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Did You Know that R H Thomson's PhD was honorary, and awarded to him in 1901, the same year he received his Master's degree from Hanover? He says so in his autobiography. If his bachelor's was in mathematics, his masters probably was also. His honorary PhD? I don't know yet, but I doubt it was in Philosophy. --Kenatipospeak! 22:17, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
While city surveyor in 1885 and 1886, Thomson was in a civil engineering partnership with F. H. Whitworth. Whitworth was the county surveyor, a job that Thomson held from 1891 to 1892. They advertised in the Seattle P-I from at least May 1885 to February 186 and mentioned their public positions. See eg column 6 of May 2, 1885 Seattle P-I. Roket (talk) 14:09, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
There is a gap in Thomson's early career from 1889 to 1892. The gap exists in his 1950 autobiography and is repeated everywhere after that.
He was working for Ballard in at least 1890 and 1891, planning street improvements for the new city.
(See Seattle Municipal Archives Ballard Annexation Files Street Improvements box. I only reviewed part of Ballard Avenue for a court case with Arthur B. Jennings. The plans were prepared by Thomson.)
Seattle P-I 5/28/1891 p 2 "News of Ballard" reports that "City Engineer R. H. Thomson has... appointed L. K. Smith, deputy engineer". This article indicates that he was opening a "branch office" in Ballard. Possibly this means his firm was employed by the city, rather than him being a city employee.
Seattle P-I 2/9/1890 p 3 col 7 has an advertisement for "R. H. Thomson & Co (R. H. Thomson, George F. Cotterill, Clarence L. White) civil engineers and surveyors" indicating that he was doing independent work, not only for the City of Ballard. Repeats Nov 2, 1889 to Apr 13, 1890.
The January 14, 1891 Seattle P-I page 5 col 3 reports that he applied for the job of county surveyor. May 13, 1891 p 8 says that he was appointed by the King County Board of Commissioners. July 6, 1892 page 3 says that he has resigned as county surveyor.
The May 20, 1892 Seattle P-I page 8 col 1 described that Edwin Hall Warner was appointed city engineer, but he turned down the position the same day. May 24, 1892 P-I page 8 "Thomson is Chosen" describes R. H. Thomson's again appointment as Seattle's city engineer.