Rev. Henry H. Thomas
Rev. Henry H. Thomas, a former resident, and a life member of the Vineland Historical Society, died at St. Petersburg, Florida, April 7, 1922.
Mr. Thomas was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Vineland from February, 1895 to 1899, going from here to a church at Newton Square, Pa. He was appointed Professor of Theology and Geology in Benedict College, Columbia, S. C, and a few years later held a position in Leland University, New Orleans, La.
Before going to New Orleans, he returned to Vineland and purchased a house with the intention of making this place his permanent home. He was frequently called upon to supply vacant pulpits in South Jersey, and for a number of years occupied his former place during the pastor's summer vacation.
After his wife's death, December 27, 1914, he spent a winter in Porto Rico, another in Florida, and later exchanged his house for one in St. Petersberg and went there to reside. There he met and married, on March 3, 1919, Mrs. Ella Hitchcock, an old acquaintance.
Mr. Thomas was born at South Bambridge, N. Y., November 5, 1840. He married Carrie A. Willis at Franklin, N. Y, August 11, 1859. Two children were born to them - Katie C, November 13, 1862, and William Henry, March 3, 1865. He died on the thirty-first of the same month, and the mother, September 2, 1865. The daughter lived to become a young lady, her death occurring December 31, 1886.
Mr. Thomas married his second wife, Mary A. Moore, of Philadelphia, August 11, 1867. She was very active in the temperance cause, and superintendent of the peace department of the W. C T. U. She died December 27, 1914.
Mr. Thomas was a member of the Lyon Post, G. A. R., of Vineland, having served as a private in the 144th Regiment New York Volunteers during the Civil War. He was also a member of the Masonic Fraternity.
He studied theology and graduated from the Theological Seminary at Rochester, N. Y. He held pastorates in New York and Pennsylvania before coming to the Vineland church.
At the World's Fair in Chicago, in 1893, he had charge of the extensive exhibit of Ward Brothers, of Rochester. He became interested in geology and made a collection of minerals, fossils, shells and Indian relics, a portion of which he gave to the Historical Society, they paying him for the cases containing them.
Whatever his work, Mr. Thomas entered into it with zeal and enthusiasm. He was a fluent speaker and interested and held the attention of his hearers. Wherever Mr. Thomas resided, he readily made friends. The writer, on his coming to Vineland, welcomed him as having a mutual interest in geology and kindred sciences. With him, the haunts of the Indians were searched ior specimens of their handiwork, his own collections inspected and admired, his genial and instructive conversation enjoyed.
He addressed the Historical Society at different times on the following topics:
"The Geological Formation of South Jersey." "History of Fish Culture." "New Orleans in the Twentieth Century." He also took part in other meetings of the Society. Henry H. Thomas was a good neighbor, a kind husband and a faithful friend.