Marcellus M. Thompson


Shock Received from Sudden Death of His Wife Prostrated Him and Proved Fatal to Him at Half Past Ten O’clock Wednesday Night.

Late Home of Deceased One of Desolation and Sadness–Husband and Wife Lie Side by Side Still in Death–Elder Son Suffering Dangerously.

The Daily Telegram., January 01, 1903
The Clarksburg Telegram., January 02, 1903

The home of the late M. M. Thompson is the saddest scene within the history of Clarksburg.
The wife and mother, a splendid woman, died Monday night after a single day’s illness. The sad event distressed Mr. Thompson to such an extent that he became dangerously, even critically ill, and at 10:30 o’clock Wednesday night he died of a broken heart.

His condition was not serious until 4 o’clock in the afternoon, when he grew suddenly worse and was unconscious when the physicians arrived a few moments later. They found him dying and pronounced it a hopeless case, but they remained with him until the end. In addition to this double affliction the elder son, Desty, has lain prostrate ever since his mother died, and is in a critical condition.

Photograph of M. M. Thompson

Prominent among the attorneys at Clarksburg, who have reached the high place in their calling, was the gentleman whose name forms the heading place of this sketch. Born at Clarksburg, March 10th, 1859, and reared in that city, he has ever had its interests at heart and has ever contributed to its growth and progress. He inherited much of his perseverance from his father, Joseph G. Thompson, who was for years one of Clarksburg’s leading citizens.

Marcellus M. Thompson, who was the eldest child, secured thorough education in the Northwestern Academy, finishing his course in that institution in 1878, and immediately afterwards entered the law office of Hon. John J. Davis.

In 1861 he was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the State, and at once began his career, which has proved such a successful one. His practice had not been confined to any particular branch of the law, but he won his greatest success and renown in criminal work.

Mr. Thompson was one of the foremost attorneys of Clarksburg, a city well represented by some of the country’s most brilliant legal lights. Recognizing his ability he was appointed Master in the Circuit Court of the United States by Judge Goff, and he was also Commissioner of the Circuit Court of his native county.

Mr. Thompson was always active in politics, leaning toward democracy until 1896, when he abandoned the party because of its declarations on money questions. He was actively identified with the municipal affairs of Clarksburg, having served several years as Recorder, and in 1900 was elected Mayor on the Republican ticket by the largest majority ever given a candidate for that office up to that time. As a public servant he was always particularly careful.

Marcellus M. Thompson Ad

Mr. Thompson was the author of “A Magistrate’s Manual and Forms,” containing forms in civil and criminal proceedings under the Code of West Virginia, which has filed a long felt want in the library of every attorney, and is of incalculable value to the magistrate and constable. The book has gone to its third edition. He also codified the ordinances of the city of Clarksburg, which were printed and bound in book form.

Before entering upon his career as a lawyer Mr. Thompson took great interest in the positive sciences; was one of the best mathematicians in the United States, and for years contributed to the leading educational and mathematical journals in this country and abroad.

Socially he was a member of the Knights of Pythias lodge No. 39, and Uniform Rank, Pinnickinnick division No. 5.

Knights of Pythias Logo

On April 17th, 1887, he married Miss Carrie Davis, of Clarksburg, an accomplished and refined woman, and to them were born four children, two of whom are living.

Our subject was secretary for many years for the West Virginia Central Agricultural and Mechanincal Society, the success of which was largely due to his efforts.

The funeral of both will be held Friday afternoon at 2 o’clock. Interment will be in the I. O. O. F. cemetery. Knights of Pythias Lodge, No. 39, will have charge of the obsequies. The lawyers will also likely attend in a body.

The Daily Telegram., January 01, 1903
The Clarksburg Telegram., January 02, 1903

The death of M. M. Thompson and his wife within two days of one another has thrown the city into deepest gloom. They had a large circle of warm friends and were popular with all who knew them. The scene at their late home is one of desolation, with both father and mother removed.

Distressing, indeed, is it to their dear ones to behold them side by side still in death. They were a devoted couple, loving parents and kind neighbors. Useful members of society they will be missed.

Gustave's Death Rider

Mr. Thompson did his native city valuable service as a public officer and citizen. He was a brilliant lawyer and many owe their liberty to his labors as a criminal lawyer. None of his age was more successful as such. He applied his talents for the good of the profession and the upbuilding of the city.

