Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Doctor Eli Sigler Thomas

There were several physicians executed in the Gainesville Hangings -- Eli Sigler Thomas was one of them.

Doctor Eli Sigler Thomas was born in Ohio. His parents are unknown at this time. He married Susan Mary Hedenburg 5 Apr 1853 in Morgan County, Illinois. Susan was the daughter of Peter Cadmus Hedenberg and Susan Spencer of Jacksonville, Morgan, Illinois.

By 1854, Eli and Susan were living in Iowa when their son, Owen Cadmus Thomas, was born on 15 Aug 1854. Eli is listed on the 1856 Lee County, Iowa State Census as a farmer. His wife, son, Cadmus, and a 39 year old, John Thomas are listed with him.
Is the John Thomas living in the household a brother to Eli Thomas? Who are Eli's parents?

1856 Lee County, Iowa State Census

It is not known exactly if, when, or where Eli Thomas received his medical training to become a physician. He was listed as a farmer in the 1856 Iowa State Census and as a "M.D." in the 1860 Cooke County, Texas Census.

Sometime between 1856 and May of 1858, Eli and family moved to Texas. Daughter, Mary Alice (Allie), was born 22 May 1858 in Texas. Eli is listed in the 1860 Cooke County, Texas Census as a 37 year old "M.D." born in Ohio. The value of his real estate is $2,000 and $8,460 of personal estate. One of his near neighbors listed in the census, was A. D. Scott (Alexander D. Scott), who was also a victim of the hanging.

1860 Cooke County, Texas Census

Eli S. Thomas was one of 19 men condemned by the jury of the 'Great Hanging at Gainesville' on October 18 and hanged on Sunday, October 19, 1862. It is not known where his body is buried.

Richard McCaslin writes in his book, 'Tainted Breeze', this about Eli S. Thomas: "Thomas, the physician who had been initiated by Crisp at his shop in August, also wrote to the jurors on October 18, asking them to reconsider his case. He named four witnesses, including Crisp, who could clear him if they were allowed to speak, but the jury refused to consider new testimony. Thomas even promised to help implicate others if released, but in vain. He wrote a will on October 19, in which he reflected sadly on the "uncertainty of this frail and transitory life" and left all his possessions to his wife, Susan, and their children, before climbing on the wagon to ride to his hanging."
Eli S. Thomas Will
Cooke County, Texas Wills, Vol 1, pg 324-325

The State of Texas
County of Cooke
In the name of God Amen. I, Eli S. Thomas of the County of Cooke State aforesaid being of sound mind and memory and considering the uncertainty of this frail and transitory life do therefore make and ordain publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, that is to say first after all my lawful debts are paid and discharged, the residue of my estate real and personal, I give bequeath and dispose of all as follows to wit, To my beloved wife Susan Mary Thomas during her natural life, and to my son Owen Cadmus and my daughter Mary Alice for their use and benefit.
Likewise, I make constitute and appoint my wife Susan Mary Thomas Guardian and Administratrix of this my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me made.
I further wish that my estate may not be probated.
In witness whereof I hereunto subscribe my name and affix my seal using scroll this 19th day of October AD 1862.
Eli S. Thomas
Sworn and subscribed before me the undersighned authority this 19th day of October AD 1862 in the Town of Gainesville.
Sam'l Gooding, Clerk

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Based upon letters to and from Owen Cadmus Thomas and his cousins in Cheshire, Gallia Co, Ohio, Seth, Serena, Kate and Lewis (children of Jason Thomas, Jr), it appears that Eli Sigler Thomas was one of the sons of Jason Thomas, Sr. and Catherine Hysell Thomas. These letters mention Hysell relatives and an Uncle Benjamin and an Aunt Selinda. There is also mention of Oceola, with no state given. The John Thomas shown on the census living with Eli Sigler Thomas in 1856 was living with a Benjamin Thomas in Lee Co., Iowa on the 1850 Census. Both of these men fit the ages to also be sons of Jason and Catherine Thomas. In 1860, Benjamin Thomas was living in Oceola, Clark Co., Iowa, which also fits with the family letters. Since I find no record of a will for Jason Thomas, Sr., it has been impossible to prove these theories. Since indifidual names were not listed until the 1850 Census, I have only been able to verify that Nancy, Jason and Selinda were their children although prior records do indicate a total of at least eight children.