Ohio County Public Library

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Thomas P. Thomas

Grandson of Betty Zane

-- OBITUARY from the Wheeling Intelligencer, Oct. 12, 1922, p. 2,

Participated in California Gold Rush -- Traveled Extensively in Foreign Lands.

Thomas P. Thomas, 95 years old, the last survivor of the pioneer Thomas family, passed away yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock at the home of his nephew, W. E. Stone, 206 South Front street, Island.

Mr. Thomas enjoyed good health until three weeks ago. Since that time he was confined to his room. Death is attributed to the infirmities of old age.

Mr. Thomas was one of the few surviving "forty-niners" who crossed the plains from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, in search of gold.

After living there for little more than a year, Mr. Thomas gave up his search for gold and returned to Wheeling. He assumed the position of bookkeeper with the firm of Stone & Thomas, which was then but three years old and under the partial management of his brother, J. C. Thomas.

Soon after the Civil War, Mr. Thomas retired from the business world and took up the life of a farmer on the south end of Wheeling Island. The Island at that time was almost entirely farm land and the pursuit proved to be profitable.

Although he lived here practically his entire life, he never took an active part in public affairs or politics. He retired from active life 15 years ago.

Grandson of Betty Zane

Mr. Thomas was the grandson of Elizabeth Zane, whose name is famous in West Virginia history for her feat in carrying powder from the cabin of Col. Zane to Fort Henry, a distance of 150 feet, during the attack on the fort by Indians during the Revolutionary War. His great-grandmother, Mrs. Clark, was also inside the fort during the attack.

Mr. Thomas possessed a keen intelligence which was very active until a month ago. He remembered well the incidents told him of the attack on Fort Henry and although he received but a common school education, Mr. Thomas could quote from memory most of the plays by Shakespeare.

Born in Belmont County

Mr. Thomas was born in November of 1827, in Belmont county on a farm above West Wheeling. His early life was spent in farming. Mr. Thomas never married. When but a youth the gold fever took possession of him and he joined the rush across the plains and searched for gold along the Sacramento river. He failed to make a strike of any consequence and returned to Wheeling a year later.

In later years Mr. Thomas traveled extensively and visited Europe and other continents.

Mr. Thomas is survived by four nephews and two nieces in this vicinity. They are: W. E. Stone, E. L. Stone, Rev. Lewelyn Rose of Martins Ferry and James Thomas of West Wheeling; Mrs. H. F. Jones and Mrs. G. W. Talsom. He was the brother of the late Jacob Thomas and the late Mrs. E. J. Stone, wife of one of the founders of the Stone & Thomas department store.

Funeral services will be held Friday morning at 10 o'clock at the home of his nephew, W. E. Stone. Rev. Lewelyn Rose, his nephew, and Rev. W. E. Craig, of the Thomson M. E. church, will have charge of the services. Private entombment will be made in Greenwood mausoleum.

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