He was ever zealous in promoting industrial and commercial development and he rejoiced to see steps of progress taken. He was of gentle disposition and yet brave of heart. He possessed the tenderness of a woman and yet he was brave, courageous in his convictions and fearless in the application of them.

As father there was none more loving, and as a husband there was none more devoted. There were many noble qualities about him. It is with deepest sadness that we must chronicle their death, and our sympathy goes out to the little ones who are orphaned. Their lot in life will be a sad one, but may they ever be guided by the gentle hand of a kind Providence.

Lawyers’ Meeting

The Daily Telegram., January 01, 1903
The Daily Telegram., January 03, 1903

The Harrison County Bar will hold a meeting in the office of Davis & Davis at 7:30 o’clock tonight. The object of the meeting is to take suitable action over the death of Hon. M. M. Thompson, deceased, member of the Bar, and arrange for attending the funeral.

Notice, Knights of Pythias

The Daily Telegram., January 01, 1903

All members of Clarksburg Lodge, No. 39, Knights of Pythias, are notified to meet in the castle hall on January 2, at one o’clock, to attend the funeral of Brother M. M. Thompson. The funeral will occur at 2 o’clock Friday afternoon.


Of the Late Hon. Marcellus M. Thompson and His Wife.
Occurred From the Residence on Main Street This Afternoon.
A Double Funeral–One of Saddest In History of Clarksburg.

Stock image of Flowers on a casket

The Daily Telegram., January 02, 1903

The last sad rites over the remains of Mr. Marcellus Thompson and his wife were held at the late residence on West Main Street, Friday afternoon at half-past two o’clock. The untimely death of Mrs. Thompson, followed a short time afterwards by the death of her husband, from a broken heart, is one of the saddest occurrences that has happened in the history of Clarksburg.

Knights of Pythias lodge No. 39, attended the funeral in a body, as dic the members of the Harrison County Bar Association. A large concourse of friends and the relatives of the deceased followed the remains to their last resting place in the I. O. O. F. cemetery.

The pall bearers were:
Mr. Thompson–John Bassel, Millard Snyder, C. W. Lynch, J. H. Houston, H. W. Harmer, J. E. Law.
Mrs. Thompson–Frank Haymaker, Dr. W. A. Fletcher, Dr. Gore, E. W. Williams, Dr. Flowers.


In Memory of the Late Hon. Marcellus M. Thompson,
a Leading Member of that Body–Glowing Tribute of Respect.
Pall Bearers Selected for the Funeral and Chairman Authorized to Appoint Committees to present Resolutions to the Various Courts.

Attend Funeral in a Body.

The Daily Telegram., January 02, 1903
The Clarksburg Telegram., January 09, 1903

A meeting of the Harrison County Bar was held at the office of Davis & Davis on Thursday evening to take appropriate action regarding the death of Marcellus M. Thompson, long a leading member of that Bar. Hon. Edwin Maxwell was called to the chair and W. Scott made secretary. The following resolutions were offered by Hon. John J. Davis and after some appropriate remarks by Judge Maxwell, were on motion of Hon. John Bassel unanimously adopted:

Sketch of Court

“Death has again invaded the ranks of the Bar of Harrison County and called away from our midst our Brother Marcellus M. Thompson, whose untimely demise followed quickly upon the sudden and unexpected death of his wife marks the event as one peculiarly sad and distressing. The members of the Bar of Harrison County assembled to pay a tribute of respect to the memory of our deceased Brother and to give expression to the loss sustained by them as well as by the community, adopt the following resolutions:–

Resolved, That we have heard with unfeigned regret of the sad and melancholy death of Marcellus M. Thompson, a member of the Bar of Harrison County, which occurred on the night of December 31, 1902.

Resolved, That in the death of Mr. Thompson the Bar realizes that it has lost one of its brightest intellects and a brother and practitioner who had risen to distinction in his chosen profession. As a lawyer he was energetic, industrious and capable, as an advocate he was eloquent and persuasive, and as a citizen, upright, honest and progressive and commanded the respect and confidence of his clients and the public.

Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with his surviving friends and family, and tender to them our sincere condolence in their sad bereavement.

Resolved, That these resolutions be published in the several newspapers in this county, and that a copy of them be also spread upon the records of the United States Circuit Court and the Circuit Court of this county.

Blind Scales of Justice

Resolved, That the Chairman of this meeting appoint a committee consisting of three members of the Bar to present these resolutions to the United States Circuit Court and the Circuit Court of this county at their next term, with the request that they be spread upon their records.”

