Biography of Lorenzo R. Thomas

There are some men in every community who appear to have been born to succeed, but their success is not by any means a matter of chance. They are born with those qualities of mind and heart which, if cultivated and applied to the affairs of life, will produce success as surely as wheat well sowed and fertilized will produce its kind. Men who make vigorous and judicious use of these talents are the successful ones.

Lorenzo R. Thomas, one of the enterprising men of Idaho who has continually advanced in the affairs of life, was born in Hanley, Staffordshire, England, May 31, 1870, and is of Welsh ancestry. His father, James Thomas, was married in Wales to Elizabeth Richardson, and afterward removed to England, whence they came to the United States in 1873, bringing with them their daughter and son. The family located in Salt Lake City, Utah, and there Mr. Thomas engaged in the same business that he had followed in England, that of merchant tailoring. In 1877 they removed to Logan, Utah, and in 1882 took up their abode at Idaho Falls, where Mr. Thomas is now carrying on an extensive business as a dealer in clothing and men’s furnishing goods. He is now in his fifty-second year and is a respected bishop of the Church of Latter Day Saints.

In Idaho Falls Lorenzo R. Thomas early learned the basic principles of successful merchandising. He acquired also a good practical education in the public schools of Logan, Utah. His abilities were early recognized and he was given the management of the mercantile business of the Zion Cooperative Mercantile Institution, at Rexburg, Idaho, and controlled that important interest two years and a half. While a resident of Rexburg he was elected a member of the third Idaho state legislature and served in that body with great ability and credit. Upon the expiration of his term in the general assembly he resigned his position with the mercantile company to accept the appointment as deputy state treasurer of Idaho, in which capacity he had charge of the state treasurer’s office under Hon. Charles Bunting, and during a portion of the term of Hon. George H. Storer. These officials had such faith and confidence in the honesty and integrity of Mr. Thomas that he handled the state funds without bonds. Mr. Thomas resigned his position and returned to his home at Rexburg, but was soon afterward appointed United States commissioner, which position he held from April 1897, until October of the same year, when he was appointed by President McKinley register of the United States land office, at Blackfoot. The success which has attended Mr. Thomas’ efforts from boyhood has been somewhat remarkable, and the more so because it has been won entirely through honest effort the result of his diligence, capable management and straightforward dealing.

On the 6th of January 1892, Mr. Thomas was united in marriage to Miss Lillian Elliott, a native of England. Her father died in that country, and in 1887 her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Elliott, with her family of four sons and four daughters, came to the United States, and settled in Rexburg, Fremont County, Idaho, where Mrs. Elliott now resides. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas have three children: Grace Lavinie, Willis Shoup and Lawrence Myrddin. The elder son was named in honor of Congressman Willis Sweet and United States Senator Shoup, who are among Mr. Thomas warmest friends. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas are zealous members of the Church of Latter Day Saints, in the interest of which he has long been an active worker. He traveled for three years in England and Wales as one of its missionaries and his labors were crowned with abundant success. In politics he has long been an active Republican, and was treasurer of the Republican state central committee in the campaign of 1896. By his honorable methods and courteous manners he has made many personal friends throughout the state, and he is universally regarded as a model official.

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Illustrated History of the State of Idaho. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. 1899.

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