Biography of Willard H. Thomas

WILLARD H. THOMAS, now residing on a forty acre homestead in Stony Creek Township, has given the best years of his career to the most useful occupation that can employ the energies of man or woman, that of teaching, He has made an excellent record as an educator, and was for a number of years identified with the schools of Madison County, until he recently retired and went upon a farm.

Willard H. Thomas, who represents 0ne of the oldest Indiana families, was born in Floyd County, March 25, 1872, a son of William and Sarah (Boley) Thomas. The Thomas family originated in Virginia, where it was settled during the colonial period. John Thomas, the founder of the family name and fortunes in Indiana, came out to what was then regarded the west and located in southern Indiana, and spent the rest of his lifetime in Harrison County. At his death he was buried upon the old homestead, which he had entered from the government and to which he and his children had given many years of labor in the clearing and cultivation. He had a large family of children, and one of them was William, who in turn had a son named William, the latter William being the father of the educator above named. William Thomas, the father, is still a resident of Harrison County, He served in Company C of the Eighty-first Indiana Infantry, and was a soldier until incapacitated from further service by ill health, He was the father of three children, named as follows: Willard H.; Vernette A., who graduated from the common schools and studied in the State *Normal, after which she was a teacher for some time until her marriage to Mr. Harry Markwell; Edwin M., principal of the Hamilton school in Jackson Township of Madison County.

Mr. Willard H. Thomas spent his youth on a farm, and when old enough began walking back and forth to the neighboring district schools, in which he attained his early training and was finally graduated from the common schools. He secured a license to teach at the age of seven- teen, and at intervals between his work as teacher he attended the Cen- tral Normal College at Danville, Indiana, and in 1896 entered the State Normal School, where he was graduated in 1899, Mr. Thomas possesses a life certificate, granted by the state, He served as principal of the Georgetown school, resigning there and after a year spent at Huntingburg came to Madison County in the fall of 1901, He became principal of the Perkinsville school, and in all the schools where he has taught the cause of education has prospered, and he has left his impress for good upon hundreds of young men and women. He continued actively in educational work until the fall of 1912, at which time he retired and took up his residence on the farm in Stoney Creek Township.

On Christmas Day of 1895 Mr. Thomas married Miss Nellie Gresham. She was reared and educated in southern Indiana, and attained a high school education. The three children of their marriage are named Harold G. age thirteen; Roscoe E., age eleven; and Jessie Vernette, age eight. The family worship in the Methodist church at Lapel, and Mr. Thomas is secretary of Lapel Lodge No, 625, A. F. & A. M. He is also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he and his wife have membership with the Eastern Star and with the Rebekahs, He belongs to the Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America. In politics he is a Democrat, though he has never taken much part in party affairs.



Madison County IN,

Forkner, John. History of Madison County, Indiana: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests. Chicago: The Lewis publishing company, 1914.

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