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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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HON. JAMES B. THOMSON. A man seems living nearer to nature who adopts as his life calling some occupation that has been honored from the earliest time. That of the agriculturist and that of the weaver are of historic growth, and these our subject has been reared to know best, he himself having adopted the former, while his father devoted himself to the latter. Samuel Thomson, the immediate progenitor of our subject, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and there grew to mature years. He learned the weaver’s trade, but in connection was also engaged as a merchant for many years. He married Miss Lillias Aitken, a native of the same place, and shortly afterward emigrated to America. In 1844 this enterprising young couple settled in Berrien County, Mich., and took up land where our subject now resides. With few conveniences and very few comforts, they settled in a log cabin, and went actively to work to clear and improve their farm. As the years passed away, the comforts of life came to them, the home place became one of the best in the county, and eight children gathered around the hearth.

Mr. Thomson was one of the best known men of the county, and was highly esteemed throughout its length and breadth. For many years he was Justice of the Peace, and also held the office of Highway Commissioner, discharging the duties of the same in a very satisfactory manner. For many years he was a member of the Farmers’ Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and the second President of the same, holding that position for a number of years, and to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. He lived to be quite aged, and died on the place where he had spent the best years of his life, when eighty-four years of age. His wife is still living and finds a comfortable home with her son, our subject.

Hon. James B. Thomson was born on the farm where he now resides, in Berrien County, Mich., August 19, 1853, and was the youngest of eight children, four sons and four daughters, all of whom grew to mature years. As he grew to manhood in his native place, his educational advantages were confined to the district school of his neighborhood. Reared to the arduous duties of the farm, it was certain from the first that he would choose that as his calling in life, and that he has been successful in that pursuit it is hardly necessary to add. A glance over his well-kept farm will tell it all. He is ambitious, enterprising and progressive, traits of character that will hardly fail him in his future career, and that have already won for him honor and distinction in his native county.

Public-spirited and enterprising, our subject has held a number of prominent offices, and discharged the duties of all in a manner reflecting the greatest credit. He was first elected Supervisor of Niles Township, and held that position from 1887 until 1892, a period of five years. In 1892 he was elected to represent the Second District of Berrien County in the Legislature. He was School Inspector for many years, and has ever been deeply interested in educational matters. A member of the Presbyterian Church, he contributes liberally to its support.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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