Riverview Cemetery

Tompkins, George

George Tompkins was born on March 20, 1780 to Benjamin Tompkins and Elizabeth Goodloe.

Tompkins was a judge of the Missouri Supreme Court from 1824-1845, and was forced to retire because of his age just a few years before the Dred Scott case. During his time on the bench, Justice Tompkins expressed his anti-slavery sentiment by ruling in favor of slaves that sued for their freedom. Through almost a dozen cases, Tompkins established a precedent that since Missouri was a free state, if a man came into Missouri with intent to settle, his slaves were freed. For this reason, it was appalling when the Missouri Supreme Court ignored two decades of legal precedent and ruled against Dred Scott.