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REV. CHARLES BLANCHER THOMPSON
Founder of Preparation, Iowa

Born January 27, 1814 ~ Niscayuna, NY
Died February 27, 1895 ~ Philadelphia, PA

Click for larger photographCharles Blancher Thompson was baptized Methodist-Episcopal in 1832 at the age of 18. On February 10, 1835 he was baptized and later confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) by leader and founder Joseph Smith. In the same year, he was ordained to preach by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. 

In 1837 he organized a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregation at Sandusky, Ohio. In 1844 he was ordained a high priest by John Smith, (uncle of Joseph Smith,) president of the Macedona Stake in Hancock, Illinois. In that same year Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed at Carthage, Hancock County. 

Charles' first wife, Elizabeth Jencks, gave birth to their child, Amelia, in 1839. Elizabeth died in August, less than three months later. In 1845, on December 24th, Charles married Catherine Ann Houck in Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois. Charles and Catherine eventually had ten children -- at least one born in a covered wagon -- most of whom settled and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

In 1840 Charles wrote one of his many books and publications, "Evidences in Proof of the Book of Mormon," which may be found online at other websites. In 1846 he became a follower of James Jesse Strang in Voree, Wisconsin. Eventually he broke with Strang, as well as from Brigham Young who espoused polygamy. Charles was emphatically opposed to polygamy. Charles, with his wife Catherine and children, then moved to St. Louis, Missouri where four of their children were born. While in St. Louis he started the church "Jehovah's Presbytery of Zion."

In April, 1853 he began a search for a location for his "School of Preparation" of "Jehovah's Presbytery of Zion" to colonize. Along with his followers, numbering 50 - 60 families, he founded the town of Preparation, Iowa along the Soldier River in Monona County about September 11, 1853. His church community there continued to grow despite difficult frontier conditions.

He was appointed the first County Judge (chief officer) of Monona County in April 1854 and on September 8th, 1854 he was appointed Preparation's first U. S. postmaster. He founded and printed Preparation's first newspaper "The Preparation News" in 1854 and also conducted a mercantile business and hotel. His colony consisted of about 150 men women and children. In 1857 he published and printed a book "The Law of the Covenents" for his congregation of very religious people. In the same year he started another newspaper in Onawa, Iowa called the "Onawa Advocate."

Charles and his family came east via St. Louis in 1858 after serious problems had developed regarding his leadership. They settled in Philadelphia where their tenth child was born. In Philadelphia Charles founded yet another church, the "Peoples Church of the Kingdom of God." Here he also worked as a tailor, his original trade. Charles died February 28, 1895 in Philadelphia; his wife Catherine Ann died on March 5, 1895.

Rev. Charles B. Thompson was a devoutly religious man, a family man, Bible scholar, Hebrew scholar, prolific writer, persuasive leader and skilled debater. However, he apparently tried to exercise excessive control over his followers in Preparation, Iowa and eventually they rebelled against him. The town of Preparation prospered for awhile without him but is no longer in existence. Today in its location is the 344 acre Preparation Canyon State Park, Monona County, Iowa. 

George Bryan Thompson 
Great-Grandson of Charles Blancher Thompson 
Edelweiss131@aol.com

The documents are direct quotes and should not be taken and used as one's own work without identifying the source.

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Updated: 27 Jan 2014 01:02 PM