Thompson Biography

George and Sarah Thompson working a field in Sutter County, California

George and Sarah (Burgett) Thompson working a field in Sutter County, California

The Thompson Family of Sutter County, California

Source: "The History of Yuba & Sutter Counties, California", by Peter J. Delay; Historic Record Company, Los Angeles; 1924; Page 371-2.

   Among the most influential and well-known public-spirited citizens of Sutter City is George Thompson, a native of Yorkshire, England. He was born September 4, 1839, a son of William and Ann (Whiteley) Thompson. The family emigrated to the United States and settled in Macoupin County, Ill., where William Thompson engaged in farming. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were the parents of seven sons: George, the subject of this sketch, William, Thomas, Robert, and three sons that died in infancy. In 1863, they crossed the plains with seven horses and two wagons, coming via the Salt Lake route. They arrived in Marysville on August 25, 1863, where they stopped for several weeks. On October 25, of the same year, William Thompson purchased a quarter-section of railroad land ten miles west of Yuba City. He then bought eighty acres adjoining this ranch on the west, and later purchased 240 acres, which he farmed to grain for a few years. At that time there were only three families settled on the flat country between Thompson's ranch and Yuba City. He passed away at the age of eighty-two, his wife died when she was seventy-five years old.

The George Thompson Family ca. 1886

   George Thompson attended the schools of England. After coming to the Golden State he was always associated with his father in the developing of their extensive farm land. On May 24, 1874, at Meridian, he was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Burgett. She was born four miles east of Meridian, a daughter of Milberry and Lucinda (Rockholt) Burgett, natives of Iowa and Missouri, respectively. Mr. Burgett, who was a farmer, crossed the plains by ox team in 1857, and the mother also came the same year. They were married in California and settled in District No. 70, four miles east of Meridian, Sutter County. Mr. and Mrs. Burgett were blessed with nine children: Sarah (our subject's wife), Eliza, Harriett, Agnes, Lena, Rhoda, Elizabeth, Eva, and William. Sarah Burgett attended the Slough school. Her father passed away when he was seventy-seven years of age; Mrs. Burgett is still living, at the age of eighty-one years.

George and Sarah Thompson ca. 1915

   After his marriage to Miss Burgett, George Thompson lived on the Mathew Nall place, making this his home for twenty-six years. In 1903, he moved back to the old home place. He has sold off parcels of land at different times and at present has but 204 acres of the old home place, which he has set out to grapes. In 1872 he and his father received three grape cuttings from Almira & Barry, of Rochester, N. Y., and grafted them on the roots of one of their grapevines. That spring the vineyard was flooded and only one of the three sprouts grew. From this sprout the seedless raisin grape was developed, and in 1875 Mr. Thompson and his father exhibited at the Marysville Fair several branches with the luscious seedless fruit on them. In to have an entry name, this grape was given the name Thompson Seedless Grape. From this first vine all the seedless grapes of California were propagated. One of the first vineyards devoted to this grape was grown by Mr. Onstott of Sutter City. He secured his cuttings from William Thompson and in turn grafted them on his vines. In 1915, Mr. and Mrs. George Thompson were sent to the Worlds Fair as representatives of Sutter County, to educate the people at the fair as to the origin and history of the Thompson Seedless Grape.. They remained at the exposition as the guests of Sutter County. At the present time, the ranch is developed and the work is being carried on by Mr. Thompson's sons. At one time Mr. Thompson was also interested in the stock business.

William Milberry Thompson ca. 1905

   Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were blessed with nine children William, George, Lulu (Mrs. La Montagne, at Sutter), Charles, Clara (Mrs. Buckingham, of Tudor), Benjamin, Percy, Sylvia (Mrs. Prather, of Sacramento), and Robert. Benjamin and Percy both served in the World War and were sent to France, where Ben lost one eye while fighting in the trenches. Percy went over the top five times and served in the thick of the fight. George Thompson casts his ballot in favor of the Republican party candidates. Fraternally, he was a Good Templar. He has always been interested in the advancement of his community, is progressive, and enjoys the esteem and good-will of friends and business associates, besides being the originator of a very valuable addition to the grape market.

Links to Related Sites

Yorkshire County, England GenWeb

Sutter County, California USGenWeb Site

Thompson Photograph Section

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