Wheeling Intelligencer, Feb. 4, 1896:
The Intelligencer has mentioned the serious illness of Col W. P. Thompson, of New York, and it was stated yesterday that he was in a critical condition from pneumonia. Yesterday forenoon the following telegram was received from Hon. J. N. Camden, dated a New York, by the Intelligencer:
”Col. W. P. Thompson died this morning from pneumonia, after an illness of less than a week. His funeral will take place from his mother’s residence near Wheeling, on Thursday, at 2 o’clock.”
Col. Thompson was in the city ten days or two weeks ago. His mother was then thought to be very low, but she rallied somewhat and is still living, having survived her four sons. Two sisters, Mrs. J. N. Camden and Mrs. Bushfield, also survive him.
Col. Thompson was the son of the late Judge G. W. Thompson, and was born in Wheeling, January 7, 1837. His mother was Miss Elizabeth Steenrod. He was educated at the Linsly Institute here and at Jefferson college, Pa. He was admitted to the bar in 1857. When the war approached he advocated a conservative course, but when the rebellion actually broke out he cast his lot with the southern states and took his company, the “Marion Grays,” into the army of Virginia. He became a colonel of the 19th Virginia eventually.
After the war he went to Chicago, but not long after returned to West Virginia and with his brother-in-law, Mr. Camden, and W. N. Chancellor, went into the oil business. He was with this company until after it became identified with the Standard and finally became president of the Camden Consolidated Oil Company.
In 1881 he removed to Cleveland, O., where he was secretary and afterwards vice president of the Standard. In 1887 he went to New York, where he held important positions with that company. He was made president of the lead trust in 1889. He was a director of the Ohio River Railroad, and held many positions in banking, railroad and other corporations. When his brother, G. W. Thompson, died, he was chosen to succeed him as president of the Ohio River road. He was a great fancier of horses, and had a fine breeding farm at his home at Brookdale, N. J.
The following Associated Press dispatch was sent out from New York last night:
Colonel Thompson was born in West Virginia, and was a confederate soldier, was engaged in every battle of importance that took place in Virginia. After the was Colonel Thompson became the editor of a West Virginia newspaper afterwards coming to New York.
He was a member of the Manhaattan, Lawyers’, Tuxedo, Racquet and Downtown clubs and the Southern Society. He was also a power on the turf. He was one of the charter members of the Jockey Club and his counsel was highly valued by his confreres.
The New York Tribune of February 2 has the following account of Colonel Thompson’s illness:
Colonel William P. Thompson, widely known in financial, railroad and mining circles, is lying dangerously ill at his home, No. 30 West Fifty-seventh street. Colonel Thompson, who is an energetic, enterprising capitalist, and desires to promote the interests of his associates and friends in West Virginia, recently purchased a line of railroad in the mining district of that state. Ten days ago he went to West Virginia to inspect the property. As his time was limited, he moved rapidly from place to place, frequently riding on engines and exposing himself to sudden changes of weather. A week ago yesterday he was seized with a severe chill on his homeward journey. When he arrived at Baltimore last Thursday he stayed over to transact some business, and his condition became alarming. A special car was placed at his service, and all possible speed was made to Jersey City.
Colonel Thompson is a man of nerve and courage and he bore up bravely under the attack, managing to complete the journey without serious results. In the meanwhile Dr. Loomis was telegraphed to and asked to meet Colonel Thompson at his home. After a gallant struggle to reach his home Colonel Thompson staggered up the steps, opened the door, entered the reception room, where Dr. Loomis was waiting for him, and fell on the floor in a state of complete collapse. A hurried examination was made and the case was diagnosed as acute grip, accelerated by an attack of pneumonia. A consultation of physicians was held and the announced that it was a serious case. The patient’s family and near friends were warned to prepare for the worst. Colonel Thompson realized his condition as well as his physicians, but declined to give up, and told them he intended to fight the disease to the last..
On Friday his condition did not improve, but remained stationary. His right lung was severely congested. He rallied slightly yesterday afternoon, his pulse was perceptibly stronger and his chances of recovering were greatly improved. A crisis in the case was expected last night but at a late hour hear the reports were of a favorable character. Colonel Thompson’s family were overwhelmed with grief. Mrs. Thompson was prostrated for a time but has recovered and his bearing up bravely under the anxiety and sorrow. Lewis S. Thompson and William P. Thompson, jr., sons of Colonel Thompson are with their father, watching at his bedside and hoping for the best.
Yesterday afternoon Mrs. George W. Thompson, widow of the brother of Col. W. P. Thompson, and her daughter, accompanied by Capt. George H. Moffet, arrived in the city from Parkersburg. Mrs. Thompson and daughter proceeded immediately to the residence of Col. Thompson’s mother east of this city. Capt. Moffet informed an Intelligencer reporter that night that the remains of Col. Thompson would leave New York Wednesday afternoon on a special train over the Pennsylvania railroad and would arrive in this city Thursday morning. The funeral will take place from his mother’s residence on the afternoon of that day at 3 o’clock and the interment will be made in the old Stone Church cemetery.
The details of the funeral will be completed today by Captain Moffet, Vice-president and General Manager George A. Burt of the Ohio River railroad and Assistant Postmaster George Baird of this city.
In connection with Col Thompson’s death, Capt. Moffet relates a very singular circumstance. He said that last Sunday week he with Col Thompson, were talking with Mrs. Thompson, his brother’s widow, at her home in Parkersburg. “The colonel and myself were with his brother George W. when he died and we were recalling some incidents in connection with his illness. The colonel was in good health and spirits at the time, but after reflecting a moment, he remarked: ‘Do you know I have a sort of premonition that I will go just like George, and I have a feeling that I won’t live out this year.’ Of course we didn’t pay much attention to his remarks at the time but what a shock it was to have his prophecy verified in such a short time – just a week from the time he had given utterance to it.”
Special Dispatch to the Intelligencer.
PARKERSBURG, W. Va., Feb. 3 –
The death of Col. William P. Thomson, president of the National white lead trust, and the Ohio River railroad, which occurred in New York this morning at 7:30 o’clock, has caused a profound shock in this city. Colonel Thompson left this city last Monday to return to New York, and upon his arrival there he was taken ill with pneumonia. Upon receipt of news of his death, General Manager George A. Burt issued a general order closing down all departments of the road except the train service. Special trains will be run to Wheeling from here and points below on Thursday, carrying all employes and friends who desire to attend the funeral, free of charge. It seems extremely sad that a deceased brother, Col George W. Thompson, the former president of the road and the late Col William P. Thompson should both died of the same disease and both within a year, the former dying February 26, 1895.
When here last week Colonel Thompson was in his usual good health. It is supposed that he contracted the cold while riding on an engine from Wheeling here last week, inspecting the road. He was pleased with the prosperity of the road and discussed plans for future arrangements and improvements.