Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Jonathan S. Thomas

Here lies the man who genealogists would call my "brick wall," Jonathan S. Thomas, my great-great grandfather.  Years of "on again, off again" research by several family members have gone into finding who he was, who his parents were, and where they came from before living in the United States.  We've learned a good bit about his life but still have not figured out anything about the generation before him.

We believe that Jonathan was born in Hawkinsville, Georgia (Pulaski County) about 1836.  He married Mary Elizabeth Heath November 30, 1853 and they were the parents of four children, of which two lived to adulthood. The eldest child, Mary Anne Elizabeth Thomas (Mullis) lived in Dexter and raised her family there.  John Griffin Thomas lived there as well and was a widow when he married my great grandmother, Mary Jane Shepherd.

Jonathan owned, farmed, and leased almost 900 acres in Dexter at the time of his death.  He was a founding member of the Dexter Baptist Church and the Dexter Masonic Lodge.  We don't know what happened to his first wife, Mary, but we do know that he remarried in 1891 and had two more children, Grover Cleveland Thomas and Juliana May Thomas.  Juliana died in infancy just days before her mother, Mary Etta McKay (Thomas) died.  Jonathan died on May 18, 1900 at the age of 64.  His grave, pictured above, is located on property he owned and that is currently owned by (James) Earl Thomas, his great grandson.

Angie Mood and Earl Thomas at
 the Thomas property
 in Dexter, Georgia.

My sister and I recently spent a couple of days in Dexter talking to our Mom's first cousin, (James) Earl Thomas, about the family and searching through his box of family papers to see if we could come up with anything on this elusive ancestor.  It was so cool to get the tour of the family land and to see this grave site for myself.  It is located just where Jonathan wanted to be buried, under his oak tree.  Well, the tree has seen better days, but the site is still special! We might have narrowed down just a little on his life in the late 1800s and when he actually moved to this property, but nothing that would help us answer the most important questions. We won't give up on you great great granddaddy, I know the clues are out there somewhere.  Earl and I are determined!

John Griffin Thomas, (James) Earl Thomas, Vicky Abbate Johnson
February 2013 in Dexter, Georgia

Jonathan S. Thomas

1 comment:

  1. I have three of these brick walls that I'm currently trying to break through. So, I know your frustration and I know your determination! I'm one of those people that doesn't like to take No for an answer, so I keep plugging away at every little theory that I can come up with. One of these days it will break down these walls. I know it can be down as I've done it with others.
    Keep The Faith!
    Happy Hunting!