Ida V. Thomson

Randolph Hollingsworth's picture

Project Name:
Kentucky Woman Suffrage

Name of Historic Site:
Paris Cemetery

Event(s)/Use associated with woman/group/site:
Burial site of Ida VanArsdale Thomson (1865-1918)



Zip Code:
Street Address: 
1603 Main Street

Associated Organization:
Paris Cemetery

Years of Importance:
Geographic Location: 
Your Affiliation: 
Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project

Additional Comments:

Ida V. VanArsdale Thomson (17 March 1865 - 21 February 1918) was born in Mercer County and raised in Harrodsburg, the daughter of Priscilla Jane "Jennie" Brewer and Jackson VanArsdale. Her father was a miller in Springfield when she was a child, and by 1880, according to the census, he had become a distiller in Harrodsburg. She was probably named after her father's mother, Ida Voorhies. She graduated in 1882 from the Daughters College in Harrodsburg (now Beaumont Inn), while it was led by the venerable founder, John Augustus Williams. Williams had also founded Christian Female College in Columbia, Missouri, before coming to Kentucky. Later, she earned a Bachelor of Literature from Bourbon Female College in Paris. In 1890 she married Matthew Goff Thomson (1850–1913), and they had one daughter, Catherine, one year later. By 1900 they were living in North Middletown where they were co-principals at the Kentucky Classical and Business College for four years. They also co-led and taught for six years at the Christian College at Hustonville before they came to serve as co-principals at the Bourbon Female College in Paris. When Matt Thomson died unexpectedly in July 1913, Ida continued on as principal but worked with Dr. Richard H. Crossfield of Transylvania to merge her school with Hamilton Female College in Lexington by September 1914. Crossfield offered her the presidency of Hamilton College, and she moved to Lexington. She marched with the Hamilton College delegation in the 1916 suffrage parade in Lexington. She died on 21 February 1918 from complications due to tonsillitis. She is buried in the Paris Cemetery in Paris, Kentucky.


Reference source of Information:
"Colleges are Consolidated: Hamilton and Bourbon Colleges are to to be merged this fall," The Bourbon (Paris, Ky.) News (10 March 1914): 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, Lib. of Congress. <>; Obit. 22 February 1918 of The Interior Journal (Stanford, Kentucky); Obit. Harrodsburg Herald, Feb 22, 1918; "Thomson," The Bourbon (Paris, Ky.) News, 22 Feb. 1918. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, Lib. of Congress. <>