Denman Thompson

Mr. Thompson never lived in Oregon, but he is remembered by many who saw him play in “The Old Homestead.”  Many also remember his parents and sister, Miss Melissa Thompson, who taught school here for many years.  His parents lived on the farm where Ole Vesaas lived in 1941.

Mr. Thompson was born in Gerard, Pennsylvania in 1834.  At the age of fourteen he ran away and joined the circus.  He next went into a stock company and played several years.  In 1886 he wrote and produced “The Old Homestead” with the leading character, Joshua Whitcomb, a Yankee with a dry sense of humor played by Denman Thompson.  It proved successful and enjoyed a run of 24 years.  Mr. Thompson toured the United States, bringing his play year after year to the same towns and cities.  The play is reputed to have cleared over $3,000,000.

In 1910, Denman Thompson appeared as Joshua Whitcomb for the last time. In April the following spring he was buried in West Swanzey, New Hampshire.

Well Known Men of the Community. IN Souvenir of Oregon Centennial, Supplement to the OREGON OBSERVER, June 26, 1941, p. 33.

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