Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Joseph P. Thomas

JOSEPH P. THOMAS. How far a man of foreign birth coming to this country with no knowledge of its people or language, and without capital, may progress to prosperity in business affairs and to substantial position as member of a community is well illustrated in the case of Joseph P. Thomas, cashier of the First State Bank of Portis, and a large farmer and land owner in Osborne County.

Mr. Thomas was born in Southeast Germany August 23, 1867. His father, August Thomas, spent all his life there as a farmer, having been born in 1830 and died in 1906. The mother, whose maiden name was Louise Shick, also spent her life in Germany. They were the parents of four children: August, Jr., when last heard from was still on his farm in Germany; Bertha married Joseph Kinne, employed in the revenue department of the German Government; Joseph P., of Portis; and Pauline, wife of Frank Langer, a farmer of Jewell County, Kansas.

Joseph P. Thomas grew up on his father's farm in Germany and had the common school education given to all German youth. He was about sixteen when he set out "to find fame and fortune" in the new world, arriving here in 1883 and first locating in the rich farming district around Lacon, Illinois. His early opportunities were in the form of farm labor, and he lived there until 1889. In that year he journeyed westward to Hardy, Nebraska, and had a meat market in that town for several years. Mr. Thomas became a resident of Kansas in 1904, establishing his home at Athol, where he conducted a meat market and also did a lively business as a stock and grain buyer. In that year he came to Portis, and laid the basis of his business prosperity while here. He has been a resident of Portis since 1904. On coming here he was associated with J. B. Burrow and Henry Williams in establishing the First State Bank, an institution whose prosperity may be measured by its capital of $10,000 and surplus of $10,000. Mr. Burrow is still president, the vice president is F. H. Burrow, and Mr. Thomas has most of the executive detail of the bank's management as cashier. However, he still keeps his home on the farm, living on a model place adjoining Portis. Altogether he has 880 acres in Smith and Osborne counties and devotes this extensive tract to grain and livestock. Mr. Thomas is a democrat and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Fraternally he is affiliated with the Masonic Lodge, Royal Arch Chapter and Council at Osborne, and with Portis Camp, Modern Woodmen of America, and Portis Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Follows.

In 1892, at Hardy, Nebraska, Mr. Thomas married Miss Ella Morgan, daughter of Thomas C. and Sarah (Foster) Morgan. Her mother is deceased, and her father is a druggist at Jansen, Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas take justifiable pride in their family of children, four in number. Carl M., the oldest, is a graduate of the Salina Business College and is assistant cashier in his father's bank. Louise is a graduate of the Portis High School and is still at home. Harold M., the third child, is a graduate of the local high school and in 1918 was enrolled in the United States Naval Reserve School at Seattle, Washington. Joseph M., the youngest, is still in school.

Pages 2276-2277.