One totally unacquainted with the details of farm life, the value of different soils, or the modifying influence of forests, hills or prairies, can still judge of the worth of an estate and the capability of its proprietor at a glance. Fields wherein weeds fill every fence corner and lift their heads between the rows of grain, inadequate shelter for stock and crops, and a general air of disorder give conducive evidence that the land is illy managed. On the other hand, fields bearing bountiful harvests of grain, substantial buildings, improved machinery and neat fencing, give abundant indication of the thrift of the owner.
The traveler passing the farm owned and occupied by Mr. Thomas and noting the air of prosperity everywhere visible will very naturally conclude that the owner is a man of public spirit and enterprise. Such indeed is the case. His farm, while not one of the largest in the county of Clinton, is nevertheless finely improved and every acre is made to yield the very best results possible. The land lies in Meridian Township and comprises what is conceded to be one of the most valuable farms in the community. From the two hundred acres are gathered every year large harvests of grain, the property thus proving to be a source of good revenue to the owner.
In the biography of Adolph Thomas (our subject's brother), presented elsewhere in this volume, will be found an extended mention of his parents, John B. and Josephine Thomas. Frank was born in St. Clair County, this state, December 15, 1844, and passed the years of boyhood and youth in a comparatively uneventful manner, alternating attendance at the common schools of St. Clair County with work upon the home farm. Having been reared to the life of a farmer, it was natural upon choosing an occupation that he should select the one with which he was most familiar. At the age of twenty years, in partnership with his two brothers, he rented land in Clinton County and began tilling the soil and improving the farm.
Twenty-six years have passed since Mr. Thomas came to Clinton County, and during that time he has worked his way upward from the proprietor of a rented farm to the owner of a valuable estate. Nor has his success been a material one only, but he has also been successful in gaining the esteem and regard of those with whom business or social relations have brought him into contact. After having rented land for a few years he and a brother bought a piece of property, but shortly afterward he sold his interest in the place to his brother and purchased eighty acres in Meridian Township. Upon disposing of that place he purchased the two hundred acres where he has since engaged in agricultural pursuits.
In 1871 Mr. Thomas was united in marriage with Miss Josephine, daughter of Nicholas and Dorothy SHEIGER, and they became the parents of two children, Frank, Jr., and Mary. Mrs. Josephine Thomas died in 1877 and was buried in Centralia. The second marriage of Mr. Thomas occurred August 15, 1878, and united him with Miss Julia SCHWEITZER, an estimable lady, who was born in Wisconsin, being a daughter of John and Susan Schweitzer, natives of Germany. Of this marriage the following named children have been born: Joseph, Anna, John, George, Lena, Lulu and Peter.
In their religious convictions Mr. and Mrs. Thomas are Catholics and are identified with the church of that denomination in Sandoval. Socially he affiliates with the Knights and Ladies of Honor at Centralia. In all progressive measures having for their ultimate or direct object the promotion of the best interests of his community, he is actively interested, and in various ways has aided in the progress of the township and county. While not a partisan in his political preference, he believes in the platform and principles of the Democratic party, but is not an aspirant for official honors, preferring to give his attention unreservedly to his farming interests.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Clinton, Washington, Marion and Jefferson Counties, Illinois, 1894, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, IL
Submitted by: Connie Albers
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