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Biography of John M. Thomas

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JOHN M. THOMAS. – Mr. Thomas was born in Nicholas county, Kentucky, July 8, 1829, and is the youngest son of a family of seven children. When he was four years old his parents moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where his father died a year later. In 1844 he went to an older brother in Kentucky, where he remained for five years, and in October, 1849, returned to Indianapolis.

On March 30,1852, he went to St. Louis, and one month later to St. Joseph, and there joined a friend from Indianapolis; and together they started with ox-teams for Oregon. At Fort Hall they lost some of their stock, and traded that left for pack-horses, and came on into the Grande Ronde valley, arriving there about August 30th. At Willow creek his partner left him; and he came on alone to Portland, arriving on September 5, 1852. He found employment at Tryon’s mill in Milwaukee, where he remained for two months, when he was taken sick and returned to Portland. In February, 1853, he went to Oswego, and in the same year went to Puget Sound and took up his residence in Port Townsend, where he remained until July, 1853. He then, in company with E. McFarland, came to White river; and, after looking over the country, in January, 1854, he took up the place now owned by J.B. Hewitt, and became the first white settler on White river. He lived there until driven off by the Indians. He soon returned, however, but only remained a short time, when he went to Seattle for safety. There he joined a company and came back to help bury the victims of the Indian massacre near the town of Slaughter.

He afterwards went to Port Orchard and engaged in running a stationary engine in a mill. He soon returned to the blockhouse built by Captain Dent, and was secured by the Captain to act as guide all through the Indian war. When the war closed he located a homestead seven miles lower down, where he remained until 1877, when he located on his present place at Thomas Station and engaged in hop-raising and general farming. He served as county commissioner for a term of three years, those of 1857, 1858 and 1859. He was married in 1854 to Miss Nancy Russel of Ohio, and has nine children living.

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