"Tommygun Inventor". Brig. Gen. John T. Thompson, USA, inventor of Thompson submachine gun, was born here in 1860. A West Point graduate of 1882, he was early advocate of automatic weapons and improved many small arms. Awarded Distinguished Service Medal as Director of Arsenals in World War I. General Thompson died in 1940, lamenting the notoriety of the Tommygun as a gangster weapon.