Thompson, Charles Collins (1898–1983)

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: Biography

Published: July 1, 1995

Updated: January 28, 2020

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Charles Collins Thompson, attorney, banker, and rancher, the sixth of ten children of Charles M. and Annie (Altman) Thompson, was born on July 3, 1898, on a stock farm in Erath County, Texas, three miles west of Clairette. In 1906 the family moved to Loraine in Mitchell County, and in 1910 they ran cattle and sheep on grazing land leased in neighboring Nolan County. One of Thompson's childhood friends and classmates was George Hermon Mahon. After graduating in 1918 Thompson enlisted in the United States Army and was discharged at the close of World War I. He attended Simmons College (now Hardin-Simmons University) in Abilene for a year and received a teacher's certificate in January 1920. For the next three years he taught at the Rogers Community School, ten miles northwest of Colorado City, to finance his own education at the University of Texas law school in Austin. He never completed a law degree, but was admitted to the bar after passing the state examination in 1923. In 1922 he married Ewell Gary; they had no children. Thompson was elected county judge of Mitchell County in 1924; he established his law practice with Mahon. He was elected to the board of directors of the Colorado City National Farm Loan Association in 1927 and became its secretary-treasurer in 1931. In 1932 he helped organize the Mitchell County Agricultural Credit Corporation to provide financing to area farmers and ranchers affected by the Great Depression. Thompson was elected chairman of the Mitchell County School Board in 1933 and served until 1978, when the state legislature abolished rural school districts. He vigorously backed Mahon's successful bid for Congress in 1934 and the following year was elected to the board of directors of the City National Bank in Colorado City, which named him its president in 1938 and its board chairman in 1955.

Over the years Thompson contributed to the farm credit system by implementing programs to help individual farmers own their farms. He was appointed a director of the Tenth District Farm Credit Board of Houston by the Federal Land Bank Association in Texas in 1943 and was elected its chairman in 1952. In 1957 he was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to chair the credit committee of the Drought Conference, convened in Wichita, Kansas, to study drought conditions in the plains states and plan financial aid for victims. Thompson's commitment to aid for farmers and ranchers in financial straits earned him the nickname "Mr. Farm Credit." He played a leading role in the passage of the Farm Credit Act in 1971 and the following year was named Man of the Year in Texas Agriculture by Progressive Farmer magazine. In addition, he was elected a director of the Texas Electric Service Company in 1957 and subsequently was instrumental in the building of Lake Colorado City and the company's first power plant on his ranch property. Thompson was appointed by Gov. James B. Allred to the board of directors of Texas Technological College in 1937. He remained on the board until February 1957 and served as its chairman from 1944 until his retirement. In 1958 he was awarded an honorary doctorate, and a Texas Tech dormitory was named for him. In 1978 the Charles C. Thompson Professorship in Agricultural Finance was established at the Texas Tech College of Agricultural Sciences. His wife died of cancer in 1955, and Thompson married Emabeth Pittman of Albany on January 21, 1956. He was president of the Colorado City Chamber of Commerce for five years and served on various committees of the West Texas Chamber of Commerce during his twenty-five years in that organization. He was a member of the Lion's Club and the First United Methodist Church, where both he and his wife taught Sunday school classes. Thompson was also noted for his collection of dolls and other antique toys, a hobby that started in 1936 when Dr. Bill Rhode presented him a mechanical jumping dog named Flippo. He was elected the outstanding chamber of commerce member in Colorado City in 1975. He was plagued with failing health during his last years and died at Root Memorial Hospital on August 5, 1983. He was buried in the Colorado City Cemetery.

Abilene Reporter-News, August 6, 1983. Colorado City Record, May 17, 1979. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, August 7, 1983. Vertical File, Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Clarence R. Wharton, ed., Texas under Many Flags (5 vols., Chicago: American Historical Society, 1930).


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Business
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

H. Allen Anderson, “Thompson, Charles Collins,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 20, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995
January 28, 2020