William Thomas

Born: West Lima, WI – 23 Apr 1859

Died: Hawthorne, CA – 14 Nov 1943

Father: Solomon Scott Thomas

Mother: Martha Ann Clark Thomas

Spouse: Anna Mary Johnson Thomas

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Great Grandfather William Clinton Thomas

William Clinton Thomas was born in or near West Lima in Forest Township, Richland County, Wisconsin on April 23, 1859. He was the 5th boy and 6th of 12 children born to Solomon Scott Thomas and Martha Ann Clark Thomas. His father Solomon was 32 years old and his mother Martha was 27.

In 1870 William was 11 years old and living on a farm in Stark Township, Vernon County, Wisconsin according to the 1870 Federal Census.

According to the June 1880 Federal Census, William Clinton Thomas was living in Lake County, Dakota Territory, in District 040 on his father Solomon’s farm at the age of 16. Also living there was his step-mother Delia, brothers George Benjamin 17, Marion 12, and Solomon 8, and his sisters Samantha Emerett 15 and Martha Emaline age 10.

Lake County is in southeastern South Dakota. Miner County is just west of Lake County and Kingsbury is just north of both of them. His future wife Anna Mary Johnson lived in either Miner County or Kingsbury County.

I do not know how William and Anna met but they lived in adjoining counties in the late 1870’s and into the 1880’s and there were very few towns in the area. Perhaps their parents owned farms in the same area. I do know that they did meet and on December 26, 1886 William Clinton Thomas, age 27, and Anna Mary Johnson, age 17, were married. I were probably married in South Dakota and very probably in Miner County or Lake County.  I did not found any marriage records in either county’s courthouse.

By the 1900 Census William and Anna had 6 kids, Mable A 12, Charles M 11, Maude I 8, Francis S 6, Roy Dewey 2, and Hazel A 2 months old. The family was living on a farm in Walworth Township, Walworth County, South Dakota.

According to his daughter, Maude: “William was a very religious man. In 1901 the family bought a church. They moved the building onto a lot and this became their home. For entertainment, they had a music box. William Thomas wanted to be sure his children were familiar with music. It was the wind up type. Later, they got a phonograph and the records were made of wax and were round like a tube. The record slid over another round piece and a needle arm was placed on it. It worked on the same idea of today's records, only they weren't a flat circle.”

In 1910 William was a teamster and the family had relocated to Huron, South Dakota and were living at 1150 Simmons Ave. William 57, Anna 41, Mable 22, Charles 20, Maud 17, Frank 15, Roy D 11, Hazel 9, Howard 3, and Edith 1.

In 1920 William and Anna and family were still living at 1150 Simmons Ave in Huron, SD with Edith, Frank, Roy D, and Howard.

Anna Mary Johnson Thomas died June 30, 1921 in Huron, South Dakota.  She is buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Huron.

William moved to Laurel, Mississippi sometime in the late 1920’s per the obituary of his brother Moses Kitchel Thomas.

I do not know when William moved to California but twenty years later we find William Clinton Thomas living in California. Several of his children were living in Los Angeles County and working in the ship building effort during WWII and William was probably living with one of them. He died in the Hawthorne Hospital in Hawthorne, Los Angeles County, California on November 14, 1943.


Recollections from his grandson, LeRoy Murray:

“Gpa William lived at Carthage, SD and moved to Howard SD where he did well with a butter and egg business until he had an idea to keep milk from spoiling and somehow lost out. He traveled all over SD in a covered wagon and finally settled in Huron SD where he was in a contracting business. He dug the basement for the post office and built the grade for the Great Northern Railroad.”


William Clinton and Anna Mary Johnson Thomas had 8 children:

Mable E, 21 Nov born 1887 in SD, died before 1930

Charles Marion, born 10 May 1889 in Mankato, MN, died unknown

Maude Isabelle, born 21 Jul 1892 in Carthage, SD, died 8 May 1985 in Pipestone, MN

Francis Scott, born 14 Apr 1894 in Hudson, SD, died 6 Feb 1960, location unknown

Roy Dewey, born 18 May 1898 in SD, died after 1925

Hazel Aleatha, born 3 Apr 1900 in Miller, SD, died 4 May 1979 in Slayton, MN

Howard Clinton, born 13 May 1907 in Beadle County, SD, died 5 Sep 1967 in Hawthorne, CA

Edith M, born 1 Feb 1909 in South Dakota, died 29, Dec 1976 in Murdo, SD

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© Alan 2017