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James B. Thomas

THOMAS, James B., formerly a well-known and skillful mason, now living in Macomb, Ill., was born at Natchez, Miss., February 4, 1839, a son of Ezra and Elizabeth (Hutchinson) Thomas, the former a native of Steuben County, New York, and the latter, born in Maine. Daniel Thomas, the paternal grandfather, was a native of Scotland, and the maternal grandparents, H. H. and Catherine (Beckley) Hutchinson, were of German origin. Ezra Thomas moved from New York State to Springfield, Ohio, and thence to Whitehall, Ill., where his father was buried in 1832. Afterward he went to St. Clair County, Ill., where he spent a year, going thence to Mississippi, where he lived until 1840, and then returned to St. Louis. James B. Thomas lived at St. Louis until July 28, 1861, when he enlisted in Company I, Ninth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, mustered In at Cairo, Ill., which became mounted in 1862 and was mustered out at Springfield, Ill., August 20, 1864. His regiment participated in one hundred and ten engagements, his commanding officers being Colonel E. A. Paine and Capt. J. G. Robinson. It was the first regiment at Fort Donelson, lost more than sixty per cent, of its number at Pittsburg Landing, and took part in the Battle of Corinth. After his honorable discharge from the army, Mr. Thomas came to Madison County, Ill., where he remained until he was married, following his trade of brick mason. In 1891 he went to Nevada, Mo., and staid there until 1895, coming thence to Macomb, where he retired from active labors.

Mr. Thomas was twice married, first to Martha Posey, a native of Madison County, Ill., who was born in August, 1839, and died November 1, 1899. She left two daughters: Susan (Mrs. E. L. Kemper), of Los Angeles, Cal., and Mary (Mrs. H. N. Killingsworth), of Fulton, Mo. On March 24, 1901, he married, as his second wife, Mrs. Anna (Keeler) Walker, widow of Solomon Walker, who died December 15, 1899, leaving besides his widow, one daughter, Mary, who married J. L. Killingsworth, of Peoria. The second Mrs. Thomas was born in Dover, England. In 1903 Mr. and Mrs. Thomas made a European tour of three months, visiting various cities and points of interest in England, Scotland. Ireland and France. This was Mrs. Thomas' second trip abroad, as she had attended the Paris Exposition of 1878. They have many views and souvenirs of their travels in the Old World, which recall the most pleasant memories and which serve to impress upon the already well stored minds of the owners, spots rich in native scenery and historic associations. Politically, Mr. Thomas is a Democrat, and fraternally, is affiliated with the I. O. O. F.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 1018-1019, extracted 07 Aug 2020 by Norma Hass.

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