Arthur William Tompson (1846-1923)
Eliza Webster Johnson

Eliza Webster Johnson was born on 21 May 1839 in the family home on Castlereagh St, Sydney, NSW, the second of William Jonathan Johnson & Eliza Harris Tompson‘s 12 children. Webster was Eliza’s Harris Thompson’s grandmother’s surname.

The information on the Tompson family was given to me by Gillian Doyle (a descendant of Charles Tomson & Elizabeth Boggis) by email, with reference to the book Where Honour Guides the Prow she co-wrote with Elisabeth Curtis. On page 219 Gillian mentions the birth of Arthur William Tompson on 21 April 1846, at Eunonyhareenyha – the son of Frederick Anslow Tompson (great-grandson of William Boggis) and Eliza Esther Pearson. Eunonyhareenyha was a property on the Murrumbidgee River near Wagga Wagga and was first settled by Charles Tompson (see Charles Tompson & Elizabeth Boggis) but remained in the hands of their son Frederick Anslow.

Arthur William Tompson married his first cousin Eliza Webster Johnson (known as Lizzie) on 05 Jan 1876.

Prior to marriage Arthur was involved in his father’s retail business in Wagga Wagga; from a trial of a man accused of stealing a saddle, Arthur gave this evidence, as reported in the Wagga Wagga Express and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser on Sat 24 Feb 1866:

Arthur W. Tompson deposed be was assistant in his father’s store. On the 24th November last was sitting in the shade of the house at 9 p.m. It was moonlight. Saw man pass, and thought by his manner something was wrong. Watched him and saw him place upon the fence, what turned out to be a saddle. Carroll came up and asked prisoner what saddle that was upon the fence. Prisoner said he did not know; he did not know a saddle was there.

To prisoner: Did not see you take the saddle of the horse; will swear you placed it on the fence; never lost sight of you from the time you passed until you put the saddle down…

A month earlier he and Edwin Tompson tried unsuccessfully to save a Melbourne man from drowning (Sydney Mail, Sat 20 Jan 1866). In September that year he was instrumental in deciding the winner in a pigeon shooting meeting at Wagga Wagga, a decision that pleased some and not others (bets were laid on the winner):

…The shooting at this match was excellent, Mr. M’Entyre bringing down his last six birds one after the other in splendid style. The fifth of these struck the branch of a tree and fell just within bounds, and the sixth struck the boundary fence itself, and fell as was affirmed by some inside, and by others outside the line. Mr. Arthur Tompson happened to be near the spot on the outside of the fence and ran towards the wounded bird, and prevented it, as was alleged by some, from fluttering outside. He, however, declared that it fell inside the line, and the principals both accepting his decision, the match, of course, was at an end. The incident caused some little expressions of hot feeling, not between the principals to the match, but between one or two others who were interested in its result in other…

His hot head appears to have got him into a spot of bother two years later. The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser reported on Fri 14 Aug 1868 as follows:

SECOND ASSAULT UPON THE EDITOR OF THE “EXPRESS.” – Our Wagga contemporary of last Saturday thus proceeds to post up its readers on the matter of assaults on its editor and says “In our issue of Saturday last, we published an account of an aggravated assault which had been committed on the Editor of this journal in his bed on the preceding Sunday morning by Mr. F. A. Tonmpson, a magistrate of the territory, in consequence of some remarks which had appeared in our columns in connection with the appointment of that person to the chair at the dejeuner, recently given to his Excellency the Earl of Belmore in this town. As the subject will be fully investigated by a legal tribunal, we did not do more than give a brief outline of the facts. For a similar reason we shall pursue the same course in reference to a second case of assault to which we are about to allude. On Saturday morning last, soon after the issue of the Express containing the paragraph we have referred to above, and also a leader treating upon the causes of recent divisions in the town, Mr. Arthur Tompson, a son of the magisterial breaker of the peace of the preceding week, suddenly walked into the printing office, where the editor happened to be alone, and after excitedly asking why his father had been again insulted, proceeded to draw a whip which he had concealed in his coat. The editor, Mr. Hawkins, seeing that an assault was intended, rushed at and seized the whip, and succeeded in obtaining possession of it before it could be used, but during the struggle received a blow from the clenched fist of his opponent in the face. A scuffle of some duration ensued, Mr. Tompson striving, but without success, to throw Mr. Hawkins on the floor. In this scuffle, the whip was dropped, and Mr. Hawkins being very considerably the lighter of the two, at length seized the first weapon that came within his reach, a “shooting-stick,” or rod of iron about a foot in length, and used by printers in locking up the type. The struggle was then renewed, and finally Mr. Tompson obtained possession of the stick, and backing through the door, made off for his home, minus his hat and whip. With reference to these assaults we shall make no renmarks, as against both father and son we intend very speedily to set the law in motion, but we beg most distinctly to intimate that ruffianly attempts at intimidation by breaking into private bedrooms and offices will never in the slightest degree influence the conduct of this journal with reference to local affairs, and that upon the public acts of Mr. F..A. Tompson, and upon the merits of his pretensions as a representative of the district on public occasions, we shall comment without scruple whenever we may think that for the credit of the district, the adoption of such a course may seem necessary. It is very possible that for publishing the above paragraph, and for having the hardihood to again avow the above intention, we may be assaulted again, but for this we shall be quite prepared.” Mr. Hawkins certainly appears to be very agreeably situated. After having brought out your last No. of Lord Brougham’s “best possible public instructor,” it must be quite a bit of pleasantry to receive a thrashing as soon as the impression is delivered. We wonder how many grown-up sons Mr. Tompson, senr., has? The next issue will probably inform us of what Mr. [B.]Tompson did on reading the paragraph which will probably inform us on what Mr. B. Tompson did on reading the paragraph we have now reprinted. -Deniliquin Chronicle.

