LEWIS B. THOMAS, Mayor of Bloomington, born within the precincts of the city which he now presides over, on
the 27th of September, 1838. His parents were William and Catharine (Haines) Thomas, natives of Xenia, Ohio, who
removed to Bloomington in 1835, where William Thomas served as County Treasurer from 1853 to 1866.
During the progress of the Rebellion he was also agent for the war fund, and for a period of twenty years was extensively engaged in buying and shipping stock and pork-packing. At the commencement of the building of the Illinois Central Railroad he took a heavy contract for getting out ties, and in the meantime built and equipped two steam sawmills, one in Lytleville and one in Bloomington.
In 1872 he went to Texas, and starting a beef-packing establishment north of Galveston, for two years transacted an extensive business. He then went into Kansas and Missouri, and was engaged in money loaning for Eastern capitalists for four years. He then returned to McLean County, and was elected City Treasurer of Bloomington, which office he occupied at the time of his death in 1881, being seventy-five years of age.
Upon first coming to Illinois he engaged in farming on ground now occupied by the city of Bloomington. His wife, the mother of our subject, is still living in this city, and is seventy-three years of age. The parental family consisted of twelve children, of whom only three are living: Lewis B., our subject; Belle M., Mrs. Elder, of Randolph, in this county, and Joseph A., engaged in life insurance business in Iowa.
Lewis B. Thomas spent his earlier years under the parental roof and attended the city schools until fifteen years of age. He then entered Jubilee College, at Eureka, Ill. [note: Jubilee College was in Brimfield, Ill. and Eureka College is in Eureka, Ill.], and after an attendance there of one year took a course in Antioch College, of which Horace Mann was President.
He thus spent another year, and then returning to Bloomington was soon afterward appointed Deputy Clerk of the Circuit Court, which office he occupied for three years following. He then engaged in the insurance business, and now represents many of the best companies of the East and West.
Our subject has been prominent in the affairs of his native city since old enough to fill a position of trust and responsibility. He was a member of the City Council from 1880 to 1886, and elected Mayor during the latter year. In 1861 he was City Treasurer, and also held the same office in the Merchantís Association for three years. In 1879 he became a member of the Board of Education, being still connected therewith, and socially belongs to the Masonic fraternity and the Union League, being Secretary of the latter.
The marriage of Lewis B. Thomas and Miss Belle M. Moore took place in September, 1859. Mrs. Thomas was born in Naples, Ill., and is the daughter of John and Margaret Moore, of Ohio. By her union with our subject she has become the mother of two children Harry M. and Wilbur F.
Mayor Thomas and his lady are among the most esteemed residents of McLean County. He is the nominee of the Republican party this spring for reelection to the office of Mayor.
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), 438. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.