Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

George Western Thompson

West Virginia

Geo. W. Atkins & Alvaro F. Gibbens, Prominent Men of West Virginia 780
(Wheeling: W.L. Callin, 1890)

George Western Thompson "was born in St. Clairsville, Ohio, May 14, 1806, and died near Wheeling, W.Va., February 24, 1888. After studying law in Richmond, Va., he settled west of the Allegheny Mountains, in what was afterward West Virginia, served in Congress and became an occupant of the Bench. Besides contributing to the periodicals, he published a 'Dissertation on the Historical Right of Virginia to the Territory Northwest of the Ohio,' 'Life of Linn Boyd,' 'The Living Forces of the Universe' (Philadelphia, 1866), and 'Deus Semper.' At the age of fourscore years he published a poem entitled 'The Song of Eighty,' which he circulated among his friends."

[Source: Edwin Anderson Alderman & Joel Chandler Harris (eds.), Library of Southern Literature 433 (New Orleans: Martin & Hoyt Co., 1910)(1907)(Vol. 15, Biographical Dictionary of Authors, Lucian Lamar Knight ed.)] [The Biographical Dictionary of Authors has Thompson's name as George Washington Thompson. We have used the name as found in the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.]

"Judge George W. Thompson, who sat upon the bench of the old twentieth judicial circuit of Virginia, was a native of Ohio, received his early education at the Jefferson college, now the Washington and Jefferson college, Penn., where he graduated in the fall of 1824. He then studied law under the late William B. Hubbard, at the time a prominent and successful lawyer at St. Clairsville. He was admitted to the bar in the fall of 1826, when he went to Richmond to improve his studies, returning to St. Clairsville in 1828, where he practiced until 1837. He came to Wheeling in 1837, and entered upon the practice of law, succeeding therein until his election to congress, in 1851. He was appointed in joint commission with Mr. William Green and Mr. William C. Reeves on the part of Virginia, and Messrs. Thomas Ewing, John Brough and James Collins for Ohio, to settle the jurisdiction of the Ohio river between the two states named. He was appointed United States district attorney by President James K. Polk, between 1844 and 1848, whence, the following year, he was elected to the judgeship in the twentieth judicial circuit, and ably officiated in circuit and district courts. During his term in congress, the judge introduced a bill and secured its passage in opposition to previous decree by the supreme court of the United States for the abatement and removal of the Wheeling bridge. . . . [I] set aside the effect of a judicial decree of [the Supreme Court] by an act of congress, and secured the foundation for all future legislation on crossing navigable streams in the United States. In 1860, [Thompson] was re-elected to the judgeship in the circuit and district courts of Virginia by a majority of two to one over his opponent, Mr. Berkshire. He held the office till July, 1861, when his removal was effected in consequence of a refusal to take the oat of office to support what he conscientiously believed to be the unconstitutional actions of those who undertook to set up the present state of West Virginia. In addition to his distinguished services on the bench and in congress, Judge Thompson was the author of several works of literary merit. In 1866 there was issued from the press under his name, 'The Living Forces.' This was followed by others, and much manuscript was left unpublished at the time of his death." [History of the Upper Ohio Valley, Vol. 1, pp. 545-46 (Madison, Wisconsin: Brant & Fuller, 1890)]

George Western Thompson
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

George W. Thompson
Prominent Men of West Virginia

Judge George W. Thompson
Geo. W. Atkinson, Bench and Bar of West Virginia 126-127
(Charleston, West Virginia: Virginian Law Book Company, 1919)

George Washington Thompson
Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography
[note variation on spelling of the name]


George Western Thompson, In Spem (Wheeling, West Virginia: J.W. Heiskell, 1870)


George Western Thompson, Biographical Sketch of Hon. Linn Boyd, of Kentucky, the Present Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States. By a Virginian (Washington: Printed at the Congressional Globe Office, 1852)(16 pgs.)

_____________________, The Wheeling Bridge: An Argument for its Nationality and Oreservation (Washington [D.C.]: Towers, printer, 1852)

_____________________, Deus-semper: The Norm + The Germ x The Conditions = The Fruit (Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1869)