Clay County

Biography - JOHN W. THOMASON

Among the more prosperous young business men of Louisville, John W. Thomason must be accorded a prominent place. Admitted to the bar in 1899 and beginning the practice of his chosen profession in Louisville immediately thereafter, he has in the intervening years built up a law practice worthy of a longer period of labor, and in addition has become prominent in stock raising circles as a breeder of fine cattle, pure Shorthorns being the breed he is cultivating. His united efforts in the law business and as a cattle raiser have brought him a prominence in Clay county, where he was already well known, that being the county of his birth.

Mr. Thomason was born on July 5, 1874, and is the son of William B. and Caroline (Kellums) Thomason. The father was a native of Indiana and the mother of Clay county. He was a farmer, and when his son, John W., was four years of age, he died. His widow survived him until 1901. He was a son of Allen Thomason, born in South Carolina, who settled in Indiana, later removing to Illinois, where he passed the remainder of his life. He was a farmer and a veteran of the Mexican war. The maternal grandfather of John Thomason was John W. Kellums, born in Greene county, Indiana, who moved to Illinois shortly after his marriage. He settled on a farm in the northern part of Clay county, and was there known as a large stock-raiser, in which business he was especially prosperous. He was ever a prominent Republican, and was well known throughout the county. He has always been in the well-to-do class, owning as much as four and five hundred of acres of farm lands. He is now retired from the farming business, and is a resident of Flora, where he owns the principal hotel of the town. He also still retains a goodly quantity of valuable lands in the vicinity of Flora.

John Thomason received his earlier education in the common schools of Clay county and later attended Orchard City College at Flora, from which institution he was graduated in 1894. He taught school for a few terms by way of becoming accustomed to making his own way in the world, after which he studied law in a Chicago law school. He also studied in Mercer county, Illinois, and finished his studies in 1899, being admitted to the bar of the state of Illinois in the same year. He took up the active practice of his profession in Louisville, and in the year following the initiation of his practice there he was elected to the office of state's attorney, in which he served one term. He was elected on the Democratic ticket, although Clay county is a stronghold of the Republican party. In the following election he was defeated for re-election by one vote, at a time when Theodore Roosevelt carried the county by a five hundred majority. Mr. Thomason has been chairman of the Democratic county committee, and has in many and various ways made himself a useful and valuable adherent of the party. As previously mentioned, his operations in the stock-breeding business have brought him added prosperity, and he is the local attorney for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company.

In 1901 Mr. Thomason married Margaret Downing, of Mercer county. She is a daughter of John Downing, who is a merchant in Joy, Mercer county, and a man of considerable note in his community. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Thomason. They are Corinne, Helen and John D.

Mrs. Thomason is a member of the Presbyterian church, in which she takes a sympathetic and dutiful interest, and her husband is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias and the Masonic order. In the latter connection he is a member of the Royal Arch Chapter at Flora and has served as master in the Louisville lodge.

Extracted 09 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, published in 1912, volume 3, pages 1230-1231.

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