My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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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John A. Thomas, a prominent farmer of Marion Township, was born in North Carolina May 17, 1821, and is the youngest of seven children, four sons and three daughters, born to John and Elizabeth (West) Thomas, natives of North Carolina, where they were reared and married. The parents remained in their native State until about 1836, when they moved to East Tennessee, and there spent the rest of their days, both living to a good old age. He was a farmer by occupation, and was a very successful one; was a Whig in politics, and was a first-class citizen in every respect. The mother was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. John A. Thomas spent his boyhood days on his father’s farm, and received no educational advantages, not even being able to read or write. After remaining with his mother until twenty-two years of age, he began for himself by engaging in tilling the soil. In 1843 he married Miss Mary Weese, a native of Roane County, Tenn., and about a year younger than her husband. About 1846 they moved to Fulton County, Ill., and the following year to Carroll County, Ark., where they remained until 1862, when they came to Polk County, Mo.. with his family. In November, 1862, he enlisted in Company K, First Arkansas Cavalry, U. S. A., and served until August, 1865; was in the battle of Prairie Grove and many skirmishes. While trying to remove his family from Carroll County, Ark., he was surprised by a squad of bushwhackers, was shot through the left arm, shattering the bone, and the arm has always given him trouble. Had not some of his neighbors been in the squad, he would undoubtedly have been killed; as a compensation he receives a pension of eight dollars per month. After the war Mr. Thomas joined his family in Polk County, and here he has since remained. After coming here he rented land for about seven years, and since then has become the owner of 320 acres, but at present has but 240 acres. He has eight children: Martha, Hughey, Eliza, William, Catherine, James, Mary and John. Mr. Thomas has been a hard working man all his life, and has accumulated considerable property. He is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, and is a Republican in his political views.

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This family biography is one of 132 biographies included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Polk County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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