JOSEPH A. THOMAS. – This leading citizen of Gilliam county and a “native son” of our state, was born in Douglas county, September 18, 1854. With his parents he moved to Jefferson, Marion county, in 1862, and was furnished with good educational advantages, attending upon the excellent common-school of that town. In 1874 he went into business with his father, E.N. Thomas, a merchant with headquarters at Jefferson, but also with branch houses in various other localities, and indeed much occupied in other lines, such as livestock, of which he had accumulated as many as ten thousand head in Washington Territory; and who also maintained a large drug business in Arlington.
This father has now retired from active business and lives at his home in Jefferson, having buried there his first wife, Margaret, née Cosper, who died in September, 1888, leaving two boys and one girl, – Laura G., Rosco and Clyde.
Mr. Joseph A. Thomas, our subject, who early took charge of the business in Eastern Oregon, is one of the representative men of Arlington, and indeed of all Gilliam county, and is much respected by all associated with him. He has been publicly honored by the people, having been elected mayor of Arlington in 1886 and re-elected to the same office in 1887. He was elected county treasurer of Gilliam county in 1886, and served two years. He was elected in 1888 on the Republican ticket, by a majority of three hundred and fifty, to represent Gilliam county in the Oregon legislature, and served with credit and a good record throughout the last session, having been appointed a member of the committee on commerce.