Biography of Hugh Thompson
Polk County, MN Biographies

Hugh Thompson, of East Grand Forks, an eminent citizen of Polk county, is widely known as a pioneer, whose career has been significantly associated with the development of the various important interests of northern Minnesota. He was born in Huntington county, Canada, July 4, 1850, the son of John L. Thompson, a well known farmer of that region, who continued to reside in Huntington county until his death. His son, Hugh Thompson, spent his early youth on the Canadian homestead and came to this country when sixteen years of age, securing a position as a clerk in a store owned by his brothers, at St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. Two years later he left St. Croix for Menominee, where he engaged in similar employment. In 1873 he came to Crookston, then in the earliest days of its settlement and has since been actively identified with growth and progress of Polk county. For a few years he was employed in the store operated by W. P. Bailey but in October, 1875, he embarked upon his independent commercial career, opening a general store at Fisher's Landing. This proved a successful venture and in 1879 he extended his activities to the milling business, erecting a flouring mill which was destroyed by fire some three years later. In 1879 Mr. Thompson organized the Fisher bank as a private banking house and as president, capably directed its affairs during the first years of its operations. This bank became a State bank in 1896 and is one of the most substantial and prosperous financial institutions of the county. In 1885 Mr. Thompson became associated in his various business interests with Marcus Johnson, buying the mercantile business owned by Andrew P. Stephens and erecting a flour mill which they operated for nine years when it was merged with the North Dakota Milling Association, of which Mr. Thompson became president. This corporation had extensive milling interests in North Dakota and Minnesota and Mr. Thompson remained at the head of its board of directors for several years. During these busy years of commercial enterprise, he found time for active co-operation in public affairs and gave his services in public offices, as county commissioner, and was the first postmaster appointed at Fisher. In 1891 he was appointed registrar of the United States land office at Crookston and during the four years of his incumbency of that position, resided in Crookston. He removed to East Grand Forks in 1896 and since that time has given his attention largely to the direct service of public interests in the various official positions to which the confidence and regard of his fellow citizens have called him. Aside from the local offices which he has held, Mr. Thompson was also an able member of the State board of Equalization for ten years, being first appointed to the board in 1882. He has been prominently identified with civic affairs as mayor and president of the town council and for four years was county commissioner from the fifth district. As a pioneer citizen, merchant and banker, his career has been notably marked with that intelligent and constructive citizenship which lays the foundation for the steady prosperity and rapid development of all commercial and social activity. Mr. Thompson has been twice married, his first union was with Luella May Thompson in 1875. She was born in St. Paul and was a teacher in the first school of Polk county, at Crookston. Three children were born to them, two of whom died in infancy. The death of the mother occurred at Fisher in 1888 and she was survived by one daughter, Luella M., who is the wife of Bert Townsend. Mr. Thompson's marriage to Lees MeMaster, a native of Olmstead county, Minnesota, and a teacher in the Fisher schools at the time of her marriage was solemnized in 1891 and they have two children, Charlotte H. and June.


FROM:
Compendium of History and Biography
of Polk County, Minnesota
Maj. R. I. Holcombe, Historical Editor
William H. Bingham, Feneral Editor
W. H. Bingham & Co.
Minneapolis 1916

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