It was on June 14, 1857, and at the busy little mart of Sunbury, Pennsylvania, that the useful life of this enterprising and progressive ranch and stock man of Garfield county began, but his boyhood, youth and early manhood were passed in Henry county, Iowa. He got his education at the country schools and acquired the habits of industry, thrift and frugality which have distinguished him through life on the paternal homestead aiding in its arduous but invigorating labors. At the age of sixteen, with the self-reliance for which he is noted, he began to make his own living, first engaging in farm work and later in clerking in a country store. In 1880 he came to Colorado and located at Leadville, being led to that place by the excitement over its rich mineral deposits then recently discovered. He turned his attention to teaming at Independence and afterward to puddling in the stamp mills. In the spring of 1883 he moved to the vicinity of Rifle and located the ranch now owned by C. J. S. Hoover. Next he took a squatter’s right to a tract of land but did not prove on the same and sold his improvements to George Williams.

He then located the Stone Cabin ranch on West Rifle, which he afterward gave to his brother Arthur. Mr. Thompson now devotes his time to ranching and raising cattle on the place he makes his home, and there, in addition to his stock industry, he raises large crops of hay, grain, vegetables and fruit, all of superior quality. The water supply is good and his farming is first class in every particular. In fraternal circles he belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America, and in politics is a consistent and serviceable Republican. On April 1, 1890, he was married to Miss Carrie Stevenson, a native of Seward county, Nebraska, and daughter of Samuel and Garafelia M. (Osborn) Stevenson, the father a native of near Westminster, Maryland, born on June 5, 1833, and the mother of Indiana. The father moved to Nebraska in 1867, and afterwards to Adams and later to Henry county, Illinois. In 1881 he brought his family to Colorado, locating near Buena Vista. On Christmas night, 1882, he settled on Rifle creek, being now the oldest settler on that stream. Here he took a squatter’s claim to one hundred and sixty acres of land, which after the government survey he preempted. Since then he has given his whole attention to improving and farming his ranch and building up his stock industry, taking an active part all the while in advancing the interests of the section and promoting the welfare of its people. For many years he has been connected with the Freemasons and the Odd Fellows in fraternal circles, and from its foundation has supported the Republican party in politics. He and his wife had one child, Carrie, the wife of Mr. Thompson. Mrs. Stevenson died on December 12, 1898. Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Thompson have three children, Ralph S., Susan A. and Alice G. The parents were early settlers on Rifle creek and they are now among the leading and most esteemed citizens of this part of the county.

Editors Note

We don’t find much about Benjamin Thompson after 1900. He seems to lived the next 2 decades in Carbondale as evidenced by both his entries in the 1900 and 1910 census. But by 1920, he disappears from the Colorado census records, and it can be presumed he either moved out of state, or passed away. We have not identified his grave site yet.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.