township, in the centre of a very beautiful valley, hemmed in by the Mississippi River on the west, and a high range of bluffs on the east. At this point, the valley is very nearly four miles in width between the bluffs and the river, and Thomson is about midway between them. North and south the level prairie, dotted all over with well cultivated farms, handsome houses and large barns, stretches away as far as the eye can reach.

The first house erected on the ground now occupied by Thomson was built by Norman Judson. It was of the kind known as a "grout house," and is still standing and occupied by Dr. Saunders. At the time Mr. Judson was building this house, there was an unmarried man here, and who remained for some time, but his name had escaped the memory of those from whom these data were gathered. That gentleman is now a resident of Morrison. Herman Worthington bougtht out Judson's interest; Worthington sold to a Mr. Hoover, and Hoover sold to the railroad company. This tract of land is described as the west half of the southeast quarter of section 24.

The village site was laid off by Messrs. Thomson and Smith, of the railroad company, in 1864. In 1868, Norman D. French bought out Thomson's interest, and March 6, 1867, Smith transferred his interest to Noah Green.

The first buildings erected after the town was laid off were the Thomson House, now under the management of D. W. Herman, and the store rooms occupied by Mrs. Stephenson and J. O. Vallette. For two years after the sale of lots commenced, building was active.

January 12, 1865, the first regular train of cars passed Thomson. In the middle part of this Winter, an old warehouse was moved down from Savanna, by Enoch Chamberlain, and re-erected near the depot buildings. Chamberlain occupied this building about one year, and then sold it to Noah Green. A little later, Dr. Snyder built an addition to this old building, which, in a short time, also fell into Green's hands. The warehouse is now occupied jointly by Noah Green and Norman Lewis, although they are not partners in business. Last year (1877) their business amounted to $120,000.

Green continued to manage the business alone for about two years after he bought out Enoch Chamberlain, when he admitted Mr. John A. Melendy as a partner. This partnership continued about two years, when Melendy retired.

Educational. - In 1865, the first school was taught in Thomson. A Miss Brown, daughter of Noah Brown, was the teacher. When the building of a school house was undertaken, there were only five legal voters in the district, three of whom were school directors. The building was commenced in 1865. The house then fashioned answered the demands of the district until 1871, when an addition was made for graded school purposes. The school is now composed of three departments, accommodating 150 scholars, who are under charge of Professor McKay, as principal.

Churches. - Two church edifices grace the Village of Thomson - the Christian and the Methodist Episcopal. The Christian Church was built in 1866-7, at a cost of $2,000. The present membership is about fifty. There is no regular pastor, but the organization is kept up, and services held whenever occasion presents for securing a preacher. Its Sabbath school is in good condition, and numbers fifty scholars. John Murphy is the superintendent.

The M. E. Church was built under the pastorate of Elder Campbell, in 1870, at a cost of $2,500. The society numbers about seventy five communicants, with a flourishing Sabbath school of fifty scholars, of which Homer Judd is superintendent. Rev. J. S. Best is the preacher in charge of this work, and is serving his second year.

Masonic. - Thomson Lodge, No. 559, A. F. and A. M., was chartered in 1868-9. The following named brothers were the first officers of the Lodge: W. M., Peter Holman; S. W., Noah Green; J. W., R. D. Smith; Treas., John A. Melendy; Sec., D. T. Hobart; S. a, John Green; J. D., H. E. Osgood; Tyler, James Green. This lodge now numbers about fifty members, but is destitute of a hall.

On the evening of December 14, 1877, Volney Armour, Esq., and his daughter, Miss Capitola Armour, of Mount Carroll, began a temperance work in Thomson that continued until the evening of the 16th, that had a marked effect among the people. It was a Red Ribbon movement, and took in over three hundred persons - among them several hard and almost confirmed inebriates. The older citizens of Thomson and the surrounding country took an active interest in the work, and the New Year (1878) dawned upon a happier state of things at Thomson than had been known for many a long day before.

Thomson numbers about twenty business houses of various kinds, all of which seem to do a good business. It is a shipping port for a district of country of ten by fifteen miles in extent, that is rich and well improved. To Captain Dunn, a true patriot, an old settler, ex-sheriff of the county, and an enterprising and pushing business man, the readers of this book are indebted for the following statistics as showing the business transacted through the railroad station at this point for the last year, ending December 31, 1877:

Stock - Hogs

113 cars.

Stock - Sheep

1 cars.

Stock - Cattle

38 cars.


412 cars.



564 cars.


Amount of freight received......

2,186,580 pounds.

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