Congressman Jacob Thompson

Is your surname Thompson?

Research the Thompson family

Congressman Jacob Thompson's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Congressman Jacob Thompson

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina, United States
Death: March 24, 1885 (74)
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States
Place of Burial: Lenow Circle, Lot 116, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Nicholas Thompson and Lucretia Thompson
Husband of Catherine Ann Thompson
Father of Caswell Macon Thompson
Brother of Rebecca Thompson; Joseph Sidney Thompson; William Thompson; Sarah McAlister Lewis; George Nicholas Thompson and 7 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Congressman Jacob Thompson

Find A Grave Memorial
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Thompson

US Congressman, US Secretary of the Interior, Inspector General of the Confederate States Army, Lt. Colonel of the Confederate States Army.

Jacob Thompson (May 15, 1810 – March 24, 1885) was a lawyer and politician who served as United States Secretary of the Interior from 1857 to 1861.


Biography


Born in Leasburg, North Carolina, in 1810, Thompson attended Bingham Academy in Orange County, North Carolina, and later went on to graduate from the University of North Carolina in 1831. Afterwards, he served on the university faculty for a short time until he left to study law in 1832. He was admitted to the bar in 1834 and commenced practice in Pontotoc, Mississippi.


Thompson got involved in politics and was elected to the 26th Congress, serving from 1839 to 1851. He was appointed to the United States Senate in 1845, but never received the commission and the seat went to Joseph W. Chalmers. Thompson was the chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs in the 29th Congress. He lost reelection to the 32nd Congress and went back to practicing law until 1857, when newly elected President James Buchanan appointed Thompson United States Secretary of the Interior.


In the later years of the Buchanan administration, the cabinet members argued with one another on issues of slavery and secession. Thompson sided with the Confederacy and resigned as Interior Secretary in January 1861. When he resigned, Horace Greeley's New-York Daily Tribune denounced him as "a traitor," remarking: "Undertaking to overthrow the Government of which you are a sworn minister may be in accordance with the ideas of cotton-growing chivalry, but to common men cannot be made to appear creditable." Thompson then became Inspector General of the Confederate States Army. Though not a military man, Thompson later joined the army as an officer and served as an aide to Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard at the Battle of Shiloh. He attained the rank of Lt. Colonel and was present at several other battles in the Western Theater of the war including Vicksburg, Corinth and Tupelo.


In March, 1864, Jefferson Davis asked Thompson to lead a secret delegation in Canada. He accepted and arrived in Montreal in May of that year. From where he directed a failed plot to free Confederate prisoners of war on Johnson's Island, off Sandusky, Ohio, in September. He also arranged purchase of a steamer with the intention of arming it to harass shipping in the Great Lakes. Regarded in the North as a schemer and conspirator, many devious plots were associated with his name, though much of this may have been public hysteria. One plot was a planned burning of New York on November 25, 1864 in retaliation for Union Generals Philip Sheridan and William Tecumseh Sherman's scorched earth tactics in the south. As head of Confederate secret agents some speculate that John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln, met with Thompson but this has not been proven (Thompson worked hard to clear his name of involvement in the assassination in the years after the war). His manor called "Home Place" in Oxford, Mississippi, was burned down by Union troops in 1864.


After the Civil War, Thompson fled to England and later returned to Canada as he waited for passions to cool in the United States. He eventually came home and settled in Memphis, Tennessee to manage his extensive holdings. Thompson was later appointed to the board of the University of the South at Sewanee and was a great benefactor of the school. He died in Memphis and was interred in Elmwood Cemetery.


William Faulkner, who was also a resident of Oxford, loosely based several ancestral members of the Compson family, featured in The Sound and the Fury on Thompson.

He became the inspiration for one Confederate unit, Company K, 19th Mississippi Infantry, known as the “Jake Thompson Guards”.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Thompson

Born in Leasburg, North Carolina, in 1810, Thompson attended Bingham Academy in Orange County, North Carolina, and later went on to graduate from the University of North Carolina in 1831. Afterwards, he served on the university faculty for a short time until he left to study law in 1832. He was admitted to the bar in 1834 and commenced practice in Pontotoc, Mississippi.

Thompson then became Inspector General of the Confederate States Army. Though not a military man, Thompson later joined the army as an officer and served as an aide to Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard at the Battle of Shiloh. He attained the rank of Lt. Colonel and was present at several other battles in the Western Theater of the war including Vicksburg, Corinth and Tupelo.

