THOMPSON, Richard Wigginton, (1809 - 1900)

THOMPSON, Richard Wigginton, a Representative from Indiana; born near Culpeper Court House, Culpeper County, Va., June 9, 1809; pursued classical studies; moved to Louisville, Ky., in 1831; clerked in a store; moved to Lawrence County, Ind., in 1831; taught school; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1834 and began practice in Bedford, Lawrence County, Ind.; member of the State house of representatives 1834-1836; served in the State senate 1836-1838 and for a short time as president pro tempore; elected as a Whig to the Twenty-seventh Congress (March 4, 1841-March 3, 1843); was not a candidate for renomination in 1842; moved to Terre Haute, Ind., in 1843; city attorney in 1846 and 1847; elected as a Whig to the Thirtieth Congress (March 4, 1847-March 3, 1849); chairman, Committee on Elections (Thirtieth Congress); declined a renomination; commander of Camp Thompson, Ind., and provost marshal 1861-1865; appointed by President Lincoln collector of internal revenue for the seventh district of Indiana and served one term; delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1868 and 1876; judge of the fifth Indiana circuit court 1867-1869; appointed Secretary of the Navy in the Cabinet of President Hayes and served from March 12, 1877, until his resignation December 21, 1880; chairman of the American Committee of the Panama Canal Co. in 1881; director of the Panama Railroad Co. 1881-1888; died in Terre Haute, Ind., February 9, 1900; interment in High Lawn Cemetery.


Neely, Mark E. “Richard W. Thompson: The Persistent Know Nothing.” Indiana Magazine of History 72 (June 1976): 95-122.