What Frederick Anslow Tompson did next was reported in the Wagga Wagga Advertiser and Riverine Reporter published on Wed 04 Nov 1868:


TO the Editor of the Wagga Wagga Advertiser. Sir. – The counsel for the plaintiff in the late action of Hawkins v, Tompson having referred in rather forcible language to the bad taste of defendant in moving for a change of venue from Sydney to Wagga Wagga, perhaps you will do me the favour of publishing the affidavits filed by plaintiif in opposition to that motion. I may add that on the hearing of the motion in Chambers, Mr. M. H, Stephen showed cause, and Mr. Windeyer opposed the application. The learned Judge did not call upon defendant’s counsel to answer Mr. Windeyer.

I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,

On the 26th day of September, 1868, Samuel Hawkins, of Wagga Wagga, in the colony of New South Wales, Editor of the Wagga Wagga Express newspaper, being duly sworn, maketh oath and saith—

1. I am the plaintiff in this action, which has been brought to recover damages for an assault committed upon me by Arthur William Tompson, son of Frederick Anslow Tompson, of Wagga Wagga, one. of H.M. Justices of the Peace, in and for the said colony.

2. Although the assault complained of occurred in Wagga Wagga, I believe I would not receive a fair and impartial trial if the case was tried there, and for the following reasons :-

3. The assault complained of arose out of circumstances of a public nature, occurring on the occasion of the visit of his Excellency the Earl of Belmore to Wagga Wagga, and chiefly as I am informed and believe, from an article which appeared in said Wagga Wagga Express, in which the Editor of that journal commented upon the appointment of the said Frederick Anslow Tompson as chairman of the déjeuner, given on that occasion,
which comment treated of the said Frederick Anslow Tompson in his public capacity.

4. A few days after the said article appeared, the said Arthur W. Tompson came into the office of the said paper, armed with a horsewhip, with which he committed a most violent assault upon me.

5. The affair caused, and still causes, considerable excitement in the town of Wagga Wagga, and the said Frederick Anslow Tompson being a long resident in Wagga Wagga, whilst I have been but lately settled there, a sympathy has been shewn for him amongst many classes there, from whom, for the most part, jurors are taken for the Circuit Court, and who in a place so remote from the metropolis, are unable to form any opinion as to what comments on public men should be limited to or otherwise.

6. On the Tuesday evening which followed the assault aforesaid, the Court-house was lent for the purpose of holding an “Indignation Meeting” against me, and sympathizing with the said Frederick Anslow Tompson; and the public “Town-crier” proclaimed the holding of the meeting throughout the day, and G. Forsyth, a Justice of the Peace, who has influence over those who have dealings with him in trade, made himself prominent against me, in condemning me before a great number of persons whom I know to my own knowledge are more or less in his power in many ways, and also caused a resolution to be passed, among others, at that meeting of which the following is a copy :- ” That this meeting composed of the magistracy, tradesmen, and workmen of the town of Wagga Wagga desire to express their unqualified disapproval of the report published in the Wagga Wagga Express of Saturday last of the proceedings consequent on his Excellency’s and Lady Belmore’s visit to this town, and do hereby denounce the malicious representations contained in the said report, as derogatory to the people of this district, and tending to mar the pleasure his Excellency and Lady Belmore may have experienced from their reception and stay in Wagga Wagga.

