Search billions of records on


William THOMPSON (1836)

Page Contents

Sketch Of The Life of William Thompson (1836-1913)

by Evelyn T. Stoddard, 12th child of William Thompson
July 18, 1939

William Thompson was the third son of William G. and Elizabeth McCaulay Thompson. He was born on January 12, 1836 in Canada, his parents having immigrated there from Scotland.

The family became affiliated with the Mormon Church during its early rise.

In 1845, when father was but 9 years of age, his mother died in Quincy, Illinois.

Six years later, in 1851, the family came to Utah in the Henry Walton Company and located in Bountiful. This was four years after the first company of saints, entered Salt Lake Valley. They endured the hardships of pioneer life. I have heard father tell of having no corn in the house with which to make bread. Being humble and full of faith, the family knelt in prayer and asked the Heavenly Father to care for them and provide them with bread. While they were still kneeling, a knock came at the door and a man asked Grandpa Thompson if he would come and fix his chimney, and he would pay him for his work in corn as he had no money.

The family consisted of Grandpa Thompson, four sons, David, Daniel, William, and Orvil; and one daughter, Maria. An infant, Eliza Jane, died in Illinois. Grandpa Thompson married as a second wife a woman by the name of Hale, who was the mother of Isabelle H. Horne.

From Bountiful father came north in the spring of 1860 and helped to settle Richmond. He was then 24 years of age.

Richmond at that time consisted of a small fort on City Creek near Browers Spring (on the site where the Robinson home now stands). A few families had settled here the previous summer. The fort had been built to resist the attacks of the savage Indians, who were on the alert for a chance to steal the cattle of the settlers.

In company with George (Jorgen) Anderson and others, father camped that first summer on City Creek three blocks south of the intersection of Main and State Street, (directly west of my brother, Walter's home.) He later acquired a city lot three blocks east of Main Street and also some of the Co-op farm. He had a one room log cabin erected on his lot and batched.

Father was a typical pioneer, strong and rugged. He boasted of being one of the best wrestlers among his associates.

He served as a minute man or scout for the settlers to warn them of the approach of Indians, and to ride about the hills to frighten the savages away from the settlement.

He went back as far as the Missouri River four times, being called to go with his wagon and yoke of oxen to help bring the poor emigrants and their stock to Utah. I have heard him say that he swam across the Missouri River, one mile in width. He has told of eating the meat of the polecat when food was scarce.

William and Mary's Family
William and Mary's Family.
Back row: Frank, Walt, Will, Bertha, Dan, Flora. Front row: William, Albert, Oliver and Mary Ellen holding Neil.
Photograph courtesy Lisa Talbert.
Father was self-confident and relied on his own judgement and ability when an emergency arose, doctoring man and beast; even setting broken bones when doctors were not available. At Quincy, Illinois he had helped in the home of a doctor. He had a strong, will and when he made up his mind it was hard to change him. An early riser throughout his life, he would arise at five or four o'clock in the morning even in the winter. Father was a prayerful man and family prayers had a regular place in our day's program. His word was as his bond, an expression he often made and practiced. He was very conservative and always kept out of debt. His granery was never empty. Father was employed a number of years at the Co-operative Mercantile Company Store.

At one time he was joint owner of a thresher with Danny Walton. (William Harris was also interested in it.) It was run by horsepower. Once while greasing the Machine, a new pair of denim jeans which mother had made for him , and which he was wearing for the first time, caught in the bolt of the machine. Realizing the danger, father braced himself with such strength that he was able to save himself while his stout, tough, new jeans were torn off him in shreds and went through the thresher.

As a young man father married Hannah Funk, daughter of Diderik E. and Kirstine Madson Funk. She died in confinement.

William and Mary's Wedding Photo
William and Mary's Wedding Photo.
Photograph courtesy Lisa Talbert.
On the first of June 1868, at the age of 32, he married my mother, Mary Ellen Isaacson, daughter of Nels and Bertha Isaacson, then but sixteen years old. The ceremony was performed by Daniel Wells in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City. The trip to Salt Lake was made in a covered wagon. Mrs. Elizabeth Cumberland, who had been a visitor at the home of George Thompson accompanied them down. At Weber River they discovered that the bridge had been washed out and they had to ford the river. Enroute they stopped at the family home in Bountiful.

On their return to Richmond they began housekeeping in a one-room log house one-half block south of the home of mother's father, Grandpa Isaacson. Their table was home-made, also their cupboard which consisted of rows of shelves held up by pegs on the wall. Their first two sons, William Orville and Daniel Isaac, were born in this house.

William and Mary's Home
William and Mary's Home
Then father bought the large frame house of William Beers on State Street, one block south of Main Street, one of the first two-story homes built in Richmond. The family lived there for 48 years. It was the birthplace of eleven of their children, Walter George, Mary Florence, Francis Ira, Bertha Estella, Albert Henry, Nels Oliver, Nellie Maria, Melvin Edward, Raymond Junius, Inez Evelyn, and Ivan Cyril.

Father took up a farm (homestead) in Fairview, Idaho, but his claim was jumped by a man named McClain. This was at the time of their first great sorrow, when death claimed their tenth child, Melvin Edward. No doctor was living in Richmond at the time. Dr. Ormsby of Logan was summoned but before help arrived, the baby had died of meningitis on April 11, 1890. He was about ten months old. Daniel Isaac died on November 14, 1903 of pneumonia, and Raymond Junius died of injuries received in a runaway accident on December 4, 1909, at the age of 17.

Father was granted his certificate of citizenship to the United States on July 8, 1885.

He died at the age of 77, on October 22, 1913, of kidney trouble.

Conqueror of the West Go to Top


William THOMPSON photograph

Born: 12 Jan 1836, New Township, Yorkshire, Ontario, Canada
Parents: William G. and Elizabeth McAulay Thompson
Died: 22 Oct 1913, Richmond, Utah
Arrived in Utah: 1851, Harry Walton Co.

Married 1st: Hannah Eliza Funk
Parents: Diderik E. and Kirstine Madson Funk
Died: in confinement

Married 2nd: Mary Ellen Isaacson
Date: June 1868, Salt Lake City, Utah
Parents: Neils and Bertha Isaacson

William was born in Canada but after his family joined the Mormon Church they decided to join the saints. William was only nine when his mother died in Quincy, Illinois in 1845.

Six years later, in 1851, the family came to Salt Lake and located in Bountiful. The work of the house and children was shared by the oldest boy with the rest of the children and their father, who soon found a woman for his second wife, a Mrs. Hale. [P. 2562] From Bountiful they moved to Richmond.

William was 24 years old when he arrived in Richmond. He later acquired a lot where he erected a one room log cabin where he lived alone for a time. He was a typical pioneer, strong and rugged. He boasted of being one of the best wrestlers among his friends. He often served as a minute man or scout to warn the settlers of Indians. Four times he returned to the Missouri River with his wagon and oxen to help bring poor emigrants to Utah.

He was self-confident and relied on his own judgement. He helped many with the skills he had learned when he lived in the home of a doctor as a young man. He set broken bones, pulled teeth, delivered babies, whatever was needed. He was a prayerful man, very conservative, and a good provider.

He bought a large frame two story house in Richmond where the family lived for 48 years. Eleven of their children were born there. William received his citizenship certificate in 1885. He died of kidney trouble in 1913.

Children of 2nd wife:


There were probably other children of his second wife and at least one of his first.

Submitted by: Elaine Ashcroft

(Conquerors of the West, Sons of Utah Pioneers, 1999. Pp. 2561-62, courtesy Lisa Talbert.)   Thursday, 14-Aug-2003 22:11:21 MDT