Pages 119-120, 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.




LEONARD C. THOMAS, one of the well-to-do farmers of Allen county, was born in Quincy, Illinois, March 7, 1859, of German parentage. His father, Philip Thomas, was a native of Germany, and came to America at the age of twelve years. He represented a family widely known for excellent business ability, its members attaining a high degree of prosperity. Two of his brothers yet survive. Casper Thomas, who came to America in 1849, located in California. He is now living in luxury in Germany. Tobias, also went to California and is now living in Portland, Oregon.

In early life Philip Thomas began working at the cooper's trade which he followed in this country with excellent success, thereby acquiring a very desirable competence. He married Elizabeth Herleman, who was born in Denmark, and came to America when nine years of age. She was a daughter of Jacob Herleman, a farmer, who died near Quincy, Adams county, Illinois, when in the prime of life. Her brother, Nick Herleman, made his fortune on a farm, and is now living retired in Quincy. Her sister, who married a Mr. Smith, and was widely known as "Aunt Smith," died wealthy. The money making propensity of the family was manifest in Philip Thomas, whose business grew in volume and importance, so that he furnished employment to between one and two hundred men. By his marriage to Miss Herleman the following children were born: Mary, widow of Mr. Messerschmidt, who was a well-to-do saddler; Lysetta, who died in May, 1898, was the wife of Mr. Winter, who died in May, 1900. He served for four years and seven months in the Civil war, participated in the battle of Bull Run, and was seven times wounded. At the battle of Wilson Creek, General Lyons fell and he aided in carrying him from the field. In other engagements, Mr. Winter also sustained wounds. As soon as it became known that he was a boatman, he was detached from land service and placed on a transport boat, where he served until after the close of hostilities. Albert Thomas, the eldest son of the family, was a sergeant in the Regular army and now is in the Philippine war. Philip C., who was born in June, 1853, has followed the coopering business all his life in partnership with his father. He has a son, a machinist, now in Denver, Colorado. Tobias, the youngest son of the family, is an engineer with the Electric Weaving Company, of Quincy, Illinois.

Leonard C. Thomas acquired a common school education and received a thorough training at the cooper's trade, which he learned under the direction of his father, of whom he afterward became a partner. They took the trees as they were cut down in the forest and did all the work of manufacturing the lumber and making the barrels. Mr. Thomas, of this review, followed the business until November, 1883, when he came to Kansas. He has since carried on agricultural pursuits here. In November previous he had wedded Miss Carrie Smith, a sister of Judge J. B. Smith, of the probate court of Allen county. Her father, John Smith, was for four years sheriff of Sangamon county, Illinois, and was at one time mayor of Springfieid, Illinois. He was elected and served for one term in


the state legislature, and was afterward appointed warden of the state penitentiary. When the war broke out he was in Springfield and there he formed a company and was appointed captain. He represented an old Kentucky family but possessed strong abolition principles. John Smith, however, was the only Republican in his family, and had brothers in the southern army. He was killed in a railroad accident between Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, while warden of the penitentiary. Two sons and one daughter still survive him. The third being Will Smith, a real estate dealer in Oklahoma.

As before stated Mr. Thomas came to Kansas in 1883. His wife had inherited two hundred and fifty-six acres of land on section 32, Salem township, and this induced him to take up the life of farming. Mr. Thomas broke all of this tract and all of the improvements on the place stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise. Here they have reared their three children: John, who was born June 26, 1887; Charles, born in November, 1889, and Elmer B., born March 31, 1896. They are being provided with good educational privileges and well fitted for life's practical duties. Mr. Thomas has been a man of marked enterprise and excellent executive ability whose sagacity and energy in business affairs have contributed in a large measure to his prosperity.

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