G. B. THOMAS is manager of the large establishment of S. H. Henry & Co., dealers in sash, doors, blinds and lumber. This company was established in 1882 by S. H. Henry, and two years later B. T. Henry, son of S. H., entered the business. The elder Henry is the pioneer lumber dealer of this city. He came here in 1857 from Tennessee where his birth occurred, and first branched out as a carpenter when a young man. Mr. Henry has taken a prominent part in city improvements, is interested in many of the prominent business enterprises, and is one of the city’s most prosperous business men. The Plains’ mill business grew with the city, and in 1888 a large brick building, 40×130, was erected. This was two stories in height, with a large power room with twenty-horse power, and from twelve to fifteen hands were employed. This mill is doing shop work, such as bank furniture, besides other fine work, and is a credit to the city of West Plains.
Mr. G. B. Thomas became a member of this establishment in 1890 and is the book-keeper and manager of the plant. He is a native of Greene County, Missouri, born there March 7, 848, and the-son of B. C. Thomas, who located in that county in 1843, but who came to Howell County in 1859 and located ten miles north of West Plains. During the war he returned to Springfield, but in 1866 came back to Howell County and there died in 1891, when seventy-three years of age. He was born in Rutherford County, Tennessee, and was a son of William Thomas who was a native Virginian.
Our subject’s father was one of the founders of Calvary Presbyterian Church, of Springfield, Missouri, and an active man in church affairs. Farming was his principal occupation in life, but after he removed to West Plains in 1875 he lived a retired life. He became wealthy and was a self-made man. In politics he was an old-line Whig, but after the war he affiliated with the Democratic party. He was a self-educated as well as self-made man, and educated his children. His wife, whose maiden name was Hannah Reynolds, died in 1882. She was a native of Tennessee and of Scotch-Irish origin. The Thomas family is descended from the original Thomas family that came over with Lord Baltimore. To Mr. and Mrs. Thomas were born twelve children, six of whom grew to mature years and three are now living: Samuel J., who died when a young man; Harriet A., the mother of Dr. Chandler; Margaret E., wife of S. H. Henry; Eleanor A., now Mrs. Broughts, of this county; James F. died when small; John W. was a soldier in Company D, Eighth Missouri Cavalry; two or three died in infancy; G. B., subject; and Susan A., died in 1861.
In his youth our subject attended the schools of Springfield, and in 1869 branched out in business life. Previous to that he was in the commissary department under Capt. See at Springfield. In 1869 he began merchandising at West Plains with Mr. C. T. Bolin, of the firm of Bolin & Thomas, and continued in business two years. The firm of Bolin, Thomas & Galloway was then started and opened up with a stock of general merchandise. After this Mr. Thomas embarked in the drug business with H. T. Smith, the same continuing two years, and our subject was then elected clerk of the county and circuit court and recorder. He served from 1874 to 1878 and was then elected president of the county court. This office he held four years and in 1882 he again entered the drug business, serving as book-keeper for S. J. Longston & Bro. for six years, after which he came into the present business. Politically he is an advocate of Democratic principles. He is one of the live business men of the place and has made a good property. Mr. Thomas was married to Miss Mary E. Lasater, daughter of Reuben R. Lasater, formerly of this city, who died in 1875. She died in 1891 leaving four children: Beatrice C., Mary H., Maggie E. and Blackman T. These children are at school. Mr. Thomas and his son are the only ones to carry the good old name of Thomas. Mr. Thomas is a Master Mason, and is the owner of considerable real estate in West Plains.