John Thomas, who has for many years been actively engaged in agricultural pursuits in Morgan township, has disposed
of part of his land but still operates thirty acres although he has reached the age of seventy eight years. He
was born in Beaver county, Pennsylvania, in September, 1837, of the marriage of Samuel and Hannah (Hollinger) Thomas,
both of whom were natives of Columbiana county, Ohio. The father, who operated a woolen mill in the Buckeye state,
continued to engage in manufacturing until the spring of 1857, when he came to Decatur county with his family.
He purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land in Morgan township, on which he resided until his demise, which
occurred in September, 1896, when he was eighty four years of age. His wife preceded him in death twelve years.
John Thomas was reared under the parental roof and was educated in Ohio. When twenty years of age he accompanied
his parents to this county and did the greater part of the farm work for many years. However, he resided in and
near Decatur City for fourteen years. He carried on agricultural pursuits in that locality for a time and then
engaged in merchandising but as he did not find that profitable soon sold out and turned his attention to the carpenter's
trade. Eventually he returned to the old homestead and two years after his father's demise purchased it. He has
since given his time to the development of his farm and has made all of the improvements on the place. He has now
disposed of all of his land save thirty acres, which he still operates, although he has reached an age when many
men either by choice or necessity abandon all active work. His place is on section 18, Morgan township, is well
improved and has an abundance of good fruit. He has long been numbered among the capable farmers of his locality.
Mr. Thomas was married to Miss Eliza J. Gardner in October, 1856. She is a daughter of Rudolph and Ann (John) Gardner,
natives of Ohio and Pennsylvania respectively, both of whom are deceased, the father's demise occurring in Ohio
in 1852, when he was but forty four years of age, and the mother passing away at the home of our subject in 1910,
when she had reached the venerable age of ninety four. Mr. Gardner was a farmer and stonemason by occupation. To
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have been born three children: Ada F., the wife of William Toovy, a resident of Canada; Clarence
Emmett, who is also living in the Dominion; and Arlie, who died in infancy.
Mr. Thomas is a republican and for years served on the school board, doing much to further the cause of the public
schools in that time. He was elected justice of the peace but would not qualify. His religious faith is that of
the Free Methodist church and its teachings have guided his life. He has enjoyed exceptional good health and is
still vigorous and energetic, while he takes as keen an interest in public events as he did in his early manhood.
History of Decatur County, Iowa
And its People
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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