Garland County, Arkansas, Goodspeed Biographies
Hon. Frank M. Thompson, superintendent of Hot Springs Reservation, is a native of Osage County, Mo., born June 24, 1843, and is the only survivor of four children (sons) born to the union of James and Esther (Estes) Thompson, the father a native of Illinois, and the mother of Missouri. James Thompson followed agricultural pursuits as a livelihood, and died in Hempstead County, Ark., in 1880. The mother also died in that county. They came to Arkansas in 1849. The maternal grandparents were early settlers of Missouri. Frank M. Thompson was but six years of age when he came to Arkansas, and here he grew to maturity, receiving a limited education in the common schools. He was reared to the arduous duties of the farm, and remaining on the same until the breaking out of the war, he flung aside the implements of peace, to take up the weapons of warfare, and enlisted in the State troops, serving three months when they were disbanded. He then enlisted in the regular Confederate army, Company G, Nineteenth Arkansas Infantry, and served until the surrender, during which time he held the rank of sergeant, lieutenant and captain. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1864. At Arkansas Post he was taken prisoner and confined at Camp Chase, Ohio, for three months, thence to Fort Delaware, where he remained one month, and then to Petersburg, Va., where he was exchanged. He was in a number of engagements, the most prominent being: Oak Hill, Mo., and Chickamauga. At the close of the war he located in Columbia County, Ark., and carried on the mercantile business until 1875, when he went to Hope, Hempstead County, of the same State, and there still continued that business until 1885. He then sold out and lived retired for a few years. He represented Columbia County in the legislature for one term, in 1871, was county judge of Hempstead County, from 1882 to 1884, and was mayor of Hope for three terms. He was elected to the State senate, in 1886, from the Twentieth district, composed of the counties of Hempstead and Nevada, and served four years, when he resigned, to accept his present position in June, 1889. He selected Miss E. C. Hicks, a native of Arkansas, as his companion in life, and was married to her August 15, 1865. The fruits of this union are two children: Frank M., Jr., and Floyd. The Captain is a member of the Masonic fraternity and Knights of Pythias. He is one of the prominent men of Southern Arkansas, and now holds an important position given him by the Government. He was Grand Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias, for the State, in 1884, is chairman of the Republican Committee of Hempstead County, and a member of the Republican State Central Committee for the State at large.
Dr. M. G. Thompson, Hot Springs, Ark. The name of Thompson is among the most influential in Hot Springs, and is one of the most respected by this community. Dr. M. G. Thompson's birth occurred in Fayette County, Tenn., July 22, 1849, and he is next to the youngest of six children born to the union of James and Amanda (Gill) Thompson, the former a native of Georgia and the latter of Tennessee. James Thompson was a prominent agriculturist and followed this pursuit up to the time of his death, which occurred in Fayette County, Tenn. The mother died at Beebe, Ark. Dr. M. G. Thompson was partially educated in Mississippi, under a governess at home, and when twenty-three years of age he began the study of medicine, graduating at the University of Louisville in February, 1878. He also has a certificate from the hospital of Louisville. He first began practicing in Lonoke County, Ark., and after remaining there three years, moved to Beebe for a short time, thence to Little Rock, Germantown, Tenn., and finally, in 1886, located in Hot Springs where he has since been actively engaged. The Doctor was married to Miss Lena Bristol, in 1886, and this union has been blessed by the birth of one child: Murray G. The Doctor and his wife are members of the Baptist Church and are esteemed and respected by all. He is secretary of the Hot Springs Medical Society, and although a resident of the Springs only a few years, he has built up an extensive practice in that time and has won the confidence of the people as a clever and scientific practitioner.
