Monday, July 15, 2013

Doctor John R Thompson

Dr. John Richardson Thompson was born May 13, 1878 on Allison Prairie. His father's name was John and his mother's name was Eliza Buchanan. The Buchanan's owned a hotel-The Buchanan House-which stood on the West side of the square in Lawrenceville later occupied by the McGaughey building. Dr. Thompson was educated in the rural school at Centerville on Allison Prairie and in the Lawrenceville schools. While attending school in the County seat, he lived with his grandmother Buchanan.

One of his teachers in Lawrenceville was Miss Annette Blackburn. She told a story of John R. who  returned with a number of turtle eggs which he and Ralph Gordon (later Dr. R. L. Gordon) found in a sandbar. He arranged these in a neat row in a pencil grove of his desk.

Dr. John R. Thompson
This exhibit was attracting considerable attention in the School room and when Miss Blackburn asked what he had on his desk he said, "These are rabbit eggs". This caused quite a laugh in the classroom which the teacher did not relish, so she removed them from his desk and supplied a paddle where it did the most good. Years later Ms. Blackburn was the editor of a paper in Oklahoma. A stranger walked in and stopped before her desk. She looked over her glasses and ask what he wanted. He said "Madam, would you be interested in buying a basket of rabbit eggs?" This recalled the episode and the middle-aged Doctor whom she had not recognized at first; both had a good laugh. The Lawrenceville School where the turtle egg episode occurred stood on the corner of 12th and Dubois just north of the bank.

In 1907 Dr. Thompson moved to Bridgeport which was the center of the oilfield activities. He soon had a large practice and for many years was the surgeon for the Ohio Oil Company. He was a staunch Republican and represented this district in the state legislature for seven terms (14 years). He served as County Coroner from 1920 until 1928.

He was well known throughout Illinois for his  long and active service in the legislature. His death occurred on May 14, 1948 and it was announced over national radio stations and in the papers of national distribution in addition to those of our state. He was buried in the Lawrenceville city cemetery.

The above was taken from the Medical History of Lawrence County written by Dr. Tom Kirkwood for the Historical Society. )