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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published by John M. Gresham & Co. in 1891.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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FRED. W. THOMAS. The press to-day is a factor of potential power; has a wonderful influence over the people among whom it circulates, and molds public opinion to a large degree. The gentleman whose name heads this sketch is the proprietor and editor of the Hanover Gazette, the successor of a paper called the Silver Creek Local. Fred. W. Thomas is a native of Wales, where he was born, December 28, 1853, and comes from Cymric ancestors as far remote as the family can be traced. His parents were James and Ann Elizabeth Thomas, honorable and respected people of their native country.

Fred. W. Thomas was reared and educated in the old country and remained close to the scene of his birth until he reached his twenty-fourth year, having been trained and practiced in the art of book-keeping. As was customary with those who aspired to the higher employments, he received a good classical and commercial education, in a prominent grammar school. After his arrival in America Mr. Thomas found employment in various capacities until 1885, when he embarked in the fire insurance business in Silver Creek, and his success in this line has been pronounced. In February, 1890, his business mind saw that a newspaper here would be a good investment, and although it might not at once net large returns, the succeeding years would increase its value, and he bought the Hanover Gazette, the name to which the Silver Creek Local had been changed. This paper was founded by J. I. Spears, who was attached to the New York Sun’s recent expedition to explore Greenland. The circulation of the Gazette is constantly increasing under the new management and it is entering into the confidence of its readers in a way that is gratifying and creditable to Mr. Thomas.

Journalism in Silver Creek has had a checkered career for thirteen years, but the Gazette is founded on a solid basis, is a clean and carefully edited paper such as commends itself to every home, and whilst its future is full of promise, it may truthfully be asserted, that to the present editor belongs the honor of establishing the most successful newspaper ever published in Silver Creek.

October 18, 1882, he married Hattie Wells Ward, a daughter of Dr. Spencer Ward, who was a pioneer physician of northeastern Chautauqua county, and lived in this village. Dr. Ward was a native of Vermont, from which State he came and settled here. Fred. W. and Mrs. Thomas have been blessed with three children, all daughters: Helen Elizabeth, Annie Spencer and Marian Ward, who are yet, young and live with their parents.

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This family biography is one of 658 biographies included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published in 1891. 

View additional Chautauqua County, New York family biographies here: Chautauqua County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Chautauqua County, New York here: Chautauqua County, New York Map

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