Thomas J. Sportsman was born September 4, 1862, at Thayer, Missouri, and spent his entire life in Linn County. For many years, he engaged in farming in the vicinity of what is now Marceline. When he was a young man, he used his team of horses and did grading for the road bed on the Santa Fe Railroad.
He was married to Jennie Warner on June 26, 1892. Miss Warner had come to Missouri with her parents, Erastus and Lettie Jane Akerson, from Pennsylvania. They were direct descendants of Andrew Warner who settled in America in 1632.
In 1902, Mr. Sportsman sold his farm and moved to town locating on East Bisbee Street where his widow still resides. He started working as a laborer on the construction of the building now known as the Zurcher Building. For many years he worked in the coal mines in this area and also for two years as janitor at the Park School. After leaving the mines when he was past seventy- four years old, he became the caretaker of the Ripley Square Park, a position he held for several years. He died in 1950 at the age of 88 years.
Mr. and Mrs. Sportsman were the parents of six children: Andy M., Elmer O., Ira Thomas, and infant daughter, all deceased; Gerald W. of Amarillo, Texas, and Della, who resides with the widow in their home on Bisbee Street. They also have several grandchildren. Among those still residing in Marceline are Mrs. Jean Lee Hoskins and William Gail Sportsman.