Balis F. Thompson, who has been superintendent of the county poor house and farm for the past year, is a native
of Louisa county, his natal day being the 18th of August, 1862. His parents, Henry and Sinah (Hurley) Thompson,
were natives of Ohio and Delaware respectively. They were married in Louisa county and began their domestic life
on a farm in Grand View township, in the cultivation of which Mr. Thompson engaged until his demise on the 4th
of March, 1869. His widow continued to reside there until 1878, at which time she removed to Vapello and kept the
Iowa House for one year and then moved to Morning Sun, where she resided with her daughter until 1900, when she
went to Wapello to live with her son, William A. She still survives, although she has long passed the Psalmist's
allotment of years, her age being eighty three. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were born thirteen children, six of
whom survive: William A., who is the eldest of those living, a resident of Vapello; Minerva, who married James
Billings, a button manufacturer of Muscatine, Iowa; Laura E., the wife of William H. Melrose, of Colfax, Washington;
Balls E., our subject Frances, who is unmarried and lives in Chicago; and Henry W., a resident of Van Buren county,
Iowa. Those deceased are: Martha A.; Maria B.; Mary A., the wife of J. F. Cornelius, also deceased; John E.; Harry;
and the twelfth and Altha, the twin sister of Frances, who died in infancy. Mrs. Cornelius left four children;
James, who is living in Chicago; Roy E., deceased; Lulu, the wife of Lorinza R. McKinney, of Morning Sun; and Howard,
of Louisa county.
Balis E. Thompson remained at home until he had attained the age of fifteen years, acquiring his education in the
common schools. For ten years after leaving the parental roof he worked as a farm hand, during which time he saved
sufficient money to enable him to a farm as a renter. He had been cultivating leased land for twenty one years
when he was appointed in 1910 to take care of the county poor house and farm, which position he still retains.
On the 5th of July, 1888, Mr. Thompson was united in marriage to Miss Frances L. Presbury, of Wapello township,
a daughter of John C. and Victoria (Mason) Presbury, who were natives of Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Presbury were married
in Louisa county, following which they settled upon a farm, in the cultivation of which Mr. Presbury was engaged
until he passed away in May, 1900. He had survived his wife for three years, her demise occurring in April, 1897.
He was a veteran of the Civil war, having enlisted as a private in Company F, Nineteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry,
and served for seven months, being discharged on account of disability. Nine children were born unto Mr. and Mrs.
Presbury: Virginia G. and Charles, who died in infancy; Frances L., now Mrs. Thompson; William A., a resident of
Kansas City, Missouri; Emma, the widow of Harry Kitner, of Kansas City; Susan, who married Joseph Halcroft, of
Wapello Cora, the wife of Charles Martin, of Kansas City; Maud the wife of Burton Redfern, of Bronson, Kansas;
and Katie, who married Joseph Ankers, of Kansas City. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson have five children: Lulu E., born on
the 14th of April, 1889, who attended Grinnell College for one year, and is now the wife of Homer Mannefee, of
Mount Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa; Mary McKinley, born on the 27th of August, 1894, who has a commercial school
education; Rodney K., who was born on the 5th of May, 1897; John M. F., who was born on the 4th of December, 1900;
and Jean Audrey, born on the t6th of December, 1904.
The religious faith of the family is manifested through their membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, and
Mr. Thompson is a member of Columbus Junction Lodge, No: 365, I. O. O F. Ever since granted the full rights of
citizenship he has given his political support to the men and measures of the republican party. Although he has
never been an office seeker he has served as township trustee and he was also a member of the school. board for
eight years. During the year he has been in his present position Mr. Thompson has given every indication of being
capable of discharging the duties of the place.
History of Louisa County, Iowa
From Its Earliest Settlement to 1912
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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