THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


   *ELIAS J. THOMAS, a prosperous mill-owner of the village of West Eaton, was born December 13, 1843, in Newtown, Montgomery-shire, Wales, the son of Elias and Eliza (Jones) Thomas, both of whom were born in Wales. The grandfather, Thomas Evan Thomas,--also a native of Wales,--was a spinner by trade. He emigrated to America in 1854, and settled in Utica, N. Y., where he followed his trade until his death. His family consisted of five children, of whom three are now living, namely: John and David, both residing in Utica; and a sister, Mary, who lives in London, England. The grandparents both died when seventy-seven years old. They were good arid devoted members of the Methodist church.
   The father of our subject was a spinner and weaver by trade. He came to America in 1848, and was joined by his wife and four children a year after his arrival in this country. He first settled in Oneida County. And worked at weaving, but afterward moved to the town of Nelson, Madison County, where he bought a farm of one hundred and fifty acres, and carried on general farming. He was an honest, hard-working man, and, besides running his farm, made a specialty of raising full-blooded Durham cattle, his herd consisting of about twenty head. To Mr. And Mrs. Thomas were born seven children, of whom three are now living, namely: Elias J., our subject; Mary E., wife of John E. Lewis; and Anna S., wife of Frank Blair, residing in the town of Nelson, The children who died were: Sarah, aged twenty-six years; Jane, eleven years; Evan C., nineteen years; and Anna, three years. The father and mother died on their farm in the town of Nelson, aged respectively sixty and seventy-four years. They attended the Baptist church, of which the wife was a devout member.
   Our subject came to the town of Eaton when he was but nine years of age, was educated in the district school, and when twelve years old began to work in the woollen mills at West Eaton, owned by Captain Smith. He commenced in the card-room, receiving at first only seven dollars and a half per month, and continued to work in this mill until the firm suspended in 1854. He then obtained employment in the various mills along the valley until 1862, when he enlisted under Captain Henry B. Morse in Company D, One Hundred and Fourteenth Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry. He fought in several battles, among which were the siege of Port Hudson and Sabine Cross Roads, under General Banks. He was also with. Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley. He made a splendid record, and was honorably discharged at the close of the war, at Washington, D.C., June 8, 1865. He then returned to his home, and worked at his trade until 1882, when, with his brother-in-law, John E. Lewis, he bought the mill now owned by them, for a description of which see biography of John E. Lewis.
   Mr. Thomas was married in 1867 to Miss Thirza C. Lewis, who was born in 1845. They have two children. Arthur R., born in 1868, was educated at Cornell preparatory School, and afterward a graduate of the Chicago Medical College of Chicago, Ill. He is now attending physician of the Cook County (Illinois) Hospital. A daughter, A. Luella, born in 1879, is at home with her parents. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and have a delightful residence in the village. Mr. Thomas is a pleasant, agreeable man in social life, liked by his employees, popular as a citizen, and a thorough, energetic Republican in politics, as were also his father and grandfather.

*See Errata page.

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