William P. Thompson. Among the men whose ability, industry and forethought have added to the wealth, character and good government of Oklahoma, one of the best known is William P. Thompson. Mr. Thompson is a lawyer, not only by education and long practice, but by temperament and preference. He has been engaged in practice in Oklahoma for more than a quarter of a century and since 1899 has been located at Vinita. Political tendencies and executive ability have conduced to add to his possibilities of professional compensation and have broadened his efforts into the channels of public service, in which he has gained an established reputation for conscientious and capable performance of duty.
Mr. Thompson was born on his father’s farm in Smith County, Texas, November 19th, 1866, and is a son of James F. and Caroline E. (McCord) Thompson. The paternal great-grandparents of William P. Thompson were William and Mary (Johnson) Thompson, who came to America from their native county of Tyrone, Ireland, and located in Abbeville, South Carolina, where they reared their family of ten children, the former of whom died in Georgia in 1836 and the latter in 1860 in Delaware District of Indian Territory. Among them was Johnson Thompson, the grandfather of William P. Thompson, born in South Carolina, who married Mariah Lynch, a native of Georgia, and had two children, of whom James F. was the elder. In 1836 the grandparents located on Beatties Prairie, in Delaware District, now Delaware County, Oklahoma, and in 1837 the grandfather erected a home which is still standing. James F. Thompson was born in the Cherokee Nation, Cass County, Georgia, May 4, 1831, and was still a small lad when taken to Indian Territory by his parents, and resided there until going to Smith County, Texas, at the age of eighteen years. There during the next twelve years he was variously engaged -in farming, sawmilling and merchandising, and continued to be so occupied until the outbreak of the war between the states. In 1861, at Overton, Texas, he enlisted in Granberry’s Brigade, Pat Cleburne’s Division, which was attached to the army of General Hood, with which Mr. Thompson fought in many noted battles, including Franklin, Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge and Dalton, establishing a brave and honorable record as a soldier. On his return from his military experience he engaged in the cattle and cotton business and continued operations in those lines until his death, which occurred in 1874. He was a democrat politically and took a good citizen’s part and interest in public affairs, and was generally known as a man of integrity and public spirit. Mrs. Thompson, who was born in Lafayette County Mississippi, in 1837, died in 1892, the mother of four children, of whom all are dead with the exception of William P., who was the third in order of birth.
On the maternal side Mr. Thompson traces his ancestry from a branch of the McDonald family back to Sir James McCord, who was born in 1620 and fell at the battle of Killiecrankie Pass, in 1689, under “Bonny Dundee” or Grahame of Claverhouse, who fell in the moment of victory. His son, John McCord, moved from Scotland to Ireland, and the latter’s three sons, John, William and David McCord, came to America in 1707 and located in the settlement of Pennsylvania. His other son, Ben McCord, left Ireland in 1732 and located in South Carolina, at McCord’s Ford. The maternal great-grandparents of William P. Thompson were John and Mary (McDougal) McCord, both born in County Tyrone, Ireland. Four generations of Mr. Thompson’s ancestors are buried in the Cherokee Nation. The maternal grandparents of Mr. Thompson were William P. and Lucinda A. (Miller) McCord, both born in Abbeville, South Carolina, who later moved to Mississippi and finally to Henajrson, Texas. They were the parents of ten children.
After securing his primary educational training in the old Cherokee Male Seminary at Tahlequah, from which he was graduated when only seventeen years of age, William P. Thompson engaged in teaching school for one year. He next entered Vanderbilt University, at Nashville, Tennessee, and after four years was graduated in both the literary and law courses, in 1889. At that time he was admitted to practice in all the courts. In June, 1889, he came to Indian Territory and located at Muskogee, being thus one of the nestors of the Eastern Oklahoma bar. In 1891 he removed to Tahlequah, where he practiced in both the United States and Tribal courts until 1899. That year saw his advent in Vinita, where he has since engaged in a general practice which has brought to him prominence and reputation as one of the foremost lawyers of his locality. His practice is broad in its lines and he is at home in all branches of his calling, but it is probable that as a trial lawyer he has gained his most substantial reputation. He was introduced to public service as clerk of the assembly known as the Cherokee Council, was later clerk of the Senate, secretary of the treasury of the Cherokee Nation, and executive secretary, United States commissioner under President Cleveland, in addition to which he served for several years as attorney for the Cherokee Nation. He is a member of the Craig County Bar Association, the Oklahoma State Bar Association and the American Bar Association, and is well known in fraternal circles, being a thirty-second degree Mason and member of Indian Consistory, and Vinita Lodge No. 1162, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. His political support is given to the candidates and policies of the democratic party.
Mr. Thompson was married September 14, 1892, to Miss Elizabeth C. Morris, who was born at Dalton, Georgia, and they have two daughters: Sadie P. and Elizabeth C.