David Preston Thompson (1834-1901) was an American businessman and politician in the Pacific Northwest. He was governor of the Idaho Territory from 1875 to 1876. A native of Ohio, he immigrated to the Oregon Territory in 1853. In Oregon, Thompson would become a wealthy business man, and served in the Oregon Legislative Assembly both before and after his time in Idaho, with election to both chambers of the legislature.
During the American Civil War he joined the United States Army, but remained in Oregon and did not see any action. In his later years, the father of three would serve as the mayor of Portland, Oregon, and as United States minister to the Ottoman Empire. A Republican, he was a presidential elector for the party, and in 1890 their candidate for Governor of Oregon. The Thompson Elk statue and fountain in the middle of Main Street in Portland was donated by him to the city, and a city park in Northeast Portland is named in his honor.
In 1878, he returned to the Oregon Legislature as a Republican representing Multnomah County. From June 16 1879 until June 18 1882 he served consecutive terms as the Mayor of Portland, Oregon. In 1884, Thompson was a presidential elector for the Republican Party and Rutherford B. Hayes. After an absence from that body he was elected again and served there in 1889. In 1890 he was the Republican nominee for Oregon Governor, but lost the election. Then in 1892 President Benjamin Harrison appointed Thompson as United States minister to the Ottoman Empire where he served until resigning in 1893.
In 1861, Thompson married Mary R. Meldrum with whom he would father three children: Bessie, Genevieve, and Ralph. Thompson served as a regent to the University of Oregon and as president of the Oregon Humane Society. In 1891, the Portland Public Library was founded, with Thompson serving as its first president. He donated a fountain to the city of Portland that is downtown, and after his death his family donated a statue by the sculptor Herman A. MacNeil named “The coming of the White Man" that stands in Washington Park. The fountain donated is the Thompson Elk located in the middle of Main Street in the Plaza Blocks downtown, additionally Thompson Park in Northeast Portland is named in his honor. David P. Thompson died December 14 1901 in Portland, Oregon, and his cremated remains were interred at River View Cemetery.
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