Biography of Hon. William H. Thomas
HON. WILLIAM H. THOMAS. Few families of Douglas County, Missouri, have a higher reputation in all matters of character, intelligence and liberality than the one represented by the name we have just given. For ten years Mr. Thomas has made his home in this county and he now has a fine tract of 160 acres located about eight miles from Willow Springs, and it is highly productive and valuable. He was born in Fayette County, Indiana, June 15, 1840, to the union of Howell and Mary A. (Adams) Thomas, natives of Kentucky and Pennsylvania, respectively.
The father left his native State when a young man and made his way to Pennsylvania, where he met and married Miss Adams. From there he moved to the. Hoosier State in 1838 or 1839, and continued to make his home there until 1862, when he moved to Vermillion County, Illinois There he passed peacefully away in 1874 at the advanced age of eighty-four years. He was a carpenter by trade and was a soldier in the War of 1812. In politics he was a Democrat until the formation of the Republican party, when he joined its ranks, remaining with it the remainder of his days. Mrs. Thomas died in Indiana in 1864. She was the daughter of Weldon Adams, who was a pioneer in Pennsylvania. To Mr. and Mrs. Thomas were born eleven children, who were named in the order of their births as follows: Mary, wife of Amos Eskew, of Indiana; Martha, wife of George McFatridge, also of Indiana; Adams, who died when eighteen years of age; John, who died at the age of ten; Sarah, wife of Frank New Bold, of Indiana; Lydia, wife of Matthew Trimble, of Illinois; James, who is living in Decatur, Illinois, but who has a position in the pension department at Washington, D. C.; Jane, wife of John McCoy, of Kansas; Isabel, wife of Zina Warren; William, subject, and Weldon, who is living in Indiana.
In his native county and Hamilton County our subject passed his youthful days and there received a liberal schooling. After growing up he selected farming as his occupation in life, and started to follow the same in Hamilton County prior to the war. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company K, One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and took a prominent part in the following battles: Stone River, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Kenesaw Mountain, Resaca, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta and Bentonville. He was with Sherman on his march to the sea. He was detailed after the battle of Atlanta as special scout of fifty men, and was sent on in advance of Sherman’s army. During his hard service Mr. Thomas was greatly troubled by rheumatism and has suffered from it ever since. After his career as a soldier he at once resumed agricultural pursuits in Vermillion County, Illinois, and there made his home until 1884, when he came to this county. In the year 1890 he was elected to represent his county in the Thirty-sixth General Assembly, and while a member of the same he was instrumental in forwarding the present school text-book law and may be called the author of the same. Mr. Thomas is with the People’s party, but was formerly a Greenbacker and Democrat. He is a prominent man in the county, an influential political factor, and a popular man with all. Socially he is a Mason, a member of the lodge at Willow Springs, and has held office in the lodge. Mr. Thomas is developing a fruit farm, and his fine home, which bears every evidence of the taste and culture of its inmates, is the center for the best class of people in the vicinity.
Mr. Thomas was married in Illinois to Miss Jane McCoy, and three children were given them: William, Lillie and Mary. The first two are married, the latter to Henry Cruzen, of this county. Mrs. Thomas died in Illinois, and subsequently Mr. Thomas married Miss Cora Turner of that State. Eight children were the fruits of this union: Paul (died at the age of eight months), Claude, Louisa, Julia, Norma K., Edna, Grace, and an infant. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas are connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he has held office in the same. For about ten years and while a resident of Vermillion County, Illinois, Mr. Thomas was in the lumber and hardware business.