William George Thompson

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This article is about the American politician. For the Australian politician, also named William George Thompson, see William Thompson (Australian politician).
For other people named William Thompson, see William Thompson (disambiguation).

William George Thompson (January 17, 1830 – April 2, 1911) was a Civil War officer, trial-court judge, territorial justice, and Republican Representative in the United States House of Iowa's 5th congressional district.


Thompson was born and raised in Butler, Pennsylvania, the younger brother of future Pennsylvania Congressman John McCandless Thompson. In 1853, he was admitted to the bar and moved to Marion, Iowa. He became the prosecuting attorney for Linn County, Iowa in 1854, then left in 1856 to serve in the Iowa Senate, serving until 1860. When the Civil War broke out he became a major in the 20th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

After the War, he served as district attorney for Iowa's eighth judicial district for six years. He then served briefly as Chief Justice of the Territory of Idaho, from January to April 1879.

In April 1879, Thompson resigned as Chief Justice to run as a Republican to represent Iowa's fifth district in the Forty-sixth Congress, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Rush Clark. Thompson won the special election, and served in most of the Forty-sixth Congress. In 1882, he was re-elected, serving in the Forty-seventh Congress, but chose not to run in 1884 for the Forty-eighth.

On his return to Iowa, Thompson served on the Marion City Council, and ran for the Iowa General Assembly. He served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1885 to 1887. Returning to the bench, he was elected as judge of Iowa's eighteenth judicial district, serving from 1894 to 1906. He retired to Kenwood Park, Iowa where he died April 2, 1911. He is interred at Oak Shade Cemetery in Marion.


United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Rush Clark
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 5th congressional district

December 1, 1879–March 3, 1883
Succeeded by
James Wilson