Biography of Thomas J. Ables
Marin County, CA Biographies





Thomas J. Ables, Whose portrait appears in the body of this history, was born in Guernsey county, Ohio, January 28, 1835, where he was educated in the common schools of that State. He commenced teaching a school when only seventeen years of age, and remained in Ohio until 1857, in which year he started across the plains for California, in company with two uncles and his brother Benjamin Ables. After leaving Ohio, Mr. Ables went to Booneville, in Missouri, where the necessary preparations were made for the trip to the Golden State. Here he made a contract to drive loose cattle, receiving in payment for this labor his board, as his funds were insufficient to enable him to succeed in any other way, having but forty dollars when leaving his native State. He left Booneville on May 8, 1857, and reached Bloomfield, Sonoma county, October 10th of that year. Here he again resumed the business of teaching in the then. Union District, Green valley, where he remained for fifteen months, after which he taught for one term of four months in the Iowa District. In the Fall of 1858 he and his brother bought two hundred acres of land in Tomales township, which they occupied about the beginning of 1859. Benjamin Ables carried on the farm, and the subject of this sketch still continued the profession of teaching. In the year 1860 he was nominated by the Republican party as Superintendent of Schools for Margin county, to which office he was elected by a majority of twenty five, he being the only successful candidate on the ticket. The schools of the county, up to this time, had not been organized and had not drawn any public money. The task of organizing them was a laborious and tedious one, but was accomplished in the one term that Mr. Ables occupied the position. For this one year's work, the Board of Supervisors, who then fixed the compensation of Superintendent, in the fullness of their hearts, allowed him three hundred dollars. County warrants being then worth only ninety cents on the dollar, his salary for one year was reduced to two hundred and seventy dollars. On January 16, 1861, he was married to Miss Mary E., second daughter of S. M. Martin, of Two Rock valley, Sonoma county. From this union three children have been born, two daughters and a son. Mrs Ables was born in Birmingham, Van Buren county, Iowa, July 2, 1841, and crossed the plains with her parents in 1852. After his marriage Mr. Ablest engaged in dairying and farming in Tomales township. Was elected Justice of the Peace in 1865, and filled the position for two years. The Republican party nominated him for the Assembly in 1867, a position to which he was elected and was a member for the sessions of 1867-8. In 1870 he was nominated by the Republicans of the Third Supervisor District for the office of Supervisor, to which position he was elected and 'served for three years. During his term as Supervisor the present County Court House was built, many of the most important public roads constructed, and the North Pacific Coast Railroad Company organized, and induced, by a subsidy of sixty one thousand dollars from the county, to locate the line of their road where it is now built. Up to the time of the completion of the line to Tomales, the northern end of the county had no connection with the southern portion, save via Petaluma by stage, or by way of Petaluma and San Francisco. In 1873 he was again elected to the Assembly and served during the twentieth session as an Independent, voted and supported Governor Newton Booth for the position 'of United States Senator, and advocated all the reform measures which brought into existence the Independent party. Mr. Ables at present fills the position of Cashier of the Bank of Tomales, to which office he was elected at the inaugural meeting of the Directors of that institution, September, 1875. His children's names are: Clara I., born October 17, 1861; Zilla L., born November 20, 1865; and Thomas H., born November 22, 1874.

From:
History of Marin County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, California 1880


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