Mrs. Mary Ann Thompson died at her home in
Hopewell township, Friday, Jan 22d, at 11 a.m., of pneumonia, aged 76 years
10 months and 25 days, after an illness of ten days.
On Sunday morning an impressive though brief service was held at the home, surrounded by her family and friends, conducted by her eldest son, John S. Thompson, with prayer and reading the 90th Psalm, from the dear old time-worn bible, marked in so many places.
The remains were then borne to the Lacon M. E. church, where R. H. A. Ewell preached from the text, "I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother, Psalm xxxv, 14. Rev. Long of the Congregational church assisted in the service, the music rendered by the M. E. choir. The text and sermon were peculiarly appropriate, and the pall-bearers were five sons and one grandson, Epley Fisher, who was substituted for his departed mother.
The floral tributes were most beautiful and choice. The remains were interred in the Lacon cemetery.
Truly her death was like the gathering home of a ripened sheaf. Her years had been full of good deeds and high aims.
There is no death. The stars go down
To rise upon some fairer shore,
And bright in heaven's jeweled crown
They shine forevermore.
There is no death. The leaves may fall
And flowers may fade and pass away;
They only wait through wintry hours
The coming of the May.
There is no death. An angel form
Walks o'er the earth with silent tread;
He bears our best loved things away,
And then we call them "dead,"
And ever near us, though unseen,
The dear immortals spirits tread;
For all the boundless universe
Is life – there is no death.
"Transplanted into bliss, they now
Adorn immortal bowers."
Mary Ann Strawn Thompson was born
Feb. 28, 1820, at Chillicothe, Ohio. She was the daughter of Col. John
Strawn and Mary Strawn, early settlers of Central Illinois, and in pioneer
life experienced many dangers and privations, yet also by this discipline
acquired the grand character and fortitude that helped her in after years to
overcome hardships, and which was transmitted to her children, five sons,
all of whom have attained success to a high degree, and who today feel that
it is largely due to this gifted and religious mother's principles that they
became men of influence and means. Truly she embodied the bible ideal of
womanhood, as found in Prov. 31.
In the early days help was scarce, and the daughters of Col. Strawn performed many arduous duties. When Col. Strawn surveyed for the present site of Lacon, Mary A. Strawn and Rachel, her sister, rode horses dragging a heavy pole to level the high grass, marking for the surveyor to lay out the town.
The "Records of the Olden Time" state that the two daughters were the first girls to follow an Indian trail from the old Strawn home 3-1/2 miles to the Illinois river, before any town exlsted named Lacon.
On Dec. 20th, 1838, when but 18 years of age, Mary Ann Strawn was married to James H. Thompson, at the old Strawn homestead, by Rev. Zadoc Hall, a pioneer M. E. pastor.
Mr. Thompson was a man of exemplary character, and a scholar for those days of no small degree. They settled in Hopewell township in a log cabin in 1838, where four of their children were born. Afterward they removed to a new farm near Phelps's Chapel, removing from thence to Lacon in 1852, where Mr. Thompson engaged in the grain and lumber business until his death, which occurred on Jan. 21st, 1857.
Mrs. Thompson remained in her town home until 19 years ago, when she went to sepnd her declining years in the old homestead in Hopewell with her son Robert.
She was conscious of her condition, and spoke with composure of her approaching change. For that change she had prepared all her life. She had been an invalid for more than 50 years, yet brave and cheery, and rejoicing in the Lord.
To Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were born seven children: William Strawn Thompson, who died in infancy; Mary McClish T. Fisher, who departed this life 10 years ago; and five who now survive her, and who have been her comfort, John Strawn Thompson, Samuel Hamilton, James Henry, Robert Gray and Stephen Douglas.
Mrs. Thompson was led to profess her faith in Christ at 15 years of age, and was a consistent member of the M. E. church. Just 40 years ago from the day of her funeral, Jan 24th, her husband's funeral sermon was preached on the same hour and day, his death occurring one day previous to hers.
He was one of the first subscribers to the fund for building the present M. E. church in Lacon.
Forty years of widowhood was to bring out her heroic character. She was left with a large family of children, the eldest, John S., but 16 years of age. With but limited means, in times of great depression, she held her family together, and with a brave heart overcame many obstacles. She was a kind and tender woman, of great intellectual capabilities, and faithful in all that makes a wife and mother. She spoke ill of no one. She studied her bible as few people do. Surely of her it may be said, "A good woman has gone to her reward." C. V. T.
Transcribed 19 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from Henry Republican, 28 Jan 1897.