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C. H. COWLES was a very active member, a strong partisan, a hard worker in behalf of the local interests of his constituents and of the south of the Platte. He possessed much force of character; a fairly good debater. He was a practical man and a good judge of human nature. Unobtrusive, but kind and social, he commanded the respect of everyone.
LAFAYETTE NUCKOLLS, a young man of nineteen years, tall, lank, smooth faced; the expression of his countenance was unimpassioned. He seldom attempted to make a speech. To look upon him, you would make up your mind that he was a clerk in some dry goods store. He was of the very kindest disposition, was a true friend, a perfect gentleman. He claimed citizenship in Nebraska, but lived in Glenwood, Ia. He was not at all pugnacious, at the same time, when hot discussion was going on as to location of the capital he kept in the drawer of his desk a good-sized brick-bat ready for either attack or defense.
J. L. SHARP impressed me as being a keen, foxy man, ambitious to carry out his designs, one of which was to locate the capital at Plattsmouth. In this he was defeated for the lack of one vote. For a man of his age he was lithe and active physically; in disposition he was cheerful and sociable; a little inclined to be slovenly in dress. To one who was not acquainted with him his pock-marked visage gave him a sinister look. He was a busy, active worker. He presided over the legislative council with dignity and impartiality.
O. D. RICHARDSON, the noblest Roman of them all; for a man sixty years of age he was well preserved and youthful in appearance. He was noble in stature, with a fine, dignified bearing, classical and exact in speech; he was an attorney of large experience and good ability; was an ex-lieutenant governor of Michigan; he was a diligent worker, and no other man had greater influence in the legislative council than he.
FLEMING DAVIDSON, member of the first house, was a Virginian by birth; he stood six feet high in his stocking feet, was portly, with a fine, well-developed physique; he was remarkably social in his disposition and made friends wherever he went. He was married on the 1st day of June, 1854, to Mary A. Brown, and on the 5th day of October following, by wagon and team, he, with his family, left for the town site of Omaha, where he landed October 28th. He was elected to the house of representatives of 1855, in which he served with ability and credit to himself. He was the first man to engage in the ice business in Omaha, and was a silent partner in the wholesale and retail mercantile house of Hileman, Blair & Co. He was born July 27, 1827, near Wheeling, Va. Three years thereafter his parents moved to Vermillion county, Indiana, where he was brought up as a farmer. In the sixties he removed to California, where he engaged in farming. He remained in California until the autumn of 1876, at which date he, with his family, removed to Wichita, Kan., where they remained until his death, July 6, 1891. His widow and five children who survive him still reside in Wichita.
BIOGRAPHY OF B. B. THOMPSON.
Written by John C. Thompson, Omaha, Nebr.
Benjamin Baker Thompson, the door-keeper of the first house of representatives of Nebraska, was born in Calloway County, Missouri, February 5, 1834. He was the oldest son of Joseph D. N. and Martha Baker Thompson, who came to Nebraska in 1854, locating in Kanosha, now Rock Bluff, Cass County. Soon after settling in that community an election was held, and his father was chosen a member of the house of representatives. When that body convened, and its list of officers was decided upon, Benjamin Thompson's name appeared on the roll as door keeper. This was the first political office he ever filled, but it has been related that the duties were performed satisfactorily. In August of the following year there was an Indian scare and Gen. John M. Thayer went to the front with several hundred men to repel the Sioux, who were reported on the war path. Under him was Captain Fifield with a company of young fellows who were spoiling for a brush with the red-skins. Among the number was Ben Thompson, and as he was known personally to almost every man in the company, it was but natural that he should be chosen to fill some minor position. The first day's march brought them to the banks of the Elkhorn, where a halt was ordered. The next thing was to place pickets, a duty which Mr. Thompson was detailed to perform. It was while in the discharge of this duty that he received a wound that ultimately resulted in his death. He had placed all the sentinels and was returning to camp, when one of his own men challenged him. He stopped, advanced and gave the countersign, and was turning to resume his march to camp, when the sentinel's gun was accidentally discharged, inflicting an ugly wound in his shoulder. He was carried into the
camp and a surgeon was summoned. Through some oversight that gentleman had not taken his instruments to the front. He, however, volunteered to extract the bullet with an ordinary butcher's knife, an offer which Mr. Thompson refused to accept, and which necessitated his carrying an ounce of lead in his shoulder the rest of his days. In the meantime, Mr. Thompson's parents had removed from Kanosha and had located in Brownville, a town everybody believed was destined to be the metropolis of Nebraska, and it was to that town he was removed after being wounded. Upon his recovery, he was appointed to the office of deputy sheriff, and it was while filling that position that his courage was often put to the test, and as often vindicated. In February of 1858 he married Elizabeth Thompson. One thing worth mentioning in connection with their marriage was the fact that the groom was a member of the Know-nothing party, which was opposed to the introduction of foreigners into this country, while the bride was a late arrival from England. Nevertheless, their union was a happy one. Before the outbreak of the civil war, a baby girl and boy had come to bless their union. Then Lincoln's call for volunteers was heard throughout the land, and Ben Thompson went home and told his wife his country needed him to help maintain this Union one and indivisible. She could not let him go. Their boy was yet a babe in
If she consented to his going, who would provide for her and for their children? He plead with her, and she, as thousands of other wives had done, besought him to remain at home. Finally the company was organized, citizens bade its every member a fervent good-bye, and he turned homeward, the saddest of the number left behind. Within a month, news of the battle reached that little town. Sometimes they told of victories for the North, at others for the South. Then came another call for troops. Again he sought his wife and told her the president was needing men. She hesitated at first, then told him yes, to go, and that if she were a man she would accompany him.
On the 20th day of November, 1861, his name was on an enlistment blank and he was mustered to the service of the United
States in company G, Second Kansas cavalry, as a private. He served in that capacity but a short time. On the 7th of January, 1862, he was promoted to the office of sergeant, and on the 9th of March, 1862, was promoted by the president to the office of first lieutenant of company G, Eleventh U. S. colored troops. He served in that capacity until the 111th, 112th, and 113th U. S. infantry were consolidated, whereupon he became a supernumerary, and as such was honorably discharged April 1st, 1865. He was in action at Newtonia, Mo., October 4, 1862; at Cross Hollow, Ark., October 18, 1862; in the battle of Old Fort Wayne, October 22, 1862, and other battles. After the close of the war, he lived two years in Argenta, Ark., and then returned to Brownville, Nebr., where he lived until the time of his death. He held several official positions in Brownville. He was elected treasurer twice, and was deputy postmaster for about eight years under T. C. Hacker and D. O. Cross. Mr. Thompson died at his home in Brownville, December 1, 1887, and was survived by his wife and three children. He was universally loved and respected by his neighbors, as was plainly attested by the members of the G. A. R., who named their post "Ben Thompson Post, No. 309," in his honor.