After the Civil War, Thompson fled to England and later returned to Canada as he waited for passions to cool in the United States. He eventually came home and settled in Memphis, Tennessee to manage his extensive holdings. Thompson was later appointed to the board of the University of the South at Sewanee and was a great benefactor of the school. He died in Memphis and was interred in Elmwood Cemetery.

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=caswellcounty&id=I3921


GEDCOM Note

Jacob Thompson · Memorial · Photos · Flowers · Edit · Share Birth: May 15, 1810 Leasburg Caswell County North Carolina, USADeath: Mar. 24, 1885 Memphis Shelby County Tennessee, USA U.S. Congressman, Presidential Cabinet Member, Confederate Army General. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1831, was a member of the University faculty (1831-32), studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1834 and commenced to practice law in Pontotoc, Mississippi, in 1835. In 1839, he was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-sixth Congress and to the next five succeeding Congresses, serving until 1851. An unsuccessful candidate for reelection, he was appointed Secretary of the Interior by President Buchanan in 1857, serving until the advent of the Civil War when he resigned in 1861. During the Civil War, he became Inspector General of the Confederate Army and also was present at several battles such as Vicksburg, Corinth and Tupelo. In addition, he was an agent of the Confederate Secret Service for operations in Canada, (1864-65). After the war, he settled in Memphis, Tennessee, managed his personal business affairs and served on the board of the University of the South until his death at age 74. (bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith)

Family links: Parents: Nicholas Thompson (1781 - 1857) Lucretia VanHook Thompson (1788 - 1858)

Spouse: Catharine Ann Thompson (1822 - 1891)*

Children: Caswell Macon Thompson (1839 - 1873)*

Siblings: Joseph Sidney Thompson (1805 - 1891)* Jacob Thompson (1810 - 1885) Ann Elizabeth Thompson Wiley (1812 - 1850)* Lawrence Thompson (1827 - 1836)* George Nicholas Thompson (1832 - 1891)*

