Elizabeth Jane Routh was born near Knoxville, Tennessee in 1828. She married 25 October 1850 to James Thomas born 1822 in Tennessee.
One year after their marriage, she accompanied her brothers Jacob and Joseph Routh, her mother, and an orphaned niece, Rachel Elizabeth Mann, to Texas, leaving Dandridge, Jefferson County, Tennessee on October 2, 1851, arriving in Collin County, Texas forty-four days later. Cost of this one thousand mile trip by covered wagon was $171.93. Jacob Routh had purchased several hundred acres of land in Collin County on a previous trip. The family moved into a house he had built previously.
James Thomas, who had been detained in Tennessee because of business, came to Texas in 1852 expecting to take Elizabeth Jane back to Tennessee, but he was so well pleased with the country that he decided to stay. He purchased land near Richardson where they lived and farmed until they moved to Dallas in 1862.
In Dallas, he bought for a homestead forty acres of land lying north of Pearl Street, bounded on the west by McKinney Avenue and on the south by a branch. He built his home on the southeast corner of McKinney Avenue and Pearl Street. Later the tract was subdivided and was designated as the Thomas Addition. The principal street of the subdivision was named Thomas Avenue. A cross street was named Routh Street.
Prior to coming to Texas, James Thomas served in the army, being assigned to the Captain John J. Reese Company (G) Fifth Regiment as Fourth Sergeant. He joined the Company in October, 1847, and was discharged at Memphis in July, 1848 at the end of the Mexican War. When the Civil War broke out, he joined the Company raised in this county for Colonel Burford’s regiment and was elected Captain. He served until the war ended.
After the war, Captain Thomas returned to Dallas and engaged in a mercantile business with J. M. Patterson as a partner. For several years this was one of the leading mercantile firms in the city. He took an active interest in and gave financial support to all public enterprises, notably to the Trinity River Bridge in which he was a stockholder. He died in 1875.
Elizabeth Jane Thomas continued to live in the home on McKinney Avenue until her death 13 January 1922. At that time, she was the oldest member of the First Baptist Church.
Children of James and Elizabeth Thomas were: 1) Oliver Thomas born 25 May 1855, died 23 March 1903; 2) Mary T. Thomas born 20 August 1856, died 26 June 1933; 3) Clara E. Thomas born 21 March 1858, died 2 July 1894; 4) Martha Thomas born 23 November 1859, died 19 May 1920; 5) Jeff D. Thomas born 27 March 1861, died 29 April 1901; 6) Willie O. Thomas born 9 October 1865, died 27 October 1887; and 7) James Colby Thomas born 20 October 1870, died 8 January 1923.
Oliver Thomas, son of James and Elizabeth Thomas, born 25 May 1855 near Richardson, Texas, died 23 March 1903, married 19 April 1883 Dallas, Texas to Mary Baker Smith born 10 February 1857 Kentucky, died 15 December 1926 Richardson, Texas.
Oliver Thomas was educated in private schools in Dallas as there were no public schools at that time. He and his brother, Colby, were owners of Thomas Brothers Company. This was an insurance and real estate business. At the time of his death, he was serving as Alderman-at-Large in the city government. He served as chairman of the finance committee and was also a member of the public improvement committee.
Children of Oliver and Mary Baker Thomas were: 1) Clarence Taylor Thomas born 18 July 1886, died 18 April 1944; 2) Willie May Thomas born 19 June 1888, died 11 July 1977 in Lubbock, married 14 October 1914 in Dallas to Smylie C. Wilson, born 5 June 1881,
died 29 May 1968. 3) Ina Ellen Thomas born 2 February 1891, died 11 October 1978. 4) James Oliver Thomas born 27 September 1895, died 18 September 1961.
Clarence Taylor Thomas, son of Oliver and Mary Baker Smith Thomas, born 18 July 1886 in Dallas, died 18 April 1944 in Richardson, married 1 June 1918 Dallas to Mamie S. Roberts born 8 August 1884, died 24 December 1966 Garland. Both are buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
Clarence moved to a farm in Richardson in 1916. There he and his brother owned and operated a dairy, raising only registered Jersey cows. He sold milk in Dallas and Garland.
Clarence was educated in private schools in Dallas and a business school in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was associated with Farm and Ranch Publishing Company, publishers of Farm and Ranch and Holland’s Magazine, for more than forty years. At the time of his death, he was vice president and general manager of the company.
Beginning with Elizabeth Jane and James Thomas, six generations of this family have
lived or are living now in Dallas County. During the past one hundred thirty-three years, someone in the family has been active in the life of the community, making worthwhile contributions to its growth and development.
By Mary E. Thomas Halford, Richardson for Dallas County Pioneer Association’s Proud Heritage, Volume I.