Biography of Robert Alfred Thompson
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Robert Alfred Thompson. Marquette in McPherson County is one of the thriving towns of Kansas whose population is largely composed of Swedish people, and the community in its industrial and moral aspect had been materially influenced by the substantial character of these people. One of the most prominent men of the town for the past thirty years had been Robert Alfred Thompson, who, successful in business, had studiously sought every opportunity to upbuild and promote the substantial welfare of the town.
Mr. Thompson is a native of Sweden, having been born at Landskrona, near Copenhagen, January 10, 1855. His parents were Sohne and Cecilia (Rasmussen) Thompson. He began his education in the public schools of Sweden, and came to America in 1875, at the age of nineteen years. Mr. Thompson is a scholarly man and had always indulged his taste for books, had a fine private library, and had broadly informed himself by extensive travel. After coming to America he became a student in Augustana College at Rock Island, Illinois, and was graduated in the Classical Course in 1886.
During the next year he filled a clerical position and then moved to Marquette, Kansas, where now for thirty years he had been one of the chief factors in the life of the town. For several years he was successfully engaged in the real estate brokerage business. In connection with the Pihlblad estate he then established a large general mercantile store at Marquette and made that one of the main business institutions of the town. Mr. Thompson was one of the organizers of the Marquette State Bank in 1892, and since 1902 had served as its president. This is now the most substantial banking house in the western half of McPherson County.
Those institutions in McPherson County which are peculiarly the outgrowth of educational and religious influences directed by the Swedish people have all felt the impress of Mr. Thompson’s ability and his contributions to their welfare. He had been identified with the management of Bethany College at Lindsborg, is a member of its board of trustees and was secretary of the board for eight years. He is also interested in the Bethany Printing Company of Lindsborg, publishers of the Lindsborg News-Record and of several college and Swedish publications. For eight years Mr. Thompson served as mayor of Marquette and for fourteen years as secretary of its board of education. Politically he is an active republican, but had never accepted any county or state office. He is one of the strong and working members of the Lutheran Church of Marquette, had served as its deacon for more than a quarter of a century and as superintendent of the Sunday school.
On November 27, 1892, he married Miss Caroline S. Nord, of Lindsborg, Kansas. They are the parents of two children: Ruth, born September 26, 1893, and a graduate of Bethany College with the class of 1913, and Waldo, born August 5, 1895, now successfully engaged in the practice of dental surgery. The Thompson family are leaders in the financial, social and religious life of their section of the state, and there is not a name that is spoken with more thorough esteem and respect than that of Robert A. Thompson.