JAMES BEAL THOMSON, a member of the well known firm of Porter & Thomson, carpenters and builders of The
Bronx, and a man who holds a position of much prominence in this type of endeavor, was born on February 15, 1883,
at Douglastown, Forfarshire, Scotland. This Mr. Thomson is a son of John and Elizabeth (Thomson) Thomson, and a
grandson, on the paternal side, of William and Ann Thomson, all of Forfarshire. John Thomson, the father, who was
born in 1846, and who died in 1910, in the sixty fourth year of his age, was a blacksmith in Douglastown, and his
father was a blacksmith before him. Indeed, the men of this family have been blacksmiths in Forfarshire for almost
a hundred years. Elizabeth (Thomson) Thomson, the mother, was born during the year 1845, in Jericho, Forfarshire,
and she died during 1894, in the forty ninth year of her age.
Their son, James Beal Thomson, received his education in the public schools of the community in which he was born,
and upon his graduation he began work as a page boy. At the end of one year he entered the Rural Delivery Service
of the Post Office, and remained in this work for the ensuing year. He then decided to learn the trade of joiner
and cabinetmaker, and he was accordingly apprenticed to one Robert Ramsey, a man of note in this type of endeavor
in Forfarshire. Mr. Thomson's pay, during this entire apprenticeship, was his board and two pounds, sterling, per
year. At the end of four years, however, he was a thorough master of his trade, capable of working side by side
with the best cabinetmakers in the Kingdom. For some two years following the completion of this training, Mr. Thomson
worked at his trade at full scale wages of that date. Then he decided to come to America; and he landed in the
port of New York on May 23, 1905. For eleven years he followed his trade in New York City and The Bronx, and then,
in the year 1916, he formed a business partnership with one Frank Bristowe Porter, and they entered the field of
carpentry and building on a large scale, their offices being at No. 4196 Park Avenue, The Bronx Since that time
this concern has become widely known for the high quality of its work, and they have accomplished some of the most
important interior carpentry work done in The Bronx. Many schools and public buildings have been successfully handled
by them, and among the more important of the buildings upon which they have worked are: the New County Court House,
on lower Center Street, Manhattan, the George Washington High School in Manhattan, and public schools Nos. 72,
79, 82 and 84 in The Bronx, the Girls' Trade School on the corner of Twenty second Street and Lexington Avenue,
Manhattan, the Girls' Commercial High School in Brooklyn, public schools Nos. 180 and 210 in Brooklyn, public schools
Nos. 121, 130 and 40 in the Borough of Queens, and they have also done a great deal of important work for the leading
contractors and builders of The Bronx, handling all the interior carpentry work on such exclusive contracts as
the Louis Morris Apartments, et cetera. Indeed, this concern, Porter & Thomson, is spoken of as one of the
foremost organizations of its kind in The Bronx.
Despite the many varied and often exacting duties of the work in which he has been engaged, this Mr. Thomson has
nevertheless found time in which to take a keen interest in the civic and general affairs of his community. He
has also been active in the club and social life of The Bronx, for he is now affiliated, fraternally, with the
Clan McDuff, of One Hundred and Twenty fifth Street, Manhattan; and with ICilwinning Lodge, No. 825, Free and Accepted
Masons, of Brooklyn.
James Beat Thomson married, June 12, 1907, in Highbridge, New York, the Rev. Dr. Voorhees officiating, Jane Morrison,
a daughter of William and Clementine (Thornton) Morrison, both of whom were native born to Forfar, in Forfarshire,
Scotland. Mr. and Mrs. Thomson have become the parents of two children, a son and a daughter: 1. Ernest James,
who was born on January 19, 1909. 2. Ina Morrison, who was born on February 20, 1914. Mr. Thomson and his family
maintain their residence at No. 227 East One Hundred and Seventy eighth Street, The Bronx.
The Bronx and its people
A History 1609-1927
Board of Editors: James L. Wells,
Louis F. Haffen
Josiah A. Briggs.
Historian: Benedict Fitspatrick
Publisher: The Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc.
New York 1927
Bronx County, NY
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