John W. Thomas is a progressive and capable young man, whose labors have been crowned with abundant success in the acquisition of the goods of this world, while also he has been one of the foremost ones in the up building and material welfare of the reservation portion of Nez Perces County, where he has labored faithfully since taking his present place, ten miles southeast from Peck, in 1896. From the wild land, it has been transformed to a valuable and fertile farm that is placed under tribute by his skillful husbandry to return annual dividends of bounteous crops. A large orchard of bearing trees, a modern and tasty six room house, a commodious barn and many other improvements testify to the labor and wisdom manifested.

John W. Thomas was born in Howell County, Missouri, on September 14, 1870, being the son of Nathan and Obelia (Forbes) Thomas, natives of Yancey County, North Carolina, and Lee County, Virginia, respectively. They were married in North Carolina and came to Howell County, Missouri, where the father farmed until January 21, 1881, the date of his death. The mother died in September 1891.

In the spring of 1893, Mr. Thomas came to Juliaetta and went to work for his brother. He had five dollars cash then and all his goodly holdings have been wrought out by his industry since that time. Just previous to the opening of the reservation, Mr. Thomas spent some time traveling over it and when the opportunity presented itself to file he was in position to locate the ground he desired. Time has shown his judgment to have been good.

On May 20, 1894, Mr. Thomas married Miss Jennie Jayne, who had lived in Howell County, Missouri. Two children have come to gladden the union, Howard, born January 14, 1895: Benjamin .Martin, born April 21, 1901. Mr. Thomas’ father was a soldier in the Confederate army and participated in the following notable battles, Fair Oaks, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, besides others and many skirmishes. Our subject is a zealous disciple of Nimrod and has made four different trips to the Salmon River country to hunt deer. In these he has taken as his trophies thirty-six of the fleet footed creatures and he is a skillful man with a rifle in the chase.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903