Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dresden Enterprise Apr 24 1896 - The Illustrated Edition Part 8 "William A. Thompson"

This is the eighth in a multi-part series featuring the April 24 1896 edition of the Dresden Enterprise.  If you missed the previous posts you can find them here: part onepart two, part threepart fourpart fivepart six, part seven.

William A Thompson was the son of R. and Adeline Thompson born on July 4 1837 in Tennessee.  He married Sarah Jane Grubbs about 1860.  He served in the Confederacy during the Civil War.  He went in a private and came out a corporal of the 5th Tennessee.  During his time in the war he was wounded several times.  The "severe wound" he received at Murfreesboro resulted in the loss of his right eye.  He was captured. He was captured at Stone's River and spent time in jail at Louisville and then Baltimore.  In October 1863 he received the Medal of Honor from the Confederate States of America.  Thompson was discharged on August 24, 1863.  

William and Sarah Thompson were blessed with four children: Albert, Benjamin, William and Nancy Adeline.  In 1880 the family is living in Palmersville at the home of his father-in-law, William Debarron Grubb.  William's occupation was "constable".  This began his career as an elected official in Weakley County.  He went on to hold positions such as Trustee and Sheriff and in 1897 he was a candidate for Register but I'm not sure he won that election.  William died September 4, 1910, in Palmersville.  He and many of his family are interred at Thompson Cemetery near Palmersville, Tennessee.

The following article was published in the Dresden Enterprise April 24, 1896 and shows the evolution of "Uncle Billy" from a man living in poverty and dissipation to a pillar of the community.  William Thompson overcame adversity in life to receive the accolades of the Confederacy, his family and his peers.

The Dresden Enterprise April 24, 1896

 The above named might well be called William the Conqueror, for he has been the most successful man at the polls that Weakley county ever had.  Years ago "Uncle Billy," as the boys called him, was perhaps the most dissipated, poverty stricken man in the county, and those who knew him did not think he would ever redeem himself.  He came out of the army where he served with loyal devotion four years, a wreck physically and in general ill luck.

He had been wounded as often as twice, perhaps oftener, having lost one eye by a shot from the federal enemy, as will be seen from his striking likeness in this paper, and also part of one hand. While down in the world he still had friends who stood by him, for they knew down beneath the rugged exterior beat a heart as warm, noble and true as ever was in the breast of man.  His friends finally elected him constable of the Palmersville district, and from then on until the present time he has been invincible before the people, ran one time when Lafon beat him for sheriff in the democratic primary.  

He is a Democrat, tried and true, and submitted to defeat this time by the party that had so often honored him, although we believe with his great personal popularity he could have bolted the primary and been elected anyhow, but he was too loyal to do aught but support the regular nominee.

Twice he was made trustee, and again sheriff.  He is now the nominee of the party for sheriff again, and although he had three good men to defeat he did it with neatness and dispatch, his vote being nearly equal to the combined vote of the other candidates.  He is a man of positive convictions for the right and against the wrong, and has, therefore, some few enemies, but he turns them all down, easily.   A determined fight was made to defeate him by some prominent men in the county, but "Uncle Billy" just laughed and ordered more primary election tickets.  He will be the foremost man in the August election, and will, as usual, lead the party ticket by a handsome majority.  To this office he has long been a true friend and ardent supporter, and we are more than please to tell the Weakley county public that he has made us a better sheriff each time he has been elected.  

He has not saved much money out of his earnings, for he has paid off all his old debts, got even with the world, but the world is not even with him, for he has lost many a dollar by security debts, because he was too kindhearted to say "No" many times when he should have done so.  "Uncle Bill" is all right.

The complete list of links in this multi-part series:

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