JOHN W. THOMPSON, chairman of the county court of Bedford County, is a son of Newcom and Amy (Fisher) Thompson, natives of North Carolina.  The parents moved to this county in about 1809.  The father was a carpenter and he built the first houses of Shelbyville.  He afterward engaged in fanning two and one-half miles west of Shelbyville and there raised his family and became wealthy, but the war involved him.  He died in 1879 at the age of seventy-five.  The mother died at eighty-one, in 1886.

Our subject was born January 8, 1831, and was reared on a farm.  He remained with his parents till April, 1846, when he engaged at clerking in a store.  After several years he opened a family grocery trade which he continued until the war.  During the war he was engaged in the Adams Express office at Nashville.

In 1857 he was elected recorder of Shelbyville and held the office till 1866.  In that year he was elected register of Bedford County.  In 1868 he was appointed deputy circuit court clerk, which office he held till 1882.  He was elected magistrate in 1870, and in 1882 was elected chairman of the court.  He was mayor of Shelbyville from 1872 to 1877, having been an alderman for five years previous.  He was elected recorder of Shelbyville, in 1885, without his knowledge or consent, and now holds that office.

He was united in marriage, in December, 1849, to Miss M. J. Pannell; a native of this county  Five children have been born to this union, four of whom are now living.  For thirty years Mr. Thompson was a member of the I. O. O. F. He is now a member of the K. of H. and A. O. U. W. fraternities.

Transcribed by Kathryn Hopkins

Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Maury, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Bedford & Marshall Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Reminescences [Sic], Observations, Etc., Etc. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1988.