William Thomas, son of George and Mary Elizabeth Thomas, was born on January 19, 1840, and died on February 18, 1920, being 80 years and one month of age. His birthplace was at Wickford, Rhode Island. He was of a family of six brothers and one sister but they have all passed on. There is the widow of one brother, Mrs. Abbey Sherman of Wickford, Rhode Island and a son of another brother, Mr. Arthur Thomas of Chicago, who are united with the widow and a son of Mr. Thomas in this hour of bereavement.
In common with others of his family Mr. Thomas was educated for and followed the sea for a vocation. He became a captain of a ship in the Atlantic coasting trade, sailing from Atlantic ports to the Gulf ports. At the outbreak of the Civil war he was in New Orleans, from which port he was the last captain to sail under the Stars and Stripes before the blockage was established. He proudly retained this flag and it is still in the possession of the family. His ship was pressed into the service of the North and he enlisted in the navy becoming a captain. He served under his friend and respected superior, then Commodore Schley, afterwards in the Spanish-American was famous as an admiral. Following the war he was discharged at Panama.
After the war he came west and taught school in Minnesota for a time. Before starting west he had become a member of the Episcopalian church at Wickford, Rhode Island. While in Minnesota he met Miss Lucinda Holding, who he married on March 7th 1870, at Lewiston, Minnesota. Herein lies one of the tragedies of life. Only a few days more were necessary in order to have rounded out full fifty years of the pleasant comradeship.
One son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, Fred, of Cedar Rapids, who with his wife, is here to comfort his mother in this time of need. Following their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Thomas returned to Rhode Island and he returned to the sea for one year.
In the early seventies they again came to Iowa, living for a time at Marshalltown then Montour and finally entering the grain business at Garwin in 1882. He continued in that business until 1911 since which time he has been retired. The funeral was held from the Christian church Saturday at 2 p.m., the local pastor, R. W. Fillmore, conducting the service.
The singing was furnished by Mrs. J. L. Reedy, Mrs. Nellie Freet, T.S. Hurley and Willard Van Horn, with Mrs. Booher at the piano. Six sailors from the world war acted as pall bearers, namely, Ira Dunn, Jr.; Leslie Dobson, Roland Van Horn, Clyde Woods, Lloyd Woods and Marion Belknap. Numerous members of the American Legion attended in a body. Burial was at the Garwin cemetery.
I received this from the Tama County Historical Society through the County Clerk's office. There was a handwritten date on it. It said 1920. That is the year that he died.
Submitted by: Catherine (DSkirman@aol.com)