7. From the fact that the jurors are chosen from the bodies represented in that resolution, I verily believe that an opinion has been already formed favorable to the defendant by them, and that from this reason also, I believe I could not have a fair and impartial trial at Wagga Wagga.

8. At the meeting aforesaid, the people assembled there, groaned and yelled and hissed me, and it was currently reported that I would be burnt in effigy the following evening.

9. When the article in question, which gave such deep offence to the said defendant, and his partisans comes to be analysed, I believe it will be seen that the conduct of the said Frederick Anslow Tompson and his admirers, was actuated more from a spirit of revenge than of justice.

10. On the next Saturday, Mr. Everett, one of the parties who seconded a resolution at the said meeting that the resolution hereinbefore set out, should be conveyed to his Excellency the Earl of Belmore, attempted to assault me in the printing office aforesaid, and I was compelled to have him brought before the Police Court and punished.

11. Under all the circumstances, it is impossible there could be any but a feeling of hostility towards me, and one which would prejudice the jurors here, in giving me a fair and impartial trial.

Sworn &c., &c., at Wagga Wagga, before me
A Commissioner for Affidavits.

On the 26th day of September in the year of our Lord, 1868. – William Willans of Wagga Wagga, in the colony of New South Wales, one of the Attornies of this Honorable Court, being duly sworn maketh oath and saith as follows :-

1. I am informed and believe that the defendant has applied to change the venue in this cause to Wagga Wagga.

2. I am and have been for several years, a practising solicitor at Wagga Wagga.

3. I have read the Affidavit of the plaintiff, Samuel Hawkins, sworn on the 26th day of September instant, as cause against the venue being changed.

4. It is true as stated in said affidavit that the assault, the subject matter of this action arose out of circumstances of a public nature as set out in the third paragraph of plaintiff’s said affidavit.

5. It is also true that the affair caused and still causes much excitement in the town of Wagga Wagga.

6. From my long residence in Wagga Wagga I know the influence the father of the defendant, Frederick Anslow Tompson, J.P. has over the classes from whom the jurors of the Wagga Wagga Courts are taken, and this mainly arising out of the long residence of the defendant and his father’s family in the district, and from the fact of many business transactions having taken place between the said classes and the father of the defendant, the said Frederick Anslow Tompson, being a storekeeper as well as a Justice of the Peace.

7. It is true also, as set out in the sixth paragraph of the plaintiffs affidavit (however incredible it may appear) that on the Tuesday after the father of the defendant assaulted plaintiff, the Court-house at Wagga Wagga was permitted to be used to hold an “indignation meeting” against the plaintiff, and that the Town-crier proclaimed the purport of the said meeting, and that George Forsyth, Esq., Justice of the Peace appeared at the meeting and took an active part against the plaintiff thereat, and that the resolution as set out in said affidavit was passed thereat, and that sympathy was shown for the defendant’s father at that meeting.

8. As this cause of action arose out of the same causes as the action by plaintiff against defendant’s father, it is but natural to suppose that the influence of the said Frederick Anslow Tompson and George Forsyth (the latter having even more influence than the said Frederick Anslow Tompson amongst the classes from which jurers are selected) would be brought to bear upon the facts of the subject matter of this action, more or less, and that the plaintiff must be prejudiced thereby; and besides, the resolution passed at the said meeting shows that it is just as likely as not that jurors have already expressed an opinion on the subject.

9. I have heard from many, competent to form an opinion, that the plaintiff could not have a fair and impartial trial at Wagga Wagga, and in this I quite concur.

10. I know that there is a feeling hostile to the plaintiff, and favourable to the defendant and his family, existing in Wagga Wagga.

11. I am not interested in the result of this action further than what is required for the ends of justice, and I would prefer not making this affidavit.

Sworn, &c., &c., at Wagga Wagga, before me,
A Commissioner for Affidavits, &c.

Arthur became a clerk in the office of the Engineer-in-Chief for Railways (Empire, Sat 3 Jun 1871). See also the report of the accidental death of his sister while alighting from a train at Arncliffe station (Wagga Wagga Advertiser, Sat 22 Apr 1899).

