Pages 522-523, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




HARRY E. THOMAS, the east Iola lumber dealer, and for many years, last passt,[sic] identified prominently with the building interests of Iola, came into Allen county in 1883 from Clinton county, Indiana. He was born in the latter locality September 25, 1861, secured his common school education there and left there, permanently, only when he came to Kansas. He is a son of John M. Thomas, a carpenter in Jefferson, Clinton county, a native of that county and born in Frankfort, Indiana, in 1835. He died in Iola in 1898. He was a son of Asahel Thomas, a Welchman, by trade a cabinet maker and a pioneer to Clinton county, Indiana.

John M. Thomas married Barbara Utz, a daughter of George Utz. Mrs. Thomas died in Eldorado, Kansas, in 1896. Mr. Utz went into Indiana from Maryland and passed his early life at the carpenter's bench. His last years were spent on the farm.

To John M. Thomas and wife were born seven children, viz.: Edgar N. Thomas, Harry E. Thomas, Elma M. Thomas, Estella J. Thomas, John E. Thomas and Charles and Eva Thomas.

Harry E. Thomas was reared in Jefferson, Indiana, and was a pupil in the schools of that place till he was fifteen years old. He worked on the farm in summer and in the saw-mill in winter, in early youth, and had just entered his 'teens when he took up his first lessons at the carpenter's bench. It seems but natural that he should be an apt pupil with tools, since his ancestors were mechanics and his own inclinations sanctioned the step, and it is not surprising that he should become an efficient workman with little instruction. He worked with his father till a strong desire to see the west seized him and he quit and came to Kansas. He struck the State with less money than would board him a day at a first class hotel. He added his


name to the small force of mechanics in Iola and followed his trade, with scarce an interruption, for ten years. In 1896 he formed a partnership with I. E. Patterson and established a third lumber yard in Iola, carrying, also, builders supplies, but in 1898 the firm dissolved and Mr. Thomas retired. In 1899 he opened his yard in East Iola, commonly called Bricktown, and has a well-arranged, well-equipped and prosperous yard, having since taken as a partner his brotherin-law, G. W. Lawyer.

November 11, 1884. Mr. Thomas married Sadie E. Lawyer, a daughter of Ira B. Lawyer, one of Allen county's leading pioneers. Four children have been born of this union: Fannie, deceased; Ira, Frank and Lloyd Thomas, deceased.

Harry Thomas is not only prominently known in business but he is equally well-known politically in Iola. His splendid sense of the proprieties of business and his intense loyalty to honor were qualities which caused his selection for Councilman at two different times. Politics was not permitted to govern his official conduct and only needful municipal legislation did he countenance and support. He is a Republican, but not because his father and his grandfathers were. He occupies an unshakable moral attitude toward questions of public polity and in social intercourse and is universally regarded as a patriotic and worthy citizen.

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