Amon Clarence Thomas (1857-1942)
Perhaps no other man in Posey County was more entitled to the substantial success he made of his efforts and opportunities than the gentleman whose name introduces this sketch. Amon Clarence Thomas was a native son of Posey County, born in Bethel Township, November 28, 1857, to Shelby H. and Sarah (Williams) Thomas. Shelby was a native of Kentucky and Sarah of Indiana. The family consisted of three brothers and one sister who died in childhood.
Mr. Thomas was orphaned at the age of 2 and was raised by John H. Waller, an uncle by marriageand prominent farmer of Posey County. Mr. Thomas' early advantages for an education were limited to what was known as the Bayou school in Bethel Township, Posey County. Mr. Thomas continued to be a student of books as well as of men and affairs throughout a career of advancement and accomplishment.
When he turned 21, he joined a brother who had moved to the frontier of Kansas, bought farm land in Cloud County Kansas and farmed there for two years. These two years of pioneer life on the great plains of the West gave him insight into the development of the country, which, no doubt, was a valuable asset to his business career.
In 1880 he returned to Posey County and began farming. Mr. Thomas was united in marriage October 16, 1881, to Miss Ella C. Bailey, a refined daughter of William and Elizabeth Bailey, prominent pioneers of Posey County. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas raised three children, William H., Jessie M., and Helen C. Thomas. Mr. Thomas continued to farm until 1885 when he took stock in the Corbin Milling Company and became secretary/treasurer, and later as the major stockholder manager of the company. His management of this extensive milling and grain business was characterized with the same energy and keen business insight typical of the man.
In 1913, Mr. Thomas retired as the active business head of the Corbin Milling Company in order to devote more attention to his other investments and extensive real estate holdings. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, a director of the New Harmony Banking Company, and a member of the Working Men's Institute for twenty years.
Mr. Thomas was a stalwart democrat all of his life, serving as chairman of the First District Indiana District, and ran for state senator in 1918. Mr. Thomas was a great promoter of New Harmony history, long before New Harmony was recognized as an important place in American development. He personally directed and guided tourists to the area's historic sites.