Eliza died on 22 November 1916 and is buried at Rookwood with her husband. At the time she was living in their residence Hillcrest, 152 Parramatta road, Ashfield (The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 23 Nov 1916).

Arthur died at Neutral Bay in Sydney on 21 May 1923. The Adelong and Tumut Express and Tumbarumba Post carried a notice of his passing on Frid 25 May 1923:

After a long and painful illness, Mr. Arthur Tompson died at Neutral Bay on Monday. He was born near Wagga 78 years ago, and spent the first part of his life and several stations belonging to the family in the district. He owned Kaimo and Eunonyhareenyha stations, but in 1880 he determined to go to Sydney, and entered the railway service, in which he remained for more than forty years. Mr. Thompson had intimate experiences with droughts and floods, as well as other hardships against which men on the land have always to contend, and he also met the notorious Kelly gang during one of its raids. Deceased is survived by one son, Mr. F. W. Thompson.

Arthur William Tompson and Eliza Webster Johnson had two children (record/year):

01. Frederick William (b. 3200/1878, d. 5000/1949 in Mosman)

02. Arthur Reginald (b. 1960/1881, d. 4172/1906 at 54 Charlotte St, Ashfield)

Generation 2

01. Frederick William Tompson became a dentist (as mentioned in The Sydney Morning Herald on Wed 23 Mar 1949 in the granting of probate to his will, making his wife, Emily Page Tompson, sole executrix). Frederick had married Emily Page Ducker (known as Millie) on 20 Apr 2014; from The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 14 May 1904:

On Wednesday, April 20, at the Stanmore Methodist Church, a marriage was celebrated between Miss Millie Ducker, youngest daughter of Mr. John Ducker, of Oswin, Petersham, and Mr. Frederick Tompson, elder son of Mr. Arthur Tompson, Huntingdon, Ashfield. The Rev. W. Woolls Rutledge officiated, assisted by the Rev. J. G. Middleton. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore white chiffon over satin, with embroidered tulle veil, and coronet of orange blossoms, also wore a pearl pendant and chain, and carried a. shower bouquet, the gifts of the bridegroom. The chief bridesmaid, Miss May Murray, wore white silk and lace and a hat of white chiffon and red velvet, and a pearl and turquoise pendant, which, with her bouquet of red berries and autumn leaves, was presented by the bridegroom. The small bridesmaids were the Misses Aldyth and Eileen Ducker, in white silk and Valenciennes insertion, white chiffon hats and red shoes and stockings. Each carried a silver crook, ornamented with red berries and red satin streamers, and wore a pearl brooch, gifts of the bridegroom. Mr. Wilfred Kingsford-smith acted as best man, and Master Rowland Ducker was a tiny groomsman, in white silk and velvet, with red tie, shoes; and socks. After the ceremony a reception was held at the Petersham Town Hall, where the guests were welcomed by Mr. and Miss Ducker. Later in the afternoon Mr. and Mrs. F. W. Tompson left for Mount Victoria, en route to the Jenolan Caves. Amongst the guests wore Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Tompson, Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Ducker, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Ducker, Rev. and Mrs. W. Woolls Rutledge, Rev. and Mrs. J. G. Middleton, Rev. and Mrs. W. H. Williams, Hon. and Mrs. John Perry, Rev. and Mrs. C. J. Prescott, Dr. and Mrs. Purser, Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Moore, Mrs. Moore, Rev. and Mrs. Yarnold, Mr. and Mrs. Richardson, Dr. and Mrs Lawes, Dr. and Mrs. Rygate, Mrs. Doust, Mr. and Mrs. R. Tompson, Mr. and Mrs. John Reid, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, Mr and Mrs. H. Wolstenholme. Mr. and Mrs. S. Doust, Misses Moore, and others.

Frederick William Tompson died in 1949 and Emily Page Tompson in 1968.

02. Arthur Reginald Tompson married Evelyn Alice Watson at Ashfield on 27 Jan 1904. Evelyn’s parents were Henry Watson and Ellen Ferguson. Arthur and Evelyn had two children, Margorie Evelyn Tompson (b. 31 Jan 1905 at Strathfield) and Henry Arthur Reginald Tompson (b. 1906 at St Leonards, d. 21 Apr 1907 at Ashfield). Marjorie married Andrew Hamilton Hume at Mosman in 1944.

Arthur passed away in 1906 (aged just 24) and Evelyn in 1940.

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