Biography of Henry C. Thomas
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HENRY C. THOMAS. James Township, Stone County, Missouri, has its full quota of vigorous, enterprising, thoroughgoing agriculturists, whose popularity is based upon both their social qualities and their well-known integrity and unusual industry. None among them is more popular or has worked more perseveringly than he of whom we write.
Like at least one-half of the citizens of the county, Mr. Thomas is a native of Tennessee, born in Monroe County, in the month of December, 1848, to the union of George W. and Sarah A. (Smallin) Thomas, both natives of Monroe County, Tennessee, the father born September 15, 1819, and the mother March 11, 1819. They were married in their native county and resided there until 1854, when they came by wagon to Greene County, Missouri, and rented land on Grand Prairie for two years. After that the father purchased a farm on Wittenberg Prairie and there spent the remainder of his days, as a successful agriculturist. He served ten months in the militia during the war, and was in the Springfield fight. In religion he was a Baptist and in politics a Democrat until the war, after which he espoused the principles of the Republican party. His father, Jonathan Thomas, was born in North Carolina, and died in Monroe County, Tennessee, in 1857. He was of Irish descent. Grandfather Smallin and wife died in Monroe County, Tennessee, and left their children considerable property. The mother of our subject died on February 7, 1880, and for many years was an earnest member of the Baptist Church. Her husband, George W. Thomas, died August 29, 1892. Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, as follows: James M., a farmer of Greene County, served three years in the Civil War, first in Company E, Fourteenth Missouri Cavalry, and later in the Eighth Missouri Cavalry, Company M, remaining in the same until close of war (he was wounded in the battle of Neosho, Missouri); Jonathan was in Company E, Eighth Missouri, and was killed in southwest Missouri, while pursuing 300 bushwhackers; Lavina is the wife of Robert Mason, of Dallas County, Missouri; Lucretia, single; Henry C., subject; William, a farmer of Greene County, Missouri; Trophenia, wife of Simon Dodd, of Greene County; Elizabeth, wife of Hiram Hardman, of Greene County; Harrison, a merchant of Greene County, and Lorenzo, of Greene County.
The early education of our subject was received in the common school. He assisted on the farm until 1869, when he went to Carroll County, Arkansas On the 23d of December, same year, he was wedded to Miss Almeda M. Surber, a native of Mexico, Missouri, and the daughter of H. B. and Elizabeth Surber, who moved from Kentucky to Mexico, Missouri, at an early day. Later they settled at Springfield, Missouri, remained there until after the war, and are now living at Ash Grove. Mr. Surber has followed milling nearly all his life and has met with fair success. He is the father of five children: David Wiley; Nannie, wife of James Doss, of Ash Grove; Mrs. Thomas; Bettie, wife of O. W. Perryman, of Ash Grove; and Eliza, who died young. The father of these children was born in 1829 and his wife in 1830.
Our subject’s union has been blessed by the birth of six children, viz.: Florence E. (wife of T. I. Jennings, of Stone County, to whom one child was born June 20, 1892, which died September 30, 1893) Henry W., who died September 10, 1873; Nora A.; James W.; William O. and Ida E. Mr. Thomas resided in Arkansas until 1871, when he moved to his present farm on White River, twenty miles south of Galena, where he has 173 acres, upon which he has made the most of the improvements. From 1882 to 1890 he lived at Galena, and during that time was deputy sheriff and collector under E. N. Butler. He is a genial; social gentleman and has many friends. Socially he is a member of Galena Lodge No. 515, A. F. & A.M., and politically he is a Republican and an active worker for his party. His farm is rich bottom land and very productive.