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Collection Title: Thompson (Joseph Oswalt) Letter

Collection Number: M207

Dates: April 2, 1926

Volume: 1 Item

Provenance: Donated by Robert G. and Betty Steadman in February 1985. (The author of the letter was Mrs. Steadman's grandfather).

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Joseph Oswalt Thompson was born on February 2, 1869, near Tuskegee, in Macon County, Alabama. He was the son of William Phillip and Mary Watson (Jordon) Thompson. Thompson was educated in Park's High School and the Alabama Military Institute.

Thompson was a farmer with large land holdings; he specialized in cotton production and was the largest cotton planter in Alabama at one time. He was an organizer of the Alabama Land Congress, the cotton holding movement in 1915, and was vice-president of the American Cotton Association in 1926. Joseph O. Thompson was active in the Republican Party in Alabama, serving as chairman of the Republican committee of Macon County; chairman of the State Republican committee for Alabama; Republican nominee for Governor of Alabama in 1910; and Republican nominee for Congress from the Birmingham District in 1918. Thompson also held other important positions with federal agencies, such as Deputy U. S. Marshal, Deputy U. S. Collector, U. S. Commissioner, Postmaster at Tuskegee, Alabama, and Deputy U. S. Collector for Internal Revenue.

Joseph Oswalt Thompson married Annie Magruder of Tuskegee, Alabama, daughter of William Reardon and Mary Ann (Perry) Magruder, on April 13, 1888; they had eight children.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of a six page typewritten letter, dated April 2, 1926, from Joseph O. Thompson, to his cousin Mary Virginia Lee, of Lychburg, Virginia, dealing mainly with family history. For her information he details her Alabama relatives, mostly on his mother's (Mary J. Thompson) side, although sometimes it is not always clear to whom he is referring.

Some of the names Thompson mentions are: Dr. Henry Reese of Marengo County, Alabama, and his son Judge Henry Reese; Colonel Benjamin Winston Walker; General Thomas Simpson Woodward; John Howard Parnell (a brother of Charles Stuart Parnell); Charles Winston Thompson; William Watson Thompson; Dr. Eugene Calloway; Allan J. Krebs; and Congressman Henry Bascom Steagall.

Thompson concludes the letter by listing his own accomplishments.


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Revised: December 14, 2004