Henry U. Thomas

Henry U. Thomas. The world instinctively pays deference to the man whose success has been worthily achieved, who has acquired a high reputation in his chosen calling, and whose social prominence is not less the result of an irreproachable life than of recognized natural gifts. It is a pleasing indulgence to write the biography of a man of this character, such as Mr. Thomas is known to be. He is now serving with distinction as commissioner of agriculture and labor of North Dakota, and makes his home in Bismarck.

He was born in Magnolia, Rock County, Wisconsin, December 10, 1853, and is a son of Asaph U. and Mary C. (Flint) Thomas, the former a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, and the latter of Wethersfield, Connecticut. The father was a machinist by trade, but the latter part of his life was devoted to farming. From Massachusetts he removed to Pennsylvania, and in 1847 became a resident of Wisconsin, where he made his home for ten years and then went to Freeborn County, Minnesota. There he spent his remaining days and died in April, 1883. The wife and mother passed away in the same county in 1874. In their family were eight children, four sons and four daughters, of whom our subject and all of the daughters are still living. The paternal grandfather, David Thomas, was born in Massachusetts, April 8, 1781, and died February 28, 1842. He had only one son, Asaph U., father of our subject.

Henry U. Thomas, of this review, grew to manhood in Minnesota, and the early education he acquired in the common schools of that state was supplemented by a course at the Adventist Seminary in Freeborn County. He continued to make his Home in Minnesota, engaged in agricultural pursuits, until April, 1883, when he became a resident of Benson County, North Dakota, where he took up land from the government, becoming the first settler of Antelope valley, which he named. He lived there until the fall of 1885, when he was elected county commissioner and removed to Minnewaukon, the county seat. After filling that office very acceptably for two years he was appointed probate judge and served in that capacity for nine years, or until elected to his present office in 1896. His official duties have always been performed in a most commendable and satisfactory manner, and have gained for him the confidence and respect of all.

In January, 1889, Mr. Thomas was married in Fargo, North Dakota, to Miss Laura A. Sports, a native of Ohio, and to them have been born seven children, namely: Merrill C., Paul C., Lyle J., Erma M., Harold U., William H. and an infant boy -who died August 15, t899. The wife and mother is a consistent member of the Congregational church, which Mr. Thomas also attends. He is a thirty-second-degree Mason, a Shriner, and a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. In his political views he is an ardent Republican, and does all in his power for the success of his party. As a citizen he has at all times the good of the community at heart, and his abilities are exerted to make the state of his adoption one of the best in the Northwest.

Source: Compendium and History of North Dakota 1900 Page 184

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