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Below is a family biography included in The History of Coffee County, Tennessee published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  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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Hon. John F. Thomas, real estate agent and a prominent citizen of Tullahoma, Tenn., was born in Lincoln County, Tenn., April 17, 1828. His father, Joshua Thomas, a native of North Carolina, died while our subject was a small boy. At the age of eleven years our subject was bound out to Joshua Gore, but ran away and returned to his mother. His advantages were limited, but through his own efforts he acquired a good education, and when twenty-three years of age began teaching school. In 1851 he removed to Coffee County and taught a school on Duck River, with his residence in Tullahoma. In 1859 he became a member of the firm of Holland & Thomas, general merchants, Tullahoma, continuing until the war, when he went to Shelbyville, Tenn. On the Federal occupation of Tullahoma he returned home to again engage in business. In 1862 he was appointed postmaster at Tullahoma and held his commission until he was elected to represent Coffee County in the lower house of the Legislature in 1865. He was one of the twenty-one members who resigned their seats rather than vote for the “Disfranchise Bill.” His constituency endorsed his course by re-election to the same position, but he was denied his seat. He was the first constable of Tullahoma and served several times as alderman. In 1867 he was appointed assistant United States revenue assessor, and later deputy United States revenue collector. He served as superintendent of public instruction of Coffee County, and was next appointed as United States store-keeper, and soon after gauger, holding these until 1883. Elected magistrate in 1883 he holds that office, together with notary public at present. Mr. Thomas was married in 1854 to Mary J., daughter of Thomas Blanton, of Coffee County. Both are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church North. Politically he has been a Republican since the breaking out of the war.

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This family biography is one of 59 biographies included in The History of Coffee County, Tennessee published in 1887.  The History of Coffee County was included within The History of Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb, Warren & White Counties of Tennessee. For the complete description, click here: History of Cannon, Coffee, DeKalb, Warren, White Counties of Tennessee

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