John S: "I've been doing some research on my family. Colonel Jefferson Dement (De Mont) Thompson, my great-grandfather's nephew, is buried here at Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. I'm sure he's the same Dement (Demont) that keeps "popping up" in my internet searches. Do you have any information on him?"
Colonel Jefferson De Mont Thompson was an important figure in both the Vanderbilt Cup Races and the Long Island Motor Parkway. Here is a profile based on my research and a follow-up email from John S:
Thompson was raised in Alabama under difficult conditions- his father was muurdered when Jefferson was only eight years old. He did graduate from the University of Alabama and was later introduced to New York Society by Dr. John Allan Wyeth, a childhood friend of Thompson's uncle, Dr. John Jefferson Dement. Dr. Wyeth was president of both the Academy of Medicine and the American Medical Association .
Jefferson De Mont (De Ment) Thompson became a prominent New York real estate developer and served as president of the Broadway Association, which guided the development of the Times Square area.
Similar to his friend, William K. Vanderbilt Jr., he had a passion for automobiles, racing and advancing transportation. In 1906, Thompson was chairman of the AAA Racing Board and chairman of the Vanderbilt Cup Commission
Here, Thompson (right) was seen on the 1906 course conferring with referee Willie K. and associate referee A.R. Pardington (center).
In this photo, Thompson was twirling his mustache, standing near William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. (left) and his cousin Reginald Vanderbilt (second from the left). Strange but true: Reggie Vanderbilt was the grandfather of CNN celebrity Anderson Cooper and the prototype for Jackie Gleason's favorite character Reginald Van Gleason III .
Following the 1906 race, Thompson was heavily involved in the planning and development of the Long Island Motor Parkway, serving as a director and its first treasurer.
At the June 6, 1906 ground-breaking ceremony for the Motor Parkway, Thompson was standing in the center of the podium wearing the long white coat.
Thompson returned as chairman of the Vanderbilt Cup Commission for the 1908 race.
Thompson speaking with Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt Jr. at the 1908 grandstand.
Thompson and Willie K. greeting driver George Robertson during a pit stop for "Old 16" Locomobile.
As a well-connected New Yorker, Thompson was involved with many clubs including; the Automobile Club of America and the Aero Club, where he also headed a special aviation section for the New York City Police called the Aerial Police Reserve. He was buried at Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama.
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