William Thomas

From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 571, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  William Thomas was born in Fayette county, Ohio, January 9, 1809. His father was John, a Virginian, who came to Ohio while the Indians were still plentiful on Paint creek. His first wife was Nancy Putnam of Pennsylvania, who died in early life, leaving six young children. Four years later he was married again, but she was drowned about one year later, while trying to save the life of his child. Some years later he was married again, and by this marriage he had six children, making in all thirteen. He died at eighty years, on his farm. These children have all passed away but our subject and Benjamin Thomas, a farmer in his eighty-fifth year, living in Iowa.
  William has been a farmer all his life and had very little schooling. He was married in Ohio, to Julia DeWitt, and came West in the fall of 1831, with wife and one child. They came in a four horse wagon and with three loose horses, which they rode part of the time. In good weather his wife rode his little pacing mare and carried the baby. He had very little money left when he crossed the river at Beardstown. He took up a homestead, and, not being able to deed it, sold out his improvements and then had enough to enter 120 acres, for which he obtained a Government deed, and then had eighty acres under the plow and an orchard and two good hewed-log houses. There he lived from 1837 to 1860. He traded it for 160 acres of his present farm and moved upon it. There was an old log house into which he moved until he could build a good log house, and in 1866 or 1867 he built a frame addition to his house. In 1882 he built his good barn, and in 1884 he built the frame addition to his house. There is not a man living in this section that was living here when Mr. Thomas first came.
  Mr. Thomas lost his first wife in March, 1855, by whom he had seven children, Drusilla Shield, deceased; John M., deceased; James, deceased; Sarah C., a maiden lady at home with her parents; William A., a merchant in Cooperstown; Peter A., farmer close by; Parmelia Ann Gibson, living on the homestead; Eliza Jane Garnett, in Arkansas. Mr. Thomas was married again, to Mrs. Nancy Brown, nee Clayton. She died, aged seventy-eight years, in 1884, after having been his faithful wife for twenty-four years. He is a Master Mason and organized the Versailles Lodge, of which he is the last living member. He believes in moral reform in politics.

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