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Hugh S. Thompson

Comptroller, New York Life Insurance Company/Governor of South Carolina

Centurion, 1896–1904

Full Name Hugh Smith Thompson

Born 24 January 1836 in Charleston, South Carolina

Died 20 November 1904 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Cemetery, Columbia, South Carolina

Proposed by Theodore Roosevelt and Edward Cary

Elected 1 February 1896 at age sixty

Century Memorial

Hugh Smith Thompson was of the finest type of the Southern gentleman. Born in 1836, of a family prominent in the affairs of his state, South Carolina, and in those of the nation, he was, at the outbreak of the Civil War, professor of French and belles-lettres at the Arsenal Academy, at Columbia, and served as Captain of the State Cadets. At the close of the war he resumed his profession, and in 1876 was elected State Superintendent of Schools, which position he held with great credit for six years, manfully doing the best that could be done with the pitifully limited resources at his command, steadily extending the schools and securing their support by local taxation, then a novel method in the South. In 1882, he was elected Governor of South Carolina and served for two terms. He entered the national service as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, under President Cleveland, and at the close of his administration was appointed by President Harrison to the Civil Service Commission, where his contribution to the establishment and extension of the merit system was intelligent and substantial.

In 1892, he retired from the public service to become Controller of the New York Life Insurance Company. Absorbing business cares and delicate health prevented Mr. Thompson from frequent attendance at The Century, but he leaves here a large circle of warm friends with whom affectionate appreciation of his winning personal qualities is joined to hearty respect for his sterling and enlightened service in his varied public career.

Edward Cary
1905 Century Association Yearbook