Francis A. Thornton, of Mountain Glen, Mill Township, Garland County, was born in Trout County, Ga., in 1849, being the son of Robert and Sarah J. (Fielder), both natives of Georgia. The father was engaged in the woolen-mill business nearly all his life, and was married about 1840. They were the parents of ten children: Georgiana (now Mrs. Mays), Napoleon B., Thomas N., Henrietta J. (the wife of Charles Keith), Sarah R. (wife of Harris Keith),Victoria (wife of Albert T. Trim), Louina P. (deceased), Caladonia (deceased), Eldorada (now Mrs. Nelson) and Francis A. (the subject of this sketch.) Mr. Thornton was a member of the Masonic order, and also of the Methodist Church. He died in 1876. His wife, who was born in 1827, was a member of the Methodist Church, and died in 1883. F. A. Thornton began farming for himself at the age of twenty. In 1860 he left Georgia and moved to Texas, where he continued agricultural pursuits for the next five years, coming thence to Arkansas and purchasing a farm. To this he has since added, so that he now has between 1,000 and 1,200 acres, with 200 acres under cultivation. In 1869 he married Miss Nancy Partain, who died in 1874, leaving one child, Francis J. He took for his second wife Virginia L. Mayers, the daughter of M. Mayers, to whom he was married in 1880. They are the parents of three children: Francis A., Marie L. and Robert A. Mr. Thornton is a miller by trade, and also a distiller, in which business he has been engaged since 1882. He also owns a cotton-gin and two saw and shingle mills, besides some real estate in Hot Springs. It is said that the water-power of his grist-mill is the finest on the Ouachita River or in the State. Mr. Thornton is worth about $15,000, and is recognized as among the most influential men in the county. His wife was born in Virginia in 1857, her mother being a native of Switzerland and of French descent. Mr. and Mrs. Mayers were the parents of six children: William H. L., Harriet C., Mary E., Ellen D., Martha L. and Virginia L. They are now residents of Texas. Mr. Thornton was appointed postmaster in 1877, which office he yet fills. He is an influential Democrat of the community. Dr. M. Mayers, father-in-law of Mr. Thornton, was born in Maryland in 1818, his parents being Abraham Mayers and Catharine Gilbert, natives of Pennsylvania. They had a family of ten children, of whom, at this date, only two brothers remain. The senior Mayers owned a farm and carried on milling and other industries, but, unfortunately, by endorsing, everything was taken. Subsequently he carried on the hotel business in Maryland, District of Columbia and Pennsylvania for some eleven years, with a family of three girls and five boys. The parents retiring from life, friends procured young Mayers a situation in a drug store, where he remained for eight years. Learning from his brother of the great advantage of fortune to be made in Arkansas, he set out for the new "Eldorado" in 1840 (a long time before Greeley said, "Go West, young man,") by stage, canal and steamer from Pittsburgh. Embarking in the drug business, he opened up the first drug store in Fort Smith, where a cosmopolite community composted the inhabitants, numbering some 100 citizens. The two was laid off by Capt. John Rogers. A Government fort was partially built, and a military post was then the head of navigation. Fort Smith was the depot for supplying forts in the Indian Nation. Trade grounds extended over hundreds of miles, annuities were paid regularly to the five civilized tribes, and in dealing with the Indians Mr. Mayers early saw that they needed something besides drugs. His business became general and prosperous until the "crash" in 1860, and then chaos reigned for years. Finally he took up his residence in Paris, Tex., in 1872. He has passed the allotted period of "three score and ten" with good health, and at present has no fault to find with the past. What a contrast the present offers to the surroundings of the 40's, when a mail arrived every two weeks; the Indian with his train of ponies laden with peltries; no press to advertise one's wares; hundreds of miles of uncertain navigation; river down, and no boats for a year; goods high in price; salt 25 cents per pound. Surely, a great change has occurred. Hot Springs, in 1848, had one hotel and one bath-tub. Arkansas must or ought to develop, as the natural resources become known. Mr. Mayer's wife, Marie L. Perrey, is a native of Switzerland, born in 1831, and emigrated to American in 1835. They were married in 1848. She has one sister, Louisa, living in Paris, Tex. (1889.)