William James Thomas
William James Thomas, county clerk of Kent county, Mich., was born in Cannon township, November 24, 1859, a son of John M. and Carrie (Kromer) Thomas, the former of whom was born in Lycoming county, Pa., and the latter in New York. These parents were married in Kent county, Mich., November 24, 1858, settled on a farm, on which their two children, William J. and Fred, were born, and where Mrs. Thomas died in 1866. In the meanwhile Mr. Thomas had served a year in company H.,. Twenty-first Michigan volunteer infantry. The second born child, Fred, is a resident of Grand Rapids, and is a furniture finisher by vocation.
John M. Thomas remained on the old homestead in Cannon township, after being bereft of his wife, continued his occupation of farming, and in 1868 married Miss Carrie Scott, a native of New York, and to this marriage has been born one child--Blanche. In politics Mr. Thomas is quite prominent as a republican. He served as deputy sheriff in 1878, and was the republican candidate for sheriff in 1884; during Harrison’s administration he served as deputy United States marshal, and now holds the office of county drain commissioner. In 1889 Mr. Thomas removed from Cannon township to Grand Rapids township, a half mile north of the city limits of Grand Rapids, where he still resides. He is a royal arch Mason, and is highly respected throughout the county.
William J. Thomas was educated in the union school of Cannon township and at the high school of Grand Rapids. He began his business life at the early age of eighteen years, by teaching a country school two years, followed by twelve terms as principal of the Cannonsburg union school. He next engaged in lumbering, followed the calling during the years 1882 and 1883, and then settled down to farming. For three years (1894-95-96) he served as supervisor of Cannon township, and in the fall of 1896 was elected county clerk, and again in the fall of 1898. This compliment is pretty good evidence that he has filled the latter office with ability and faithfulness.
The marriage of Mr. Thomas took place in Cannon township June 4, 1881, to Miss Cora L. Lacey, who was born in Rockford, Kent county, Mich., May 17, 1860, a daughter of John I. and Catherine (Gray) Lacey. Four children have come to bless this marriage, and are named, in order of birth, John N., Mac, Charles and Leah. Fraternally Mr. Thomas is a member of Rockford lodge, No. 246, A.F. & A.M., Daisy lodge, No. 48, B.P.O.E., Cannon tent, No. 843, Maccabees, Grand Rapids court of Foresters, and Kent camp of Woodmen. Mr. Thomas still owns his farm of 320 acres in Cannon township, which he has cultivated in small grain by hired help, and on which he breeds some fine live stock. As a republican Mr. Thomas is greatly in favor with his party as well as with the public, and socially he and wife enjoy the esteem of a very wide circle of warm-hearted friends.
Transcriber: Barb Jones
Created: 16 Feb 2009