GEORGE THOMSON, a prominent farmer and carpenter who resides in the eastern portion of the village of Oregon, Dane County, Wisconsin, where he has one of the finest homes in the town, was born in Hamilton [province of Ontario], Canada, on 19 January 1847. His grandfather, George Thomson, was a native of Scotland and married Miss Elizabeth Fair there. He reared his family of children there, of whom three sons and two daughters grew to maturity and all came to America. The grandfather was a merchant in Scotland, where he died before his wife and children emigrated to this country. The names of the children were: Robert, James, George, Elizabeth, and Alice.
Of these children, James was the first to come to the United States, and located in Dodge County, Wisconsin. He later returned to Scotland and married Margaret Law, a sister of Professor Law, of Cornell University. Since his return to this country James Thomson has resided in Dodge County, Wisconsin, where he has a good farm. Robert Thomson emigrated first to Canada but about 1845 came to Wisconsin, and entered 160 acres of land, which is now included in the eastern portion of the village of Oregon, Dane County, Wisconsin. He built a log cabin, which was the first in the place and resided there until his death.
The father of our subject, George Thomson, was born 18 October 1811, and in early life became a sailor, pursuing his calling upon the high seas for ten years. He made his first voyage, at the age of thirteen, to Davis Straits, in a whaling vessel. After coming to America he sailed on the Great Lakes. George Thomson (the father of the subject) also married in Canada, 15 March 1842, and first settled at the head of Lake Ontario, where he served as lighthouse keeper for 29 years. Later he retired and lived in Hamilton [Ontario], Canada, until his death on 11 April 1886. The mother of our subject died on 20 July 1847, leaving two children, George (our subject) and a brother, William C., who died in Hamilton, Canada in 1886, having been a pattern maker by trade.
Our subject, George Thomson, was only one month old when his mother died. He was brought to Dodge County, Wisconsin, where he was reared by his aunts. Like many other farmer boys, he worked upon the farm in the summer and attended the common schools in the winters, but he also had the advantage of attending the State University at Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, during the years 1865-1866. His aunt, Elizabeth, with whom he lived, died in 1866, and afterward he worked at the wagon maker’s trade for one year. At that time he drifted naturally from that calling to that of a carpenter, and pursued it in Dodge County, Wisconsin, many years. In 1870 he went to California, remained four months, when he returned. He also made various trips to Canada and spent two winters there. February 1882 saw him in Florida. On 07 November 1886 he moved to Holly Hill [Volusia County], Florida, where he owned an orange grove. Here he worked at his trade of carpenter, but in 1889 he returned to Wisconsin and settled at Oregon, Dane County, and purchased forty-two acres of land entered by his uncle. There were only log buildings on the place, but he at once put up a fine residence, doing the carpenter work himself. In addition to his residence George Thomson has built a set of good buildings as fine as any in the village.
George Thomson was married in Dodge County, Wisconsin, 19 April 1871 to Cynthia Ellen Goodenough, born in Pelham, Canada, daughter of Aaron and Cynthia (Durbin) Goodenough. Five children have been born to George and Cynthia Ellen (Goodenough) Thomson: George Francis (died September 1874), Ethel Alice, Janet Elizabeth, Fannie Isabelle, and George Aaron. In politics our subject is a Prohibitionist, and takes a great interest in temperance work. Formerly he was a Republican, but his opinions on the liquor questions compelled him to espouse the cause of the party and promised to rid the land of the that curse. He has served very creditably as a member of the village board. The religion of the ancestors was the faith of the Presbyterian Church.
George Thomson is a member of the Neosko Lodge, No. 108, Ancient Free & Accepted Mason, and has been a member of the independent Order of Odd Fellows for twenty years. He is regarded as one of the substantial farmers of Oregon, Dane County, Wisconsin, where he has some valuable property. In addition to his other interests, George Thomson retains his orange grove in Florida. He and his pleasant family are regarded by all with feelings of extreme regard, as they are worthy, upright citizens, well deserving of the good fortune that has attended their efforts in life.
Ref. Biographical Review Publishing Co. (1893). Biographical Review of Dane County, WI. Chicago, Vol. II, p. 350, and material subm. by Cathy Kubly.