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Boston, Massachusetts, Wednesday, March 6, 1878

p. 113
Col. NEWELL A. THOMPSON, a life member and benefactor, was born in Uxbridge, Mass., Dec. 2, 1808, and died in Boston, Mass., April 10, 1874, aged 65. He was a son of Willis Alder and Armille (Aldrich) Thompson, and the sixth generation in descent from John1 Thompson, of Mendon, Mass., a large landholder, who held various offices of trust there, among others that of selectman, through David* b. in Mendon, May 24, 1687, by wife Mercy Thayer; David,* b. Dec. 2, 1711, d. 1757, by wife Lydia Darling ; David* b. July 1, 1750, d. April 10, 1815; and Willis Alder* his father, born at Mendon, Feb. 19, 1779, died in Springfield, Oct. 13, 1864, a millwright, extensively engaged in erecting mills and placing machinery, who m. in 1802, Armille, second daughter of Israel Aldrich, a lineal descendant of George Aldrich, one of the first settlers of Mendon.

There is a tradition among Mr. Thompson's kindred, that they are descended from David Thompson, from whom Thompson's Island, in Boston Harbor, received its name, and there is some reason for thinking this tradition may be correct. If so, John1 Thompson above must have been his son. David Thompson obtained in 1619 a grant or " patent" of an island in Boston harbor, " for the peaceable and quiet possession of said island to him and his heirs forever." In 1623 he began a plantation at Pascataqua, but becoming dissatisfied, he came to Massachusetts Bay and took possession of his island in Boston harbor, which, although it has been owned and occupied by the Farm-School company for many years, still retains the name of "Thompson Island." Soon after taking possession of the island he died, leaving a son John, who, on becoming of age, filed a petition in court for the possession of "Thompson Island," which was claimed by Dorchester as belonging in common to that town. Alter a full hearing, his claim was allowed. It is possible that this John Thompson settled in Mendon.

Col. Thompson received his education in the common schools of New England. In 1829, having nearly attained his majority, he came to Boston, where, failing to find a better position, he went into the office of Messrs. Heard & Aylwin, as copyist, with whom he remained seven years, enjoying their unlimited confidence, and by their advice studying the practice of the law. In 1836 be associated himself with Francis J. Oliver as assistant agent of a London banking house, when after three years they were thrown out of employment by the withdrawal of the agency from Boston. Col. Thompson then resumed the law, and was employed in the management of several trust estates until the opening of the political campaign in 1840, when he was appointed to the charee of the head-quarters and reading-room of the Whig Republican Association. Upon the election of Cen. Harrison to the Presidency, to the accomplishment of which Mr. Thompson had largely contributed, he resigned his position and commenced business as an auctioneer with Charles A. Coolidge, under the firm of N. A. Thompson & Co. In 1846 the firm was dissolved, and Sir Thompson continued the business on his own account in the Old State House, where he remained for more than a quarter of a century. No auction firm in Boston has been better known and more respected. In 1633 he was married to Miss Susan Sanderson Wyman, youngest daughter of William Wyman, Esq., of Boston.

Col. Thompson held a large number of official positions, civil, military and charitable. He was elected member of the primary school committee in Boston in 1836, and reelected for five consecutive years, and for eight years a member of the common council. In 1852 he was elected a representative of Boston to the Massachusetts house of representatives, and reelected in 1853, 1854, 1806, 1867, 1868. In 1H57 he was elected a member of the Executive Council of the state. The admirable training which Col. Thompson had received in the militia of the commonwealth, and his executive abilities, caused him to be chosen chief marshal of the various civic processions inaugurated by the city of Boston. Col. Thompson was always interested in the Massachusetts militia. In 1831 he was corporal in the Independent Company of Cadets. In 1834 he was appointed a sergeant. In 1835 he was elected and commissioned ensign of the Boston City Guards. In 1838 he was commissioned adjutant of a Light Infantry Battalion. In 1839 he was commissioned major and inspector-general of the First Brigade, First Division, Massachusetts militia. In 1840 he was elected and commissioned lieut.-colonel of the First Regiment of Infantry. While holding this position he accepted the office of major and inspector general of the First Brigade, which he held until 1843, when he was elected and commissioned captain of his old company, the Boston City Guards, which position he held for many years, and was one of the most efficient and popular militia officers in the commonwealth, and created a name for the City Guards which has not yet faded from the minds of the citizens of Boston, although the company no longer exists. In 1854 he accepted the position of aid-de-camp, with the rank of major, on the staff of Major-Gen. Edwards, and in 1860 on the staff of his Excellency Gov. N. P. Banks. Also in 1835 he joined the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, in which he held nearly all the different grades of command. In 1843 he was elected commander.

In 1842 Col. Thompson became a member of the Suffolk Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and afterwards received all the degrees known to the Order. In 1843 he became a Mason in Columbian Lodge, Boston, and since that time has received all the lineal degrees known to that Order, from the first to the thirty-third inclusive. He was a warm friend of these orders, and contributed to their support and dignity.

As a member of the city government, as an executive councilor, and a representative in the state legislature, Col. Thompson faithfully performed his duties. He was earnest and conscientious in all his acts, a pleasant and forcible speaker, and remarkable for his accuracy and clearness of statement.

He was admitted a member of this society, April 20, 1868.


Submitted by: Genevieve Fraser,

The documents are direct quotes and should not be taken and used as one's own work without identifying the source.

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