Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 496] one of the leading and most prosperous agriculturists of Lawrence County, engaged in carrying on general farming operations on the farm, which he inherited from his father in Perry township, was born in the above township on the aforementioned farm May 9, 1838.

Daniel Thomas, the father of the subject of this notice, was born in Beaver Co., Pa., and received his education in the common schools, to which was added the advanages desived[sic] from a course in New Brighton Academy. In 1830 he selected the land, one hundred acres in area, in Perry township, which is now farmed by his son John. The same year he built a house, and afterwards the outbuildings suitable for farm work. Hearty and rugged of constitution, he enjoyed a delightful old age, and died at the age of ninety years. He stood well in the community, as he was industrious, enterprising, and public-spirited, and his dealings always prospered, no matter in what line; being a man of genial, warm nature, he was liked by his neighbors, who considered him one of the best men in the world, and worthy of the highest confidence and esteem. He took a lady of Wayne township, Lawrence County, to be his companion through the walks and trials of life, Dorothy Aiken, daughter of William Aiken, and they reared the following children: William; John; whose biography is recorded here; Sarah; Elam; and David. The family were very regular attendants of the United Presbyterian Church.

Elam Thomas, the grandsire of John, was born near Baltimore, Maryland, and followed agricultural callings during his life, his death taking place at the age of sixty-three. During the Indian War he served for nine months in the U. S. Army, and received a pension for such services as he rendered during that period.

Daniel Thomas, the father of Elam, and great-grandfather of John, was a hardy Welshman, who left his native country to mend his lot in life in the new republic over the seas. He settled near Baltimore, Md., and reared his family there. In his younger days he taught school, but his life was spent chiefly in the culture of the soil, slave-labor being almost exclusively used, a not uncommon thing in those days.

John Thomas enjoys the unique distinction of having passed his entire life on the homestead which was bequeathed to him by his father. During the last twenty years, he has wrought various changes, and made the place modern in its appointments in every respect. His specialty is breeding fine draught horses, and he never has to hunt far for a market for his products. Sheep-raising has also claimed a share of his time, and he has always maintained a small dairy since he has been identified with the agricultural interests of his community.

On June 27, 1871, were celebrated the nuptials of John Thomas and Elizabeth Stunkard, a daughter of William Stunkard of Hickory township. These three daughters grace their home: Maragret B.; Dorothy M.; and Anna E. Religiously they incline toward the United Presbyterian Church, and politically Mr. Thomas affiliates with the Republican party. Mr. Thomas has no bigotry nor narrow-mindedness in his make-up; he is broad and liberal in his views, and although he expresses himself strongly on subjects in which he is interested, he respects the rights of other people to entertain opposite opinions. Charitable and magnanimous, he invites no quarrels, and should a breach be opened between him and one of his acquaintances, he is always ready to take the first step toward a reconciliation. That he is popular and a well-liked personage is attested by the fact that he has served as school director three terms, has been assessor two terms, judge of election one term, and in 1897 officiated in the capacity of overseer of the poor. Mr. Thomas is very influential in Perry township, and commands the esteem and respect of all with whom he comes in contact.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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