JOHN E. THOMAS, one of the important factors in the architectural department of Bloomington, Ill., is prominently
engaged as a contractor and builder, and is considered one of the most successful and skillful of the craft. Our
subject is a native of Greene County, Ohio, and was born July 3, 1833. He is the son of Francis F. and Jemima (Rice)
Thomas, the father a native of Ohio and the mother of Pennsylvania. Francis F. Thomas, in early manhood, became
one of the first settlers of Greene County, Ohio, and for a number of years was a prominent farmer of that region.
In 1855 he disposed of his real estate there and came to Bloomington, Ill. The following year he purchased 232
acres of land in Bloomington, where he resumed his old occupation, and occupied the home here established until
his death, which occurred on the 20th of September, 1862. The wife and mother had died two years previously, on
the 12th of July, 1860. They were the parents of five children, three of whom are living: John E.; Leander, a farmer
of McLean County, and Margaret, Mrs. Wilson, of Indiana.
John E. Thomas remained with his parents until he was nineteen years old, and then went to Cincinnati, where he served a three years' apprenticeship at the carpenter's trade. He then came to Bloomington, Ill., and since that time has been engaged in his present calling and is the oldest contractor and builder in the city who is still doing business. He gives employment to from five to twenty men, and has superintended the erection of some of the most important structures in the city, among which is the Second Ward school-house, which is the pride of all the people in that vicinity. He built the Orphans' Home in Indiana, the cost thereof being $80,000, and also the Methodist College at Greencastle, Ind. [ed., DePauw University], which cost $40,000. Before coming to Illinois he completed some important contracts in Ohio, and has proved himself eminently fitted for his chosen vocation. He will accept none but the best work from the most skillful employes, and his name is a guarantee of the architectural beauty and the solidity of whatever building he undertakes.
The marriage of John Thomas and Miss Eliza C. Carman took place, on the 21st of October, 1858, in Bloomington. Mrs. Thomas is a native of Kentucky, and the daughter of Archie and Eliza (Grow) Carman, also of Kentucky. Of her union with our subject there have been born four children—Emma G., Mrs. Miner; Maude P., Jeannette A. and Carrie L. The attractive home of our subject and his family is located at No. 1105 East Jefferson street, where they dispense a generous hospitality to a large number of friends and acquaintances. The family are connected with the Second Presbyterian Church, and in politics Mr. Thomas is identified with the Democratic party. He is also a member in good standing of the I. O. O. F.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 578. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.