The Chair appointed as a committee to present the resolutions to the Courts, John Bassel, C. W. Lynch and W. Scott.

The following persons were selected as pall bearers on behalf of the Bar at the suggestion of the family : John Bassel, Millard F. Snider, Charles W. Lynch, J. H. Huston, Harvey W. Harmer and J. E. Law.

The meeting then adjourned to meet on Friday afternoon at 2:15 at the office of J. E. Law, from whence to proceed to the residence of the deceased and attend the funeral in a body.

The Daily Telegram., January 03, 1903

Rev. Forbes B. Davis was here from Ohio to attend the funeral of Mr. and Mrs. M. M. Thompson.


Of Marcellus Thompson Probated and Administrator Appointed.
The Daily Telegram., January 05, 1903

The will of the late Marcellus M. Thompson was filed in the county clerk’s office today for probate. It was written and executed July 1 last and witnessed by F. B. Haymaker and John W. Davis. It named his wife as executrix and gave her the entire estate, but provided that she should keep and educate the two sons and give them $500 apiece when they reach the age of 21 years.

Stock image of Last Will and Testament

Mrs. Thompson being dead it was necessary to appoint an administrator. This was done today. P. M. Long was named such an administrator and Henry Haymond, M. G. Holmes and Mord Lewis were appointed appraisers. They all entered upon the immediate discharge of their duties.

Desty Thompson Improving

The Daily Telegram., January 05, 1903
The Clarksburg Telegram., January 09, 1903

Reports went over the county Saturday that the death of Desty Thompson, son of the late Hon. Marcellus M. Thompson, had occurred. It gives us a pleasure to say that the reports are false. He is doing nicely and has about recovered from the nervous prostration the death of his parents brought on.


Extended to Orphan Children by Rev. J. E. Morris.
The Daily Telegram., January 08, 1903

Mourning by the graveside

The telegram is in receipt of a letter from Rev. J. E. Morris, of Tyrone, Pa., late pastor of the A. M. E. church, here, in which he says:

“I was very sorry to learn through the columns of your paper of the death of one of our leading citizens together with his wife, namely, Hon. M. M. Thompson who was a warm friend of mine while in your city. I sympathize with the relatives and shall remember the children in my prayers.”

Shepherdstown Register., January 08, 1903

Mrs. M. M. Thompson, wife of a prominent Clarksburg lawyer, died Monday of last week very suddenly. Her husband was so prostrated that he took to his bed, and Wednesday he also died.


Adopted by Knights of Pythias for M. M. Thompson
The Daily Telegram., January 13, 1903

At a meeting of Clarksburg Lodge No. 39 Knights of Pythias held Jan’y 1, 1903, at Castle Hall for the purpose of taking appropriate action regarding the death of Hon. Marcellus M. Thompson who departed this life December 31, 1902, who has been a faithful member of this Lodge since its organizations August 16, 1888, until the time of his death and further to express our sympathy with the many friends of the family on account of the death of Mrs. Carrie Thompson, the wife of our brother, whose death occurred December 29, 1902, it was ordered that a committee be appointed to draft proper resolutions and submit the same to this Lodge for approval.

The committee submitted the following resolutions:

We are again confronted with the great mystery of death, our ranks are invaded and death claims one that is dear to us and has called from among us and from our association Marcellus M. Thompson, whose sudden and untimely death following so quickly upon the unexpected death of his wife, gives cause for grief most sorrowful and gloomy.

The members of this Lodge have met to pay tribute of respect to the memory of our deceased brother and to give expression to the loss they have sustained, adopt the following resolutions:

The great beyond

Resolved, That it is with the deepest regret and unfeigned sorrow that we have heard of the sudden death of our brother Marcellus M. Thompson which took place on the night of December 31, 1902.

That in the death of our brother this Lodge has lost one of its eldest and best members and one who believed most thoroughly in the principles of this brotherhood.

As a member of this order he was faithful, consistent, capable and upright, always willing and ready to do his part for the advancement of this brotherhood and the formation of its interests, and his strong manly character and intelligence has done much toward the advancement of this Lodge.

As a citizen he was patriotic and upright, as a husband and father he was devoted and true, as an advocate persuasive and forceful, as a brother he was faithful.

Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with his family who survive and extend to him our condolence in their great grief.

Resolved, That these resolutions be published in the several newspapers of this city and be spread upon the minutes and records of this Lodge.

Respectfully submitted.

J. E. LAW,

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