Biography of Richard E. Thoes

Richard E. Thoes, present postmaster of Alma, represents one of the oldest and best known pioneer families of Wabaunsee County. His father is still living at Alma, now in his ninetieth year, and is one of the survivors of that historic time when Kansas was a territory and the center of conflict between the free state and the slavery forces.

This Kansas pioneer is Mr. Joseph Thoes. He was born in the Rhine Provine of Germany in November, 1828. His father, John Thoes, was born in the same locality, was a farmer by occupation, and for nine years was a soldier in the French army during the Napoleonic wars. He finally took his family to Algiers in Northern Africa, and spent the rest of his life looking after a farm in that country. Joseph Thoes learned the trade of shoemaker during his early youth, and spent six years in France. In 1851, at the age of twenty-three, he came to the United States and landed in New York City, where he lived for two years, and on July 1, 1852, arrived at what was then practically the frontier outpost of the Missouri River Valley, Westport, now Kansas City, Missouri. After a year there he moved into Kansas and located in Wabaunsee County. He took up a homestead, and still owned that tract of land upon which his pioneer efforts were expended more than sixty years ago. He is now owner of a fine and well cultivated farm of 260 acres four miles south of Alms. For some years he had lived retired in Alma. He began casting his vote as an American citizen in support of the republican party, but of late years had been a democrat. At one time he was county commissioner of Wabaunsee County, and during the Civil war he was in the State Militia and was called out to repel Price’s raid. Joseph Thoes married Augusta Diebold. She was born in Northern Germany in 1844 and is now seventy-three years of age. Their children were: Bertha, who lives at Alma, widow of Joseph Ech, who had a lumber yard at Alma; Emil, cashier in a bank at Manhattan; Emma, wife of Louis Polenske, a photographer living at McFarland, Kansas; Riehard E.; Paulina, wife of A. W. Maas, a farmer seven miles west of Alma; and Laura, wife of Charles Simon, living at Yampa, Colorado.

Richard E. Thoes was born on the site of the present Town of Alma September 3, 1869. He grew up on his father’s farm, was educated in the Alma district schools, and his active vocation for many years was farming. Since 1900 he had lived in Alma, spent three years in a lumber yard, seven years in the furniture and undertaking business, and in 1914 was appointed to the office of postmaster by President Wilson. Mr. Thoes is unmarried and makes his home with his parents. His father owned one of the comfortable homes on Main Street. Mr. Thoes is a democrat, was for several years trustee of Alma Township, had twice been master of Alma Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and is affiliated with Wamego Chapter No. 53, Royal Arch Masons, and Topeka Commandery No. 5 of the Knights Templar.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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