In every community we find that there are some individuals who seem naturally endowed with the ability to go ahead and do things and take a place of leadership among their associates. Robert M. Thomas is one of those who possess the natural endowments, peculiar to leadership and the ability to make things go with which he is connected. A successful farmer, a good citizen and business man, makes an excellent combination, and Mr. Thomas has made his mark in his community as a progressive and enterprising citizen.

Robert M. Thomas was born in Buchanan County, Missouri, February 2, 1868, a son of Moses and Katie (CRITCHFIELD) Thomas, who were born and partly reared in old Kentucky. The parents' of both were early settlers of Buchanan County. Moses was the son of Robert Thomas, and the father of his wife was Martin Critchfield. They were southern born, and were descendants of old southern families. Moses Thomas was born in 1843, and still resides in Buchanan County; his wife, Katie, was born in 1850, and is still living. The Thomas family has a farm of 140 acres in Buchanan County, upon which was reared a large family of eleven children, nine of whom are living: Robert M.; John, deceased; Walter, living in California; Forrest, residing in St. Joseph, Mo.; Harriet and Cecil, at home; Ollie, deceased; Louise, Margaret, Cora and Ellen, at home with their parents.

R. M. Thomas received his education in the public schools of his native state and assisted his father in the operating of the home farm until 1892, when he married and farmed for three years in Buchanan County, Missouri, and then worked his farm in Platte County, Missouri, for four years. His first purchase of land was in 1899 when he invested in a farm of 120 acres in Buchanan County, which he sold three years later at a profit over the original purchase price. In 1902 he bought another farm, and in 1903 located two and one-half miles northwest of Effingham in Benton township. This farm comprises 160 acres and is now one of the best improved places in the neighborhood. Mr. Thomas did so well in Atchison County that he was enabled to buy another farm of 160 acres in 1912. This farm is located in Grasshopper township, about three miles north of Muscotah. Upon the organization of the Farmers' Mercantile Company in June, 1913, in which Mr. Thomas took an active part, he assumed the managership of the same and attends to his business during the day, while still making his home at the farm. This plan given him an excellent opportunity to oversee his farming operations at all times.

Mr. Thomas was married in 1892 to Katie STANTON of Platte County, Missouri, a daughter of William and Cynthia (HALL) Stanton, natives of Platte County, and of Eastern Origin. To this union the following children have been born: William, married Pearl, daughter of Thomas O. GAULT, and is managing his father's farm, two miles north of Muscotah; Clara, a graduate of the Atchison County High School, and a teacher in the public schools; Margaret, Ollie and Jessie, students in the county high school; Elva, Emma, Robert M., and Daisy, attending the district school near their home.

Mr. Thomas is a Democrat in politics and has filled the office of trustee of Benton township one term. He and his family are members of the Christian Church. He is fraternally connected with the Odd Fellows lodge.

The Farmers' Mercantile Association, of which Mr. Thomas is the manager, was organized in June of 1913 for the purpose of handling grain, coal, feed and seeds. The capital stock of the concern is $10,000, of which $6,800 is fully paid up. The officers of the association were: President, C. A. TALIAFERRO; vice-president, Stewart HEFFLEFINGER; secretary and manager, R. M. Thomas; treasurer, C. M. SNYDER. The directors are: C. A. Taliaferro, S. Hefflefinger, Charles M. Snyder, John E. SULLIVAN, R. M. Thomas, E. H. CAWLEY, W. M. SUTTER, R. B. HAWK, Reuben HARGROVE. The present officers are the same with the exception that Reuben Hargrove is now serving as the vice-president, and Fred WYATT was elected to fill the vacancy in the board of directors, caused by the demise of C. A. Taliaferro and Edward HIGH succeeded W. M. Sutter. The concern has a gain elevator with a capacity of 8,000 bushels. The largest shipment of grain made in any one year has exceeded 115,000 bushels.

Taken From:

History of Atchison County, Kansas

by Sheffield Ingalls - 1916

Submitted by:

Clemi Higley Blackburn, September 2003