Biography of Agustus P. Thompson


Thompson, Augustus P., Buffalo, is a representative of one of the pioneer families of Western New York. His father, Sheldon Thompson, was one of the pioneers of this section, having settled in Lewiston, N. Y., in 1810. In company with Jacob Townsend and Alvin. Bronson, Sheldon Thompson left the seaboard for the lakes, impelled by the British Orders in Council and Bonaparte's Berlin and Milan Decrees. In March, 1810, Bronson proceeded to Oswego Falls and built a schooner of 100 tons, the Charles and Ann. At the completion of this first vessel Sheldon Thompson took the carpenters and proceeded to the Niagara River, above the falls, built the schooner Catharine at Cayuga Creek, near the spot where La Salle had built the Griffon, the first vessel navigating Lake Erie 132 years before. The Catharine was completed in June, 1811, so that in little more than one year the two younger partners had completed two vessels. Both figured as United States gunboats during the war of 1812. This firm was instrumental in developing the early commerce of the lakes. In 1816 or 1817 Sheldon Thompson changed his residence from Lewiston to Black Rock, now part of the city of Buffalo. The firms with which he was connected continued prominent in the lake commerce. He was a devoted friend of the canal and went down on the first boat to assist in the mingling of the waters of Lake Erie with the waters of the Atlantic. His firm was prominent in the commerce of the canal and owned regular lines of passenger packets and freight boats. It was also largely instrumental in the development of steam navigation on the lakes. It built the Pioneer, the third steamboat on the lakes, in 1823. Sheldon Thompson moved to Buffalo in 1830 and continued one of the most prominent business men of that place until 1845, when he retired from active business. In 1840 he was elected mayor of the city, being the first mayor elected by the people. He was one of the founders of St. Paul's church, the first Episcopal church in Buffalo, and a member of the first vestry. He died at Buffalo, March 13, 1851. His son, Augustus P. Thompson, was born at Black Rock, February 14, 1825. He received his education in the Lewiston and Canandaigua Academies and at private schools in Buffalo. His first business experience was obtained as clerk in his father's establishment in Buffalo, where he remained until he became of age. His father then gave him an interest in the firm of Thompson & Co., white lead manufacturers, where he remained until 1860. He then sold his interest in this business and in company with Edward S. Warren and De Garmo Jones built the second anthracite blast furnace erected in Buffalo, the first having been built by Palmer & Co. The two concerns were soon consolidated and known as the Buffalo Union Iron Works, and built one of the largest rolling mills at that time in the country. Mr. Thompson remained with this company until 1866, when he bought an interest in the white lead manufactory of S. G. Cornell & Son, afterwards known as the Cornell Lead Company. He held the office of vice.president for several years and then of president until the company was transferred to the National Lead Company. He is now manager of the Buffalo branch of this company. He is warden of St. Paul's church, trustee of St. Margaret's School, and has filled other positions of importance in and of benefit to the community.

Our County and its people
A descriptive work on Erie County, New York
Edited by: Truman C. White
The Boston History Company, Publishes 1898


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