Thompson, Jacobby Richard G. Stone, Jr., 199615 May 1810–24 Mar. 1885Jacob Thompson, Mississippi congressman, secretary of the interior, and Confederate agent in Canada, was born in Leasburg, Caswell County, one of nine children of Nicholas and Lucretia Van Hook Thompson. His father's tanning business and his mother's estate had placed the family in comfortable circumstances, and it was the hope of Jacob's parents that he would enter the ministry, a vocation for which he had no ambition. Graduating in 1831 from The University of North Carolina, he remained at Chapel Hill as a postgraduate tutor. Eighteen months later he resigned in order to read law in the Greensboro office of Judge John M. Dick. On his admission to the bar in 1835, Thompson, concluding that the best opportunity for a young attorney lay on the frontier, decided to relocate in Mississippi; all but one of his eight siblings eventually moved to that state. "Hon. Jacob Thompson of Miss." Presented on Library of Congress. A chance encounter with his older brother, Young, at Columbus, Miss., persuaded Jacob to establish himself at Pontotoc in the area newly ceded by the Chickasaws in the Jackson Indian removal program. He quickly prospered, although at first his legal practice was devoted mostly to conveyances. In addition to his main career, Thompson acquired within a few years three substantial plantations. Making his home in Oxford after his initial period in Mississippi, he became a pillar of the local Episcopal church and a benefactor of the state university. In 1840 he married Catharine Jones, the daughter of a wealthy planter. Because of her very tender age she was sent to France to complete her education, but on her return she blossomed into an outstanding social figure; the couple had one son, Caswell Macon. Thompson launched his political career shortly after reaching Mississippi. He established a public reputation by vigorously opposing state endorsement of $5 million in Union Bank bonds, a position that proved to be sound when the institution subsequently defaulted; he later urged the state to repudiate the obligation. Narrowly defeated for attorney general in 1837, just two years after his arrival, he was elected as a Democrat to Congress in 1839, a victory that began for Thompson six consecutive House terms concluded in 1851, when he was turned out by a strong Whig tide in Mississippi. From 1845 on he was influential in the House by virtue of his successive chairmanships of the Public Lands and Indian Affairs committees, assignments that furnished valuable experience for a future secretary of the interior. Thompson's first significant impact on national politics came in 1844, when he backed the efforts of Robert J. Walker and others to deny the Democratic nomination to the antiexpansionist former president, Martin Van Buren. On the election of James K. Polk, Thompson was instrumental in persuading the new president to name Walker to head the Treasury Department. But Thompson's friendship for Walker foundered when he discovered that his fellow Mississippian had withheld from him an interim gubernatorial appointment to Walker's old Senate seat. The rupture between the two men was never healed, and Thompson became increasingly identified with the Democrats' proslavery wing; he opposed the Henry Clay compromise proposals of 1850 despite substantial Mississippi support for them. Ironically, late in life Thompson came to regret that he had helped thwart Clay's 1844 bid for the presidency. After leaving the House of Representatives, he declined President Franklin Pierce's offer of the Havana consulate, which was then considered to be a political prize. In 1856 he stood aside from a Senate race so that Jefferson Davis might win the seat. The following year he was given the Interior Department by President James Buchanan. From the first Thompson was a strong figure in a decidedly prosouthern cabinet; he vigorously asserted his authority over the hitherto largely autonomous bureaus of his own department. Unfortunately, however, his stewardship was clouded in 1860–61 by the discovery that a subordinate clerk, Goddard Bailey, had exchanged $557,000 in Indian Trust Fund bonds for worthless drafts of the Russell, Majors, and Waddell Company on the War Department. Secretary of War John B. Floyd was disgraced by the scandal—Bailey was a relative who had tried to help Floyd escape the consequences of his misplaced faith in Russell, Majors, and Waddell—but a five-member special House committee absolved Thompson of any responsibility. It was for other reasons that Thompson left the administration at the beginning of 1861. "Buchanan, Pres. & cabinet. Photograph shows President Buchanan standing, surrounded by his Cabinet including Jacob Thompson, Secretary of the Interior; Lewis Cass, Secretary of State; Howell Cobb, Secretary of the Treasury; Jeremiah Black, Attorney General; Horatio King, Postmaster General; John B. Floyd, Secretary of War and Isaac Toucey, Secretary of the Navy." Presented on Library of Congress.As a states' rights man he had indicated at the outset of the secession crisis that he would stand by Mississippi, but he tried to exert influence within the national government for as long as possible. It was President Buchanan's decision to dispatch the Star of the West to Charleston, S.C., without Thompson's foreknowledge, which persuaded the latter to withdraw. Back in Mississippi Thompson made a desultory, and unsuccessful, race for governor before undertaking military service in several different capacities. His army career ended when, as inspector under Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton, he was captured at Vicksburg and paroled. Elected to the Mississippi legislature in the fall of 1863, Thompson was summoned to Richmond by Confederate president Jefferson Davis early the next year. Sent to Canada, Thompson spent the last year of the war vainly attempting—with or without copperhead support—to arrange mass Confederate escapes from prisoner-of-war camps in the Great Lakes area. He steadfastly disavowed any complicity in plots to burn Northern cities and maintained that the 1864 raid on St. Albans, Vt., was carried out against his orders. At the close of the war he and other Confederate leaders were charged with coconspiracy in the Lincoln assassination, and a $25,000 reward was posted for his capture. Consequently Thompson and his wife passed several years in England before it was safe for them to return first to Oxford, where their home had been destroyed in the war, and shortly thereafter to Memphis, Tenn. In the 1870s Thompson came again to public notice when the scandal-beset Grant administration sued him for $2 million to recover the Floyd-Bailey losses. Clearly a partisan effort to divert attention from the War Department's Belknap scandals, the suit was quietly dropped after the 1876 election. However, the sources of the Thompsons' affluent postwar lifestyle have yet to be explained fully. Had he indeed invested his wife's dowry—"a trunk full of gold" according to family tradition—in English securities, or had he embezzled vast Confederate funds entrusted to him in Canada as charged by William C. Davis? An ambitious, calculating man of ability, Jacob Thompson remains strikingly obscure considering his antebellum political prominence in both Mississippi and Washington. On his death in Memphis he left behind remarkably little material on which to base a definitive study of his career.

view all

Congressman Jacob Thompson's Timeline

1810
May 15, 1810
Leasburg, Caswell County, North Carolina, United States
1839
October 11, 1839
1860
1860
Age 49
Lafayette, Mississippi
1885
March 24, 1885
Age 74
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States
????
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States