Creator: Thompson Family

Provenance Note: Diaries, letters, and miscellaneous documents pertaining to Henry Elliott Thompson or John Nevins Thompson were dontated to Montana State University by J. Nevin Thompson of Groveland, Florida on January 25, 2007.

Historical Note: Henry Elliott Thompson was born on March 13, 1841 in Cooperstown, Pennsylvania. He was the fifth child of Hugh G. And Martha Thompson, and had a twin brother named Joseph. Hugh Thompson was a tailor by trade, and he moved his family from Pennsylvania to Ohio and back before settling in Vernon County, Wisconsin sometime prior to 1850. Henry and his twin Joseph grew up in the Springville area and worked as farmers before enlisting in the Wisconsin volunteers when the Civil War broke out. Henry joined the Twentieth Wisconsin Infantry in the summer of 1862 and was assigned to Capt. Augustus H. Pettibone's Company A. Thompson saw service in Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama. Henry survived the war and returned to Wisconsin briefly, but he pursued a career as a carpenter and surveyor in Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, and finally South Dakota where he died on November 17, 1912.

John Nevins Thompson was the oldest son of Henry E. Thompson, born on February 10, 1869 at Hebron, Indiana. He lived in Belle Fourche, South Dakota and, in 1904, took up a homestead claim thirty-five miles south of Ekalaka, Montana. In the summer of 1891 John, along with his brother William, drove a herd of horses with John T. "Buckskin Johnny" Spaulding through Yellowstone National Park and kept a diary of their experiences. John Thompson died on March 15, 1943 in Bozeman, Montana. His grandson, J. Nevin Thompson, is the donor of this collection.

Content Description Note: The Thompson family papers consist of two diaries kept by Henry Elliott Thompson while serving with the Twentieth Wisconsin Infantry. The first diary, dating from July 9,1862 to August 17, 1863 details Thompson's experiences at the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and the capture of Yazoo, Mississippi. The second diary, dating from May 11, 1864 to February 21, 1865, describes Thompson's experiences while serving at Brownsville, Texas and participating in the campaign to capture Mobile, Alabama, most notably the siege of Fort Morgan. An additional diary kept by John Nevins Thompson details his trip through Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1891. The Thompson-Spaulding party entered the park near Mammoth and exited on the west side heading towards Henry's Lake. The entries describe visiting some of the principal sites within the park and the difficulties in managing the horse herd they were driving. An additional folder of loose materials includes an 1880 letter to Henry Thompson from Augustus H. Pettibone, then a newly-elected member of the United States House of Representatives from Tennessee. The last folder contains a self published Thompson.

RESTRICTIONS: All literary property rights retained by the donor. No publication beyond "fair use" permitted without express approval by the donor, his heirs or assigns.


Box 1
1. Diary, 1862-1863
2. Diary, 1864-1865
3. Diary, 1891
4. Miscellaneous papers
5. "A Thompson Historical Genealogy"

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