John Thompson (banker)

John Thompson (November 27, 1802 – April 19, 1891) was a United States banker, financial publisher, and dealer in bank notes.[1]

John Thompson
John Thompson-banker.jpg
Born(1802-11-27)November 27, 1802
DiedApril 19, 1891(1891-04-19) (aged 88)
OccupationBanker, publisher
Known forFounder of First National Bank and Chase National Bank
Electa Ferris
(m. 1828; his death 1891)
Children6, including Frederick

Early lifeEdit

Thompson was born in Peru, Massachusetts near Pittsfield on November 27, 1802. He was the son of a farmer and former Revolutionary War soldier.[2]


At twenty years old, Thompson worked as a teacher in Hampshire County before becoming a lottery-ticket dealer in Poughkeepsie, New York with Yates & McIntyre (Archibald McIntyre and Henry Yates, brother of Governor Joseph C. Yates). The lottery scheme was legalized by the State Legislature for the benefit of Union College. In 1832, he left Poughkeepsie for New York City to become a dealer in bank notes.[3]

In 1836, he founded Thompson's Bank Note Reporter.[4] The publication was devoted to "sorting out the good banks and their notes from bad banks and their notes."[3] In 1885, the renamed "Thomson's Bank-Note and Commercial Reporter" was purchased by Anthony Stumpf and Charles David Steurer who renamed the weekly publication the The American Banker.[2]

In 1863, together with his sons, Samuel and Frederick, he founded First National Bank of the City of New York (a predecessor to today's Citibank) in 1863;[5] it opened its doors on July 22 of that year.[3] George Fisher Baker became president of the bank after the Thompsons left the bank in the hands of Harris C. Fahnestock, a former partner of railroad financier Jay Cooke in the banking firm of Jay Cooke & Company, in 1877.[6]

He also founded Chase National Bank of the City of New York in 1877 (a predecessor to today's JPMorgan Chase Bank). The bank was named after their friend and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1828, Thompson was married to Electa Ferris (1808–1902), a daughter of Lydia Smith Ferris and Solomon Ferris.[8] They resided in New York City at 295 Madison Avenue and summered at The Anchorage in Highland, New York. Together, Electa and John were the parents of six children, including:[2]

  • Melvina Thompson (1829–1832), who died in childhood.
  • Irving Ferris Thompson (1832–1833), who died in infancy.
  • Eudora Thompson (1832–1899), who married Francis G. Adams (1825–1903),[9] a son of Herman Culyer Adams, in 1851.[10]
  • Samuel C. Thompson (1835–1884), who married Abigail E. Sherman (1841–1907), daughter of Edward T Sherman.[11]
  • Frederick Ferris Thompson (1836–1899), who married Mary Lee Clark, daughter of Governor Myron Holley Clark, in 1857.[12]

After a severe illness that lasted four months, Thompson died on April 19, 1891 at his home in New York at 295 Madison Avenue.[2][1] His wife died at her home in New York in September 1902 at the age of 95.[13]


  1. ^ a b "OBITUARY. JOHN THOMPSON". The New York Times. 20 April 1891. p. 5. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "OBITUARY: John Thompson". The New York Sun. 20 April 1891. p. 3. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Money of the Mind," by James Grant, Farrar Straus Giroux, 1992.
  4. ^ American Banker 150th Anniversary, 1836 to 1986: A Commemorative Edition. LOC catalog number HG 2461 A4B3, 1986.
  5. ^ Redlich, Fritz (1951). The Molding of American Banking: 1840-1910. Hafner. p. 111. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  6. ^ Logan, Sheridan A. (1981). George F. Baker and his bank, 1840-1955: a double biography. S.A. Logan. p. 284. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  7. ^ History of JPMorgan Chase: 1799 to present. JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  8. ^ Cochrane, Charles Henry (1887). The History of the Town of Marlborough, Ulster County, New York: From the First Settlement in 1712, by Capt. Wm. Bond, to 1887. W. F. Boshart. p. 21. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Francis G. Adams". The Los Angeles Times. 14 July 1903. p. 3. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  10. ^ Wright, Ella Frances Reed (1909). Reed-Read lineage: Captain John Reed of Providence R.I. and Norwalk, Conn. and his descendants through his sons, John and Thomas, 1660-1909. Mattatuck Press. p. 219. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  11. ^ "FUNERAL OF SAMUEL C. THOMPSON". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 13 April 1884. p. 1. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  12. ^ "WILL OF F.F. THOMPSON FILED.; Value of the Estate Is $3,000,000, All Left to the Widow" (PDF). The New York Times. 25 April 1899. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Mrs. Electa F. Thompson". The Los Angeles Times. 17 September 1902. p. 4. Retrieved 12 November 2019.

External linksEdit