Owen M. Thomas. The Citizens State Bank of Bronson, of which Owen M. Thomas is vice president, is an institution which had grown rapidly and prospered since it was established less than ten years ago, and its success is largely due to the character of the men entrusted with its executive management.
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Mr. Thomas had been actively identified with banking for ten years, both in Oklahoma and in Kansas. Though a young man, his career had apparently been one of rapid accomplishment, and he had achieved as much in ten years as many men do in their entire active life.
Mr. Thomas was born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, February 4, 1883, and spent much of his early youth in [p.2118] Oklahoma. His grandfather, Owen W. Thomas, was a native of Wales, afterwards became a farmer and property owner at Toulon, Illinois, where he died. Owen W. Thomas, Jr., father of the Bronson banker, was born at Toulon in Stark County, Illinois, in 1851. He grew up in his native county, and spent his brief active career as a farmer. He died at Oskaloosa, Iowa, in March, 1883, a few weeks after the birth of his son, Owen M. The maiden name of his wife was Dora Eisiminger, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1856. By her first husband she had just one child, Owen Mitchell Thomas. She afterwards married E. R. Green, and they participated as settlers on the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma at the opening in the fall of 1893. Mr. Green made the race for a homestead and secured one of 160 acres on the Tonkawa Indian Reservation. He and his wife lived there and went through all the experiences of developing a farm, and the events of those early times in Oklahoma made a strong impression upon the youthful mind of Owen M. Thomas, who spent part of his youth in that section of Oklahoma. Mrs. Green died at Tonkaws in 1905. Mr. Green is living there a retired farmer. By their marriage they had one child, Lucy M., now living with her father.
Owen Mitchell Thomas was ten years old when the family went to Oklahoma, and much of his early education was acquired in the public schools of Arkansas City, Kansas. He afterwards entered the William Jewell College at Liberty, Missouri, but left college in his junior year in 1901 and returned to the farm of his stepfather at Tonkawa, Oklahoma. He lived on the farm there until the death of his mother in 1905. For a few months of that year he worked as remittance clerk in the Guthrie National Bank at Guthrie, Oklahoma, and then was bookkeeper of the National Bank of Commerco until July, 1907. Another experience that had proved valuable to him in later years was as deputy county treasurer of Kay County, Oklahoma, where he served until February, 1910. For six months or more he was assistant cashier of the Oklahoma Guarantee Bank at Blackwell, Oklahoma, and then became cashier of the First State Bank at Tonkawa. Mr. Thomas sold his interests in the bank at Tonkawa in July, 1913, and coming to Bronson, Kansas, accepted the post of vice president of the Citizens State Bank.
The Citizens State Bank was established under a state charter in 1907. Its modern brick home was erected on Clay Street in the same year. This bank had a capital of $10,000 and surplus of $5,000, and through its conservative financial policies enjoys the complete confidence of its friends and patrons in and around Bronson. Mr. J. E. Zimmerman is president: Mr. Thomas vice president; and F. W. Myer, cashier.
Mr. Thomas had various other business interests. He is a stockholder in the Blackwell Oil & Gas Company of Blackwell, Oklahoma; a stockholder in the Depositors Guarantee and Surety Company of Topeka; a stockholder in the Bronson Co-operative Association, and is owner of a farm comprising 300 acres in Kay County, Oklahoma. His lands are only twelve miles away from one of the most active oil belts in Northern Oklahoma, and the possibility is strong that further development will include his own property.
Mr. Thomas is an independent democrat in political affairs. In Masonry he is affiliated with Bourbon Lodge No. 268, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons at Bronson, of which he was treasurer, belongs to Newkirk Chapter No. 58, Royal Areh Masons, to Fort Scott Consistory No. 4 of the Scottish Rite, and to Mirza Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Pittsburg, Kansas. He is also a member of Granite Lodge No. 88, Knights of Pythias, Bronson Lodge of Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and Bronson Chapter No. 65 of the Eastern Star.
Mr. Thomas resided on Randolph Street in Bronson. In 1909 at Newkirk, Oklahoma, he married Miss Florence Ford, daughter of S. G. and Catherine (Paine) Ford. Her mother now resided at Dexter, Kansas. Her father after retiring from his farm was elected sheriff of Kay County, Oklahoma, and was killed while performing the duties of his office in March, 1908. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have one son, Owen Ford, born September 28, 1914.