REV. JOHN A. THOMPSON, Pastor in charge of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, located at Gadsden, is a native of Franklin County, this State, and was born December 15, 1842. His early years were spent in the country on his father's farm and in attendance at the common schools. At fourteen years of age he entered the academy at Liberty Hill, and was there at school when the war came on. In August 1861, he enlisted as a private soldier, and served up to and partially through the battle of Murfreesboro. Here he was so seriously disabled as to necessitate his discharge, and he remained at Murfreesboro to the close of the war. From his earliest youth, Mr. Thompson was religiously disposed, and he began preaching when seventeen years of age, joining the Tennessee Conference, October 10, 1860. His studies were always pursued with a view to the ministry. In 1870 he became a member of the North Alabama Conference. He was ordained elder in October, 1865, since when he has given his time and study to his profession. He has been fifteen years secretary of the North Alabama Conference; was at one time the corresponding editor of the Alabama Advocate; has been editor of the Times and News of Gadsden; served as presiding elder of the Huntsville District, and has been for several years gathering data preparatory to a publication of the history of Methodism in North Alabama, particularly of the North Alabama Conference.
The subject of this sketch is a son of T. W. and Mary D. (Wilder) Thompson, natives of Georgia and Virginia. respectively. The senior Mr. Thompson was born in 1813, and his parents settled in Lauderdale County about 1820. He was educated in that county, became an extensive planter, and a popular public man. He held the office of county commissioner and magistrate for over thirty years. At this writing (1888) he resides in Colbert County. His wife died in March, 1875. They reared a family of eight sons and five daughters: three of the sons were in the army under General Forrest, and Wm. I., the eldest, was killed in Georgia in 1864: Emmet B., the second son, is now a Methodist Episcopal minister in Texas. The Thompsons cane from North Carolina into Georgia in the latter part of the last century, and Henry Thompson, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch. was an officer in the War of 1812. The Thompsons came originally from England, and were Baptists, but it appears that all of the younger generations were, and are identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mr. Thompson is a Knight Templar Mason, and has also been connected with the I. O. 0. F., K. of P., K. of H. and I. O. R. M. He is happy in his domestic relations, enjoying the companionship of his excellent wife, who is a daughter of General Patterson, of Huntsville, Ala., and his interesting child, John Bison.
Source: McCalley, Henry, Northern Alabama : historical and biographical. Birmingham, AL: Smith & De Land, 1888, pp. 835.